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Archive for November, 2007

Seriously tired.

It’s 11:38.  I have scrubbed (and purged) the kitchen.  I have scrubbed the hardwood floors (hand and knees).  I have bought 5 bottles of wine (white), and somehow had a friend agree to bring 6 more (red).  I made Beloved bring home 2 six packs of beer.  I have had dinner with the girls.  I have attended the girls’ performance.  I have realized that I forgot to sign J up for Girl Scouts.  I have been at work all day ….

Tomorrow is the day of the meeting.   The house is in really good shape.  I’m proud of how good it looks compared to a year ago.  We’ve thrown so much crap out, and worked so hard to make it more livable (without major expenditures), and I think I’m feeling the results.

This is good, since I spent my day looking at whether or not I can buy a house with less than 20% down, and the answer seems to be “definitely.”  It appears that our bigger hurdle will be avoiding a “jumbo mortgage,” which is definitely hard to do in this very high-priced market.

Why can’t a “jumbo mortgage” be defined in relation to income, rather than just a “$415,000” mark?  Or in relation to the local housing market.  I mean … that basically means that a first home in this town MUST be a one bedroom.

Meany-heads.

I still think it might be do-able.

And if it is. I’m not wasting $10,000 on moving to another rental.  I’ll put it toward a down payment and lowering my mortgage payments.

I am a human roller coaster.

A tired human roller coaster.

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I should be tired.  I have done a lot today.  A lot of work, a lot of exercising, a lot of socializing, a lot of sports practice schlepping, a lot of cleaning, a lot of chatting, a lot of cuddling.

Work still gets an A.  Sometimes I wonder what happened.  Why am I so happy, when people talk about work environments that are supposedly similar to mine in this manner?   I know I’m not in the cut-throat city, but still.  I’m just not seeing it.  And tonight, when I walked down my hallway at 5:30 to talk to a more senior associate about holiday-gift-giving etiquette, I walked past many, many empty offices.

I know, I know.  “Give it time,” or “just you wait and see.”

zuska = optimist.

I believe that my optimism makes good things happen.  It creates a better situation.  All the time.  It’s even, in the past, caused planes to take off when flights would have otherwise been canceled.  I promise.

Tonight, we all did chores.  E took out the recycling, J dusted in the living room, Beloved scrubbed the kitchen floor, I did the bathroom and 2 loads of laundry and straightened and moved furniture to get ready for Friday.

The house is taking shape.

Tomorrow I buy wine, Beloved buys beer.  I then come home (after the girls’ performance and taking the girls out to dinner) and scrub down the kitchen counters and the hardwood floors.  Then we sleep.  On Friday, Beloved vacuums the furniture and makes salsa; I work all day and then stop at the store on my way home to get paper plates and plastic cups; I wipe down the bathroom; throw the bathroom rug in the washer (how does it get dirty so fast?  it gets dirty SO FAST that I know that washing it today will do NOTHING toward it being clean on Friday.  NOTHING); take apart the kitchen table and move it to another room, vacuum the girls’ rug and the living room rug; do a final sweep of the wood floors; set up drinks and snacks; set up all the extra chairs; and otherwise freak out.

Then on Saturday, the girls have basketball games at 10 and 11.  This is okay.  Because basketball is played at the highschool.  The high school is like, 6 blocks from our house.  We do not need a zipcar.  Hell, E doesn’t even need us to walk with her.  And the games are at 10!!  And 11!!  Not 9.  Not 8.  It is downright civilized.

Then I have to make a key lime something or other ….

Anyone have any recipes????

Because that night, we’re going to an early Hannakuh party.

Sunday, I wanted to go out for mine and Beloved’s birthdays (Tuesday and Wednesday).  But I don’t have a babysitter.  😦  Woe is me.   While my kids are able to have spurts of time home alone, I’m not too keen on leaving them home in the evening while hubby and I go out on a date.  That’s a bit much.  Too much.

I really need to go to bed, or I won’t make it to Sunday.

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My swearing in ceremony was nice.  It was held in historic Fanueil Hall, and the ceremony and speeches capitalized on that.  In a good way, in my opinion.  I spoke with a couple of senior associates later in the day who said, “do they still tell all the same corny jokes?” and I said, “but I liked the jokes.”  I guess I’m corny.

They let Beloved give me my license.  A strange Massachusetts tradition, where your primary loved one (whether that be your grandmother, your toddler or your husband) comes up on stage with you, and THEY are given the license, and they can then give it to you.  Beloved and I played along.  This was not done in front of an audience, per se.

But my license!

When I received my notification that I passed the bar, it came along with a sheet to fill out indicating my swearing in preference.  Do I want to do it in Boston?  Or in Western Mass.  Is there a reason why I can’t do it during this week of formal ceremonies?

And finally … do I want my license to say “in the year of our Lord…” or just “in the year.”

It seemed like a funny question at the time.

We all know that I’m not only an UNbeliever, but a Bitter Unbeliever.  Even still, I felt a bit catty checking that box.  The “get the ‘lord’ off my license” box.  I checked it still.

Yesterday, Beloved handed me my license.  He kissed my cheek.  He took my picture (for my parents).  Then we stuffed the thing in my bag, and went out to lunch (delish, by the way).

When I returned to the office, I showed my license to a friend.  She said, “but you checked the box!”  Huh?

There it was, “in the year of our Lord 2007.”

Damn.

If I was feeling catty about checking the box, I certainly feel catty raising a stink because my license has the lord on it.

I think I’m just going to let it go.

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Craziness Ensues

I think tonight was the first night of my run where there is something every night until the girls leave for the holidays.

Went to a book group thing with E through her school.  They do it twice a year, where everyone in the grade reads the same book, and a teacher moderates a discussion.  Parents and kids both read the same book.

For the third year in a row, when they handed out the sheet asking if we had suggestions to make it go better, I said that they should start the session with a 15 minute talk on etiquette for book discussions.  Kids don’t automatically know how to moderate their own selves.  When I go to a book group, I know how to temper my contributions.  I know how to think carefully about what I want to say, and contribute once my thoughts are formulated.

It appears, from tonight and the past 2 years, that kids don’t know this automatically.  It is not innate knowledge.

Without direction, kids may decide that their every thought must be heard.  They may have excellent thoughts, but the thoughts are interspersed with many “like”s and many “totally”s and a lot of “ummms” as they process their thoughts out loud, and with the floor.

Oh.  Maybe I’m not talking about “kids” but rather “a kid.”

And perhaps that kid came out of my womb.

Just perhaps.

And perhaps that kid won’t LISTEN TO HER MOTHER that instead of saying “oh, and also ….” after talking for the past 8 minutes straight, she should put a period at the end of the sentence, and give others a chance.  Instead, she’ll tell her mother, “but I can’t!  If I do that, then the subject will change, and I’ll never get to share my idea!!!!”  I told her that a book discussion is not an E-Forum.  it is not time for E to share her every single thought.  it is a time for many people to share ideas, and build off one another, and perhaps bite their TONGUES every now and again, for the sake of listening to others.

But if the school told her … you know, like I suggested above, she just might listen.

Maybe?

At least her ideas were good.  She was really into the book.  She seemed pretty capable of deep exploration of the themes and the more difficult concepts.

So, at least there’s that.

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I will be a lawyer.  Ahhhh.

Beloved is taking the day off and coming to the ceremony with me.  Because he loves me.  We will then (hopefully, depending on timing) go out to lunch.  This place called Wagamama.  Apparently, it’s famous in other cities, mostly in other countries.

I don’t care.  I just want to eat with my husband.  As a lawyer.

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I went to the gym today.  Man, did I need it!!!

The gym is made pleasurable – yes, pleasurable – by my iPod.  I watch Grey’s Anatomy now.  Before, it was Heroes.  There was a small blip of Prison Break, which was FINE, but not as good as Heroes or Grey.

Today, I was sitting in my office, working on an assignment which has a deadline, but not a super-pressing one – and not an unreasonable one. At 10:30 a.m. (my usual time), I thought, “should I go to the gym?”  It was easy to think of reasons why not.  Very easy.  I mean, come on.  Sitting in a chair … or sweating on a stair master and elliptical?  But then I thought, “Will Meredith start to speak to her sister?  Will she stretch – emotionally – and work things out with Derek?”  And there I am, checking my gym bag to be sure that I have the required clothing. An hour later, I’m sweating buckets, and smiling at the episode I just finished.

I can’t wait until I get my iPod Touch!!  The shows will look soooooo much better.

Sometimes, I watch it on the T, too.  I used to feel like a freak.  Now I know that everyone’s watching over my shoulder, being jealous.

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I guess I haven’t blogged about the fact that I’m having potentially 30 people at our house on Friday night.

Wow.

It’s a large gathering of parents in E’s grade. We are creating a support/information-sharing network for parents of middle schoolers. I somehow ended up on the planning committee for it, and although someone else (someone with a house) was going to host, they found themselves double-scheduled. I think the group will be infinitely important, useful and positive. An amazing community-builder, that will help our kids to understand how a community contributes to their development and their lives. I didn’t want it to evaporate just because no one could host.

So I decided that I could move my table out of my kitchen – like I did when I studied for the bar exam – and fill the open space we have with borrowed folding chairs, if that is what is necessary.

Look at what this requires:

I will take the kitchen table and move it into the girls’ room.

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(This photo was taken from the kitchen area – see the ugly linoleum?)

I will then make the green chair and the ubiquitous “green thing” flush with the bookshelves:

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(See, I already have some folding chairs, borrowed from mom and dad). I will put our kitchen chairs, and the comfy chair from the girls’ room, in the living room, making a circle with the couches.

And then, if need be, the entire entry/dining area can be filled with up to 3 rows of folding chairs. Or it can just be an extension of the circle.

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And then maybe … just maybe … I’ll be able to fit everyone.

Obviously, this endeavor also requires a lot of cleaning. I was going to hire someone. But I feel like it’s just too hard to do so for this small space. We have so many space-saving techniques employed, and I think it’s a lot to ask someone to work around those. So I need to find a way to fit it in around our week. Our week that not only includes full time working, daily school and Wednesday evening basketball practice, but also two bookgroups, a potluck dinner, and homework projects. Oh yeah, and my swearing in ceremony. Oh, and it’s our town’s “welcome to the holiday season” celebration, which means the girls have to perform on Thursday night.

So I made a chart:

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The girls have very little to do, which of course is only fair. I have the most to do, which is of course the way of the world. I am, after all, the person who agreed to do this. Beloved never would have done such a thing.

Not on the chart is my trip to the liquor store, where I must buy wine and beer for potentially 30 people. Huh? Also … snacks?

I just remembered I had asked Beloved to make his outstanding guacamole and papaya salsas for snacks. Isn’t this a sweet way to remind him?

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Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking that I could move at the first of the year with the holidays coming right BEFORE the first of the year.

I’m getting the girls Nanos.  E has the older nano, which doesn’t have a video screen.  She didn’t realize that the non-video screen wasn’t compatible with the video games on iTunes, and had downloaded Tetris.  She can’t use it.  Sounds to me like she needs a Nano.

Beloved will take over her old Nano for the gym.

But since we have our solstice tradition, where we make each other gifts, this could be a little hypocritical.  Silly Zuska, always taking the easy way out and buying her way through the holidays.  So, I thought of a solution:

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E’s will probably be very similar to the multi-color one pictured.  J’s will likely be a variation on the blue one, only in purple.  I may put straps on them, I may not.

First I have to re-teach myself how to crochet.  I used to know how …

And this year, I’m just saying it up front — I’m not making anything for Beloved.  I’m buying him something, and it’s a big something, but I’m not making it.  And I’m not crocheting a case for it, either.  Unless you want to think that I’m making him a crapload of work.

I mean, it isn’t easy transferring files — photos, iTunes, tons of word processing documents.   It will probably take him a very, very long time.

But then we have the other problem … what do we do when people ask us what we want for Christmas?  We have space issues, so we don’t want too much stuff in our house.  We’ve always had space issues, and my kids were raised with that in the background, and so they aren’t “stuff” people.  Oh sure, E wants a new MacBook, and they want new iPods, but beyond that … they just shrug.

They don’t want anything.

I told my ex-mother-in-law that they would like gift cards for clothes.  It’s so hard to pick for them now, but they enjoy being able to shop.  I also gave her some other ideas, as far as fancy papers and other craft items that they really enjoy playing with.  Also their ever-present desire for journals and drawing pads.

My mother, though – I didn’t know what to do.  I suggested boots.  You know, leather almost-to-the-knee boots?  But it’s hard, and she doesn’t like the styles they like, and sizes could be tough to pin down for a gift.

I almost let her have the iPod idea, but $150 is a little higher than what she usually spends (she usually spends $100 on one gift, and then another $100 on crap that we don’t know what to do with and that sits in a gift bag in the girls’ room until we finally go through and carry stuff down to the trash room in the basement).

Finally … I said, “Mom!!” they love to see shows.  She wants to take them to NY anyway …  do a day in the city with them.  Make them a little book to present to them when we’re together for our Christmas gathering – a collage of things they will do together.  She wants to do a museum (I’m not sure which), and a show.  She also figures once she settles on a show (we’re thinking Lion King), she’ll get them the soundtrack to open.

She loved the idea.

The city is a short train ride away from my parents’ house, and it’s easily a day trip.

She said my dad won’t want to go, though.

So I get to go!

I will chip in and do a fancy dinner out for the 4 of us.

I think we’re going mid to late January.  When Beloved is away matriculating.

But I think it’s a better gift than a bag full of crap.

We’ll have a good Christmas.

Or, Solstice.

The girls leave on the morning of Christmas Eve to fly down to the inside of someone’s mouth to visit with their father and his family.  And Beloved and I will hang out alone for a week, until they return and we celebrate 2008’s arrival together.

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