Saturday, April 27, 2013

Part Two-Roaches

I didn't drive home, I sucked it up and joined the gaggle of guys congregating in a circle next to the cars. We drove down to Norwalk, donned our yellow vests and joined the group that had a mix of women and men. The apartments had been flooded during the hurricane. Many of the tenants belongings had been ruined by the water and the walls had been sitting in a foot or so of water for an extended period of time. We needed to get the damaged goods out and the walls washed down with bleach.

Wally was very scared to let us in. After sending in one person to convince him that we weren't going to steal all of his things and that we were there to help, he let us in. Wally told us how he'd been a player in his younger years in an old worn out suit we moved out of the closet. His right eye had been clouded over with cataracts and he stooped with age. But he made sure we had some Motown to clean to.

Some women from the Spanish Branch were leaning against the wall, when I noticed thirty or so reddish-brown bugs scurrying. I quickly grabbed Maria from off the wall and pointed behind her since my Spanish is lacking at best. She and Evita screamed and in the mix of other Spanish words flying out of their mouths, I caught a few squealed cucarachas. There must have been thousands of them crawling over every surface of the house. When we picked up a pile of clothes from off of a water soaked chair, hundreds emerged from their make-shift nest. I felt so horrible for Wally having to live in such disgusting conditions. I wondered what happens to someone who gets to this point and I was also so sad that in America this kind of thing happens and likely happens more than I'd ever want to know.

Despite my desire to kick stereotypes, they seem to have a serious hold. Despite the six men who were supposed to be in this with the four women that were helping with Wally's place, they spent a good amount of time with their hands in their pockets, talking to each other and waiting until someone else (the women) did the work. I looked around at many points and it was the Hispanic women and me cleaning the house. And I couldn't stand the lame irony. To be fair, the guys did pitch in somewhat, but when it came to the really difficult, disgusting tasks, they just fidgeted and watched.

We got Wally all set up with a cleaned out house, bleached down walls and headed back home. I loved getting to go and do something to help, but next time I think I'll hand the rag to the guys and haul a couple of chairs out myself.   

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Rut We Need to Leave

He's pretty awesome.
I was in high school and we were eating the usual Sunday dinner at Nana and Popa's. I don't remember what we were eating, but I'm sure it was one of the rotating usual five meals. (I miss those usuals and I miss Sunday dinner with my family and my grandparents). Often our conversations were very opinionated and sometimes heated. I usually avoid confrontation. I don't like anger between me and anyone. But sometimes, when I feel passionately about something, I can't help myself.

Dad and Popa had just made their usual exit. Nana was fantasizing to my mom about throwing the plates off the deck, instead of doing the dishes.Then they both lamented the fact that the men were off watching the TV and they were doing the cooking and cleaning. They verbally threw up their hands and in a few minutes of complaining, decided there was nothing to be done. My blood was boiling. This situation was wholly unjust. "Well I'm never going to marry someone who is like that." Nana just shook her head and said "Just wait".

I waited and I didn't. He helps me do the dishes and a whole lot more. I'm lucky. We think we should both be in this together. I can mow the lawn and he can sweep. My X and his Y, doesn't mean we can't do whatever we put our minds to. But old habits die hard for all of us.

I get annoyed that whenever someone moves in or out. It's always me that is "supposed" to stay with the kids while Russ gets to go hang out with adults and move boxes. I can't lift an elephant, but I can lift whatever moving stuff I've ever had to lift.

So when we were asked to volunteer with hurricane Sandy. I was miffed that it was just assumed that the men would go help and the women would be stuck at home again. So Russ agreed that it would be a good change of pace for the both of us. I showed up bright and early Saturday morning in the agreed upon parking lot and as the cars kept pulling in, the men kept getting out. I lost my feminist ire and felt really stupid. I was going to be the only woman and I didn't want to get out of the car. I wanted to drive back home. To Be Continued. . .


Thursday, April 25, 2013

"The Mess"

On Saturday we headed down to the City to check out "The Scream" at the MoMA as part of Russ' birthday celebration. The whole journey was a fast one. We needed to get in and get out, both because of timing and the fact that we have three kids six and under. Two of my favorite highlights: People giving us the stink eye, despite how well-behaved (When you strap two of them in and your touring the paintings at 25 mph, their too stunned to do much else) our children were. I think they were merely disgusted that we had that many or that we brought them in a sacred "adult" museum. Second highlight: We entered a room filled with the art below and as soon as we round the corner, Hannah says, rather loudly in a surprised and puzzled tone, "THAT is art?". Yep love, that is art. The whole room of art admirers let out a little chuckle. I guess they all aren't that stuffy.

Robert Morris, Untitled (Although Genevieve thought it should be called, The Mess)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dog Drama

I can hardly bear to watch shows like Meet the Parents or any show where everything that can go wrong does. Initially I thought it was just because I would cringe and find most of what happened absolutely contrived, but then I came to the sad fact that it was too much like my own, real life. I think many of my posts have illustrated this, but let me share with you a little slice out of my Monday morning. 

I cease to do myself any favors by waking up far later than I should. I throw on some jeans and a blouse and run downstairs to usher Hannah and Luna into the car. Only after finally strapping Stewy in and going back inside a couple of times to retrieve a bunch of things I've forgotten, I realize that I haven't taken Luna to the bathroom. But I don't have time. If I don't leave now, they will close off the drop-off door to Hannah's school and I'll have to take "the walk of late shame" and take her to the front office and then I'll be late for Luna's appointment and that won't do, so the pottying is going to have to wait.

We pull into the vet parking lot only a couple of minutes late and I bound out ready to grab the wild beast. I grasp Luna's leash just before she bounds out of the van. My arm is almost ripped off as she attempts to greet another large dog who is leaping out of the car. I congratulate myself on remembering to curb her. After marking territory and giving her some extra time to decide if she needs to poop as well, I grab Stew with my one free arm and pull him onto my hip. Have you ever held a wiggly toddler as you are dragged rapidly ahead by a Lab? The feeling is one of complete lack of control. We whisk through the front door and immediately a middle-aged woman with a cocker spaniel  gasps, "oh my!" Now my brain has moved from fast to hyper-drive. What did she mean by that? Is it because my dog is wearing the cone of shame? Is it because she thinks I'm nuts because I'm dragging in a baby and being dragged in by a dog? Is it because Luna is looking so hyper? Is there something on my face? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with my choices? Why is this lady gasping at me? Now I'm basically in a state of panic. I try to get Luna to sit, I try to sit Stew on the bench and I try to tell the receptionist we are here, while at the same time I'm still trying to find out what this lady is thinking about me. And then, in horror, I realize that Luna isn't just merely trying to sit, she's squatting. I abandon Stew in a panic and try to rip Luna out the door before she can leave a pile of poop. But it's too late she's squatting and I'm pulling and she's dumping a little out with every tug. So instead of one neat, tidy pile of poop, there is a trail of logs and one or two has missed the linoleum and is residing on their carpet door mat. I begin apologizing prefusely and watch in shame with the rest of the waiting room (including gasping woman) as they call in the minions and make them clean up the mess. As one of the techs is finishing the deed, she asks, "Is that blood?" "Is she bleeding?" And being the stressed out, embarrassed idiot I am, I say in mocked shock "Oh no! Where? Is she?" See the thing is, I know she is, she's in heat, but I don't want cocker-spaniel woman and the rest of the waiting room people and receptionists to know. Sitting here now, I have no idea why I didn't want them to know. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't all point their fingers at me and Luna and scream "unclean, unclean!". But my survival or moron instinct has kicked in and now there is no turning back. When we finally get shut into our own room, she remarks about the blood again and this time I know I can't keep this facade up. I've got to come clean. So I act like nothing happened in the other room and tell her how she's been in heat for the last week and a half. Luna continues to drip drops of blood across the exam room and the vet tech keeps mentioning the "heat" thing to the vet. I swear she's doing it on purpose. And me? I'm trying to keep Stew from bursting into their backroom while "discreetly" scrubbing out the blood with my shoe. I nod my head through the whole appointment and forget to ask any of the questions I needed to ask. I practically throw my money at the receptionist and retreat to the safety and privacy of the car where the dog can poop and Stew can scream and only I will know. Can someone else take Luna next week? Please!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dog Thoughts

Sometimes I think one of the biggest lessons we learn, is to eat our stubborn, set in stone words. I was never going marry someone who went to my high school, or wait for someone and so on. But I am incredibly happy to be wrong. There have been many, many times when I have changed my thoughts, feelings or beliefs that I thought I'd never alter. Owning a dog is becoming one of those.

I've always wanted to have a dog. I even wanted to breed Luna and maybe keep one of her puppies, but now I'm not so sure we'll have another dog after Luna. Dogs are almost as hard as children and so far Luna has been far more expensive.

Three weeks ago Luna bolted passed the girls and out the door, as they were going outside to play. She then darted a few houses down and onto a very busy cross street where she was quickly hit by a car. The whole event was very traumatizing. We spent awhile with helpful neighbors trying to assess Luna and identify an emergency vet. Russ stayed with the kids and put them to bed. And I drove off with a whimpering, squished dog. The emergency vet waiting room is a depressing place to be. There were owners sobbing over dogs that needed to be put down, serious decisions to make and serious money being bled from panicked owners.

After being told that it was dangerous for me to take Luna home with a broken radius and ulna and that I should leave her in their care overnight with surgery in the morning, I timidly took her back home. We still were unsure of their insistence that her breaks required a very, very expensive surgery with a bolt and seven screws. We tried to frantically explore our options in the morning and after a visit with a normal vet in the morning, we felt like our hands were tied and our only option was to go with the emergency vet surgery and the huge price tag.

After four cones of shame, an infection and a break-up with a very expensive and, we must do everything in the book for your pet, vet, we're on the backside of the infection and happy with a much more practical, understanding vet. Lots of money, stress and tears later, we are ready to be done with pets and very well versed in bandaging, cones of shame and emergency pet dos and don'ts. And if you're thinking about getting a dog, my advice, don't.

Monday, April 22, 2013


When we found out that Russ and both of the girl's had president's day off, I knew we needed to plan somewhere fun to go. I also really want to take advantage of living in New England as much as I can. One of the great things about living where we do, is the close proximity to awesome places to visit. But my need to visit and fit in as much traveling as possible sometimes backfires. Montreal in February is cold, very, very, very cold. Russ and I were fairly sure we were never going to convince the girls to go back. We spent a long time on the way home explaining that in the summer Montreal is warm. I think they believed us, but not without emphasizing that they'd only go back in the summer.

Montreal was surprisingly European. Everyone speaks French and some people only speak French. But everyone is very kind and patient. Russ and I loved exposing the girls to a "foreign country" and putting the girls and ourselves a little out of our comfort zone. Genevieve, at our first stop in a Montreal Costco, expressed her dislike at everyone speaking French. But they adapted quickly and we all loved eating delicious croissants, crepes, sandwiches and candy. The architecture was beautiful and of course the hotel pool was the highlight of the trip for the kids.