Vacation day 1: driving … driving … projectile vomit alert!! … driving … driving … driving … gross rest stop food amazingly not followed by more projectile vomit … driving … driving
Day 2: swimming … swimming … swimming … swimming … Scrabble
Day 3: house has pool, 5.5 bathrooms, 2 laundry rooms … NO wi-fi. Twitching … twitching … coffee shop
So that’s about as much of a post as I can muster for now. Having a lovely time except for lack of Internet. Talk to you later!
When I lived in France (lo these many, many années) I learned about the zero-productivity month of May. Ask anyone when something might happen or get done during this month and they’d just shrug their shoulders and say “Eh. C’est le mois de mai” (which translates to “Who knows? It’s May” and actually means “Sometime in June, or never”).
In France, this is because there are about a dozen school/business holidays during May, and anytime they fall in mid-week everyone will faire le pont (literally, make the bridge) and take the extra days off to make a very long weekend.
Here and now, it’s just the end-of-school year craziness that is driving my productivity to record lows. Just this week I’ve been to a spring concert, a baseball game, and a field trip. Still to come are book club, Memorial Day weekend, the school talent show, the other (extracurricular) talent show, getting the kid to practice for said talent shows, figuring out what the kid should wear for said talent shows (the talent: hula hooping. But she can’t wear one of the umpteen grass skirts we have left over from her birthday party, because it messes up her hooping tricks), a swimming lesson, a Daisy Scout meeting, oh and my car has to go into the shop because someone (who freely admitted this, and in fact sounded rather proud of himself) put coins in the CD player. I need something for an end-of-year teacher gift … and the list goes on.
I am sure you’re all in the same bateau. Paddle, paddle, paddle and I’ll see you on the other side.
Scene: The locker room at the Y, one of my very favorite places evar.
OPIE: Do Crocs care?
ME: Do they care? About what?
OPIE: No! Do they care!
ME: Um. About what? Do Crocs care … about what?
OPIE: NO! Do. Crocs. care. You know! Do they care about this foot or that foot?
ME: Ohhh. Yes, they need to go on the right feet. This one goes on this foot and this one goes on that foot.
OPIE: Why do shoes care and socks don’t care?
Back from a weekend away. The score: 12+ hours of driving, 1 unnecessary detour, 0 (!!) potty accidents, and 1 hour of kid car napping. That last was due to the portable DVD player, which I alternately want to marry and throw out the window of the moving vehicle, preferably when driving over a large body of water.
Last month Nancy reminisced about cars in her past, and I commented that, even at my advanced age, I’ve never had my own car, not counting the ones I now share with my husband. In high school I had to walk, borrow from my parents, and even (horrors!) had a babysitter whose main job function was to drive me and my younger siblings around after school.
I went to college in West Philadelphia where a car was unnecessary and expensive, not to mention a certain target for theft and destruction. Then I moved to Manhattan–same situation, multiplied a few dozen times.
Apparently I moved in with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, just to get my hands on his car keys.
Still, when I was a magazine editor I went on two trips to test-drive cars. The first one was for Buick Regal and GM put us up at a very swanky hotel (no wonder they are out of money now). I spent a couple of days driving the car around a parking lot with all kinds of simulated hazards. During an evening cocktail party with the GM PR people I let slip that I lived in New York and hadn’t actually been behind the wheel of a car in four or five years. PR man almost choked on his hors d’oeuvre.
That one trip made me an expert in test driving, apparently, so my editor also sent me to Alaska to preview a Volvo station wagon. And just to emphasize the ruggedness of the car which is now, in fact, my own mommymobile, I also learned how to shoot a rifle and go salmon fishing (with hip waders and everything). Besides seeing Alaska for the first and so far only time, I also got to meet a lot of blond Swedish dudes.
These days, the blonds I share my car with are the ones I gave birth to; and I will be happy to trade my four wheels for two as soon as it’s warm enough to get out my bike again. But if anyone wants to send me to Sweden (or Santa Fe, or Seattle, or frankly, Stroudsburg) to check out the latest offerings, my bags can be packed in a matter of minutes.
And I am always one of the ones traveling, every year of the *ahem*twenty*ahem* since I graduated from high school. As a kid, I spent every single holiday at home, not just in my hometown but in our house. My mother was the designated hostess for every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July and regular old Sunday meal, and the guests were always my grandmother (who lived a few blocks away) and my aunt, uncle, and cousin (who lived around the corner). In the usual kid grass-is-always-greener way, I envied my friends who got to go somewhere and do something for holidays instead of staying home which is so boring.
Be careful what you wish for, as they say. Since I turned 18, I’ve never been in my own home for Thanksgiving. Not that I ever wanted to cook a turkey in my dorm room or my Manhattan studio apartment, but you see what I mean. It feels a bit Peter Pan-ish to always be the guest and never the host. Like I’m not a Real Mom (hi, Motrin!) until I’ve stuffed the turkey and mashed the potatoes my own self.
(The reality is that my husband cooks the turkeys around here anyway.)
Truthfully, I can deal with Thanksgiving travel, even when it’s on a crazy day like today and even with two travel companions under 7 years old. They may be young, but they are experienced. Thanksgiving doesn’t have quite the baggage Christmas does (in the form of gifts, for one, and more firmly entrenched traditions, for two) and I’m above all thankful that we have families who love us and with whom we will enjoy sharing a meal.
I’m thankful for all of you, too, and hope you have a wonderful day and weekend, wherever you spend it and whatever you eat.
If you’ve been to Julie’s, you know we’ve been to Julie’s this past weekend. There was much eating (thank you Kyle!), musical beds, walks around the neighborhood, cooing at the baby (OMG the baby. He is edibly cute), an intense game of Taboo in which Nancy‘s name was invoked (how else could I explain “hat trick” without saying the word “hockey”?), and not nearly enough picture-taking–partly because I left my camera at my brother‘s overnight. (Ask Julie about how he returned it on his motorcyle, fully decked out in leather and chains.)
Once again, Jo and Tacy picked up without a moment’s hesitation and didn’t leave each other’s sides, awake or asleep, for the entire length of the visit. Neither did Jo wear any of the clothes we brought for her, preferring instead to raid Tacy’s closet. I don’t know if it’s the fact that they spent so much time together as infants (nearly every day from three months to two years) or the fact that we parents do our best to encourage their continuing relationship, but these girls have a strong bond that’s now weathered four years apart. I hope it never breaks.
Photo Week, III: For the first part of our San Francisco adventure last month, we stayed in a lovely flat in Cole Valley that I’d found on Vacation Rentals By Owner.* It was tastefully decorated and conveniently located in a nice little residential/retail district (there was a wine and cheese shop directly across the street … what more could you ask?). The plan was for our family to stay there from Saturday through Thursday, and then I’d decamp to the W for BlogHer and Jeff and the kids would head home.
When we had to extend their stay because Jo was in the hospital, we couldn’t remain at our nice apartment, since it was already promised to some other lucky vacationers. The children’s hospital gave us a list of hotels to try. We eventually found a room at a place near Japantown. It was small, clean, friendly, reasonably priced, and apparently had been decorated by a refugee from Lady Mildred’s Victorian Theme Park and Former Brothel.
A sampling (with apologies for the poor quality–my husband went snapshot-crazy):
*Highly recommended. If you are going away, with kids, for more than a few days, and won’t be staying with friends or family, consider renting a house or apartment. For the same price as a hotel (often less) you get a full kitchen, separate bedrooms, a living area, and sometimes even laundry machines, a yard, and extra bathrooms. We’ve done it successfully in San Diego, San Francisco, and even Paris (before kids).