Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sad Day

I can't help it. I am sad. Sad, sad, sad, sad. I cannot be witty or funny or anything but sad.

Tonight was for me, the last night of my beloved June Babies playgroup. The group will go on, and rightfully so, but I will no longer be there. Just before receiving the news of our move, my friend and fellow June Baby Mama, started a book club which I was excited to join. The first book we were to read was "The Friday Night Knitting Club". The book was by no means a work of art, however I related to the story, and found it ironic to be reading it at this time in my life. The novel tells a story of a diverse group of women who come together as they share a mutual love for craft. In the end the heroine dies of cancer, however the group remains, and each woman finds strength and success through the support of one another. The June Babies group is my knitting club. And although I am no heroine, I am the one leaving. Admittedly, moving to Berkeley California is hardly equivalent to dying, but I almost feel as though I am at my own funeral, and catching a glimpse of life post-Rachel.

So tonight I shared tears and hugs with my girlfriends. I am so grateful to have had such amazing ladies in my life. I know that I cannot go on "mourning" forever, and that once we settle in California, I need to adopt a more positive attitude. Life will be different. I will be challenged. It is hard to start over from nothing. I am so proud of the life I have built here, but I will have to suck it up so to speak, and move on, because everyone else will.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birthday Surprise

I suppose that once you become a parent you learn that things don't always go as planned. You dress your little doll baby up in an elaborate blue outfit comprised of corduroy overalls, a sweet button down shirt and a matching beanie, and he spits up all over himself seconds before the grumpy teenage photographer at Kiddie Kandids snaps the first picture. You plan a perfect mommy and me day at the pool and it rains. You work for hours scrubbing your kitchen floor and creating a picture perfect room for your dinner guests and then your 15 month old spills dish washing soap and baking soda all over it.

You spend months planning the ideal four year old circus themed birthday party at pump it up, and three hours before the big event the birthday boy trips and falls at a restaurant and splits his head open after banging it on the jagged edge of a refrigerator case. Yes, folks, that was our day. Poor little man. The day was going so well. Our Zack was beyond excited for his big day. He woke up talking about his party. He oohed and ahhed over the big yellow birthday cake covered in frosting clowns and balloons. The day was sunny and warm. We took a family stroll down to Masterpiece Deli, about a 15 minute walk from home. Zack's Mor-Mor and Pa-Pou (grandma & grandpa) joined us. Lunch was uneventful, we sat outside and Zack babbled on about his upcoming party. We finished up and went to the restroom to clean up. On our way out Zack ran a few steps ahead of me, tripped and fell. As if in slow motion I saw that this was not going to be a minor fall. He fell to his knees and then right into...oh no, a sharp corner on a dingy refrigerator case. I stopped dead. How bad was it? Maybe it would be a little scratch.... no. He cried immediately and sprung back up. He turned toward me, his wails becoming more hysterical. The blood. Dripping down his face. His fear.

I could bore you all with the details of the day, but long story short, the rest of our day included an ambulance ride, eight stitches, and just barely arriving, 15 minutes late to the birthday party of the century with doctors orders-no bouncing.

Somehow that little boy persevered and still enjoyed his party. He walked around resembling Frankenstein with his blood crusted hair (we cannot wash it for 24 hours), and he smiled. He went down the slides, and we steered him away from the bounce house. He ate his cake and opened his gifts. He looked at his daddy and told him "I'm having a good time at my party". The poor thing feel asleep as soon as we buckled him in his car seat for the return trip home. It had been a long, draining day, not exactly what I had planned, but then again, I am sure we are in for a lifetime of surprises.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Birthday Dog

Today was Mr. Brown Doggies Birthday as designated by his loving owner, Zachary. During quiet time Zack was in his room joyfully singing "happy birthday" to his beloved best friend. When I came upstairs to relieve my son from what is usually considered jail time, he told me that quiet time was not over yet because he was having Mr. Brown Doggies birthday party with his other animal friends, who were scattered across his floor. When asked how old the birthday dog was I was informed that he had just turned four. This is an interesting coincidence, although I find it rather hard to believe given the stuffed animal's pathetic condition. That well loved toy looks like it has been around the block a few times, and celebrated far more than four years. Zack went on to describe the festivities in great detail. The fictitious party had taken place at the "inflatable party place" (AKA: Pump It Up). There was a circus theme and a clown cake. Mr. Brown Doggies friends Finn, Sammy and Garik were there. Presents were opened. Birthday dog got a Spiderman toy.

Ahhh... all this sounds vaguely familiar. Zachary turns four tomorrow. I have made quite a to-do about this. I adore birthdays, and after my own special day, my boys birthdays are the most important events of the year. I jest of course, because somehow Zack and Evan's birthdays have even trumped the anniversary of my birth. (NO WAY!). In any case we have talked for weeks about the upcoming celebration. We have discussed his cake, the party and the importance of the day. As with most mothers the birth of my sons make up the memories I will treasure more than any others. I want to make my baby feel incredibly special. I want him to feel how much he is loved and to know the excitement of a day that is all about him.

Seeing Zack bestow the love to his sad little pet shows me that I have done something right. Children are often like mirrors, reflecting the good and the bad in their parents. Today I saw Zack caring for a friend, albeit stuffed, and anticipating the happy day we will celebrate tomorrow. I think he knows he is cherished. I have done my job.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Stop me (or stop reading), if your bored of my sentimental blabbering. I am an emotional, nostalgic mess these days. Today was no exception. I got teary eyed as I was strolling Zack to preschool, felt sad as I pulled away from a coffee date at Shannon's house, and had a near breakdown after selling off pieces of Evan's soon to be defunct nursery.

As we move into our much smaller digs, our boys are in for a little surprise, a shared room. At this point, Zachary has a "big boy" room, complete with a toddler bed, bright colors, and Babar posters. Evan, on the other hand is still my baby boy. His room is in fact almost unchanged from the time we brought his big brother home from the hospital. The nursery has a jungle theme, and showcases animal prints, a giraffe lamp, and a matching toy chest and rug. Now that the boys will be roommates we have to consolidate their belongings, which means bye-bye lions, tigers & cutsie stuff.

I put some of the nursery items up for sale on the Highland's Mommies classifieds. To my surprise, I got immediate response. This evening two women with swollen bellies came to my home to claim my beloved nursery decor for the babies they are expecting. As they walked out of my home carrying their goods, feeling proud of their bargain shopping I had an urge to rush after them and demand my stuff back. It feels like yesterday when I myself was anticipating the arrival of my first born, and I stood with my mother in Babies R Us, planning my baby's room. And now here I am dismantling it.

It wasn't suppose to be this way. Evan was going to stay in his baby nursery until he was at least three, and even then I was going to store the remnants of the jungle room in the attic until I was really ready to part with them, perhaps at their high school graduation. Everything has changed now that we are leaving and moving into a house with basically no storage. And although, Evan is still a baby, I feel that selling off so much of the baby gear signifies an end of an era, an era I am not ready to leave.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Three Letter Word.

I lived in Minneapolis in my early/mid twenties. It really is a big, diverse city, that also attracts people from more remote and rural parts of the state. At no fault of there own these small towners are exposed to a totally new world when they visit the twin cities. I remember being absolutely shocked when my blond haired-blue-eyed boss at Kelly Services accompanied me on a client visit to American Express and wondered aloud "what is that?" upon seeing the token menorah display in the lobby. At first I thought she was kidding, but quickly realized she had probably never met a live Jew before.

It was during this time that I heard my favorite morning radio hosts facilitating a discussion about a small town four year old and her mother who were visiting Minneapolis for the weekend (probably to oooh and ahh over the atrocity that is The Mall of America). Mother and daughter hopped on a city bus, and were surrounded by more diversity than they had seen in their entire lives. We are talking real life black people! The little girl opened her mouth and to her mother's horror said in an ever-so-loud voice "Mommy why does that person have brown skin and funny hair?". An innocent question, but it made everyone on the bus uncomfortable. The radio hosts were debating what mom should have done in that situation. This was pre-kid for me, so I am sure I had a whole host of opinions, none of which were probably all that practical.

Well my time finally came. That moment when my own child mortified me in a public situation. Zack and I were at the local King Supers doing our weekly grocery shopping. Zack was in the cart that was fashioned into a race car. He was busy steering and beeping while I was comparing prices on canned tomatoes. A large man was standing next to me and brought to my attention that this week the smaller cans were a better deal. I thanked him, and he began to walk away. It was at that moment Zack informed me "Mommy that man is FAT". I immediately scolded him and told him " Zachary, never say that, that is not nice, you could hurt his feelings". Zack responded "but why mommy? He is a big, big boy". UGGGGG. I don't know if the shopper heard us, or if he was out of ear shot, but he didn't turn around or respond. I continued to tell Zack that it isn't nice to call someone fat, and he continued to not understand why, after all it was true.

Later it occurred to me that perhaps I was doing society a disservice with my reaction. Zack was really only stating the obvious, as he often does. In his mind he might as well have been telling me "you have short hair" or "sponge bob lives in a pineapple under the sea". He wasn't attributing any value to fat, and he really wasn't saying anything that we didn't already know. It wasn't as if with Zack's comment the man would look at himself for the first time and realize that he was in fact a couple hundred pounds overweight. But it was I, who told Zack that fat was a bad word, and that being overweight was something to be ashamed of. Honestly though, what else is a mother to do? If I had simply acknowledged his words and said "Your right Zack!", It would have appeared to the rest of the world that I was encouraging Zack to call people names. If I ignored the comment it would look like I was an uninterested parent who let their offspring get away with bad behavior. Fact of the matter is that in our society fat might as well be a four letter word, and kids can't go around announcing it's presence.

Eventually we moved on as I pushed the cart towards the produce section and the topic was dropped. Perhaps Zack has learned his lesson, he certainly hasn't called anyone else fat since. My sadness is that he probably learned the wrong lesson.

Monday, September 21, 2009

California Stars

Another middle of the night post. Drat the insomnia. Things are coming together with The Move, and we are in the home stretch. I have had several dates with girlfriends to say goodbye, we held a farewell party, and believe that we have even found renters for our home. There is still much to be done, but it is starting to occur to me that this is really happening. Everything has been so noisy recently, so much chaos. Running around trying to figure out the details and squeeze in last-chance get togethers, I am really afraid of how quiet it is going to be once we drive up to our new California life. Sure at first there will be unpacking, finding Zack a preschool, searching out the nearest grocery stores and in my case, liquor stores (wine is indeed a very good friend of mine). But before long I am going to find myself without a need for a calendar to keep track of our social lives, it will be easy enough to keep in my head.

My mother-in-law,with her true Nordic stoicism told me that I just needed to have a better attitude about the whole thing, and be happy that I can focus on my family for a while. Sometimes I wonder how some people can keep such a stiff upper lip. I know that there is positive in all of this, that this is an exciting adventure of sorts, however for now, I just need to be sad a while. Screw positivity. Anyone who knows me, understands that I have never been a glass-half-full-kind of gal. No Swed am I. No, I am emotional and often pessimistic, but eventually I'll come around.

Zack has a new favorite song to listen to on the Ipod, Wilco's "California Stars". Daddy has been playing it for him every time we get into the car, perhaps in an attempt to get him excited about The Move. It's a pretty song, and each time I hear it I am filled with mixed emotions. Mostly it makes me sad, I don't want to leave my Rocky Mountain high, I have never thought of myself as the California type, and my heart aches when I think of leaving our life here. But then of course the same stars hang above both states, and Colorado will never be far from my heart, it will always be home and only a few frequent flier miles away.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Super Hero

I have a vague memory of being somewhere around preschool age and wanting to go to the playground in my Wonder Woman Underoos. There was no question in my mind, that there was nothing weird or inappropriate about a public display of my superhero-ism. I ran around that park, clad in a wonder woman undershirt, underwear and a red cape-left over from a more innocent little red riding hood Halloween costume.

A couple of days ago, I purchased Zack his very first super-hero costume, on a whim, while on a Target run. In the past several weeks (which have interestingly coincided with the start of preschool), Zack has taken on a sudden obsession with Super Heroes. One day he is Spider Man and the next he is Super Man. He often talks about the Green Lantern, although I have no idea who or what that is. So for a mere $24 dollars I bought a Halloween costume for Zack to be enjoyed a full month early.

Now I know I am the victim of total consumerism, however I must say it has brought great joy to my heart to watch the little guy prancing around in the over sized hero getup. He put the thing on as soon as we got home, and didn't take it off until bedtime, after he was informed that he could not use the outfit as pajamas.

For the next several days he has worn the costume constantly. Yesterday he showed off his his blue and red outfit on a trip to the fancy-pants Cherry Creek Crate & Barrel, where we were headed to purchase a new sofa for our California home. We received smiles and winks from upscale shoppers and sales clerks. Later that day Zack ran around our backyard "flying" with the use of this polyester cape. He asked me "mommy do you know how fast I am?" "How fast?" I answered. "Faster than a skeeting bullet" he informed me. Yes buddy, you certainly are. I didn't correct him, it was too cute.

He has had so much enjoyment from this silly Target impulse buy. It takes him to another world, and provides him with this super-powers. It was the best purchase I have made in a very long time.

Oh how I wish I could be four years old for just a day, and run around with Zack in my underoos, cape flapping in the breeze behind me, not a care in the world, faster than a skeeting bullet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Renting Game

Renting, it's kind of like dating, or at least I imagine that it is. Lucky for me I have not dated in many, many, many years. I have never dated as a true adult, but I envision finding renters has some very real similarities. It is the whole, this is who I am... do you like me? Do we fit, scenario.This is our home. There isn't much more personal than your home. If people don't like your home- you have to start to wonder, is there something wrong with it? Is there something deficient in me? I can't take this rejection.

So far we have had a variety of home suitors stop by for a look. The first potentials described themselves as a "young professional couple, with no kids". They walked through the house, I felt hopeful, I did my sales pitch-"take a look at the walk in closet! You just don't get that in this neighborhood", but as they walked out the woman told me "wish we had a family to fill all those bedrooms". Strike One. Another upbeat guy came over a couple of days later. He was a bartender at The Capital Grill, and his wife is a student. They planned to share the home with his best buddy, another bartender from the restaurant. He looked at the way our house was laid out and quickly decided that unless his buddy wanted to live in the dungeon that is the basement, he would be awfully close to the marital bedroom, leaving every opportunity for an invasion of privacy. Strike Two.

I was very hopeful when a gentlemen called me and informed me he and his family were relocating from Minnesota. Finally a family! My heart dropped when he told me was moving from Coon Rapids-that gave me a hint that they were suburban folks. I told him right away that this was an urban neighborhood, but he assured me he was still interested. He showed up, toured the space in about 3 minutes and headed for the door. I asked him what other neighborhoods he was considering and he answered-Parker & Highland's Ranch. Well there you have it. I am quite sure he left unimpressed with my large kitchen, and instead was disgusted by the "charm" of the home. Strike Three.

Today we had three bachelors spin through the house, and left with the "will call you" cliche. This place just doesn't have bachelor pad written on it does it?

Sigh. There are no four strikes in baseball, but we will have to keep trying.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There is nothing like feeling organized. For too long I have been sloppy. Stashing whatever was in the way, or messing up my counter space into the 10 million drawers and closets that I currently have. All of that is changing with The Move. Yes, The Move means half of the space, and I need to get creative.

I have spent time trying to recall episodes of the now cancelled, "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy", that fab five used to work miracles with tiny Manhattan apartments. Oh, how I wish I could get them out to our new pad to do their magic. I am quite sure they would do some promotional plug for The Container Store, my new most favorite spot. Even Tina Fey has endorsed the organizational palace on "Third Rock", when on a shopping spree in the store she proclaimed she would now be "fabulous" because of her new sense of organization. I have had that very same rush each time I have set foot in the plastic wonderland.

I am now the proud owner of seven under the bed organizers, housing everything from sheets to sweaters to shoes. I also now have an on-the-wall spice rack, although it only holds about 1/3 of our current spice collection. (Who needs tasty food anyways?). I purchased a make-shift jewelry box- a cheap plastic container with many small colored boxes to keep my ridiculous collection of earrings in. (A girl with hair as short as mine needs LOTS of glittery jewels to add a touch of femininity to her look).

I invision many more trips to the store of all stores, in an attempt to make our new much, much smaller space enjoyable.

AHH yes, there was a time when I would deposit my paycheck directly to Banana Republic or Express, but these days it is all about practicality. It is all about The Container Store.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dead Cat Walking.


Boyfriend: "Move to Minneapolis with me. You can get a cat"

October 1997: Trip to the Golden Valley Humane Society. We select a lovable orange cat and Dave names him "Wiggum", after Ralph Wiggum of the Simpons. (Think "teacher, my cat's breath smells like cat food".)

1998: Me: "Wiggum needs a friend-please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top". Boyfriend: "alright".

Thanksgiving Weekend, 1998: We find an animal shelter in the middle of rural Minnesota. We pick out a small orange kitten, born to it's feral mother. We name him Flanders (think "Hidely Ho neighbors! How diddly do you do?")

1999: Newly Weds return from honeymoon to find cat pooh all over the carpeted floor of a no-pets allowed apartment complex. Us: opps-time for Science Diet Sensitive Stomach.

December 2002: Our "family" Christmas Cards are homemade-by yours truly, and feature a photograph of Wiggum & Flanders side by side in the living room window. I carefully pasted santa hat stickers on their furry heads.

2002: We pack up our family (Husband, Wife, Wiggum & Flanders) and drive out to our new home in Sunnyside, Denver.

2003: Me: How about a Dog? Husband: Are you totally sure?

2003: We trek to the Dumb Friends League and find a little black lab puppy Bascom. She rides home on my lap.

Upon arriving at home with dog:
Flanders: Howls, runs and hides in the box spring of our bed. We hardly see him again until we have to pack up and move to our new home a year later.

September 2005- The arrival of our first son Zachary. Our pride and joy. Flanders now appears only after midnight, and remains hidden among the boxes and ruins of our attic.

Summer, 2006: We start to notice the strong stench of cat urine coming from the attic. We know who is to blame.

June 2008: The arrival of Evan. Flanders joins me in the moonlit nursery for midnight feedings when Bascom is snoozing downstairs. We bond.

September 2009: We make the decision to pack up the family and head to Berkeley California. We will now be renters in a much smaller home. We know there will be fewer kitty hiding spots, and that we can't take the risk of soiling someone else's home with cat odor. We make the decision that Flanders will not join us for the next phase. Since he will be all but impossible to find adoptive "parents" for (anyone want a scardy cat, don't touch me, I pee on everything orange tabby?), and the no-kill shelters are not accepting new cats, he will need to go to the Table Mountain Animal Shelter, where there are no guarantees. I feel like I am feeding a lamb to the wolves, sending an innocent convict down death row. He doesn't deserve this.

Im a bad cat mommy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Open House

I am sitting here in my immaculate, beautiful home. I am waiting. Waiting for the hoards of potential tenants coming to view the splendor of a super clean, charming Victorian. We have worked hard over the past week, organized drawers, updated the kitchen hardware, cleaned out the linen closets, the medicine cabinets, shampooed the carpets and spayed Windex on the mirrors. There is a cheerful bouquet of peach roses on my coffee table, and the toys are put neatly away in the boys bedrooms. Now this is home. I feel proud of this place. I wonder why the heck didn't I do this before?

Here is the problem. It isn't like Field of Dreams. "If you build it they will come". I've built it, my house has never looked so amazing....but nobody is coming. Not a soul. The open house will be over in exactly 40 minutes. I am contemplating running to 38th street with a sandwich board advertising "RENT OUR HOME!!", but I don't have any poster board.

I am panicking at the thought of paying our ridiculous California rent and carrying our mortgage for God only knows how long. I invision our "cushion" getting eaten away, and ending up on a budget that leaves little room for anything other than ramon noodles and Yellow Tail. (Does anyone actually like Yellow Tail?).

Where oh where are my hoards of people? For God's sake-the boys will be home soon, and the house will be pulled apart, the counters will be dirtied, the toys will be pulled back out, the clutter will begin again, and my flowers will die. Then I'll have to start all over again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I am having a fabulous weekend, and it HURTS. I see everything in a different light now. I see it as loss. Look what great friends you have Rachel, in three weeks, your going to be alone. Look what a great neighborhood you have, in a few weeks-it will all be different.

Last night Shannon and I went out for girls night downtown. It was wonderful, kind of like the old days, but not exactly. When I first moved to Denver Shannon quickly became my closest friend. She and Darren lived directly across the street from us. Neither of us had children and we all had a taste for Coors Light and a good Rockies game under the sun. We started spending most weekends together, and would often get together mid-week for a American Idol and cheap pizza. They were good friends, and easy friends. We never fought, we were neighbors, and we developed a very un-fussy friendship. Over the years, the bonds tightened. We went on vacation together to Costa Rica and had a truly amazing time, full of sun, pina coladas and laughter. I cherish that memory. We had our first babies around a year apart from each other, and then by total surprise were pregnant with our second at exactly the same time, the boys were born two days apart. Shannon was there for me in my darkest postpartum colicky baby moments. We became stay-at-home moms together and joined the same "June babies" playgroup. We both transitioned from partying-DINKS, to coupon snipping parents. So last night we got dolled up and went to my favorite champagne bar on Larimer Square and sat on the patio sipping cocktails. There were a few tears, but mostly we just had fun. We finished off the night in a reenactment of a drunken night out many years ago-ordering two desserts apiece at The Market.

Today was a cool, gray, fall Saturday. Dave went to the mountains with the guys for a golf/poker weekend, and I took Zack and Evan to the annual Sunnyside Music Festival. As soon as we arrived I found our neighbors and sat down to lunch with them. Moving on I met my friend Amy with Luke & Ella, and the kids bounced in the bounce house together, we sat and listened to our favorite local children's music-sensation "Anya and the Music Train", we found Darren there who snuck me a little Baily's for my coffee. It was that feeling of totally fitting in, knowing everyone, being home.

I finished off the day at Gelmans for dinner with Amy, Luke & Ella. I adore that woman. She at first seemed an unlikely friend. She was married to David's coworker, Bill (whom I also adore). They were a little older than us, and and when I first met her, I thought of her as a simply Dave's co-worker's wife. That certainly changed. We also got pregnant at the same time, she had her twins a few Dave's before Zachary was born. For the first few months after the babies arrived we would get together weekly, annoying waiters with our strollers and requests for bottles of warm water to mix with formula, we joined a Music Together class, and met up for an occasional glass of wine sans offspring. She quickly became one of my most admired and loved friends. She is an amazing mother, and an incredibly giving woman. Tonight we shared a hectic meal out, complete with a screaming-food-throwing-Evan, and dinner entrees that took over 45 minutes to arrive at our table. But we had fun, and we were happy to be out together with our mess, rather than at home alone.

What a full, wonderful weekend. How much I am leaving behind. How empty that feels.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sticker Shock

First of all I have to stop with these 3am blog posts, but it appears I now have a touch of insomnia. I lie awake, my head swimming with details "remember to clean out the hall closet before Sunday", "I wonder where on earth we are we going to put the spice rack in our new-no-space-what-so-ever-kitchen? " and a big one "How are we going to afford all of this?" It's never ending. I can't seem to shut it off.

So how are we going to afford this new California life? When we arrived in Oakland for our house hunting trip I was fully prepared to be appalled by the cost of housing, so seeing the price tags on the nothing-special homes didn't shock me. It's a fact of life that we are going to pay more for less. It stinks to see the new bigger paycheck get eaten up just with the basics. What I wasn't ready for was the cost of other necessities. One shining example is preschool. Yesterday I began the process of searching for a new school for Zack. Zack has been in some sort of daycare or educational program since he was three months old, he enjoys it, and we both benefit from shall we say,some needed space. He will be four in a few weeks, so no preschool is simply not an option, particularly if I am to remain a functioning member of our society, rather than being locked away in the nuthouse.

I found a program that I was excited about at the JCC, a mile from our new home. It sounded like a solid school, with the added reward of joining a real community. After leaving the administrator numerous messages, I finally connected with the less-than-friendly woman. She didn't have the time of day for my questions. She seemed exasperated when I asked about openings, class size and registration. Hello? Don't you want to fill up your partially empty classroom? Finally I inquired about the tuition that we would be required to pay for the privilege of attending. The lady didn't miss a beat "$850 per month, and we require a one year commitment". Excuse me? Did she say $850 per month? Are we talking about a half day preschool? You know the place you drop your four year old off for a whopping three hours a day? The place where they draw a few pictures, run around on the playground, eat a few graham crackers, mess up their new clothes and then leave at lunch time? Is there something extra special about the JCC preschool that I might be missing? Are the teachers Nobel prize winners? Are they serving brie and shrimp cocktail for snack? Trying to hide my disbelief I asked the lovely administrator if this is an unusually high priced school. I inform her that here in Denver the cost for Zack's early education is less than $400 per month. She pretty much slaps me with the "your not in Denver anymore sweetheart" speech and we hang up agreeing to meet when I arrive in Berkeley.

After researching other are schools I have come to find that in fact, $850 per month is about the average. You can't find much cheaper, but you can certainly find more expensive-I looked at some programs with an annual tuition fee of $13000 for 15 hours per week.

Mama's gonna have to get a job.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Packing up your entire life for an out-of-state move is no small job. I have already spent countless hours in a hot, dusty attic sorting through boxes and bags. Knowing that I have to fit my belongings into a home with less than ½ the amount of space (but nearly twice as expensive, and don’t get me started), I have been quite motivated to purge. The process of downsizing is not an easy one, although I have been surprised with my liberal attitude toward just plain getting rid of things. But these belongings are mostly items I have held on to for many years because of there sentimental value or what they represent to me.

As I have dug around the boxes of old clothes, photographs, and keepsakes, I have come to realize that most of this worthless stuff either represents memories from my past (senior pictures, slam books, programs from my performances), or my hopes for the future (prom dresses for a little girl’s dress up, a size zero pair of Capri pants I may someday fit into). Sorting these items may prove to be as beneficial as a trip to a therapist.

The trigger for all this self-reflection was dragging out a box of high school memorabilia. I pulled out the journals, the Class of 92 coffee mug, and my West High School present’s Pippin sweatshirt in florescent orange and blue-(I am not sure who designed that one, but I am guessing they did not make it in the world of graphic design). Underneath it all I found a shiny blue and gold trophy. A trophy. Not participating in athletics, this was the only trophy I ever earned. I won the prized possession for taking first place in a forensics prose competition in 1991. I have held on to the damn thing for all of these years. Although hardly a major accomplishment, I was never so proud or excited as the day I won the honor for reciting a short story about infertility. It strikes me as odd now that a 16 year old teenager would act out the part of a grief stricken woman unable to conceive. Ironic that years later, I actually experienced the pain of infertility first hand.

Seeing that trophy I had a flash back to the girl I used to be. I was miserable in high school, insecure, moping around after a boy who wasn’t interested, obsessed with losing weight, and generally hating myself. Today, as I look at my high school treasures, it pains me that I was so hard on myself. I was great. I was active and involved, running from rehearsal, to voice lessons, to forensics, on to the peer helper group I was elected to. I studied hard and got all A’s and B’s. I had so many interests. I won a freaking trophy. No, I was never invited to a cool party in the woods with a keg, and on that dreaded day around the Valentines holiday when perky cheerleaders delivered roses to the most popular in homeroom, my stomach ached, for I would never receive one. But I see the pictures of the “ugly” girl I thought I was, and I see a prettier than average teen, and wonder what the heck my problem was.

I miss the competitiveness-in forensics winning a first or second prize, on a paper earning an A, getting “Highest Ranking Senior” in the University of Wisconsin’s Child & Family Studies program. Today, there are no trophies, A’s or scholarships for being a sometime-contract recruiter and a stay at home mom. Maybe that is why I adore interviewing so much, “winning” the job, impressing others. And perhaps that is why I am so disturbed about my inability to be a truly exceptional housewife. I am simply not good at keeping a tidy, organized Martha Steward-worthy home. I wouldn’t even get a bronze medal for that.

They say that hindsight is always 20/20. Given my regret for my teenage years, my guess is that someday I will look back on my thirties and think I was an energetic, social mother who gave her kids all types of fun experiences, and that although I own not one, not two, not three but probably four junk drawers, and that my refrigerator always has crusted food stains on it, I was great

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Moving On....

Its 2:30am. I'm sitting at the desk in a fine resort in Oakland California. I can't sleep. My husband is happily in slumber land in the bed behind me. I am gazing at an unfamiliar skyline, a beautiful show of a million lights. We aren't on vacation. We have shared a whirl-wind, frenzied weekend of house hunting in the bay area. We are moving.

David has accepted a career-changing position with a huge company. Although, weary of leaving behind a beloved life in Colorado he is a flutter with the excitement of a new future and an adventure. He is moving to a company that pursued him and will offer him welcomed new challenges. I on the other-hand feel like all I am doing is leaving behind.

I am petrified and sad. Certainly, there is a part of me that is excited to live in an amazing part of the country. I envision trips to "The City" with the boys-gobbling up sourdough bread and clam chowder on the wharf and family excursions on the cable cars. But that is a family vacation. This is no vacation. This signifies an end to a life I have spent the past eight years building.

I can and most likely will get lost in the details and logistics of such a major move. The next few weeks are going to involve so much work. We need to pack up our three story, nearly 3000 square foot house into boxes, hopefully packing only enough contents to fill our new rental home that will be ruffly half the size. This means sorting through, in my case YEARS of crap. I must admit I am a bit of a pack rat. In a recent purging frenzy I have sorted through probably 15 years of clothing, finally donating souvenir T-Shirts from London (but I am KEEPING my Billy Joel concert t-shirts, damn it!), items that are too small or too big, or skirts that are embarrassingly short (good Lord, I was a whore). I have drawers and closets and general messes of keepsakes, photos, birthday party supplies, you name it. All will need to pass the "Do-I-really-need this" test. I must get our own home in shape to be rented, and find lovely new tenants to fill our empty home. I need to find a preschool for Zachary and schedule telephone service and all of those other necessary utilities.

The details are good. The work is good. When I stop thinking of those things- I am left to think about what we are really doing, and it leaves me in a near-panic-attack state. I start to think of what I am leaving behind and the life I have built. I have had such an amazingly full life here. I have a professional network I have built up over the past eight years, I have my adored friends Shannon and Darren whom we were lucky enough to meet and share margaritas with within days of our first arrival to Denver,, I have my sister and her husband, my nephews. My nephews. Zack and Evan were suppose to grow up really knowing their cousins. Sharing barbeque's with them, and feeling as though Auntie Erica's house was a second home. Now the relationship will likely be boiled down to holiday visits and maybe later random facebook posts.

Those who I have shared the news with thus fair have been supportive. They have told me they are sad to see us go, but that I will build a new life, make new friends. This is true, but at the moment I feel like lying on the ground and throwing a full blown temper tantrum, kicking my feet and pounding my fists and crying "BUT I DON'T WANT TO!" I don't want to make new friends I have my friends. I don't want to learn a new city, I am so deeply in love with my community.

Eventually the self pity party will end. I'll deal with it. I have no other choice.