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Archive for February, 2008

Football is fun.

But it rarely makes me yell.

Tonight, the Democratic debate made me YELL.

I said:

Woooooo hoooooooo!!!!

Because Obama and his cojones said [rough translation]:

She says she’ll be ready on Day One, and in the Senate, she was ready on Day One – on Day One to Give in To George Bush!!

Yes!!   I feel like this totally summarizes my complaint with this woman (who looks pretty tonight, I think).

She gives in.  Compromises.

Votes for wars.

 ________________________________

 I am pleased with Tim tonight.  Sometimes, on Sunday mornings, he irritates me.  His quotes are clearly out of context and exhibit opinions that must have changed over so much time, through so many events – and he seems out of line.

But tonight, he seems informed and researched.  He is forcing answers on targeted points.

I appreciate it.

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With who?

Why, my offspring of course.

Look.  The truth is — we watch American Idol.  Is this proof that we’re classy?

Uhh …. no.

Is it evidence against the fact that we are?

No to that, too.

The rule is:  All homework must be done.

E, in 6th grade, has missed a few of the audition shows because her homework wasn’t done.  American Idol is not a priority.  It’s a luxury.

Tonight, the trade off for this luxury was a rather reasonable plan for chores.

During the first two commercials, it was J’s job to empty first the top and then the bottom of the dishwasher.

During the second two, it was E’s job to first load the dishwasher and then clear the table.

They both did their chores cheerfully and without complaint.

!!!!!!

Cheerfully!!!

Without complaint!!!

I was/am very, very proud.

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Books?

Had I updated?

The reason for my relatively prolonged absence was – in all seriousness – b/c I wanted to read more.  To read again.

I had said, back then – that I was sure there was a book I was forgetting.

I realized, just before my return, that there was.

I had re-read Wicked.

Which was not as good as I remembered.

Then I read The Book Thief.

holy shit.  What a book.  Please read it? [While you’re at it, check out the flap — the author is so freaking cute!  Not to mention 12.  If that.]

I mean, it’s narrated by DEATH!!  you have to read it.  so you aren’t scared anymore, of dying.

Because you see that death cuddles with you.  He loves you. And appreciates your soul.

And you should also read it, because it reminds you that even when a nation goes dark; evil; nasty – there is so much love.  It’s probably the majority of people who still love.  Probably.  They’re just so scared.

What a book.

___________________________

Then I read Middlesex, and it blew me away.  I think that Jeffrey Eugenides is a genius.  1000%.

Every time I read about the little girl’s skirts and her dolls, I had to shake my head – slightly confused.  Even though so little info had been given.  The voice was amazing.

___________________________

Then came The Abstinence Teacher, which a close friend of mine didn’t like.

And I didn’t like its predecessor.

Nor did I like the fact that it lacked a POINT!  (Geez!!  Is it too much to ask????)

But it had some real honesty, some honesty I could connect with. And which I found to ring true.

So, I liked it.  And didn’t really want it to end.

But it did.  So I moved on.

___________________________ 

This book is weird, but compelling.  The rec came from my sis, who I adore, so I’m sticking with it.  I’ll keep you posted.

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I spoke with a mortgage broker today. I did not look forward to this. I had to worry about all my negatives:

  • I have school debt
  • I was divorced ….
  • which led to problems:
  • Excessive debt;
  • Consolidation of credit cards;
  • Low(ish) credit score;
  • low credit limits on the credit cards I have

This is balanced out by good things:

  • I paid off all my consumer debt with a modest inheritance;
  • I have paid every single bill on time for the past “verylongtime” (in zuska-language);
  • I have very little debt right now [only school loans – no car; no credit card debt]
  • I have been monitoring my credit score like a jilted, obsessed lover for 2 solid calendar years – I have disputed entries, I have done all I can.
  • Oh yeah [editing to add] – I have a more-than-decent income {guffaw}

My score, as investigated by the mortgage broker, is higher than when I look it up myself. I’m talking 40 points higher.

Which is potentially higher enough for me to make a semi-decent offer on my condo. Potentially. Not definitely. I will know tomorrow (deep breaths, Z; deep breaths.) Pessimism reigns.

Figuring things out with my mom: We need 1650 square feet. That’s how much it takes for us to have enough space.

Yet 3 bedrooms are 1500; and 4 (or 5) bedrooms are 2000.

There’s rarely anything in the middle.

_______________________________________

I am 100% obsessed.

It is now official.

I am obsessed with the local real estate market.

I am obsessed with owning a home.

[and with E having her own room]

Wish me luck, as the spring selling/buying season rolls along.

I need it.

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Of course, Beloved and I made up last night, said our sorries and talked about ways to make our arguments a bit less … argue-ey.  I suppose we should be grateful that we argue over dusting, and not over the biggies – like money or whether or not to have another kid or stuff like that.

The girls are home.  J is sleeping on me right now.  Which is probably the first time she has done this is 5 years or something.  She left with a new cold a week ago, and it’s still got her feeling like shit today.

Since we were given stories of midnight bed times, trips to water parks, and frozen pizza for both lunch and dinner days in a row – I shouldn’t be surprised that her cold has lingered.

Grrr.  argh.

I went to two open houses today.  Both condos close to home and in the girls’ school district.  One is likely out of my price range, and of course perfect.  The other is probably right in our range, and itty bitty.  For us.

The perfect one was really close to perfect.  It was around 1900 square feet (1200 more than we have now), and on top of three bedrooms, has a study and what I keep calling a “family room.”  Eat in kitchen and a dining room.  Two full baths.

The works.

It’s also 3 doors down from the high school.  Which, in just over 2 years, will be extremely convenient and hopefully will preclude E from ever being late to school.

Did I really just say “just over 2 years”?  Is that right?  Next winter, she’s in 7th, and the next, 8th.  Which is pre-high school.

So, yeah.  Just over 2 years.  Or rather “less than 3 years.”

Anyway, it’s a bit high for us.  I think if the seller is inflexible, then we’re just gonna have to walk away.  If we find that offers are accepted, we will be a little thinly stretched for the rest of this year, but will be fine next year.  An August or September closing date would make it all easier.

No work would be required upon walking in the door, but we eventually have some projects already in mind in order to increase the flow of the rooms.  We would have an office.  And a dining room.  And a laundry room.  And a gas stove.  And a screened porch – perfect for the kitty litter and a summer-time table big enough to hold a bottle of wine and two glasses.  And a park across the street where the kids could (and likely would anyway) congregate with their friends.  And E (and eventually J) would have no reason to be late coming home from the dances, and I could watch them for their entire walk home to be sure that they weren’t sneaking smooches or trips behind the gym for any inappropriate activity.

he he he.

That alone makes the stretching worth it – doesn’t it?

They likely won’t mind the spy opportunities, since it will be balanced out by the fact that they will have their own suite on their own floor with their 2 bedrooms, their own bathroom, and my laundry room – that’s it.

Which is really hysterical to me, because when I was 9, I moved to my parents’ downstairs, and soon after, my dad redid the whole downstairs, and it became a place for just me and my sister – our two bedrooms, a bathroom, and my mom’s laundry room.

It would be very funny if my girls got the same.  Only theirs wouldn’t be a basement, but a lovely second story in a beautiful building overlooking (out very pretty bay windows) the park.  And their bedrooms would be bigger.  A little ridiculously big.  I think bigger than mine and Beloved’s, but ours is fancier and is right next to our own study and library, respectively.  So there.

The other condo is less exciting and more settling, and I don’t think we need to think about it too much until we see what the spring brings to the market.

Both of them, though, are in ideal locations.  With friends and parks and walking distance to present and future schools.  Oh, and also my train.  And still Beloved’s work.  Probably closer for all of us.

Delicious.

Time to shake the dreams out of my head, and go watch the Oscars.  We saw less contenders this year than we have in the past, which is sad.  I tried so hard to see Juno with a friend, and if Beloved and I hadn’t caught J’s cold before she left for the Middle of the county, we likely would have seen There Will Be Blood.  But as it stands, we’re stuck having seen only Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men.

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Pouting

I hate fighting with Beloved.  It makes me sad.

When we argue, we spend so much energy focusing on the bad about each other.  It is hurtful to hear all these bad thoughts he has about me … I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut every time.

What do you mean I never wash the pots and pans?  But I thought you loved me?  

I hate hearing things come out of my own mouth that I know aren’t true.  I can feel their untruth as I say them.

I wish, just for once, you would respond with, “yeah, sure honey, I’ll take care of that.”  [regarding his response when I ask him to vacuum] “but you never say that!  Never!”

And rushing through my head are all the times that the kids’ plans change, or I’m tired at the end of the day, and he says, “I’ll pick E up from basketball,” or “I’ll take care of going to the store,” or some other equally helpful thing, which I do appreciate in the moment.

Sometimes,  I say, “wait, that is not true, that was unfair.”  But today, I justified not saying anything.  I thought, “well, those helpful moments have to do with the kids, not with the house, and we’re talking about housekeeping here ….”

But of course, it all makes the house run, and it is related, and I should have stopped, and said “no, I’m wrong.”

Our fighting style sucks.  I really think it’s his fighting style.  I do.  I think I’m capable of discussing things we do not agree about in a rational way, but he gets [his word] defensive, and as most people and animals do when they feel defensive, he attacks. And all of a sudden, what felt like a spontaneous and indulgent complaint about the dust on the bookshelf has morphed into a one-hour duel over who does more around the house and who is meaner to who and why did we even get married in the first place if this is how we feel?

Ouch.

I am always perplexed, and confused, when this happens.  I never understand how it’s so BIG so quick.  My preferred way of dealing with the argument – once it becomes an argument instead of just a snipe, is that I retreat.  Or I try.

You know what they say (at least what 90% of the parentings books I read when the kids were young) – when a person feels threatened, they will choose to react through either “fight” or “flight.”  He chooses fight, I choose flight.

It really sucks.

And now we get to smile pretty and be good hostesses for the friends we’re having over for dinner on this last evening before the kids come home.

Yee ha.

If we weren’t having company, then I know what would happen.  We would stay icey for a couple of hours.  I would read a book, he would write or something.  Then we’d just start talking again, and then we would hug, and we would say we’re sorry, and all would be well.  Maybe later, I would (again) talk about how I hate the way we fight.

But we don’t have time for that second act.

Actually, we only have 35 minutes before our friends arrived and I’m not dressed.

To be continued …..

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Background noise

I am, historically and naturally, weather obsessed.  I track it constantly, I look forward to weather events.  I love storms.  Blizzards, hurricanes, thunder and lightning.  The only thing I really don’t feel comfortable with is tornadoes.  They’re too erratic for my taste.  I don’t really want to be thrown thousands of feet into the air and then back onto the ground.  The rest, though, is fun.

So imagine my surprise when I wake up to read that I should stay home today.  Huh?  But, I didn’t track that storm!  I didn’t know it was coming!  I can’t stay home! I have been so busy with work and not feeling well and going out to dinner that I haven’t been monitoring the weather.  Totally snuck up on me.

I truly cannot stay home.  I have a client meeting today.  I have a couple of scheduled phone calls, and I have a firm-thing about my evaluation process.  And they will feed me snacks.

So instead I’m planning what to wear that will make the trudge home easier.  I don’t want to stay late today – Beloved and I have a plan:  movies and pasta.  I want to be home, in my jammies, as close to 6 or 6:30 as possible.

Right at the peak of the storm.

Public transit tends to be easier to manage in these snow storms than driving.  But I do have some ways to walk, and I don’t think I’m up for it in a suit and high heel boots.

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First and foremost:  I love Obama.  I love him.  I want him to be my president.  And if he gets to be my president, I want him to do well.  And if he does, he will be my Kennedy.  I will swoon for him.  I will pay gobs and gobs of money to attend fundraisers where he just might appear.  I will love him more.

And if Hillary wins, I will hate her.  I will hate her more than I do today.  I will despise her for her manipulation of the only party that offers the tiniest spark of a chance of _______ [God – what can you plug into this blank that hasn’t been used before?  Not hope – absolutely not.  Solutions?  ptooey.  A country we can be proud of?  I think I’ll choose that – I will gladly shoulder some of Michelle Obama’s flack for saying what millions of us feel.  Even millions of us who have lived in this country as part of the powerful majority – we feel that way.]  I will be angry.

And I will vote for her anyway.

Despite my love and my pledges of undying support, I did not watch the debates tonight.  I went to dinner with my friend.

What???!!!

The girls are gone!  I was looking forward to this week!  And then I had to go and get a stupid cold and use the time to do nothing but sleep extra, and that was not my plan!!  I didn’t want to just SLEEP.

So, I let my friend drag me to the cool part of “town” over across the river.  Where the smart people live, and the pre-children people live, and where the post-children people or “my kids are in private school” people live,  and I let her take me to a funky and delicious restaurant.  I can’t wait to go back with Beloved.  He would love it.  I would love to return.

Conversation was good, sharing was had.  Parenting – romance – career.  The whole shebang.

And all of that was a follow up to an awesome day of work  – a day where I felt happy that I put the time into school that I did, and where I felt – even moreso than usual, which is a lot – that I made the absolute right choice for my career, my life, my personality.

The timing is nice, too.  Only a week or so after worrying that I’m not stretching and growing enough, I’ve had the most yoga-esque week of all, with many new skills and opportunities, and general happiness with the way of things.

On the homefront:  1)  I love my husband; and 2) my apartment is cold.  Despite the fact that in years past, we could not ever get the place below boiling point, blaming it on the boiler that our apartment sits on top of – we are now cold.  I’m chilly!  I need a blanket!!

I think it’s kind of nice.

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Beloved and I went out to dinner tonight.  First he came and collected me at my office.  That was fun.

As we were leaving the office, at 7:15, my phone rang.  I was assuming it was my office mate, who had just left, and so I answered the phone.  Oh, no, I was wrong.  I should not have made such an assumption.  I ended up sitting at my desk, with my coat on and my husband in the [empty, dark] office next door, taking notes frantically and negotiating what documents I would be receiving possession of before next week’s depositions.

But then there was dinner.  Where we discussed Barack (our boyfriend), Beloved’s Book, my evaluation process (eek!!!), food, and – for one brief moment – the children.

This was the context (boy=blueish; girl=pinkish]:

Who would be the weirdest person you could run into in this restaurant, right now?

Does it have to be someone who would be in Boston?  

Yes.

[random classmate from school.]  What about you?

[J’s teacher.]

Much laughter ensues, at the thought of running into J’s teacher in the restaurant.  His was funny.  Mine wasn’t as funny.  I wanted a do-over.

E!!  E would be the funniest person to run into!  

more laughter.  

E, in the corner, with a book and a raspberry brandy.

No!  She would not!  She’d be saying, “can I have more ice cream?  Those three balls of sherbet were NOT enough!”  

No, she would say, “Mom!  Can’t I have some PRIVACY?  Geez!!!”

_______________________________________

We took a cab home.  The cabbie gave me Swedish fish.  Seriously.

Once home, we quick changed into comfy clothes, threw on some totally inappropriate shoes considering the 19 degree weather, and ran outside to gaze at the eclipse.

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I wonder how that feels to a kid?

You’re in school, you’re at home (your primary home, at least), and everyone is talking about this political process.  Talking about what happens as it happens state-by-state, reenacting the events.  You’re getting assignments which include watching debates, researching candidates, puzzling through the delegate system.  You’re excited and eager.  You can’t wait to vote in 7 and 9 years, so that you can be involved in a more meaningful way in this exciting and interesting, engaging event.

And then you travel to see someone who is important to you, and you try to talk to them about this excitement that you have, and you ask them if perhaps you can go with them when they participate. 

And this is how they respond:  The Primaries are not Important. 

______________________________________

I told Beloved I feared such a comment (and refusal to participate and/or include the kids – despite the fact that I let the ex know what is going on at school and home around the election, and how psyched the kids are about it) would result in a nasty attitude at school, as the political process is continuously seen as important and an awesome learning experience and civics lesson. 

He told me that I’m a fool if I think that our girls are so easily swayed.  That one small comment from someone 1/2 way across the country could change their minds so quickly.

I suppose he’s right. 

But still.  I reserve the right to complain. 

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