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Archive for September, 2008

I spent the greater portion of the morning trying to salvage two pairs of Blue’s pants. Thank goodness for the internet because Googling “how to get silly putty out of clothing” happens to be a common problem with folks who have young children.

Two pairs of pants, I say. Yes. Within ten minutes. She got some on one pair of pants. Changed. And got it on the second pair of pants.

Blue glow in the dark silly putty.

Freezing it does not work unless you have globs of it. You can scrape off alot of it. But there is still a thin film of silly putty that would make my daughter a walking glow in the dark butt. 

BUT, my favorite stuff, Goo Gone, did it.

I salvaged two pairs of pants.

And made a rule that silly putty belongs in the bathroom and only in the bathroom, yet away from the white towels.

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Not long ago we were at the beach and Red was playing near an outcropping of rocks. She suddenly jetted over to me with this funny expression on her face.

“Hey, Mommy, I saw this man and he had his shirt off and he had two big silver rings poking through the points on his boobies!”

I looked over and there was a man with a mohawk with a blue streak, tattoos and yes, pierced nipples.

Red was completely baffled by it.

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Chocolate milk is something I’ve avoided in my house forever. My parents never let me have chocolate milk. Actually, I don’t think chocolate milk was that big a deal when I was a kid in the 80s. But nowadays, I hear the word “chocolate milk” as a standard with kids. 

Personally, I just never introduced it. Red tried it once at a friend’s house a few years ago and hated it. Blue once drank spoiled milk when she as two and never drank milk again…and won’t dare try chocolate milk because “there is milk in it.” Imagine that. Letting a little milk get in the way of some chocolate. This is not my child perhaps.

I think I kind of caved on it today.

The girls have been experimenting with freezing things. They even saved popsicle sticks from the beach to bring home and use in the cup with frozen juice and water.

But this morning, Red asked me to freeze some milk for her.

With a little bit of chocolate.

Blue came running in, excited, exclaiming “I want to make a fudge-stick-ull!”

And so we did.

***********

Blue and Red would like to go back to the piano bar some night soon before it closes for the season, and have french fries, onion rings, water in a kid’s cup and listen to Piano Man one more time. Friday night we contemplated it, but Red had come home from school not feeling well at noon (even though after she had lunch, she felt fine, I think she just wanted to come home to be with me). And I wasn’t feeling so hot. And then it got cool and rainy. And everyone was tired.

Red would not hear it though. “I WANT TO GO TO THE PIANO PLACE!” she whined, right up until she fell asleep. 

But the classic was this: “I need fresh air! I need to get out! I NEED to get to the piano place!”

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Baby, Sweetie

The girls know Piano Man. We’ve hung at the beach. We’ve run into him. Seen him at the Piano Bar. He teaches me guitar. He rides his bike by the house and when am out watering the flowers “hello!!!”….okay, yeah, so that part is planned. 

Not long ago we found ourselves all down on the beach and Piano Man said to me, as he usually does, “Hey, Baby.”

Red looks at him and goes, “Did you just call Mommy a baby?”

Piano Man looked mortified and responded, “Well, yes, I call everyone ‘Baby’, BABY.”

Red looks over at her sister and rolls her eyes. “I’m not a baby!”

And so on and so on.

The next time we saw him, altogether, he said “Thanks, sweetie.”

And then he clamped his hand over his mouth, and looked at both girls, who didn’t hear. 

Being a new thing, it’s nice for them to know who he is and know he is our friend. The same way D is our friend. D’s brother is our friend. Or the lady friends we have too.

They don’t see us touch or kiss or sit near each other yet.

That won’t happen for a while.

But I do like that they know him and I know how they respond to him as a person and how he is with kids. The fact that he teaches kids and is an uncle who is very involved in his nephew’s life, and that he has dated alot of women with kids, says alot.

It doesn’t phase him. In fact, he gets right down to their level and joins them.

Last night, Blue looked up from her plate at dinner and said “Mommy, Piano Man calls you ‘Baby’.” 

“Yes, he does sometimes, he calls alot of people ‘Baby’,” I lied.

Red piped up, “You call us ‘Baby’ sometimes!.”

“Yes, I do,” I responded, feeling as if I am in the clear.

Red shook her head from side to side, “But you know, people who are boyfriend and girlfriend, call each other things like that too.”

And then I diverted the conversation and offered her a bowl of ice cream.

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I’ve upped and blocked him

I’ve just gone and blocked my exhusband, I mean, the girls’ father, in Facebook.

It never occurred to me to look for him there. But I had Facebook up today and Red looked over and said “Oh, Daddy has a Facebook too!”

Apparently, we have four mutual friends. I have a hundred and sixty something “friends”. He has 47.

40 of them are people we knew when we were married. People who stayed with him.

It’s fine. because those who stayed with me, are the best for me. Obviously. Makes sense.

He’s been a challenge lately. A bully. Annoying. Frustrating. A total asshole.

At least he is a good dad to the girls.

If he weren’t, I’d be madder.

When I was just starting out in the divorce a few years ago, he pounded me with threats and intimidation and tried to manipulate things so I would walk away what I was entitled to, including my children. In the end, it worked out the way it was supposed to work out. Somewhat fair and somewhat equal, based on the circumstances.  

During the time where I was stressed beyond belief, going in and out of court, worrying that his threats were real, wondering what judges and lawyers would say, my dad said something very important to me one day on the phone. He said “If he does something great for you, turn him into a zero. Because when he has done something good for you, it is to manipulate or negotiate, not because he feels he is doing the right thing. When he does something that hurts you, turn him into a zero.”

In my head, he has been and is a zero. I put the kids first. If I feel it is good for the kids, I say “yes”. Even if it inconveniences me or makes him gloat at seeming to be the “winner” in any situation, big or small.

Fortunately for me, I also take him into consideration. I suppose that turns him into something more than a zero in my book. But he is the girls’ father. No matter the jerk he can be, they love him and love being with him and he takes good care of them when they are with him.

I’m wondering sometimes what gets into him when he turns bully-ish and mean. Lately, he’s been more-so and it frustrates the hell out of me. Still, I think “zero” and that subsides some of the concern and frustration and upset he brings to the table, unnecessarily.

But still. Regardless, I document stuff. I save nasty voice mails. I do. I do because despite him being a zero, which is an attempt to force him out of my head and worry, I constantly feel the need to protect things, myself, from him. I’ve been through 7 years of marriage with him. I went through a year long divorce. I’ve been divorced from him for almost four years and co-parent with him. I am the primary residence for the girls and he has every other weekend visits and a mid week dinner visit. 

Every night he calls to talk to the girls for the most part.  I have no problem with it, but I asked him to call anytime by 6:30. 6:30 is when the girls brush their teeth, choose stories, we read on my bed for half and hour and then sing for fifteen minutes and cuddle and talk and then say goodnight. If he calls during that time, it disrupts the flow of what we are doing because they get excited and distracted and we lose the bedtime routine. For a long time, before we started reading stories, I would call him if we hadn’t heard from him. It sucked. Because it was like my marriage to him. I was his secretary. I was his Stepford Wife, in a way. He never had to think about anything. My calling made it easy for him. I decided to stop and set boundaries, boundaries which he can’t seem to respect or follow.

So, what does he do? He calls AT 6:30. Despite my reminding him to please call before 6:30 and not AT 6:30, he still does it.

I’ll add that when I call for the girls when they are with him, I get them about 30 percent of the time. About eight percent of the time, he’ll actually call me back if I’ve left a message.

Tonight we were out and got home late. There was a nasty message on my cell and my house line, saying that he is trying to get in touch to talk to the girls. But he didn’t say it so nicely.

I called him back, just fifteen minutes after he left his message (which he left at 6:32). After the girls brushed their teeth, I tried him again. No answer. As they got in bed, I called him again. No answer.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when I get the lecture.

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The things they will do

Laughter is what drew me first to him, aside from the quirkiness he portrays, both at and away from the piano.

There is nothing better than lying in bed with someone and laughing. Something that I haven’t experienced with someone in a long time.

We climbed into bed late at night and lay there talking, facing each other. He reached over to pull me close and I pulled back and grinned.

“Sing me a song!”

Without hesitation, he started singing Andy Kim’s “Rock Me Gently”…after the first verse, he stopped, thinking it was enough.

“Keep going” I demanded. “Finish it.”

The greatest thing is that he did.

He lay there in bed, next to me, with a priceless look on his face, singing “Rock Me Gently”, chorus and all, with soul, with pizazz and hand gestures.

At 1 in the morning.

When he was done he goes “You’re making me sing for my supper, aren’t you?”

Yes. Yes I am.

Now, he seems to save the song at his evening gigs, for after I arrive.

I got a little bossy the next day, when we had a conversation about the things men are and aren’t comfortable doing, for fear of portraying a lack of manliness to others.

We took a shower and I handed him my razor and the shaving cream.

“Are you man enough to shave my legs?”

And so, he did. 

Good thing he didn’t cut me, I was laughing so hard, I was shaking.

I had my nail polish sitting out on the counter in the kitchen. I pointed to the polish and put my leg up over his, handed him the bottle…he opened it and started painting my toes.

He’s got these wide piano man hands, that were all awkward and clumsy with a nail polish brush. The frustration and murmurings under his breath that came out of his mouth in the following fifteen minutes (yes, it took him that long) as he tried painting my toes a hot red color (he picked), most of it ended up all over my skin, some on his leg and ALL over his hands. I led him to believe there was no way to get the red polish off his hands except just “time”…alot of “time”.

Imagine the panic in his face when he thought he’d be playing a gig that night with red nail polish all over his fingers..

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Coooooofffeeeeeee

Piano Man and I go to breakfast at this awesome place down the road, they make 6 different kinds of bread every day, their omlettes are filled with REAL fresh veggies. Their cheese selection is incredible, as are their pancakes. I mean, it isn’t every day you can walk in a total dive of a yummy breakfast place and get poached pears on pancakes. Or fresh peach pancakes. Or grilled eggplant benedict (like eggs benedict but without the ham and english muffin).

But the problem is, they tout (and advertise widely on their menu) “Maxwell House” coffee.

It is so horrid but I love the breakfast there so much.

We’ve contemplated bringing our own.

I’ve written before about how much I love good coffee. Peet’s Major Dickeson’s is my favorite grocery store bagged purchase. Especially when it is on sale for $6.99 for a bag. I go organic when I am at Whole Food’s. I buy a local coffee shop’s beans on occasion.

But I am now pushing it all aside.

Yes.

It has happened.

Jemima and I had a conversation about coffee and she mentioned a local brewery where she buys her coffee.

The other day, a bag of this arrived in the mail from her.

I had lots going on that day and knew a cup of coffee would serve me well, mid-afternoon.

So I got out the french press and boiled the water in my favorite electric glass kettle.

 

 

And then I got out my favorite sugar cubes and put four in.

And then I drank it.

And then I pretty much orgasmed before getting online to order five bags of coffee.

Seriously people.

Thank you Jemima. You rocked my world.

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Family Night at the Piano Bar

Last Friday night, when Piano Man started work at eight, the girls and I went down the street and heard him play for a while.

I even took my mom. 

I don’t think I have ever seen my mom in a bar.

Ever.

It was really really weird.

My girls sat at the piano with their child sized cups of milk and orange juice and watched his hands as he played, watched him sing. They were wide-eyed. From 8-9 pm, is mostly families in the piano bar, so having children around the bar was actually quite normal.  In the end, I sang a few for the girls and then Piano Man looked panicked when the little one requested something from “The Sound of Music”.

So, being the mom that I am, I got up there and sang “Edellweiss”, without music, the way I do at night to them, over the microphone. It was pretty amazing for them. I sing to them every night and we sing in the car, but they had never seen me sing with a microphone or to a piano.

The next night, the girls had their end of summer sleepover at my mother’s house. Piano Man was invited by D through me, to join me at the family BBQ. It was the first social environment with Piano Man and even though this is very new, it seemed great to take him along. I was a little nervous only because I have never been to D’s gathering, bringing a date. Others do. But I haven’t.

When we got there, it was just us and we sat and had a drink with D and Kat and my friends got to know him. One of the things Kat whispered when I came in was “You’ve never wanted to bring someone before!” Which is true. It was endearing because we’d all three been watching the piano man since the beginning of the previous summer and it wasn’t until this year that we actually met him.

When the rest of D’s family and few friends arrived, piano man was already trying out D’s piano, which sat in the middle of the main living space, where the party was. Piano to him is like breathing and I realized he’s probably most comfortable sitting at one. D was thrilled, as were the rest of the crowd. He played old classics because most of the crowd was over 60. He played a handful of songs and then we stopped and ate and hung around the rooftop deck.

D’s 85 year old auntie was thrilled that I’d brought someone along. Even moreso, she was thrilled with his talent. And then she asked if I would sing before the end of the night. 

After a few drinks, before piano man had to leave for work, I stood by the piano and sang while he played. The hilarious part was that everyone got out their cameras and took a ton of photos. Of me. Singing. Next to piano man. It was hilarious but touching, all at the same time.

Since moving to this town, D and his friends and family have kind of become my “crowd”. In a family sort of way. It is really quite unique. And bringing Piano Man with me felt natural and easy from both sides.

At the end of the night, the 85 year old auntie, came up to me and asked if I had heard of a particular older gentleman who used to play at the same piano bar as my piano man, only, it was about 50 years ago. She talked about him fondly and said my Piano Man reminded me of her friend.

Later on, I mentioned it to D and he smiled and said “Oh yes. They were sweethearts. She dated the piano man at the time, back then.”

It still makes me smile and shiver a little.

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start of a new era

Today was the first day of school.

Two kids in school. Every day.

My life is forever changed.

I didn’t dance naked to Bon Jovi in the living room when I got home from dropping the girls off. Instead, I sat on the front stoop between my two flower pots with a cup of coffee, contemplating my next move.

I have wood to paint for the farmer’s market tomorrow.

The girls’ room is driving me nuts and some sleuth cleaning out needs to be done.

My car is disgustingly dirty from the summer sand, pollen and birds pooping from the telephone wire above where I park.

My own bed needs to be made.

Paperwork is piled up.

The bathroom could use a swish or two.

There are Polly Pockets scattered across the living room.

Laundry needs to be done from our last week of summer.

But instead, I strapped on my running shoes and plugged in my ipod and ran down to the cove with “Living on a Prayer”. It wasn’t exactly “dancing naked to Bon Jovi” but close enough.

 

Bon Jovi was still included in the first day of silence (school) for me. While running along the beach.

Blue’s first day of Kindergarten was an easy one in the morning. Because she’s been walking daily for two years to drop off and pick up her sister from elementary school, she’s a bit used to the trek and the idea behind school.

During breakfast today, she sighed and said “FINALLY! I don’t have to come home with you anymore after dropping Red at school!”

They posed before school, in front of the flower pots.

When they lined up for school in the playground to go inside, Red ignored me, but gave a flippant wave when she passed by, already too cool for Mom. Blue had a stoic look on her face, but it was more about absorbing her surroundings. She gave a little head nod as she passed. As if to say “see ya, I’m good”. I went home feeling a little weird about how easy it all went. But am glad. I am not sure what I expected. But it went so smoothly and without much transition. Same with the latter end of the day. 

They both loved it.

Blue came home and told me about her new friend, Clara.

Red came home and told me about the new boy “Josh”. (hmmmmm, you should have seen the smile on her face)

By the end of the day, I had gone running, washed my car, painted the wood for the farmer’s market and priced artwork. I’d cleaned the bathroom and picked up the Polly Pockets. I even did the laundry. I didn’t do everything, but I did an awful lot. 

Blue doesn’t have school the next two days because today was Kindergarten screening and they test the other half of the class tomorrow and then go over results on Friday. So Monday signifies the start of a daily ritual of her going to school with her sister. 

Monday is also the “mom’s who shoved the last duckling out of the nest” breakfast. A handful of us are heading out to breakfast that morning. I may actually order pancakes.

I ended the day with a long hot shower. The steam in the bathroom filled the bathroom and I breathed in deeply, realizing it is the beginning of an era. An era of my children being in school, working hard, assuming responsibility and I am there to continue to guide them. I also realize that I can structure my day differently, I can compartmentalize what I need to do, be it work, working out, cleaning, errands, being completely present with my children, or just rest and be still and quiet.

When I got out of the shower, before I put on my clothes, I did a little dance. Just so I could say I danced naked today. (sorry, no picture)

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