Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother's intuition.

My 9 yr old son B came home from school on Wednesday with his cheeks pink. His ears were red and he looked tired. He said he had a headache. I thought he looked ill. I felt his forehead and he felt warm. He lay on the couch and fell asleep. I woke him to give him tylenol and liquids. He was really out of it. He didn't want to eat dinner. He still had the fever. I gave him Advil. I told my husband that I thought maybe B had pneumonia. My husband looked at me like I was nutso. He had B breathe deeply then exhale and said no, couldn't be. No crackling. It was not very scientific, husband's ear to child's chest. B went to his room and fell asleep in his clothes. He slept until morning. Sweaty and clammy.

In the morning B was very chipper. When I asked how he was feeling he said, "Great!" But I kept him home from school and made an appointment with the doctor. B didn't have a fever but I thought it would be better to take him in just in case. And I'm not overly cautious usually.

As we were in the waiting room in the afternoon, yesterday, Thursday, B started spiking a fever again and he said his neck hurt and his eyes were watering, and he was have trouble taking a deep breath. The doctor had some blood drawn and had a chest x-ray done and guess what?


But it was caught early. The funny thing is B has just finished a school project on the building of the Erie Canal and part of that research included that X number of people DIED from pneumonia and malaria while digging the canal. So when the doctor said the word "pneumonia" B's eyes about bugged out of his head. I made sure the doctor reassured B about the advances in medicine since the days of the Erie Canal being dug. So B is on 10 days of antibiotics and I have a little bit of bragging rights with my husband. He truly looked shocked and said, "How did you know it was pneumonia?"

I responded with:
a.) See what happens when a person is not absorbed in the German language all day and night?
b.) Mother's intuition. I just had a feeling.
c.) I didn't mention I have a medical degree?
d.) I paid the doctor to give me the desired results.

Anyway, my son is on the mend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wanna take a ride on my...?

My three kids ride the school bus from hell. It's like the movie Speed. The bus flies! The bus driver is named Mr. Bill. Really. He is old and hard-of-hearing and plays the radio REALLY loud on the bus. And it's that hoochie-coochie music. I know, I sound old. "Hoochie-coochie." But what else do you call it? My five year old daughter likes to sing and has come out with such wonderful examples of musical genius as:
-"I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" and
-"I brushed my teeth with a bottle of Jack."
There are others. I've blocked them out though.

I've complained to the transportation manager. I've talked to the bus driver. It's done nothing. My kids have asked for quieter music so they can read, or at least not get headaches from the volume. The bus diver just turns it up. And turns his hearing aid down. 

But back to the driving. He speeds through the neighborhood as if he's got the cops after him. And the next bus stop is only down the block. The poor kids have their heads whipping back and forth on their little necks. Sometimes their heads hit the seat in front of them. Sometimes kids fall off the seats when Mr. Bill turns the corners. Our neighborhood has lots of winding roads and loops. It's like a roller coaster. And the ride is long. Too long.

Sometimes when I see the bus come barreling down the street, I want to dive out of the way, because Mr. Bill doesn't apply the brakes until the last possible moment. Nine kids get off at the bus stop that is the end of my driveway. They get off the bus sometimes a little green from Mr. Bill's driving.

Today my 9 year old son B ran inside immediately. And threw up. In the kitchen sink. Poor kid. He was sick from the driving, I think. Oh, but honey, the kitchen sink?! Right next to a dish strainer with lots of freshly cleaned dishes. (*Splashage* Sink area disinfect. Rewash.) And it wasn't in the side with the garbage disposal. On the night Dad is working a night meeting... mini self pity party for the vomit-cleaner-upper.

But he's feeling better. I even made him some homemade applesauce to go with his crackers. MmMm, good.

It just pisses me off that the bus driver seems to keep doing what he's doing. I may be doing some driving of my own soon. It's just tricky with two kids full-day and one kid half-day. And school 20 minutes away, when lights are green.

Things happy couples talk about.

So this was one of those dorky articles that pop up on Yahoo without asking for it. I think happy couples probably talk about a nice balance of the topics #1-9. My husband and I are "very strong" on topics #3 and #9. And by "strong" I mean, consumed by. But, seriously, it's all good.

Dating Tips: 9 Things Happy Couples Talk About
What you discuss can reveal the health of your relationship
By dating editor Denise Ngo for YourTango.comUpdated: Apr 14, 2010
Young  dating couple enjoying the outdoors (Corbis)
Average (31 votes)starsRate it:Sign in to rate!
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, great minds talk about ideas; small minds talk about people. What do you and your significant other talk about? If you constantly hit the heavy stuff, you're probably happier than if you spend time gossiping about your neighbors or coworkers.
A recent study published in Psychological Science says that people are happier when they spend more time discussing meaningful topics than engaging in small talk. Seventy-nine college students had their conversations recorded and analyzed by researchers, who distinguished between chit-chat about the food or the weather and discussions about philosophy, education, or religion. Subjects who reported the greatest amount of satisfaction spent only 10 percent of their conversation on small talk, while the unhappiest subjects kept 28.3 percent of their talking time in the shallow end.
Among the scores of substantive topics people discuss, we've come up with nine that we believe couples should relish during heart-to-hearts:
1. Embarrassing moments. If you can't share the awkward, "American Pie"-worthy moments that occurred throughout high school with your partner, who can you tell them to? Don't be afraid to broach the subject, if you haven't already. We wouldn't be surprised if their stories are more horrifying than yours.
2. Political viewpoints. How do you feel about the new healthcare bill? You don't have to agree with each other, but you do need to keep an open mind. A good relationship allows both parties to discuss their own philosophies without taking the opposition personally.
3. Fears and insecurities. By fears, we don't mean your phobia of earthworms. We're talking about things that make you wake up with gray hairs. What worries you? What do you want to improve in yourself? What skeletons are in your closet? In being vulnerable, you risk judgment, but more importantly, you chance being understood.
4. Childhood. Ask your partner what he or she was like as a kid. Did she make friends easily? What kind of games did he like to play? Did he have trouble in school? Childhood memories make for fun conversations, but they can also lend insight into how your main squeeze became the person he or she is today.
5. Past relationships. This is a touchy one because no one wants to hear the person they're with spouting sonnets about an ex. There is, of course, a difference between longing for (or being bitter over) the past and simply acknowledging what happened. With enough practice, seasoned, happy couples learn how to address why past relationships ended without inadvertently comparing their current partner to an old flame.
6. Family life. Knowing a person's upbringing and relationship with his or her parents is paramount to understanding his current attitude toward family. If you're even slightly contemplating a future with this person, it might help to ask how well they get along with their parents. Why does she resent her mother? Why is he closer to his sisters than to his brothers? How does she handle family gatherings?
7. Current events. Thanks to the overflow of information, it's nearly impossible to stay up-to-date on everything going on around us. Here's where teamwork comes into play: Ask your partner about his interests, be they economics or regional politics, and see if you can't learn a thing or two. Who knows, maybe you'll help him develop an interest in international affairs or science news.
8. TV and movies. Compared to politics and personal fears, entertainment might seem pretty shallow, but discussions about movies can fall into the "deep" category if you focus on character motivations and plots rather than on, say, the cute leading actors.
9. The future. Talking about the future can be nerve-wracking. While we're not saying you should pressure your partner into talking about plans for marriage and children, we do believe that you should know their dreams, goals, and aspirations. What is he working toward? What drives her to succeed? Where does he see himself in five years? Someone who desires growth and is not afraid of the unknown is surely dynamic enough to deserve you.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dragging the family to Pakistan.

Calls for the June class went out this past week. (Congrats to all who got calls and accepted offers.) Shockingly, the PD register did not skip numbers 1-39 and go straight down to the 70's. Goshdarnit. (Hi, Kolbi.)
Tamale, how I long to hear your angelic voice... yeah, yeah, I know "the call" is an email, folks.
Tamale, how I long to have your DoS form email invitation grace my husband's inbox. It is a "Yahoo!" account after all.

My parents are truly accepting this FS thing now. (Not.) My Dad said "...well, when you drag your family off to live in Pakistan..." I interrupted him and said that we wouldn't all be asked to move to Pakistan. He just kept talking. So I said it again. Then my step mom said to him, "You've told several people they are moving to Pakistan."
I don't know why he thinks this. Every single time I bring up anything having to do with the FS he changes the subject. I need some good links to email him so he has some good info to read. If anybody has recommendations please let me know. I need some PD about this life.

And my mother, who has been out of work due to her heroic work-related injury, has declined my offers to visit her. She is out of work for two weeks with a sprained ankle, and lives alone in a second floor apartment. She said, "No, don't come. I have plenty of help. From my friends. I am testing my network for when you are gone." Gone. Gone. Gone. Erased. I'm glad she has friends. But I'm still here and I'd like to help her while I am.

I guess I can't have it both ways.

Friday, April 23, 2010

...and, I'm back.

Whew. I'm back. Miss me?
The kids have been off school for a week and we went to Boston. So much fun. When we moved from Boston, in 2000, the Big Dig was still in progress. It was amazing to see it finally completed. It is so nice how the city is now unified, without the highway cutting through it. Anyway...

We started off in Western MA for a night. Here is C, me and S. 9 yr old B has been camera shy lately.

Then we went on to Springfield. My family is descended from one of the founders of Springfield. He came here from England in the early 1600's. There is a statue of him, complete with pilgrim hat, gi-normous bible, cape, knee-socks and square-toed shoes. So we had to show the kids that.

And there are some really nice museums in Springfield.

Along with a Dr. Seuss sculpture garden.

Then we trot, trot, trotted on to Boston. And guess what? Monday was a holiday in MA. Patriot Day. Celebrating tri-point hats and people dressing up in revolutionary war get-up. We enjoyed some of that. Kids love war stuff. So do husbands. Nothing says fun like cannons and muskets.

Except Brighams ice cream. Oh, yeah, where "jimmies" are free. Always. This lady had such a thick Bahston accent, I thought my husband was going to give her a kiss. It was way bettah than my, "Pahk tha cah ovah ayat Supah Stawp aynd Shawp."

Anyway, we stayed with my cousin and her family. Which was awesome. We all hung out. Visited sights. Ate good food. Acted like tourists a bit. Sat in the sun. Took a water taxi to Charlestown to see Old Ironsides. It was really fun. We walked a lot. We took a lot of rests so the kids didn't complain too much. But it was nice. B is in 4th grade so he has been studying a lot of the Revolutionary War history in class and was very interested in seeing the real deal, in real life. S loves reading books on wars and he, also, was very happy to hear about all the history. 

We also got to spend a day at the ocean. Even though it isn't really beach weather, we loved it. It is so wonderful to see the edge of the land and the sun and the waves...ah...

We also visited Cambridge. Where I lived for several years. Things have changed. It has gotten more up-scale. Gone are the Portugese shops with windows filled with baby Jesus statues. In their place are chi-chi restaurants and tapas bars. We took the kids to the cafe where we got engaged, nearly 12 years ago.


All in all, a great visit. I didn't take the laptop. I tried not to think about the FS. It was nice to not have the constant draw of the A-100 boards, Livelines, FSparent, the blogs. All these things that make me crazy about our uncertain future. But now, guess what? We are back and I'm crazy again. Ha-Ha!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I would like to thank all of you who posted comments and showed your support regarding this blog, my thoughts, my whining, my angst, and my honesty about expressing what's going on in my head. I appreciate your positivity. Rock on.

So, ready for more whining, er, um, honesty? Just kidding. Sort of.

My mom called last night. She sounded a little...thick-tongued...drugged up. She said she just wanted to call and let me know she is okay, not to worry. Because my ESP was telling me..."Something has happened?" So, I asked what happened. She said she was at work (she works at a nursing home) and one of the residents managed to get outside and was rolling, in his wheelchair, down the driveway toward a busy road in front, and a car was coming speeding along toward the guy. So she took off, her wings sprouted, the cape flapping behind her, the shiny leotard and sequined belt gleaming in the, she ran and caught the guy, grabbed his chair, knocking him over onto her. He and his wheelchair landed on her ankle and she has a sprained ankle. So I exclaimed, "You're a hero! When are you signing up for your first 5K?" But she just grumbled that now the state will be investigating how this guy managed to get outside into such a situation. Plus, he ended up with a bloody elbow. Then she said she just wanted to let me know she was okay so I wouldn't worry and now she was going to go take some more Percocet and fall asleep.

We are going to Boston today with the three kids. The hubby and I used to live there. I went to grad school at Rhode Island School of Design. My first teaching job was in Boston Public Schools. I'm looking forward to visiting. It turns out the Boston Marathon is Monday. Maybe I'll join in. My superhero mom could push all the old men out of my way. Look out, Mr. Anonymous! hahaha. Sheesh, I make me laugh.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anonymous guest stars today.

I noticed that I attracted the attention of "Anonymous" yesterday. Anonymous left me a comment on my post yesterday. I could have deleted Anonymous' comment. I responded. Then I thought, why not put that baby into a post of it's own? Clearly, Anonymous has some feelings to work through. 
Here's Anonymous' comment to me and my response. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...
While I appreciate your candor, I think you need a reality check. Being a member of the FS is a privilege, not a right, even if your husband is improving his German at 5:00 am. Your blog entry is full of self-pity and self-indulgence about how long your husband has to wait for a government job that you somehow suggest should be his (with you benefiting) automomatically because you both are "sacrificing" by being willing to leave your predictable, superficially comfortable homeland community. Such an attitude is not exactly in the spirit of the Foreign Service. And I mean Service.

I quite wonder, after reading your entry, how you properly would behave in far-off "hardship" overseas places representing our country, especially with your spouse being in the PD cone. I suspect you, with other Embassy staff unhappy to be abroad rather than at the nearby suburban Mall, would be complaining all the time, longing, with other homesick, parochial Americans in our fortress embassies for your comfortable community back in the US of A, all the while getting their federal employee checks and building up for retirement.

Are you sure you really want to be part of the Foreign Service?

FS, Here we come said...
Hey, Anonymous,
I appreciate your candor, too. I'm not sure how you stumbled across my little blog, but I think you may have mistaken it for some kind of political statement. This blog is merely a chronicle of what I'm going through as my family makes a major life transition. You're right that this blog and many like it are full of self-pity. I think I and others post so that we can feel a sense of community with the only people who can understand what we're going through.

And just what are we going through? It's not torture. It's just angst. (Hey, another German word!) I know that there are many people in the world who have much more to complain about in life than I do. In fact, I've posted frequently about how fortunate I am to have lived the life I have here in the United States.

But you're wrong to assume that I'm unwilling to sacrifice for my country. Heck, I won't even be working for the Foreign Service and I know my family and I will sacrifice. That's why the angst. In many ways, I have no idea what I'm getting my family into, but I trust that the experience of getting outside of this comfortable life and learning new languages and cultures will be good for our family. Just because we're willing to serve doesn't mean we don't have fears. Just because my husband has been deemed qualified doesn't mean I expect it to be easy. But I think it's OK, among friends who understand, to complain about life's difficulties.

Just to clarify. My husband is the public diplomacy guy. He always says the right thing to calm tensions and help people see each others' point of view. Me, I'm the artist. I'm the one who has to bite my lip sometimes. So that's why I'm not telling you off or anything. Next time, though, you might post a bit more about yourself so we know where you're coming from. Or what's on your agenda. Or when your dreams of becoming a PD officer were dashed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The register...116.

So the "register" is the list of people who have successfully passed all the tests and essays and medical invasions and security scrutiny and are deemed "OK" to be hired by the Dept. of State as a Foreign Service Officer. They aren't "in" yet. They are waiting to be invited. They are people who have invested a good deal of time into this process. And lots of energy. And thought. We are in that boat.
We = they.

My husband is on the Public Diplomacy register. That register now has 116 people on it. The top 18 people get invited off the register every couple of months. Which makes you think, "Okay, just wait a few months and then his score will be called." Except that people keep getting added to the register. All the time. With good scores and skills in Arabic. So they get bumped to the top. His score is more than half-way down. Which means either a long wait or forget it. (A person stays on the register for 18 months and then...bye, bye, start over.) Since taking the OA he has been studying German, hoping to raise his rank on the register. But it's grueling. He works every day, then goes to German three times a week after work. He wakes up at 5am to do his homework. Plus there's the expense. And he's a cub scout leader. And there's soccer starting up. And the kids miss him. And I miss him. And we don't know if he'll get to a level 3 in German. And we are all sick of talking about German, and dreaming about German. We wish we could just enjoy each other and our lives. He is also signing up to retake the entire process and hope for a higher OA score the second time. The thought of more German, more studying, more study groups, more essays and waiting and more not knowing...
...I don't know.

What would you do?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

German elephants in rooms.

Sorry, I got rid of the post about my father's inability to speak the words of he whose name shall not be spoken.
(whisper) *Foreign Service*

I love him. Sometimes love has to be the putty used to fill in the cracks and nail holes of life.

I'll tell you about my dream instead. I was walking between classroom after classroom of German speaking adults. They were all dozing off and looked kind of disheveled and, well, European. They were repeating after the instructor, "Die, Der, Dem, Die, Der, Dem..." (But spoken like in a spooky movie voice.) Then in another room, everyone kept singing Silent Night, in German. Over and over and over. I woke up feeling very tense. My husband just laughed at me when I told him about it. Like *I'm* crazy.

I'm 3 bags behind in my bag-a-day removal plan. Time to start packing out zip-lock baggies, rather than garbage bags. Dang.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nature girl.

While my husband was at German study yesterday morning, my 7 yr old son got invited to a friend's house to play.

The three kids, the dog and I headed out to walk there. It has been really warm lately. But yesterday morning was cool. We turned around and put on our fleece jackets and hats. We walked through the woods, past the pond, across the stream and got to the friend's house on the other side of the woods. We dropped off S, then I headed back with B, C and the dog. B and C asked to go to "the fallen down tree." It is a gi-normous tree that uprooted during a storm and fell over a stream, spanning the entire stream and taking out another few trees on the way down. The kids like to walk across the trunks and make forts and secret hiding spots.

They were happily doing that, while I sat watching them, scratching the dog on his ears. The sun was shining through the tall trees. All I could hear was my kids playing and the birds chirping. I looked around and saw large birds soaring above us. I noticed a big red-headed woodpecker hopping up a tree. Pileated woodpeckers are 18" tall. I felt privileged to be there, seeing the birds, living near the trees, with kids who love playing outside.

At that moment, I couldn't have been happier. I need to remember to appreciate where I am. Because it's pretty good. The future is promising, nerve-racking, exciting, scary and can be filled with worry, but the now...well, it's pretty awesome.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Group

I went to Book Group last night, also known as, "Drink Too Much Wine On A School Night Group." We are a group of twelve women and we read a book a month. We take turns choosing the book and hosting. We get together to discuss the book and enjoy drinks and food. And laughing. Always laughing. And usually somebody backs over somebody's shrubbery on the way out. Last night did not disappoint.

We read The Help. Which is a good book. An easy read. The kind of book that seems made for a movie. You kind of think that maybe the author already has the actors picked out for the different characters as she's writing it. But it was fun to discuss. None of us came from the kind of household that had 'help' at home. So it would be interesting to hear from some of the FS folks who do have experience in that department. Does the help really know everything that goes on in the house? I mean Every-thing?

None of my Book Group friends know anything about our Foreign Service aspirations. Weird, huh? I think about telling them, but it seems too hard to explain. Especially since we don't know for sure that the FS will happen. And if so, when. Plus, I think the Book Group friends would think I'm crazy. Which might be. But they also might be boring. Or closed-minded, anyway, I don't feel like changing their minds. Or opening them. So, I refill my glass. hahaha. They talk about PTA and rubber stamping projects. Scrapbooks. The neighborhood. Gossip. Hair. Waxing. ouch! Vacations. They talk about kids sports. Easter. All innocent enough. Then someone asked how my Easter was. And I told about my father-in-law telling his cheery Easter story of shooting his beloved childhood dog between the eyes and... silence ...silence ...people looking around at each other ...silence (oh, crap! Where are my car keys?)...then ...BWAHa, hhahahahahaha. Phew. I thought I was toast. I mean maybe some things fly in the blogosphere and just fall flat in the planned community 'burbs.

In any case. The evening ended with everybody having a big 'ole slice of homemade chocolate cream pie. And if you've read The Help, you'll understand, we were all pausing to laugh uncomfortably before digging in to that pie.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why The Face?

The PD register is at 129. WTF? Or as the dad, who thinks he's cool, on my new favorite tv show Modern Family says, "Why The Face?"

129. 129? As Kolbi would say, Goshdarnit!

It's never going to happen. Is it? Is it? Grr.

I've been distracted lately. Ya'think?

I mailed a letter two days ago that got returned today. Turns out I addressed it to "Sara." That's all. Nothing else. I guess the last name and address, city, state and zip do matter.

An Australian chef I met in London and used to date in college found me on facebook. Turns out he's now a "celebrity" chef who owns restaurants in Tokyo, San Francisco, Sydney, Los Angeles, among other places, he has written 4 books and has been on numerous TV shows. He has knives, spices and pans with his name on them. He's friends with Paris. And Martha. Good for him.

One hundred and twenty freakin' nine.

So the plan to remove one bag of things a day from the house hasn't been going great yet. HOWEVER, I didn't get a bag out yesterday, but got TWO bags out today. So, I figure, I'm good.

I should get dinner started. I bought a steak. Which is interesting. My husband is a vegetarian.
Why The Face?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've recovered. I think. 

The PD register is up to 111. German lessons are ongoing, bleeding us dry.

My dog rolled in poo. 

I wonder if I could fill (and remove from the house) one bag of stuff a day.

I have booked myself a massage for today.

Here's a random song:

Monday, April 5, 2010


My in-laws celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this summer. 50 years. That's a long time to be with someone. God bless them. It's longer than five days. But five days is nothing to scoff at.

I love them.

They are good people. 

They have left the building. Dancing might have ensued. It might have been me dancing the jig. 
Here are a few more gems from the visit (true):

  • Father-in-law told (again) how he caught dozens (hundreds?) of frogs by lulling them with the sound of a tractor. Then ate their legs.
  • Mother-in-law elaborated about how milk and her system don't get along. In detail.
  • Father-in-law told us he likes our dog. Then talked about his own beloved childhood dog. When it got old and sick he shot it, between the eyes. 
  • I was washing the china, my mother-in-law was rinsing, my husband was drying. My husband kept rejecting my mother-in-law's rinsing, saying there were still bubbles on the dishes. My Mother-in-law looked at me and said, "Well, she's using too much soap." My Hubby said, "No, you need to use more water."
  • Father-in-law said that once people come to American they need to just be "American" and learn English.
  • Father-in-law said he's having a little trouble with his eyes. And driving. Just words. And shapes.
  • Mother-in-law said she was glad hubby was trying to do the FS thing if he really wanted to. But she certainly wouldn't want to. My husband had asked her directly: What do you think about the Foreign Service, Mom?
  • Hubby and I beat the in-laws in a game last night. Fist-bumped in triumph. I said it felt good to be on a winning team for once. Mother-in-law agreed and said I was often a loser. (I am not making this shit up!)
So, that will be all. I apologize for talking too much about my in-laws. I'm a jerk right? I am pretty sure I am a terrible person. I'm heading to H-E- double hockey sticks. Maybe the worst daughter-in-law ever. But seriously, it's a screenplay, being with them. I keep looking for the hidden cameras.

There was a plan for this morning: Hubby leaves for work, kids leave on bus, in-laws leave. Dancing.

Here's how it really went down: Hubby has been coughing, aching and sick for three days. Thinks he has ear infections. This morning he secretly calls in sick. Secretly makes doctors appointment. Gets dressed for work. (In-laws disapprove of anyone ever calling in sick, ever. It shows weakness and a poor work ethic. Plus leads to lectures of indiscriminate length. Yeah, we're in our late 30s, but don't you judge.) Husband pretends to leave for work, wearing a tie. He plans to go study German, then to his doctor's appointment. There are good-byes, hugs, waves, thanks for coming, see you this summer. Then Hubby backs his car out of the garage directly into his Dad's Lincoln parked in the driveway. Smash!
Is this Karma?

Dinner conversation

The setting: Easter dinner table. Using the Wedgwood china and good silver.
The cast: Husband, Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, me, my mother, my three children.
Background: In-laws are Catholic of German heritage farm families. My mother is a WASP, English/Scot heritage, grew up in a house with a living room that was to be looked at not used, believes tea fixes multitudes of maladies. Hubby's parents are 15 years older than my mom.

My husband makes attempt to bridge generational/background gap between our parents with leading line of questions.

Hubby to his mother: "Mom, what kinds of traditions did your family have around Easter? Did you eat ham for dinner?"
Mother-in-law: "Oh, yeah. We'd butcher a pig in the fall of the year and cut off all the rough bits then rub it with salt and hot pepper to keep out the insects from burrowing into the flesh and then we'd let it age for six months. You could let it sit out for a full year just in the air. It would get harder and harder. Now they brine ham. And we'd boil the head and all the bits and it would gel together to make pontis (sp?), and oh, that was good, that would last a long time. You'd just slice off a hunk every day. And with the intestines, you'd make them into sausage and then blood sausage and, really, you'd use every part of the animal ....."
Father-in-law: "Mmm, blood sausage. What, it's just the solid part of the meat. What?"
Me: "Well, this has turned into quite the horror show."
Hubby: "Yeah, not really where I thought the holiday traditions conversation would go."
My mother: "Shall we serve the cheesecake and get the kettle on?"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter bunny.

Setting: Easter morning. Kitchen table. Windows slightly open. Birds chirping. Sun dappled through trees.

Five year old daughter (big smiles): "Mama, look at the cute white stuffed bunny that was in my Easter basket this morning!"
Seven year old son: "And I got a bunny in my basket too."
Me: "Wow. Oh, so cute!"
Mother-in-law (looking at me and hubby): "Oh, you put the Easter baskets in their rooms last night?"


Mother-in-law: "...uh, I mean the Easter bunny put the baskets in their rooms..."
Seven year old son (Looking at us): "You are the Easter bunny."
Me (passive-aggressively tapping my hard boiled egg on my plate to crack it while narrowing my eyes at my husband.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In-law report

Thurs. PM
The in-laws arrive at 5:00, I have dinner ready. My hubby arrives at 5:10. We eat ravioli, sauce, green beans, crusty bread. (I didn't mention before, but my husband comes from a donut empire ...ta-dah!... light shining down from the heavens, as angels sing...) Grandma and Grandpa reveal the TWO huge boxes of donuts made from their shops. We eat those and raspberries and strawberries for dessert. S has a cub scout meeting at 6:30. My hubby and father-in-law take S to the meeting. The other two kiddies and Grandma stay home and we go for a walk with the dog in the woods. Later, the kids have showers, then play war and rummy with Grandma and Grandpa. All is well. Smiles. Happiness. After the kids go to bed, we adults play Rummikub until midnight. Foreign service mentions: zero.

Good Friday
Up early, 7 am, cereal and leftover donuts for breakfast. Rummy, war, connect four. The weather is lovely. High temp of 78. We spend most of the day outside on the deck and in the wooded backyard. The boys make a bird house, play in the teepee in the woods, get out the bows and arrows. C makes an ant house. And paints it. We sit in the adirondack chairs. I make broccoli cheese soup and crusty bread for lunch, no meat, it's good friday. More games are played. We eat dinner out. Again, no meat. We come home and play some more games. We get the kids ready for bed. Once they are in bed, the adults play Sequence until 11:30. I find myself getting snippy. I am on the losing team all 3 games. I am accused of table talk. Foreign service mentions: zero.

Saturday noon (That's now)
I woke up at 6:45 with my back aching and my ass on the floor, as the air mattress deflates slowly during the night. C was grinning at me from her bed, "Good morning, Mama." We give my in-laws our wonderful comfy king size bed when they visit. I don't mind. I actually suggest it. They are in their 70s and he has bad hips and knees. Hubby and I sleep on the air mattress on the floor in C's room. I am reminded of a chart I remember seeing in the blog Diplolife. There may be parallels between cultural adaptation and in-law adaptation. Just a thought.
Here it is:
Stages of In-Law Adaptation?
Anyhow, I make pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Then I make a plan to head to the grocery store. My mother-in-law offers to accompany me. Because I wouldn't want to have any quiet or anything.
Right now I'm sitting out on the deck and Frank Sinatra is playing on the ipod bose speaker thingy and my hubby and his parents are playing rummy. The kids and the neighbor kids are playing in the woods. It's 85 degrees. I better start fixing lunch. Then it's on to egg dyeing. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

_hore chart.

I cleaned a lot today.
I mean a lot.
LOT. And there ain't no maid. Just me.

My kids are at school. They have helped a bit.

The 3 kids have a Chore Chart. Which, by the way, if mis-printed, is way different and much funnier to mom when it is entitled Whore Chart. Just one letter, a world of difference.

It's the little things in life. I think I might be twelve.