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Archive for the ‘housework’ Category

It was a busy weekend.

  1. E had a friend sleep over on Friday night.  It went well.  It is a friend who I have had some issues with before – her behavior, her negativity, her influence on E.  There was none of that this weekend.  She was flexible, fun, and really pleasant to have around.  It was very nice.  She’s the daughter of a friend, so it was good that it went well.
  2. Both girls had basketball games on Saturday a.m.  Beloved took J to her early game (where she scored a basket, and was very proud, because it was against the Tall Team).  E and her friend walked to theirs alone.  No.  I did not go. There are only two teams in their age bracket (b/c it’s 6-8th grades, and 7th and 8th graders can play for the school teams, and usually choose that over the town team).  Every week, the two teams play each other.  It’s very casual, not competitive, and frankly — boring.  E doesn’t care if I’m there or not, just enjoys running around with her friends.  If I am there, she spends more of her energy monitoring my conversations with other parents (to be sure I don’t say her name …. even if I say “Oh, E is due for a teeth cleaning” or “E’s birthday is in September” she hears her name and has a fit) than she does playing the game.
  3. My parents came in at noon on Saturday.  Mom was having some back pain, so they were a little slow-moving, which was fine with us.
  4. E went to a movie with friends.
  5. J had a girl scout meeting – where she baked bread.
  6. Me, Beloved, Mom and Dad went to see a three bedroom apartment that is for rent. It was pretty nice, but short a bathroom and probably one room.  I also was totally put off by the other occupant of the 2 family house, which may or may not be the owner’s mother-in-law.  Things were a little fuzzy. I think that the space issues could have worked out, but the downstairs person was the deal killer.
  7. Once we collected the girls back at home, we all went out to dinner.  At your typical chain steak-house, which is the sort of place we always go with my parents.  They don’t like my favorite places, they find them “weird” – but I’ll take a steak any day.  J had salmon, and E ate a 1/2 rack of baby back ribs.  The food was pretty good.  My dad got all sappy on me when I offered to pick up the tab …. something about being so proud that I am now in a position where I can do that, but that he won’t let me until I’m “caught up.”  I don’t know waht that means.  Do I have to catch up with HIM?  Catch up with my bills?  Pay off all my school loans?  Whatever he meant – thanks for dinner, dad.
  8. Then, this morning, we cursed the time change as Beloved trudged off to a Sunday morning meeting and my parents and I left two sleeping children to go and see my office.  My parents were duly impressed.  They liked my view, the name plaque on my door, and the building at large.  I think my air-conditioning-fixing dad was a bit proud of his eldest child.  He couldn’t have said so more times.  Mom was just happy to see all the pictures of E and J around the room (and both her nephews, as well).  I think she was reassured that my job does not mean that I’ve forgotten that I still have 2 kids.
  9. We then came home and I dragged the girls out of bed at ELEVEN AM!!!  Shit!!  I know it only felt like 10 them.  And 10 is a normal weekend wake up time for them.  But today it was ELEVEN.  Which does mean that now, at 11:28 p.m., I can hear E tossing and turning and sighing heavy, frustrated, insomniatic sighs.
  10. My dad made waffles.  I don’t know what he did, but the house still smells like syrup.  What the fuck?  We had pancakes yesterday, and the house didn’t smell like syrup all day.  I think it’s because despite the real Vermont maple syrup that we stay stocked in, Dad brought his Aunt Jemima’s, and those artificial flavorings have chemically attached themselves to the paint.  Even Beloved’s stir fry couldn’t rid us of the smell.
  11. I did 8 loads of laundry.
  12. Mom, Dad and I went to 4 open houses.  As in – homes for SALE.  There were several nice ones.  I am not going to push to buy right now.  Even though our jumbo mortgage limit in the Boston area was raised to the point that I likely can buy a few of them.  I’m just not willing to do so just to find myself upside down in a year or so, wanting to move b/c my condo is too small for 2 teenagers and all their friends that they keep dragging home.  I’m resigned to be a renter for a couple more years.  Just not here.  It’s too small.
  13. Then they left.  My parents.  And I was going to go with E to a play, but I was quite frankly exhausted, so I bowed out, and spent some time organizing my ridiculous amounts of clothing, hanging out with J and Beloved, and resting for a minute, because I knew I had to …
  14. Go to the “let’s talk about our 6th graders” meeting that was scheduled for tonight.  Ugh.  That was stressful.  It was about relationships and dating.  About whether or not kids have sex in high school, whether there’s kissing in 6th grade, and whether kids are “grinding” on the dance floor at their little dances this year.   This requires a post of its own.  Because from that discussion came at home discussions, and things just went spiraling off into weirdness (as J called it, until I told her it was NOT weird, it was normal, because it all happens to everyone, and if it didn’t, then there would be no people).  Oh yeah, we had a sex talk, baby.  Replete with erections and ejaculations and the difference between semen and urine.  Beloved was dragged into it, and was stellar.  I shall try to remember to post more about this tomorrow.
  15. It’s a little more stressful that next time, I somehow ended up the chair of the meeting.  Ugh.  We will be talking about Freedom for 6th graders.
  16. Then E caught me snooping around on her phone.  I tried to turn the volume down, and was looking at who she called and who called her, and she came out of her room.  I had time to hide the phone in a towel, and she said, “I’m looking for a book.”  And Beloved told her to go to bed.  But then she found her book and said, “oh, I should put my phone in my purse.  Oh.  Where’s my phone?  I thought I put it right there.”  Dammit.  She totally heard me before I turned the volume down.  All I could was laugh and say, “fine, it’s right here, you snot, stop erasing your text messages.”  She laughed at me and said, “mom! They were all to you!!”  But she didn’t erase her call log, and there’s no denying that a certain boy has been calling her almost daily.  The calls are quick.  Not long.  She tells me that they involve questions about homework and such.  Hmmmm.

And that is what happened on yet another weekend where Zuska brought her work computer home just to leave in her bag all.  weekend.  long.

Fortunately, there are no deadlines until Wednesday.

I don’t blow off deadlines.

Really.

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I’m  sure Beloved would “get more sex” — if he weren’t so damned tired all the time from shopping and cooking and picking up kids and cleaning that he does.

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But seriously – why is it still framed in these terms?  Men “get more sex”?  What about us?  Do we “have to endure  more sex”?  Do we “give men more gifts?”  What the FUCK are we doing?  Why doesn’t it say “when couples are healthier, couples are healthier”?  (i.e., when they have a true partnership, they have a healthy sex life).

When will the sexism STOP???

Dude!  I like sex!  I have a vagina, and I like sex!!!

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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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For almost 4 years now, I have been riding a wave of utter spoilation.

I have done what I needed to do in order to make it through school, through the bar exam, and through the early days of full-time lawyerdom while trusting that the rest of life would work out around me.

This was because of one thing:  My Beloved.  He has cooked, he has coordinated, he has covered sick days, snow days, busy days.

This past week, I did without him entirely.  I was tired.  I was stretched (a snow day? really?  THIS week?).  But you know what?  I did it.  I met all my obligations, I took care of the girls and the house completely.  Hell, even the cats were fed twice a day.  I even cleaned out their litter box.

It’s a good thing.

Because it appears my free ride is over.

Beloved was able to take on all of the slack I let go during high stress times because we long ago decided I would go to school; then he would go to school.

Now, he’s in school.

Because he’s in a low-residency program, he was (still is) only gone for 12 days (my heart couldn’t take more, I don’t think).  But when he comes home, he has work to do.

And it’s not yucky ewie work.  It’s what he loves.  What his personal circumstances have required him to put off and put off and put off.

He isn’t putting it off anymore.

It is time for my Beloved to do the things that were put on the back burner twenty three years ago.   Things he is supposed to do.

Wow.

Has he deserved this, or what?

So yeah, I’ll need to cook more.  And I’ll need to take the driver’s seat on school projects more.   Not only can I do it, but I could do more, if I had to.  I can do it all – just like he could (and did).

I think it’s likely that we’ll have some growing pains.  There will be times my work is pulling me to stay in the office for later than we’d planned; and there will be times that his deadlines hit at the same time as a filing deadline for me.  But I think we have the foundation that we need.  I think we respect each other, and each other’s work, and we can make it work.

It helps that we also have OLD kids, who can do things and go places and work stuff out without the same intense parental supervision that was required of them in their younger years.   (I realized today that J is almost 10.  Almost 10.  This means that I almost have ZERO kids in single digits.  They are BOTH old.  J is already drooling over which cell phone she’ll get, and wondering what activities she’ll do in high school.  E is running a newspaper, texts like a pro (has yet to go over our limit), and went to a restaurant with JUST her friends for lunch on the snow day.  They had to figure a TIP, and to split the bill!!  By themselves!!)

So now he should come home so we can work it all out.

I still miss him.

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There isn’t really loathing. Just fear.

Over what?  You may ask.

Beloved is leaving me!!!

What is a [well, an … incompetant spoiled brat of a] girl to do??? My husband – my support – my love [my cook] is going to a neighboring state for ELEVEN WHOLE DAYS!!! gasp!

He leaves this coming Saturday and isn’t back home until the NEXT Wednesday.

Considering that work is heating up, the house is in disarray, the girls’ lives are full as hell, and I haven’t cooked in 6 months – this is NOT a minor thing.

I will be okay:

I have friends lined up for emergencies; I’m starting a recipe list and meal plan; I have a plan to go to my mom’s for the long weekend in the middle of his absence –

I think I’ll be okay.

But I’m not certain.

I’m gonna miss my Beloved 😦

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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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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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And I suppose he is right.

But when did we see Wicked? Early October, right?

ONE MONTH LATER

J is in the shower.

E is in her room, huddled with a black witch’s hat on and the soundtrack insert in her hand.

“Defying Gravity” is coming from both mouths, at high volume, in very different parts of the song.

What have we done?

E is begging to go see it in New York.

It’s like she’s 2.

“Again! Again!”

(which for her, at 10 months, was “Ah Dah! Ah Dah!”)

I wish my kids would stop singing.

Beloved tells me there are people who wish their kids would stop playing video games, and others who wish their kids didn’t watch so much t.v., and others who wish their kids would stop drinking and running away from home.

That perhaps my kids constantly singing songs from soundtracks isn’t so bad.

But … I think they’re (or at least E) bordering on obsessed.

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Today, I was productive. I did unbelievable (for me) amounts of work. Wanna know what I did?

  • Cleaned out my medicine cabinet. It’s now 60% empty.
  • Purged summer clothes from the girls’ drawers (pulled the winter clothes from storage yesterday, while J had a friend over – a friend who could take the items which have since been out grown, so it worked out well. They were also both eager participants in the process, which also helped. E appreciated having the whole thing taken care of while she was out of town).
  • Did 9 loads of laundry. Which was exhausting.
  • Scrubbed the bathroom with bleach. We usually use natural cleaners, and I often assign the sink and the toilet and the sweeping to the girls. But every now and then (in my mind, in my plans – once a month; in reality – twice a year), I do it myself with the powerful cleaners. Today was that day. I last did it the DAY before the bar exam. Maybe two days before. Which is only 4 months … even a little less. Maybe I’m getting better.)
  • Cleaned out the coat closet floor. This entailed much throwing away. Much space-finding for bags (I’m addicted) which have not been used in some time. It was hard.
  • Sorted through our “extras” – which for us is hats, gloves and scarves. I got rid of singles, of those things which were too stained to salvage, of gloves that no longer fit the growing hands in the family. I washed the fleece which seems to be a cat-fur magnet. After they were washed, I went over the more stubborn items with a lint brush. This took at least 2 hours (the lint brush stage). I am so determined that our things WILL NOT have cat fur on them. WILL NOT.
  • Cleaned out under the bathroom sink. It was gross. I filled an entire garbage bag with almost-empty shampoo bottles that I felt, while a student, were too precious to throw away – that I may need them during those days where the loan money had run out and so had the shampoo.  It’s nice to feel that I can now confidently say that when next we run out of shampoo, I can buy some.
  • Took J shopping at the Gap, and bought her jeans that fit; even without the sea levels rising (she’s a 10 Slim, for the most part) and a super-cute dress. I bought Beloved some socks. I bought me black gloves to go with my work-coat, and a grey hat. I bought me funky blue and green striped gloves and a matching scarf to go with my not-work-coat. I bought E nothing. She was in NY.
  • Took J out to lunch at a new place in town. We had a good time.
  • Before the store and lunch, I dragged J to Starbucks with me. I got her a hot cocoa so she didn’t feel like I was a selfish bitch of a mom (I also tricked her BFF and her yesterday into thinking that I was the nicest mom in the world for taking them for hot cocoa after a frigid soccer game, when in reality — it all comes down to my addictions). I later felt a bit conspicuous, walking through the Gap with my Starbucks cup, and my 9 year old child following behind me with her own 9 year old sized Starbucks cup. Hmmm.

I think I will next read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, because I am a MILF.

But in the meantime, the family is going to eat brownies – in acknowledgment of E’s excellent progress report 3 weeks ago (oops, we lost track of time) and watch Star Trek … after I vacuum.

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Today is my housework day of the weekend.  Now that I’m working full (very full) time, I need a day to catch up with the house.  I am doing 8 loads of laundry, I’m sweeping and vacuuming, and I’m not showering, not dressing, and not getting outside to explore the foliage and gorgeous weather that this fall weekend has brought me.

On my morning walk to starbucks, I spotted a couple of gorgeous flaming red trees, and told myself I’d go back out later with my camera.  But then my morning was taken up with fighting children (I have got to find a larger apartment), and then punished children,* and then finally contrite children, and laundry.

Now the children are at the park, the husband is writing, writing, writing, and I am waiting for some dude to get his clothes out of the dryer so mine can go in.  And, of course, combing craigslist for a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment.  Or house.  I’d rent a house.

* a friend stopped by to try on dresses for me and get my opinion on what she’d found.  She mentioned her daughter wants to get together with my daughter.  I said, “E can’t.  She had a rough morning, and is needing to stay home.”  It was then pulled out of me that the kids were fighting, behavior went too far, and the kids are not allowed to go out today.  Which was the agreement prior to their  choosing to engage in the behavior.

My friend was a little surprised.

“But if they’re fighting, you should want them to make plans and get out of the house!”

But I just don’t see it that way.  If they are fighting, and behaving inappropriately and I respond by sending them out to play with their friends … well, will they ever stop behaving inappropriately?

I don’t expect them to stop fighting.  I just spent a month or so fighting with my sister, and we’re adults.

But I didn’t throw things at her.

And she didn’t hit me.

So, no.  E is not playing with her friend today.

Guess what she’s doing instead?  Playing with her sister.  At the park.  Happily.   Perhaps that’s another positive result of not sending them off to play at friends’ houses – they’re forced to work through their arguments, and find peace.

I hope so.

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