June 2008

I did it. I sent in the email about the job. I have no idea if I’ll even get a response much less anything more than that, and I’m obviously still quite torn. But, well, it’s in…

I filled up two whole lawn bags of clippings from the hedge. Woo-hoo! It was such an incredibly gorgeous day — mid 70s, blue skies with tufty clouds, and a nice cool breeze — that I ended up staying outside for two hours just clipping the branches into small enough pieces for the bags. Yes, so I left a least a bag’s worth on the ground, and I couldn’t do anything about the bigger branches, so Kelley will have some work cut out for him on Friday. But while he’s doing that, I’ll cut up the rest and then trim the hedges.

After that, I came in and did some more cleaning out of old emails. I didn’t manage to do much in the way of cleaning off my desk, but I did feel like some stuff got done. Why I’m incapable of sitting outside and reading a book? Not sure. I did get that first sentence written though.

That said, what with the gym time and the yard work, I’m quite tired! Not too tired to catch you up on some of my tv recaps…

Camp Rock: This was no High School Musical, let me tell you. The characters were largely annoying, the music wasn’t as catchy, and it wasn’t nearly as much fun. I do like the Jonas Brothers, and whichever one was the lead guy in this — Joe Jonas? — wasn’t awful, but it just wasn’t the same. I don’t think we’ll be watching this one again.

On the other hand, I do have to say that I’m looking forward to Cheetah Girls #3. (And I’m not overly sad that Raven isn’t in this one.) It certainly won’t be winning any awards, but it does have the fun factor. The music they’ve been playing in the previews is also good, albeit in the Disney pop way. One thing that did occur to me as I was watching the ‘making of’ feature that they showed was that there was only one white person in the entire thing. How often does that happen? I mean yes, it’s set in India, but still — if this were on one of the big networks, there would be a whole entourage of white folks there no matter how little sense it made. Not to say that they won’t be there once the movie is actually playing, but one thing I do have to say for the Disney behoemeth (how the heck do you spell that word?) — they do have a decent track record in terms of showing various racial and ethnic backgrounds, and not just in a token way. I wouldn’t say that they’ve achieved perfection, by any means, but I have been impressed that they have multiple characters of different backgrounds rather than just one or two. The Cheetah Girls movie is just one of the examples.

Army Wives: I suppose what they did was necessary. I mean, you can’t really have a show about the Army — in wartime, no less — and not have casualties. Did it have to be — SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!!!!! — Amanda? I don’t do well when shows kill off kids, even when those kids are 18 or 19. And the whole train station thing? Quite overdone. The guy who plays the dad, though, Brian McNamara, did a pretty awesome job. You know me — I’m a sucker for the strong and solid yet emotional Army family guy type, especially when he’s a general (*cough*cough*) — and boy did McNamara nail that. From the previews of the next episode (that’s already aired about a billion times, but that I haven’t yet watched), I think it will continue. I also think they’re setting up an interesting abortion conversation. Well, at least I hope it will be interesting and not totally one-sided. Again, I haven’t seen it yet, but the preview does have Holden (McNamara) getting into a fairly heated discussion with Burton (Wendy Davis), who is pregnant, but isn’t sure about continuing her pregnancy for various reasons, but largely because of what it will do to her career in the Army. Where, by the way, she is the #2 to Holden, who has just lost his daughter. I probably should have realized that this show, which is I think playing to a fairly conservative audience, wouldn’t allow Burton to have an abortion. At the same time, I do hope that they won’t gloss over what the other issues are.

So You Think You Can Dance: I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I do like watching the dances, although I find that the ones I tend to like are the ones that the judges hate. I am a fan of Twitch, as everyone else appears to be, but I don’t think that Joshua and Katee walk on water the way Nigel and Co. do. I mean, yes, I’ve liked their routines so far, but how was their dance #2 so much better than, say, Matt and Kourtni (yes, that’s how she spells it). Who, by the way, were completely panned by the judges. I mean, for the style that they danced — the whole Gene Kelley-type thing, I thought they were pretty awesome. But no, Mary was ‘disappointed,’ and Nigel thought it was ‘fake.’ Now the dancers out there might say that I’m totally off base. When the judges, however, are praising others because of their entertainment value, well, if you’re going to put Foxtrot up against Hip Hop, then yeah, the Foxtrot is going to come off in a completely different way. Just my humble opinion, of course.

Supernanny: Is it just me or did the dad in the Schumacker family
look almost exactly like James Marsters? All I could think of while I was watching it was, Spike is a dad?

That’s it. I haven’t really been doing that much in the way of TV watching, so not much beyond the above. Oh, other than to say — yay, Stephanie! I’m all on board for her as Top Chef. (Although, for the record, I do want to say that I think Lisa got a bit of a raw deal. Not that I found her to be the most pleasant person as she was portrayed in the show, but I think there was plenty of opportunity for others to come off just as badly — I mean, Dale punched a locker, for Heaven’s sake — but that’s not how it got edited.) And not so much on The Middleman. It’s a little too much for me.

Well here it is, halfway into day two of this vacation, and although I can’t believe it’s noon already, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished so far. As usual, I felt mongo (is that a word? It feels like it should be) guilt for making Lucy and Will go to their respective places when I’m sitting here at home. I was therefore quite relieved when Will barely even took the time to push me out the door. In fact, he was kind of looking at me like, ‘Why, exactly, are you still here?’ Oh, how we will miss this place next year.

I was a little more worried about Lucy as it is her first full day of camp, and, although she was there on Monday afternoon with After School, I was concerned about her coming into it mid-week. As I mentioned yesterday, though, she did seem excited and, when we woke up this morning, today was no different. In fact, she was almost skipping, she seemed so happy to see her new friends. (“Mommy, I told you that I knew Karen from last year.” Excuse me – one new friend and one friend from last year.) When we got to the park, she literally ran ahead of me, so eager to start playing. Her new friend (yes, the actual new one), Hannah, saw her immediately and ran to greet her. They ran off on a game of tag, which was joined at once by Hosin (I have absolutely no idea how to spell that, or even if that’s his actual name; work with me, here), a mid-year addition to her class at school with sometimes problematic results, and Isaac, her classmate since kindergarten. As I was leaving, her good friend Mekayla also showed up and the five of them began buzzing about their field trip today to the state park.

Don’t believe me? Here is the picture I took this morning:

Lucy and friends at camp this morning

Isn’t she beaming? (And, Cathy, notice what she’s wearing?) Oh, the happy.

It definitely put me in a great mood for yet another attempt at gym-going. (O.k., so that makes it seem like I’ve been attempting on a regular basis. It has been regular, just more like once every six months rather than anything more often.) With the exception of realizing that even the eightysomething-year-olds around me were walking faster than I was, it was an excellent treadmill experience. I even burned 143.5 whole calories. Which, yes, I immediately proceeded to negate by eating 4 double chocolate milano cookies, but hey, I would have done that anyway. And now that metabolism’s pumping, right? Uh, sure.

When I got home, I decided that enough was enough and took out that stray hedge by the front door. Yes, I left all of the branch droppings on the front yard, but it’s a start. Kelley doesn’t know it yet (unless he’s reading this right now), but part of the plan for Friday will be digging out the roots. He likes that kind of stuff, though (right, Chick?), so hopefully he’ll be more on the ‘Yay, Jen, you actually got off your butt and did something!’ attitude than ‘Oy, Jen, could you just maybe leave things alone until we talk it all out first?’ one. Not that that’s a bone of contention or anything, of course. 🙂

I also did finally manage to get to some emails that I haven’t had a chance to over the last week and a half. Man, work has taken a lot out of me! It feels good to be able to start moving other things forward again, though; hopefully it will continue along these lines.

With that in mind, I will sign off for the moment and start cleaning up some of those branches. And then maybe I’ll get to work on that new chapter. Or my desk. Or, well, whatever.

Tune in again later today and find out what I’ve managed to get done. On that exciting note…

I had one of those days yesterday where everything just seemed to be going wrong. I was miserable — miserable, I tell ya — and working my way into such a state that the lack of a decent help section in our new webmail application nearly sent me into a breakdown-level tizzy. Today, on the other hand, was a definite improvement.

For one thing, it was Lucy’s last day of school, so we had planned an afternoon of hanging together. Based on promises made throughout last week, I took her to lunch, then to ice cream, and then to Target. At the last of those spots, I very deliberately let her literally walk through every aisle as she tried to decide what to spend her first $14 worth of allowance on. (A slip and slide, in case you were wondering, plus a Hello Kitty puzzle.) Then we went to the library, and then came home, made popcorn, and watched a movie. It was pretty awesome to see that the things she wanted to do on her day off were almost exactly the things I wanted to do. The bonus of it all was that, rather than being angry that we are sending her to Y camp for the rest of the week, she actually seemed quite excited. So, yay — no guilt! That’s quite nice, let me tell you.

The second part of the turnaround was that she got her report card and her reading level, which I had no doubt would be at above her actual grade level, indicates she’s where they want people to be at the end of fifth grade. Is that not awesome? I am so incredibly proud of her.

The day, though, did make me think about what I want to be doing with my life. (That and the whole, we’re-doomed-since-global-warming-is-bringing-the-world-to-the-end-so-decide-what-you-want-your-last-days-to-be-like thing, of course.) Which was where I was mentally when, lo and behold, an email came across my desk that had a job that can be done entirely remotely for a company that I think is pretty cool. For the last hour, I’ve been trying to figure out whether to actually send the cover letter that I wrote. It’s not just a lifestyle thing. I feel like the last several months have burned me out in a way that this job hasn’t before. I’d like to think that these few days off will help; the last few didn’t, though, so I’m not overly hopeful.

But is getting a new job the answer? I’m not really sure it is. I’m not sure I want to learn new ropes and meet new people. Oh, I’m sure they’re all pretty great — in fact, I spent the better part of this evening reading through blogs and twitter postings and various websites that gave me a pretty good sense of what the supervisor for this position is like. She seems pretty awesome and yet the coolness factor — that I do not in any way share — is almost tiring. It makes me feel, well, old. Who are all these 2.0 people, and can I possibly keep up with them? Or actually, do I want to invest the energy in keeping up with them. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Not that I’m assuming that I’d even get anything beyond a cursory ‘thanks for your email,’ if even that. But if I did…

Anyway, I did write the cover letter. I sent it to myself, just to do something; I guess I’ll have to see what the morning brings.

Of course, I didn’t invest any time in doing what I had intended to be doing tonight, which was finish the frickin’ chapter I’m working on. I’ve got a whole line done — yep, sentence #1. I even have a sense of what sentences #2 and 3 will be. I just can’t actually bring myself to write them. I have a feeling that this is some major psychological block going on… And that’s about as much as I want to think about it for now.

Sigh. Now it’s past midnight and I’m tired. I was even planning on trying to get more than 6 hours of sleep tonight. It truly annoys me to go to bed, though. It’s like I’m giving up on the day. Like some big failure. Yes, I realize this makes very little sense, and yet that’s how it is.

And on that note…

Today it was hard to get energized. Being in NJ over the weekend definitely put me in summer vacation mode. Not good when I’m not actually on vacation.

Anyway, I thought you guys might like to read about the conversation on the way to dinner. I was in the mood for Bertucci’s (when am I ever not?). Kelley, being exhausted after spending six hours driving home last night (oh, after getting up early with Will — I’m sorry, Chick; not the best way to celebrate Father’s Day?), put me on notice that he would be very cranky if they did their misbehaving schtick.

When he ran inside the house to change, I said to them, “Here’s the deal — Daddy’s really tired and might not be in a good mood tonight. I would be really happy if you two behaved the way you did on Friday night when we went to Friendly’s.”

Here’s the conversation that followed:

Lucy (after a few seconds’ pause): If it’s a deal, what do we get?
Me: Um, it’s not really a deal, I was saying ‘Here’s the deal.’
Lucy: Right, so it’s a deal. So what do we get?
Me: You get my everlasting love?
Lucy (looking suspicious): What else would we get?
Me (incredulous): You mean you don’t want my everlasting love?
Lucy: Well, how much is that?
Me: It’s everlasting.
Will: Can we have dessert instead?
Me: You’d rather have dessert than my everlasting love?
Lucy: You love us everlasting no matter what.
Me (busted!): Well, yes, but that’s a pretty good deal.
Lucy (not buying it one bit): Can we make brownies tonight?
Me: Not tonight. But maybe tomorrow.
Lucy: Do you promise tomorrow?
Me (fine!): I promise.
Lucy (looking at Will and indicating that the negotiating is done): O.k. then. It’s a deal.

Sigh. I thought having smart kids was supposed to be a good thing.

I’m tired, and I’m trying to get through the email that came in today on my vacation day with Will. (Trying really hard not to devote to much time as, well, note that it was a vacation day, but instead to just get the quick stuff taken care of and the rest into a folder to deal with on Monday.)

Anyway, some things that are just in my head and I need to get them out…

* My TV habit has been to switch to Top Chef (as opposed to yet another CSI or Dexter or even Bones) once I hit 10:30 or 11 so as not to freak myself out. I’m noticing, however, that it is not helpful for the diet. My mouth is literally watering as I watch them cook the steaks. Oh, goodness.

* The “Best of Craigslist” is freakin’ hilarious.

* The Will story of the day:

This morning, we hung out at Dunkin Donuts for awhile, me drinking my coffee while he drank his strawberry milk (he refused both a donut and munchkins — I once again ask where he actually came from) and played with his cars. An acquaintance walked in just as he announced he had to go to the bathroom. (Yes, this is a bathroom related post. You know it’s gonna be good or else I would so not be posting it.) With all our stuff on the table and him saying “Now!” it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t sure what to do. Olive said she would watch our things while I took him.

Thanking her, I said, “It will be quick.”

Will, donut-resisting-abilities-notwithstanding, does tend to take after me in the sense that talking about bathroom activities is done in private. He waited until we were safely locked away in the bathroom to say, “I have to poop, Mommy.”

“O.k.,” I said, not thinking much of it.

He looked at me with what can only be described as an expression of ‘You idiot.’ What he actually said, though, was, “It won’t be quick.”

Oh. Well, right. Luckily, Olive is a daycare provider and not unaware of the intricacies of taking kids to the bathroom. I am not worried. I am, however, apologetic. “I’m sorry, Will. I think it will be o.k.”

He gave me the Ammirati look. (Yay, he really is related to me.)

“Are you mad?” I asked, wondering if more apologies were necessary.

“No,” he said, finally releasing me from his piercing gaze. He looked at the toilet paper roll. “I’m disappointed.”

Did I just hear that right? “Disappointed?”

He raised his eyebrows and shrugged his yes.

Oh, my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness… I literally had to turn to the wall, shaking with laughter. What kind of five-year-old says that?

My five-year-old. Hell, yeah.