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Archive for July, 2008

Yee ha! We are moved!

The movers were here on Thursday, and that went as smooth as could be expected.  We were given a quote for a 7-8 hour job, and instead it was 4.5 hours.  Not bad.

We are so far from unpacked, it’s hysterical.  We have each put together one of the girls’ beds (we’re sleeping in E’s), and otherwise, we have just been running around and taking care of pesky things:  Needed a new wireless router since we switched from DSL to Cable; our house phone died in the last days before the move, and we needed a new of those; we live on the second floor now with no a/c, so we went to buy a window unit; and we’re still struggling to get the trim in our room painted.

My afternoon up until this point (4:30) was spent fighting with the tech people who made my new router.  Soooo difficult.  Routers are not, in my experience, hardy pieces of equipment.  I have never had the set up of one go smoothly.  Never.

But it’s over now.  We’re connected to the internet.  We have a phone.  We can feel at home.

I now will muster up the energy to go and unpack something ….

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Pushing Pause.

Just for a moment.
Beloved is home. I don’t think I’ve written since that was the case. It was great to see him again, and we went out for a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant in our little Village, and had a blast talking about work and school and his projects and the time that he had. It was relaxing and mellow and we had good food and yummy lemon and basil infused water. We then went home and watched Gosford Park and generally chilled.
Which was a good thing, because once Saturday arrived, we started working our asses off, and haven’t stopped since.
The movers come tomorrow. Tomorrow! We are ready now, though. At the end of Monday, I wasn’t so sure we were going to pull this thing off, but today I feel good.
For the most part, things have gone really, really well. On Sunday, we got a Zipcar and went to order our new furniture. We knew we were having it delivered, and thought it would come after the move. Instead, they said to us, “how’s tonight?” So we were thrilled. We found out later in the evening that there was a problem with E’s bed, so they have to come back out and swap it out, but even that happened with little to no hassle, so I’m not upset.
We did have to give up the idea that the painting of our room would be finished before we move in. Beloved just didn’t have time to fit it all in. Understandably. Especially since the paint requires at least 3 coats (including the primer) and a day in between to dry, it ended up impossible. Which means we’ll have a few days of sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor (or perhaps E’s room’s floor? Or perhaps in E’s new bed?) Not ideal, but certainly not catastrophic.
For how much we’ve gotten done, these little wrinkles are no big deal.
A tougher wrinkle: I came into work practically before the sun (and it’s summer) on Monday, with plans to leave early and pack like mad at the old place. At approximately 10 a.m., I was cc’d on e-mails letting me know that our client had received a subpoena for a deposition – for next week – and that I had a long list of duties in preparation; starting with a 5 p.m. conference call. Not only that, but the specter of my needing to go to New York this week was floating over my head. The 5 p.m. call resulted in a new task list, many of the items being “urgent,” but it at least removed the possibility of needing to travel this week.
I left work at 7:30. I then moved/rearranged boxes in the old apartment (starting at 9, since we first had dinner in the new house), picked up the living room rug, packed up the coat closet, packed up the linen closet, packed my bathroom, and packed miscellaneous crap around the living room. I fell into bed throbbing and exhausted at 11:30. With a promise of an identical Tuesday.
Fortunately, while Tuesday was busy and stressful, it ended with notice at 4:30 that the problem disappeared (at least for the time being), and the pressure is now off. I left closer to 5:30, had dinner with Beloved at the new place, and then we came back to the old to gather up our tired and worn furniture (which we bought used at the same time that I wrote my first law school tuition check) and kick it to the curb in time for trash day today. We then packed even more, but called it quits right around 10, and I had the early-burly sleep time of 10:45.
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We’ve been eating dinner at the new place, because my mother and I moved the entire kitchen over there (fridge and freezer contents included) last weekend. It has been nice to stroll over to the new place and visit our new neighborhood and to feel at home in at least part of the house.
For the past few days, as I show up in time for dinner, I’ve run into one of J’s favorite friends, usually with another of their friends, playing in the [one way practically dead end] street, bouncing balls on the sidewalk, and just hanging out. Every time she asks when J is coming home. Every time I say “in about a month.” Yesterday she was outside with her dad, and they were showing off their new puppy. Who is very cute. Then her mom (my friend) came out to walk the dog with her fam, and so we chatted for a while – they’d been away for almost a month, so I haven’t seen her in a while. We were very happy to be sitting on our front stoop with friends and puppies across the street.
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Now this is it. Our last day in the old apartment, our last chance to pack. In the morning, Beloved is going to the new house, where he’ll get E’s bed ready to be picked back up, and wait for the movers. I’ll stay at the old apartment and supervise their loading of our crap. Once they leave our old apartment, I will gather one of the cats and head off on the 10 minute walk to the New. That’s it! We’re moved! We have space (going from 800 square feet to 2,000), and we can spread out and be happy! Yippee!

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The third coat.

I had to dash out of work at 5 p.m. today (not a normal leaving time, in my line of work), despite the fact that I’m dealing with a pretty tight work deadline.

I used to have to do this once a week during the kids’ school year, because my husband used to work late on Thursdays, and J needed to get to soccer practice, and both kids needed to eat, and you know, be parented.

But tonight, it was not a human being who was waiting for me – none were.  They’re all gone.  It was some crappy looking unevenly painted walls.  An exciting bedroom project gone horribly wrong, needing the next phase of repair.

And I was it.  Tagged.

Our bedroom in our new place came with mint-chip-ice-cream (the kind with nasty food dye in it) green walls.  When we first saw the place, we thought it was nice:  refreshing, even.  But as J was picking colors to cover the pepto bismol that exploded in the room that was to be hers, i got jealous.  I don’t want food-dye colored walls.  I want pretty walls.  The landlord said painting was fine with her, as long as we repainted any dark colors before we left.

So, the husband started looking at colors, and thought perhaps we would do what we started talking about back when we lived on the other ocean, and do a Moroccan color scheme.

How about red walls, a tan ceiling, and dark brown trim?

Sounded fine to me. But first I asked, “are you sure the room is big enough to carry off the dark colors?”  He said, “yes.”  And, b/c he went to art school, and knows his colors, I trusted him.

Should I say it here?  Or later on in the story?  The “trim” in this particular bedroom consists of 3 doorways (and, he insisted, the doors themselves), 3 large windows with intricate trim, a really nice moulding along the [entire!] celing, and – get this – a fireplace.  With a mantle.

Before he left for his 10-day trip out of state, we went to Home Depot and chose our colors.  They looked nice near each other.  I found me a Home Depot Paint Dude, and told him what we wanted.  He said, “you need a primer with reds.”

Now, if I’d done some research ahead of time – instead of believing the commercials where the Home Depot Paint Dudes are actually Home Depot Paint GODS – I would have known to say, “yes, I know we need a primer.  We would like a [dark grey] primer, or perhaps, a primer [the same color as the paint].  I would not have just nodded and smiled.  I would have done more than thought “how weird” when he handed me a can of PINK primer.

Light pink.

Let’s flash forward about 5 days.  The husband is gone.  The parents come to town.  My father paints E’s room.  “oh!  it’s so pretty!  It’s so easy!”  Then they move into J’s room – where my mother has a minor freak out that I’ve bought “day glo blue” paint.  She calls me at work, demanding some kind of answer from me.  Not sure what kind.  But then she called an hour later and said, “oh, I think it’s just the way it looked next to the pink, or else it just dried softer, it’s a nice color.”  thanks, mom.  Then they did the 1/2 bath, and it came out great, too (even though I did get a phone call saying “this yellow is really BRIGHT!” just to be predictably, at this point, followed up with a “oh, it softened, and now it’s really pretty!”)

Saturday brought a first stab at my room.  The reds!  The tan!  The brown!  Oh boy!  First some primer …. huh.  The red isn’t very red on top of that.  It’s more of a pink.  Let’s set that aside and do the tan ceiling (more of a sand color).  It was beautiful.  So soothing, and warm.  Very nice.

The pink primer was so horrible that we may as well have skipped the primer stage.  The red went on uneven and wimpy.  The first coat looked wretched.

but while it dried, my dad tried the trim.

Oh.  Ew.  Gross.

On top of the pink primer, the trim looked …red.  Just a different, bloodier red.  Or, perhaps cherries next to strawberries?  Or something else that just looks totally UGLY.

So we went to IKEA where I spent $700 on new furniture, and that made me feel a little better.

Then we went to Home Depot to figure out what the fuck was going on.

“The guy gave you PINK primer?” said the Paint God, who apparently took the day off when Beloved and I were there the week before.  “Oh, that’s bad.  He shouldn’t have done that.”  So we got a new primer, and went back on our way.

We tried it again – just the primer first, but it was the color of the paint.  Now the brownish-red looked more brown, but it was dark.  And it didn’t really look good. So in one small place, I went ahead with the glossier real paint.  It at least matched the color chip at this point.

But standing in that room, with the deep red walls and the pretty sand ceiling, the dark-dark-dark of the trim already felt oppressive.  And it was only covering a 1 foot piece of baseboard.

Shit.

If I were to cover the fireplace, 3 doors, 3 windows and the moulding with that, the room would close in like a dirt-packed cave.  The red would be lost.  The tan would be useless.

And in the meantime, the second coat of the nice, deep, red did not finish the job.  There still wasn’t total coverage.  And dad had to leave.

So they went back to Connecticut, leaving me in a room with pink trim in some places, white remaining in others, and dark dark brown in others, and strawberry mush, still in others, and walls that were streaky and uneven.

I was so upset.  I had spent so much money on re-buying and re-doing the paints to make this work.  I needed a second gallon of ceiling paint, and second gallon of wall paint, a new gallon of primer …. it just felt like I spent the whole weekend buying paint and paint accessories, watching my new bed fly out of my checking account with it all.

So I decided I was done.  Since Beloved picked the color for the trim, he could deal with it.  I had worked my ass off all weekend, and I was so stressed out.  I had spent every day all day walking up and down multiple stair cases carrying boxes and then scrubbing the new kitchen, and packing the girls’ current bedroom, and stressing over my parents, and spending money and more money and more money …. the bedroom mess was pushing me over the edge. I was doing my best to release it, to pass it on and let it go (unbeknownst to him, b/c he is not here, and has not called even ONE TIME.  Which is fine.  I’m fine with it.  Really.  He’s busy.)

But then it dawned on me that the Paint God (not the Paint Dude, who was wholly inadequate) and my father both said that we needed one week in between painting the walls with their third coat, and then putting tape on them to protect them from the trim-paint (which, as far as I’m concerned, and which Beloved does not know yet, will be the color of the ceiling.  It is a beautiful, soothing, complimentary color that will not shrink the room, and which we will not need to cover over when we leave – I can’t live with that dark brown suffocating me every time I walk in my room). Or else the tape will take the paint OFF.  Which would really piss me off.

Which meant I had to paint.  Because if I didn’t, and I left the whole thing for him when he got home, then he couldn’t paint until Saturday, at the earliest, and then the week wouldn’t be up until AFTER the movers, which would mean AFTER all our stuff was in our room, and the whole thing would become infinitely more complicated.

I had to tackle the bedroom demons, and apply the third coat.

And, since it’s – you know – paint.  Which is a color.  I thought perhaps it would be good to do it with light.  Preferably from the sun.

Which is why, deadline be damned, I scurried out of there at 5 p.m., wrestled with the 9,000,000 people in Boston who did the same, squished on the T with the 6,000,000 of those who take the Green Line, go to the dry cleaner to spend 1/3 of my spending allowance for the month on the privilege of having clean clothes to wear tomorrow, carry 8,000 pounds of plastic and clothes home – which is not near the dry cleaners – in 87 degree weather, put on crappy painting clothes, gather my phone, my blackberry, both sets of keys, my wallet (in case today – unlike every other day this week – I would actually have time to EAT something for dinner), and start painting with as much daylight left as possible.

And of course this was the night that a partner called me (in my office) at 7:15. I don’t need to return the call until tomorrow, but it at least momentarily added to the stress.

Daylight dwindled, but I think things look good now.  (other than the pink, the brown, the white and the smooshy strawberry trim).  The walls are rich, the paint is even, and it’s shaping up. The room really can carry the red.  Just not the red and the brown. Now it can dry for a week, and then someone else can take over to figure out what color primer is needed in order to make a tan look the same when applied over a pink, a brown, a smooshy strawberry, and white.

Now it’s 10 p.m., I’m back in the messy house, and no – I haven’t eaten dinner.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow brings a training until 6 (so I can do family law pro bono work), and then the much-needed cleaning and emptying of the girls’ room.

What a week.

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My parents are gone.  We had a ridiculously productive weekend.  Ridiculously.  We painted (no, they painted), we moved things to the new place, we packed boxes, we cleaned.    I bought a dining room table, we put it together, we put chairs together.  We did a LOT.  Some samples of the highlights, if you can look past the still-bare walls and relative lack of furniture (that will come later in the month).

Dining room.

Dining room.

and also:

E's Room

E's Room

Our current place is in shambles.  I’m not sure how it will cease to be a mess and start to be an organized system.  It’s just a mess.  The rooms that aren’t a mess are that way because nothing has gotten done in them yet.  Not good.  I’m going to try to sort some of it out tonight.  Even though I should be getting work done, instead.  I’m not going to, I’ve decided.  It may mean I have to work late tomorrow, but, since I’m home alone this week, that doesn’t much matter.

Home alone this week.

Beloved left for his 10-day school residency on Wednesday morning (he comes home Friday, so 10 days).  I had plans for Wednesday night, and then my parents came to town on Thursday night.  This morning, when I woke up, semi-relieved that my parents (and their shouting through the house) would be leaving later in the day, I started to miss him!!

I’m doing my best to focus on getting things done, and to ENJOY my time to myself, since I crave it when I don’t have it.

I will not mope.

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My Mother Hears Me

My parents.

Geez.

They have been hard on me.  They have put expectations and standards upon me which were unfair, and which did not at all have a single thing to do with the person that I am.

However.

When push came to shove.

They let it go.

They accepted me.

The shove felt hard.

And it came after a lot of damage. So much damage.

But yet, they stopped … they stopped expecting, and they stopped demanding.

And since then, they’ve done nothing but:

loved,

helped,

supported,

accepted,

and even – dare i say  – adored?

Me.

Mine.

All of mine:  E, J, and – remarkably* – Beloved.

Their faith bothers me less than when it steered my life.  It bothers me less than when it dictated who my friends could be, who I could have feelings for, and where I could go to college.

I’m reduced, at this point, to petty irritations.

They talk too loud.

My dad burps too much.

My mom breaks out into corny songs too often.

They deal with too much from my brother.

Whatever, really.

They ADORE me.

They had an extra vacation day, and what did they do with it?

oh….

perhaps the cabin in Vermont?

Maybe a B & B in Asheville?

Oh!!!  How about a fishing trip!  My dad LOVES to fish!

No.

They drove 2.5 hours after work on Thursday.

Work end-time for them is often 7 p.m.

They went to buy shit-loads of food.

Yeah, so the food had some additives.  So, it wasn’t organic.

Not exactly what I would have chosen.

But at that point, it was 8 p.m.

And they were still 2 hours away.

They’re young, compared to my kids’ friends’ grandparents:  Mom is 58, dad 61.  But that’s still a lot older than me.

And starting at 8 p.m., they drove to my little u-burbia outside of boston.

And they hunkered down for all of 7 hours

Then they woke up and they worked their asses off.

I was feeling so guilty that I was sitting at a desk all day while they rolled the paint and struggled over the colors

I mean – I had to do my work.  But my work was sitting.

And now today –

We woke up at 8.

Painting, trips to stores, packing of an entire kitchen, driving between homes, unloading, organizing, more painting ….

and oh!  the heat!  it was 92 at one point!  We had nothing but a sole window air conditionining unit that was moved from room to room.

“stop picking on us, Z!”

My mom said at one point.

“We talk to loud, we yell too much, we slam the doors …. there’s so much she doesn’t like about us.”

Oh.

shit.

Really?

They broke their backs, and worked so hard, and that’s how they came away from the day?

Shit.  I suck.

Tomorrow, I swear to be better.

I swear it.

i won’t complain.

If i walk outside, and their voices are echoing from the T tracks and off of front doors … I’ll let it go.  I’ll remember that I’m in my [late] thirties, and that people don’t say, “oh, Z’s parents are loud, so Z is loud.”

I won’t snap at my mom for singing “zuska is moving!” to the tune of “glory, glory. hallelujah” every 10 minutes.

I won’t yell at my father for swerving from lane to lane while driving 70 miles per hour, or for burping incessantly (and at an artificial and purposed volume) every 2 minutes.

I will say nothing but thank you.

My new day’s resolution.

B/c they do notice.

These oddities and quirks do not – I see now – equal a feeble-mindedness that precludes their understanding that I disapprove.

And they have not [in recent years] earned my disapproval.

Only my love and acceptance.

And that’s what I hope to give them, from now on.

*remarkable because: 1) he’s an obvious and declared budtheist; he lived with me before we were married; and, well, I wasn’t thoroughly or exactly divorced before we started our relationship. [what?  you think i told y’all ALL of my stories?]

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one year later.

To all of you taking the bar exam:

I look back to one year from today, and I see freedom.  I know I was stressed.  I know I was worried, and that I tossed and turned at night SURE that I would fail — perhaps – by day – not sure I would fail, but daunted by the work I had to do in order to ensure that I wouldn’t fail.

Lest I also remind you — Harry Potter The Final came out 4 days before MY test.  I couldn’t read it.  God, that sucked.

The stress seemed huge!!

But now, one year later, I miss that summer.

I miss wearing shorts. Every day!!

I miss making my own schedule.

I miss (retrospectively) knowing I would pass …  I mean, really — we will pass. You will pass!

It’s not so bad.  It’s control-able.  It’s manageable.  You do the work; you pass.  The end.

You will miss it.  Because there’s still freedom.

You know that once you’re done, you have some time before you start work.  You can see the test as the light at the end of the tunnel.
There will come a day where you’re looking forward to a trial, or a motion deadline, or a deposition scheduled.  It’s an end, sure – but there are 50 more tasks waiting in the wings, that you’ve been putting off and off and off while prepping for the above.

And you know what?

There’s the shorts.

And the funky skirts.

They’ll be gone soon.

A whisper in the wind.

Reserved for nothing but weekends and the rare long evening.

That sucks.

Wearing suits in the summer?

IT SUCKS!!!

Feet, all sweaty in heels — can you guess?  Sucks!!

enjoy your intelligence, and the freedom.

Savor it.

You deserve it — one last time.

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Whirlwind.

Both ahead and behind. The girls left yesterday, after we all had quite a few days off together (woo hoo for 4 weeks of vacation!). J was really sad, and didn’t want to go. E was resigned, and not sad. I spoke with them both either 2 or 3 times yesterday, and both of them were in good spirits. J hates to say goodbye, although rarely is as miserable as she anticipates being. We’ll see what happens as time goes on and her sister is in camp every day while she sits home with nothing but the Wii to keep her occupied. To wit:

Me: The girls are bringing a few novels in their suitcase. [Explaining why they couldn’t fit into 1 suitcase between them.]

Ex: Oh, well the may not need them. I’m hoping the Wii will keep them occupied, at least for a little while.

Me: The Wii? Instead of reading? Really?

Ex: Well, you know, we have books in [the middle of the country], too, you know.

Which is kinda funny, considering that each and every summer, he fails to take them to a library or a bookstore. Every. Year. We constantly send used books and books from their summer reading list, because otherwise, there would be nothing for them.

This is the first summer that E has a cell phone, and brought it with her. I am curious as to whether it will keep us in better touch with them while they’re gone. In the past, all they had was Ex’s cell phone, which he granted sporadic access to, and usually when they were all in the car driving somewhere. We try – every year – to keep in touch via e-mail, but the girls understandably get lost in their lives there, and aren’t so good at keeping up with that. But I was still a little stunned when the Ex called the night before the girls left to tell me that he and his wife decided that the girls are not going to be granted access to the computer in their house. After all, they’re “down to one laptop” and the girls “might delete files.” Huh. He suggested we give E the option of bringing her MacBook with her – which I’d already told him that she would not be bringing, since she’s traveling a good bit during the summer, and I am uncomfortable with sending her $1200 toy along, knowing that there will not be adult supervision over its packing and transporting. He’d probably step on it on purpose.

I felt a little cut off. It felt yucky. I know she has her phone, but the e-mail communication – as sporadic as it may be – sort of embodies the summer for Beloved and I. It was strange to think that with just one phone call, it was gone.

So I sent them with my old Dell. The laptop I used during law school before I bought my MacBook. It’s kinda big and clunky, and it doesn’t move so quick. But it’s access.

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Once they were on their way, Beloved and I shifted focus toward the move. We went to IKEA, and we went to Home Depot. We bought paint, and we bought a new light fixture to replace the hideous one that currently exists in our new dining room. Then we double checked all the furniture we’d previously chosen against our measurements of the new place. We realized earlier in the weekend that we miscalculated the ceiling height in some of our rooms, and our current bookshelves are too tall for the rooms we’d planned to put them in. So we thought some further checks were necessary.

We found new items, too. (Scroll down to the kitchen island pictured here.) We are going to spend a LOT of money. It will need to be done in shifts, it seems. Which is fine, because the 3 shifts will all take place this summer, before the girls are home.

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Now the girls are gone, and Beloved and I have a grand total of TWO evenings together. Then on Wednesday a.m., he is taking off for his 10-day school residency. He won’t be back until next Friday. I won’t have time to get lonely (if at all) until next week, though. I have plans with a friend for Wednesday night, and on Thursday evening my parents will arrive to help paint and otherwise ready the new house for the moving truck in 2 weeks. More plans with another friend on Sunday night, and work things on both Wednesday and Thursday of next week. I think on Tuesday night, I’m going to have to head back out to IKEA to make our purchases and arrange delivery. So I have a grand total of ONE NIGHT to myself. Which leaves me wondering why I put about 6,000 “chick flicks” on my Netflix queue.

And when Beloved gets back – he has all day every day to prep for the move (oh yeah, and do his school work/writing). Because he was told last week that the current economy, combined with summer trends in our “summer is time to hang out at the Cape” town (in other words, the town is deserted, other than the husbands left behind to commute back and forth on the weekends and the working schmucks like me) combine to mean that he is no longer needed at his bookstore, nor are at least 1.5 other employees. During the move and the summer at large, he will be using the free time to get the things done that he usually has to cram to finish. Come September, when our never-ending appetites-in-girls’-bodies return, we may have to look at other options. Maybe.

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