Sunday, July 22, 2007

What is that?

Rant of the Day
I was simply trying to enjoy a few minutes of zen. It is an act I try to perform daily, but sometimes gets missed in the chaos. It is an act that is good for my personal well being, but also important for those standing down wind of me. If you don't have young children this act of zen is more simply known as taking a shower. But yesterday, my moment was abruptly ruined when Scott walked into the bathroom with a collection of something light brown in his hands.

"What is that?" I ask.

"Sarah cut her hair" He responds.

"She what?"

"Sarah cut her hair."

"She what!" I ask again, even though I heard him clearly the first time.

Faster than Clark Kent turns into Superman, I was dry, dressed, and fully into damage control mode. How much had she cut? How bad did it look? When did we have our next round of pictures scheduled? How am I going to explain this to the grandmas?

Before all those questions were answered, I was on the phone confirming that both of the local kid hair cut places had no wait and needed no reservation. Sarah, now realizing the permanence of her momentary fun with the scissors, was hiding under a blanket and crying - refusing to let me see the damage. There was no need to raise my voice or yell, her self-inflicted cropped hairdo was punishment enough.

I usually don't think of myself as a vain person. I don't have cute clothes and often skip the whole makeup thing. But a little cloud of sadness burst upon me when Scott told we what he held in his hand. I have been patient - three and half years patient. Sarah was the poster child for bald babies a trait that lasted well into her toddler days. And when she finally grew a few locks they arrived in a mullet. In fact her hair three weeks ago was the first time that we had EVER cut the sides of her hair. She finally had girl hair, a fact of which Sarah and I were so proud. Finally, a chance to wear all the hair ribbons and bows that the other girls have donned since birth.

There was no time for wallowing. OK, there was a bit of wallowing, but I had to get to the kiddie salon. Keys in my hand, purse on my shoulder, we were out the door in a flash. All the lights were green on the way and we pulled right up to the salon and to my amazement there was no wait. But then I realized that I had a purse but no wallet. No way to pay. And as sorry as Sarah's hair looked the weren't giving out cuts for free.

Back in the car, back to the house, and back to the salon again. Now I have been in the car an hour, my melancholy is getting over powered by my PMS, and I am becoming a bit mean. We are back to the salon and there isn't a customer in the place. But the girl at the front desk, she looks about 18 and has all the attitude that goes with it, tells me that they are booked full and can't squeeze us in. But there isn't a customer in the place. She says it doesn't matter. But I called and they said I didn't need an appointment. She says it doesn't matter. I say I am a mom who's daughter just cut her own hair with scissors. She looks at Sarah and laughs and says it doesn't matter. I tell her that she can kiss my ass and storm out the door. OK, that was not exactly my shining moment of tact, but don't insult an Italian mother's child, especially an Italian mother with PMS.

So now we are back in the car again. I am trying to explain to Sarah that I am mad at the girl at the salon, but she doesn't understand and just whimpers in the back. The other kiddie salon is the in the complete opposite direction - 40 minutes later we arrive at the door. The person at the front desk is a woman - a mother - no attitude at all - just sympathy and a smile for Sarah's new hairdo. The wait is 30 minutes, but thanks a little kindness and a couple of calm minutes, Sarah and I both settle down. The stylist did a good job of getting a pretty cute (though, of course, short) cut out of a bad mess.

We wasted 4 hours and a bunch of gas getting the problem fixed. Though Sarah is still a little sad that she won't be donning a pony tail any time in the near future, she is proudly telling everyone that she now has a pixie. As for me, I realized today that short hair is a lot easier to keep neat. Plus, I am holding out that Jaley's hair comes in thick and quick, because I don't want to wait another three years for Sarah's to grow out.

That's life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gourmet from Cary

Rant of the Week
Scott tells everyone that he didn't marry me for my abilities in the kitchen. When he proposed, I barely knew how to boil water. As time has gone by, I learned the my way around the stove. I no longer shiver reading words like baste, broil, and braise. Although I still occasionally call my mother for advice, I can now turn out a pretty decent meal.

Having a skill doesn't necessarily mean using it. When Scott is away I regress to my dorm room days. Mac and Cheese rules the dinner table. Over the last two weeks, the girls and I have feasted on all things easy. The dishwasher hasn't seen this little action since before we had kids and still used to eat out all the time.

But Scott is back from two weeks of travel and I restocked the fridge yesterday, so I guess I better get back to cooking the family meal again. But not tonight, because it is Friday and this momma never cooks a big meal on Friday nights.

Life in the Stroller Lane
But not having KP duty doesn't mean that I haven't been busy. I am learning that selling a house is the same amount of work as buying one, but with more headaches. There are a few dinky shingle repairs that have to be made to the rental we are selling, and the buyers are insisting on a licensed roof contractor. That means that I am paying twice as much to get half the customer service. Roofers like big jobs, and a couple of shingles to seal isn't their idea of a high priority job. They have been stringing me along for a week. My patience was already worn thin, but now I have PMS too and am about fit to be tied.

In between tying up the loose ends to sell Unit #3 and desperately trying to re-rent Unit #2, I have been doing my full-time job of running this house and playing mommy. And Scott hasn't had a moment to spare either. He has been traveling the last couple of weeks and even when he was home, work was taking over just about all his free time. He got home from San Jose at 2AM last night and was back at the office first thing this morning. But things should slow down for him after today and the house closes in just over a week. So we are in the home stretch of this sprint and at the finish line is Jaley's 1st birthday - which is definitely something to celebrate.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What am I going to be when I grow up?

Rant of the Week
When I last left off one of the rental houses was on the market. And I am glad (really ecstatic) to say that we have a contract for 99% list price and and are closing one day after the tenants move out. It couldn't be a better situation. And with this pending sale, it means that we are at the beginning of the end of our foray into real estate.

But now that that venture is heading towards the exit sign, it is once again time for me to figure out what I am going to be when I grow up. First and foremost, I am a mom. And every Mother's Day card ever printed will tell you no job is more important. But, if you read the fine print you will find that the pay really stinks.

Luckily, Scott salary pays the bills and leaves some for a little fun too. So, technically, I don't have to work. But, the truth is I want to work. I was babysitting full time when I was 13 and have been pretty much been employed ever since. Although I know that I want to work, the problem is I have a few requirements. I want a job that pays a top salary, has a wonderful work environment, is mentally challenging, has low stress, AND requires less than 20 hours a week. You can stop laughing now, because I know that this job ain't exactly easy to find.

Since I know that I won't find the impossible job in the want-ads, I have been dreaming up lots of crazy ideas to do on my own. I have run the gamut from teaching to organizing consignment garage sales to staying in real estate to freelance writing to starting a "mommy track" website to being an aerobics instructor. I have pretty exhausted Scott's patience for listening to my ideas, so now I am branching out to my neighbors and driving them crazy too.

And all the while, I am still knee deep in real estate and over my head in being a mom. So for now, I for the moment I am still figuring it out and open to any ideas or suggestions that you may have.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Outside of my personal career conundrum, life remains good. In fact, it is even better than the last time I wrote. For the last two weeks, Jaley has slept through the night. That is 14 decedent nights of uninterrupted sleep - the most by far in the last 12 months. And what was our secret. Our secret was to throw out the books and the pediatricians' advice and do what our grandmas did. We simply put Jaley to bed with a bottle. She drinks it down when she is thirsty and drifts back to sleep. Simple solution for a major problem. And for those of you worried about her teeth, bottle at night or not, Jaley's teeth are going to fall out before she is 10 and by then she won't be drinking from a bottle.

For the next few weeks, Scott is on the road. He is working a full day in the office today, Saturday, and then headed out of town tomorrow. And next weekend will probably be a repeat of this one. Life at the office is pretty stressful, so the girls and I have been trying to keep things a little more fun at home.

Sarah is doing great and learning more every day. She is definitely the product of two engineers. Though she chats up a storm, her math skills definitely top her language ones. She is prone to mix up M and W, but never 6 and 9. She knows that 5-2=3, but hasn't caught that c-a-t = cat. But we would prefer MIT to Harvard anyhow (he, he).

And not to be outdone, Jaley is learning new things too. She isn't really talking yet, but that doesn't mean she doesn't communicate. She will try to climb right into her highchair when she is hungry. And she will throw an empty bottle at you when she wants a refill. The bottle in the face isn't her most endearing trait, but it sure gets the point across.

And that is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.