Friday, September 30, 2005

A Long Lake Weekend

yay! My parents recently closed on a new lake cabin about 45 minutes north of Portland. At Lake Merwin, for any fellow PNW'ers who might know the area. It's AWESOME! The lake house itself is nice, but it's not palacial. In fact, it's a double-wide. But it's a nice double-wide. It came completely furnished in every way. The family my folks bought it from walked away clean. They left linens, all the furniture, all the kitchen supplies (even cling wrap and cleaning supplies!), washer/dryer, and even a jet ski, paddle boat, and aluminum fishing boat. Plus some water skies and fishing stuff. And a big trampoline and hottub! Even a bunch of kids Disney videos. They left it all. Our whole family is heading up there this weekend - today thru Sunday - for the innaugural stay and to christen the place. You see, it's my Dad's 62nd birthday tomorrow so we're going to the new lake house to celebrate. I'm so excited! My mom is calling it a "work weekend" as there are plenty of projects to do, but we plan on lots of fun as well. I love it when my family gets together (remember, I have 3 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law, 2 nephews and a niece). Unfortunately, my sis and bil who live in San Fran can't be there, and one of my other sisters has to work all weekend so she's sending her family without her. Otherwise, we're all there. Our family likes to play board games, so I'm picturing a couple of evenings with the 5 kids happily watching a video after splashing in the hottub while the grownup's challenge each other to a roaring game of Cranium. Does it get better than that? And of course, the ever-spectacular views of Lake Merwin will be spread out before us. Gorgeous.

So I'm gone for a few, but back on Monday. Take care of yourselves this weekend and have fun! I sure plan to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Things That Annoy Me

I dunno, maybe I'm having an off day. Maybe it's cuz I'm on my period. Maybe it's because it's Wednesday. Whatever it is, today I've found I've been mentally compiling a list of various and sundry things that have annoyed me this week:

~ Having to drag you child kicking and screaming from the park, when there is no clear reason for the kicking and screaming other than suggesting said child ride his bike to the car. Oh the horror - !

~ Remembering to bring a book I had borrowed from a friend to the park in order to return it to her, but not being able to actually give the book back because you were delayed by kicking and screaming child (see above).

~ When you're down to a last few remaining wipes in the soft-sided package they come in and they no longer pull out easily, forcing you to tug and pull and do crazy one-handed jerking motions to get a silly wipe out because your other hand in restraining your daughter from playing with her own poop.

~ Removing old nail polish from your toenails and then having to dig out the nasty gunk that built up on the sides of your big toenail. What is that? Nail lint? It's gross.

~ Forgetting you have a load of wet laundry in the washing machine for several days and having to re-wash them because they started to mildew.

~ Finishing making a diaper cover for your daughter only to realize that it's too baggy in the front to ever hope to fit under clothes and having to do an unattractive alteration which just wasted expensive yarn and ruined to look of the project. Now it looks like oversized boys underwear.

~ Being informed by your husband, after 3 days of solo-parenting, that he'll be home late tonight because HE'S GOING GOLFING AFTER WORK.

~ The painful blister I got last weekend from wearing different, ill-fitting running shoes that has been preventing me from working out all week. I can only wear flip-flops (it's infected).

~ Trying to keep a band-aid on my daughters FACE because she walked in front of a swing before I could stop her and got clocked by the feet of the kid swinging, resulting in a gash on her cheek from a toenail slicing her. Yeah, it's pretty.

~ Nagging my kid to pick up his toys.

~ Hearing "I'm bored" and "I'm hungry" 500 times a day. Are kids NEVER satisfied??!

~ Having to wake up with a jolt because you hear the garbage truck rumbling down your street and realizing YOU have to take the garbage out, a job that is normally your husband's but he's out of town... And you end up inadvertantly flashing your neighbors in your rush to get the can to the curb.

~ My bangs - I'm sort of growing them out and they are at THE MOST AWKWARD length right now - too long to really be bangs anymore yet too short to tuck behind my ears.

~ Realizing that you're down to the last roll of TP in the house when you're on the potty that has run out....

And people? It's only Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Belated First Day

If you had asked me last spring where we'd be this fall, I'd have told you: moved! It never occured to me that law firms wait to hire new attorneys until after they know if the candidate has passed the Bar or not. Like, DUH! Silly me. So here it is, nearly October, and Nicholas was not enrolled in preschool. We didn't know where we'd be so chose not to enroll him in his beloved school for fall term. Stupid mistake - we loved that school! And now it's too late: his spot is long gone, plus we've lost our student discount and the price jumped out of our range anyway. WAAAHHH! We'd kept Nicholas enrolled in preschool all summer, knowing there would likely be a gap when we moved. But here it is, 6 weeks later, and we're not moving anytime soon.

So what to do?? I've debated this around and around in my head: Is it better to just let him stay home with me fulltime until we've moved and gotten settled somewhere - I mean, he is just 4 and it's not like skipping school will prevent him from going to Harvard or anything. Or, do we enroll him somewhere else for the few months we remain? Would it be a rougher adjustment on him to have to start new somewhere, then leave and have to start all over again at a new place? After much thought I've done a complete 180. I've gone from being certain it was better to just wait to enroll him until we've moved, to deciding that he needs to be in school NOW. So that's what I did. I checked into a few places and found a very suitable preschool located on the campus of our district high school. He's going 2 mornings a week (Tues/Thurs). I had planned on him attending 3 mornings/wk when he was 4, but 3 mornings is *just* outside of our budget, and they didn't have room for him Mon/Wed/Fri anyway. So this is a good compromise. It's the same schedule he had at his first school so the routine remains the same. Today was his first day.

He was funny this morning, saying he's "a little bit nervous" about going to his new school. We checked it out together last week and he told me he'd "try it one day and see if he liked it." He was very reluctant as we left the house, but once we got there and the teachers were so warm and welcoming to him he forgot about being nervous and instead got very excited. It was fun to see. It was hard to pull Lauren out of there to leave - she was deep into playing with the blocks....

His hours at 7:30am - 11:45 and for $20/day you get a snack and a hot lunch. Not the cheapest preschool around, but reasonable. I'm just used to student rates, I guess. We paid about $27/wk, including lunch, for 10 hrs time before. So this is nearly double - yikes! But then again, the KinderCare down the street was charging $65/wk for 2 mornings, so that is the other extreme, I guess. When I showed up to pick him up we snuck into the observation booth so I could watch him without him knowing I was there. He was his usual cheerful self, happily eating a quesadilla family style and very proud of himself for pouring his milk into a cup without spilling. It was clear all was well. We went around to the proper entrance and Lauren rushed to play with a basket full of plastic animals while Nicholas finished his lunch. I met a few of the other teachers - surprisingly, half were men, and just soaked it all up. I was told he had a very good first day - no problems. It what I expected to hear - Nicholas is a pro at school having already gone for a year. After he was finished with his lunch he was told that he needed to brush his teeth. What??! We didn't know to bring a toothbrush.... no worries - they provide them and the kids brush their teeth after every meal. Awesome! It's little things like that that make me love preschool!

To celebrate his successful first day ("Mama, can I go back to my new school again? It was fun!"), Nicholas was rewarded with his favorite treat these days: a Slurpee from 7-11. His father introduced these to him and he loves them. Everytime we drive past a 7-11 I have to listen to him plead for one . He was thrilled to get one and it capped a very fun first day. And, while he was at school I was able to take Lauren to toddler storytime at the library, something we had been doing together every week while Nicholas was in school. It was nice to get to start that up with her again.

I'm confident my decision to put him back into a new school, even for a short time, was the right choice. All of his other little friends are in school, so playdates aren't happening. He's bored and making me crazy. He needed more stimulation and creativity than I was able (or willing?) to provide at home. He adapts easily and makes friends quickly, so this will be an easy transition for him. As long as he knows what's coming, he's good. And I LOVE looking forward to seeing my child again after a few hours vs. counting the minutes until it's nap or bedtime and I can get a break from him.

I used to LOVE the first day of school, and I guess I still do!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back to Normal

I think this may be one of those rare times, 2nd or 3rd behind the first exciting time it happened and you had been waiting anxiously for any sign of it, or perhaps when it was late and you were a teenager freaking out because of that one time when you and your boyfriend had been careless, when I'm thrilled to see my period. Yes, I'm talking about my period. If you've been reading my blog for awhile then you know I've been having some major complaints in that department. No birth control pill I've been on since weaning Lauren have worked well for me. I'd either had bleeding every 2 weeks, or none at all for a couple of months. Last month I threw in the towel, and caution to the wind, and quit taking the pill altogether. Mr. Chick and I had to switch gears and rely on male contraception, even on vacation. And yesterday, right on schedule, my period arrived. Beautiful, plentiful, reliable. And without cramps or irritability! Just like it was supposed to be ON THE PILL. I was uncertain about how my body would adjust for the first few cycles off the pill. But it snapped back into action without a hitch. I know it's sick, but this is just so reassuring for me to be experiencing a normal period again. A few of you had me (semi) freaked out about possibly being pregnant and that being the reason I had passed out like I did a few days ago. And while a 3rd baby wouldn't be the end of the world, it is most definitely NOT in the plans for our family, thankyouverymuch.

And as luck would have it, I get to retreat into my own version of The Red Tent as Mr. Chick will be away for the next 3 days. Smart man. I have to do the Single Parent thing, sure, but I also get my evenings (and the remote control) to myself, the bed to myself, and the container of ice cream to myself! And, a friend of mine just happens to be in the same boat at the same time, so she and I will hang out, drink some wine, and menstruate the way it used to be done: without the (annoying?) presence of men to create additional crankiness.

I think being on your period is reason to celebrate, don't you?!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Old School

I mentioned in my recent post about recycling how I was planning on putting Lauren back into cloth diapers. I still am. Now that's she's almost 2, I'm thinking it makes sense to put her back into cloth so she can start to feel when she's wet and we can begin, baby step by baby step, down the road towards potty training.

I had both kids in cloth diapers for the first year of their lives. With Nicholas, I used a diaper service. No muss, no fuss. But with Lauren, I had to BE the diaper service myself and do all the laundering. It wasn't that big a deal, but I was ready for a break after a year. I've always put the kids in disposables at night for the sheer absorption power they provide. I still plan to be a "hybrid" cloth diaperer and employ the disposable technology for overnight. I've always been curious about using a wool soaker/cover with the cloth diapers, but I could never justify the cost of them. It seemed prohibitively expensive when I was getting all my supplies way back when. I knew of the benefits, but cost was/is a real factor for me. THEN I learned how to crochet and it was a no-brainer that when I was ready to return to the world of cloth diapers that I would make a couple of wool soakers. And so I have. Behold:

Just needs the Velcro and it's done...

the soaker laid out full...

The leg opening - gussets and all!

I was able to knock this soaker out in 2 days time. In other words, quickly. It wasn't a complicated pattern (downloaded free of the Internet!). It's made from 100% organic wool. All that's left for me to do is add a band of Velcro across the front and smaller Velcro pads to the corners that wrap around, and I'm done. I have another pattern I'll be making next - a pull-on style with a drawstring waist. I'm not sure yet how well these will fit under her clothes as they might be too bulky, but maybe that's the excuse I need to dress her in more dresses! Huzzah! Posted by Picasa


Like many, I'm usually not wild about how I look in pictures. I'm my own worst critic. I find the flaws that, I'm told, I'm the only one to see or notice. I know I'm not alone in this phenomenon... am I? Regardless, we just got back a few pictures and I actually don't hate how I look in a few of them! Shocker!

This first one is as Mr. Chick and I were leaving our hotel to go to the wedding in NJ. I was ahead of him and he had the camera, and mock-voguing and general silliness ensued. I actually think I look pretty decent, at the risk of sounding like a vain braggard. That's a rarity, so I'm sharing this photo:


This second photo was taken just yesterday at Mr. Chick's swearing in to the Oregon Bar. Finally, a family photo where we all are at least looking at the camera and one of us (a child, usually) isn't scowling, crying, or squirming away. I look rather matronly, but not too frumpy. Mr. Chick says this screams "Soccer Mom", but whatever - I'll take it. It might end up being our Christmas card since getting decent family pics are hard to do.

Hot Mama! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Last night I experienced a very freaky incident: I passed out. No, not from drinking too much wine or anything... I just plain passed out. This hasn't happened to me since I was in college visiting a sick aunt with my family who was in the hospital. I suspect they had some sort of gas leak, because one of my sisters passed out and collapsed onto the bed in her room, and then I hit the deck out in the hallway. We got the hell outta there! Two kids down within minutes of each other? Not normal.

So last night I was helping Mr. Chick remove a few stitches from his neck. On our trip he had a couple of small moles removed. One of his best friends we visited is a physician and he did the mole removal right there in his dining room. I know - very sterile for minor surgery, right? Doesn't everyone have a buddy who'll cut on your neck for you over beers after dinner? Anyway, it was time for the stitches to come out and this is something I've done before. I'm not a squeamish person and this doesn't creep me out or anything, so I don't think what happened was situationally based. I got the first 3 stitches out just fine but was having trouble with the others ones. The scab was sort of deep making it hard to get at the knots to cut them. I'd had a headache all evening - something that is thankfully rare for me. I'd already been sleeping on the couch for an hour before attempting to pull out these stitches. So I'm delicately trying to get at the tough knots WITH A SCALPEL in my hand (a gift from our doctor friend for just this situation), when I suddenly feel very light-headed. I pause, remove the scalpel from my husbands neck, and tell him I'm having a major head rush. I'm leaning on the counter in our bathroom and he's telling me to take it easy and breeeaaathhhe, and that's the last thing I remember. I completely blacked out. Mr. Chick had to sort of catch me as I went down, and was able to direct my fall onto some throw pillows that were on the floor (because God knows I don't make my bed very often and therefore the decorative pillows more often grace my floor than my bed!). Mr. Chick tells me I wasn't out for very long, but I remember coming to thinking that what I was laying on was SO COMFORTABLE without realizing at first that I was ON THE FLOOR. There was a terribly loud buzzing/ringing in my ears. Mr. Chick helped me onto the bed and told me to lay down for awhile. My face started feeling very hot and sweaty, and then cold. He told me I was as white as a ghost, which sort of freaked him out. The remaining two stitches are still in his neck this morning. I think he's just happy I called attention to what was happening and was able to lower the scalpel before passing out, otherwise he'd likely have another wound that would require stitches!

I have no idea what caused me to pass out like I did. Admittedly, I skipped dinner for lack of appetite, but I've gone without a meal before without something this drastic happening to me. Normally I would just be sort of bitchy because of lower blood sugar, not collapse! I probably didn't drink enough water yesterday, but I didn't exactly feel dehydrated. Just to be safe, I drank a large glass of water before going to sleep, which was immediately. This morning I feel fine. Not shaky, or even hungry. The buzzing/ringing in my ears is gone. No headache. I've eaten breakfast and had my coffee, like usual. So by all appearances, what happened last night was just some bizarre incident. Freaky!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

That's "Miss MP" to you

Our recent trip really helped illuminate a few things for me. The recycling issue, obviously, was a big one. Another area with which I have been struggling came into focus for me as well: titles. By titles I mean the whole "Mr." or "Mrs." thing when kids refer to adults.
Growing up, I referred to all my parents friends, and my friends parents, as "Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So". It was just how it was done. We, as kids, were NOT on a first-name basis with these adults, even though we knew what their first names were from our parents. They were not our peers. But today, now that WE'RE the parents, Mr. Chick and I have struggled with the title thing. It feels and sounds just plain ODD to be called "Mrs. Chick". Plus, most of our friends don't want to be referred to in this manner by our kids. "Just call me John", is what they say. But that doesn't seem right, either. I want to respect the preferences of our friends, but I also want there to be some sort of line separating them from the kids.

I have found myself, subconciously (?), refraining from calling the moms of my kids friends by their first names in the kids' presence, instead referring to them as "Joshua's mom" or whatever. As in, "you'll need to ask Hannah's mom is that is ok.". Only this has sort of backfired because now, most of the time, Nicholas calls these people "Elijah's mom" directly to their face. He doesn't know better. He'll say, "Anna's mom, can I have more milk please?"

In Virginia, our friends told the kids to refer to them as "Miss Nicole and Mr. Ken". First names, yet more. It's sort of a happy medium and solves my dilemma. I can totally handle being called "Miss MP" by kids and it doesn't weird me out like being called "Mrs. Chick" does. Less formal, yet respectful. Nicholas's teacher last year was Miss Nadine, so that's a phrasing he's already comfortable with. I've decided to go with this new plan of respectful yet casual titling of friends where the kids are concerned. I'm not sure how my friends will respond. I did a sly reference yesterday when I ran into a friend at Target. The kids were with me, and as she was leaving I told the kids to, "say good-bye to Miss Kimberly". I'm not sure if she heard me or not, but she didn't look at me oddly or say anything. I mean, how can you object to something like that??

I'm curious about how other parents tackle this issue. IS it even an issue with you? How would you feel about being called "Miss" or "Mr." first name? Any and all input is appreciated!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Going Green

Having spent nearly the last two weeks as a houseguest in another part of our country, I got an up-close-and-personal view of how various people live. For the most part, everyone seems to do the same sort of stuff as us. They deal with the same "kid issues" we do. They follow generally the same routine. They eat the same sort of meals. But there was one GLARING difference that both Mr. Chick and I simply cannot get over: recycling. OK, there is another big difference - pumping your own gas, but that's minor compared to the recycling thing (we're not allowed to pump our own gas in Oregon. It's done for you by a gas station attendant. It's both good and bad.).

Here in Oregon it seems we are WAY more environmentally-friendly than in other parts of the country. It's second nature to me to recycle EVERYTHING I possibly can. The sanitation companies, admittedly, make it very easy to do. Oregon was one of the first states to pass the Bottle Bill, way back when, that essentially charges you a deposit on every beverage can/bottle ($.05 each, generally) and then you take the bottles and cans back to ANY store, not just the one at which you purchased them, and you get the deposit back. It keeps things much cleaner to have this in place. We simply keep a paper grocery bag in our garage and collect the beer and soda cans there and take them to our local grocery store when we've got several bags worth. My first job, in fact, was working in the back of a grocery store doing the bottle returns. A totally nasty job, but it beat babysitting at the time. Now they have the machines you put your cans and bottles into and spits out a receipt for the deposit money that the cashiers redeem. In most of the other states I've visited or lived in, people usually THROW CANS AND BOTTLE AWAY! How can they do this??! Seriously. Mr. Chick and I shuddered each time we had to put a can or bottle in the garbage can. It's just wrong when recycling them is so much easier. At least where we live.

Funny sidenote: my roommate my freshman year in college was a debutante from the Bay Area, CA. They clearly did not recycle cans and bottles in her household growing up - it was a new concept to her when she found herself in the heart of "green" on the UO campus. She quickly latched onto the idea and started recycling. Then she figured out that if you collect OTHER people's cans and bottles and take them back to the nearby grocery, you get some extra $$$ for whatever. The floor above ours in the dorm was a guys floor, and they were slobs, of course, who drank a ton of beer on the weekends (duh!). It was easy to just go up there on a Saturday and get quite a haul of cans to take back. She thought this was fun and easy and mentioned it to her mother. Her mother was APPALLED at the thought of her precious daughter stooping to collecting discarded beer cans for money and promptly sent her $100 in the mail so she woudn't have to continue her "disgusting ways". HA! See? It's all about perception.

Same goes for paper, plastic, glass and tin. Here at our house, we recycle all of those things. Again, the sanitation company makes it easy. We no longer have to sort by material - everything goes in one big container and it gets sorted elsewhere. Except glass - you have to keep the glass separate. Our family generates less garbage than recycling materials. We're set up to have the garbaged collected every other week, and we have the smallest bin you can get. The skinny one. Our recycling bin, also collected twice a month, is the big daddy bin. And we fill it. All the junk mail that comes? Recycled. The plastic containers for yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, etc? Recycled. The Sunday newspaper? Yep, recycled. Milk jugs? Rinsed and recycled. The paper cardboard boxes that various food items come in (even the box that toothpaste comes in!)? Recycled. Soup cans, wine bottles, you name it, we recycle it. I take stuff out to the recycling bin everyday, but I only take the trash out once a week. Our friends in VA? They have the garbage collected TWICE A WEEK! I can't fathom that.

Why oh why isn't recycling made as easy as it is for me everywhere?? It's just so simple, and it makes so much more sense than throwing absolutely everything away in the trash. I know it's possible to recycle stuff everywhere, but it's not not as accessible as curbside pickup. You have to work a lot harder to recycle in other communities. I think that's a travesty because that becomes a barrier to doing it. Make it hard or difficult, and people won't do it. Sad, but true. We're generally lazy. Recycling should be as simple as taking out the trash. Period.

So maybe, just maybe, you can start to think of ways to make recycling a bigger part of your life. I'm about to put Lauren back in cloth diapers, which is just another way for me to cut down on the garbage I generate (there are several other reasons for switching back to cloth, but this is one). I makes me ill to think about how many of her shitty diapers are filling up landfills and poisoning our Earth. That's how I can make a difference. How can you?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Vacation's End

The vacation concludes. We're home again, safe and sound. It was a long trip with more travelling by planes, trains and automobiles than I care to repeat anytime soon. Except I will, within the next year, because we volunteered our seats on the way out and received THREE FREE ROUND TRIP TICKETS as compensation. They have to be used within the year. We're thinking maybe we'll take the kids to Disney next summer. Either that or Mr. Chick and I will run away to Vegas for some adult fun. Can't decide.

We started our vacation close to Washington D.C. We did the whole tourist routine and saw many of the sights. Mr. Chick and I have been to D.C. before and have visited most, if not all, of the Smithsonians (which ROCK, btw...) but we didn't think the kids would be too keen on doing a whole day of museum stuff. So we opted to do the walking tour of the memorials instead. We started at the Washington monument and made the loop down to the new WWII memorial. It's rather new, and pretty cool. Lots of water and fountains, which the kids liked. It's right next to the Vietnam Memorial, so we saw that. Both war memorials were pretty moving, but for us the WWII made a bigger impact because Mr. Chick's grandfather fought in that war and was a Japanese POW for over a year. We don't have any family members who were really involved with the Vietnam war, thankfully. Then we wandered over to the Lincoln Memorial, which is so impressive in it's sheer size alone. And the famous words he spoke are etched into the walls for eternity... We walked passed the White House, which always amazes me for how close it is to everything. You just walk along and BAM! The White House - right in the middle of everything. I always expect it to be set apart from the rest for some reason. We did do a fast and dirty look-see of the Smithsonian museum of Natural History - we thought the kids might enjoy seeing the dinosaurs and such. They did, but we ran out of time to really do it justice.

The weather was decent, and relatively low humidity for D.C., but it was still way to f'ing hot & humid for my liking. Damn! You break a sweat just standing. So uncool. A/C is a way of life - a necessity. It makes me appreciate living in the Pac NW even more. We saw LOTS of joggers running the paths all around the memorials. Lunchtime runners. How in the hell they can stand to run in that heat is utterly beyond me. If I lived there I would HAVE to join a gym or get super-fat. There is no way I could imagine exercising in that heat. Here are a few pics from our day:

Baby Chicks at Dubya's crib

MP & Nicholas at WWII memorial. The Lincoln Memorial is in the background. I'm pretty much melting in the heat/humidity at this point. Can you see how pink I look??

Mr. Chick & chicklets at the Lincoln Memorial

Chick Family in D.C. This was taken outside the Lincoln Memorial looking back across the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument.

We left the kids for a night and travelled 4.5 hours north to New Jersey for the wedding of some law school friends. OMG - the ESTATE where the reception was held was stunning! Absolutely something from a magazine. Old money. It's where the groom grew up and was built by his great-grandfather at the turn of the century. It's like a museum. Like the kind of place you expect to pay money to tour. We're told it's worth close to $10 million - gulp! I guess the family used to own something like 60 blocks of real estate in Manhattan back in the day, and still owns quite a bit. Big skyscrapers have, like, 100 year leases on the land and that's where the family continues to grow wealth. You can still see some of the NYC skyline from the roof of this mansion. It's truly how the other half live. But you know what? I don't think I'd want to live there. It didn't exactly give off a warmth that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. I can't picture coming down the grand staircase in my ratty bathrobe on a Saturday morning in search of coffee. Or the kids scampering about with a bunch of brightly-colored plastic toys strewn about. This place has a STAFF, for christ sake! Now, I would certainly be open to having a housekeeper help me out with the big cleaning, but otherwise, I'm good. No need for such extravagances.

I got good and wasted at the wedding. The cosmo's were going down too easy. 'Nuff said.

The last part of our trip was spent in Charlottesville, VA. We toured Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. It was a very interesting tour. He was a slave owner who struggled with the concept of slavery, yet didn't ever free his own slaves. Ultimately, at his death, he freed 5-7 slaves of the over 100 he owned. The Hemmings were given their freedom, and it was recently proven that Sally Hemming, a house slave, had one child that was a Jefferson. DNA bore this out. They can't confirm if it was Thomas Jefferson or one of his relatives, but it is definitely Jefferson DNA. Also? Jefferson seemed to be an early example of current Americans in that he died in debt. $107,000, to be exact. Just think of how much that truly represents back in the early 19th century. Staggering. They had to sell off quite a few things to pay off the debt, including most of the slaves. Jefferson was the "father of UVA", the big university in Charlottesville, and we got to see a lot of the campus. Gorgeous! It's what you would expect a big east coast traditional university to look like. Lots of brick buildings and white trim, and big trees. Very, very pretty. And muggy! God, the heat - !

But now we're home again and I'm faced with unpacking a shitload of laundry. But first, I'm going to join my family in the hottub. I missed the hottub. It's good to be back.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's OVER!

In other words, Mr. Chick PASSED THE BAR!! yay! You have no idea what a huge relief this is to KNOW that this sucker is behind us and we don't have to go through a repeat performance. I never had any doubt that he'd pass, but it's nice to have verification.

We're having fun on our trip and just relaxing. The kids are still adjusting to the time difference, but other than that are behaving well and having fun.

Back in a week...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bon Voyage!

I can't believe I haven't mentioned our trip before now. It's been a long time in the planning. Maybe because, for some reason, I'm not really excited about it is the only excuse I have for not mentioning it. You see, we're travelling with the kids, which means, you guessed it - not a lot of difference from my everyday life and a whole lotta extra work. They're just too young to do much with, especially since both of them still take naps and all. And restaurants? Puh-leese! Lauren is a demon and it's just exhausting for all involved. So an extended trip across the country with my offspring doesn't exactly conjure images of fun, frivolity, and enchanting sight-seeing. To me, I have visions of excruiatingly long plane rides, long car trips, cranky kids having to adjust to a 3 hour time difference, and being a perpetual house-guest having to constantly monitor and pick up after my children. Not exactly an idyllic vacation for Mr. Chick and I, lazing away on some tropical beach sipping chilled cocktails after a morning spent scuba diving.... although we will get one night alone, away from the kids.

The impetus for this trip is the wedding of some law school friends. They met and fell in love during the first year. She's from the West Coast, he's from the East. They will be building a gigantic house in Wyoming after the wedding, which is taking place at his family's estate in New Jersey. That's the reason we're travelling - their wedding. But it's an awfully long way to go for just a wedding, so we thought we'd kill a couple of birds with one flight, so to speak. We have several friends who live in Virginia, and this is just the perfect excuse to visit. So that's what we're doing. We're stretching one wedding in NJ into a 10 day trip to VA. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? I mean, aren't all the "little" states on the East Coast pretty close to one another? So going from one to the next is pretty easy, right?

We leave bright and early on Tuesday and fly into Dulles. Our first friends live just outside Washington DC in N.Virginia. They will be picking us up and letting us stay with them for a few days. Like us, they also have two young kids - younger than ours by 6-10 months. We met these friends on our honeymoon and we share an anniversary. It's pretty cool, actually. So while we're with them we'll be trying to do the whole Washington DC thing. I've been to DC a couple of times and really like it. I've just never been there with young kids... These friends are totally setting us up - they have an extra car they're letting us have for the duration of our trip. Plus they're letting us use their extra carseats, saving us the hassle of dragging ours across the country. AND, the best part, is they will watch the kids for 2 days/1 night so Mr. Chick and I can attend the wedding up in NJ. It's a 5 hour drive, we're told. We're planning on leaving early the day of the wedding, stay that night in a hotel, and head back the following day. It's a "no kids" event. We would have loved to spend more time in the area and sight-see in NYC, but we can't stick them with the kids for longer than we already are. C'est la vie. After we pick the kids up, we're driving an additional 4 hours or so south to the other end of the state to stay with some dear friends. Mr. Chick has been buddies with this guy since grade school. He was best man at our wedding and is Nicholas's Godfather. They have a baby girl who shares Lauren's birthday, one year younger (so not even a year old yet). We've never met their daughter. I'm not sure what there is to do in the Charlotte/Richmond area, but I'm sure we'll find something.

So, it will be a nice trip, but not an exciting one. It's great that we'll be able to see some friends and reconnect that way, but again, it's not a big break from my everyday routine. I will still be trying to find things to do that are kid-friendly, helping to cook 3 meals a day, picking up after my kids, doing some laundry, etc. We're just doing all of that in other people's homes is all. Except, of course, for the one night we get to escape into a very upscale wedding and hopefully celebrate Mr. Chick's passing of the Bar, along with all his law school friends who will also be at the wedding (results come out on the 8th!). Did I mention the bride and groom are both trust-fund babies? This is gearing up to be a very society wedding. I'm going to wear the bridesmaid dress I wore recently for my sisters wedding, and brave the fuck-me pumps as well. Wish me luck there - my feet were killing me last time.

I will probably not have much of an opportunity to post until we return late on the 15th. We're not even home until the 16th. So look for me then. Until then, don't forget about me! I hope to have some exciting news about Mr. Chick passing the Bar, and maybe a few funny stories from the trip. Kids are always good for a few of those!


Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Ring!

I need to learn to better trust my intuition. Mr. Chick has had my ring - in perfect condition - since he picked it up on Wednesday morning. I KNEW he was acting funny about it (read post below)!! He gave it to me last night as we were settling in to watch a video. He said he wanted to give it to me when we were alone, because it's special. Ahhh.. and Grrr! I mean, I love the sentiment and I'm so happy with how my ring turned out (it's gorgeous!), but I hated being put through the wringer like that. He's just lucky I didn't call the jeweler and rip them a new one, as I was very tempted to do.

But in the meantime, I have my pretty ring back on my finger where it belongs. And it feels so heavy! I'm not used to it anymore. It's all shiny, like it was when we were newlyweds. I love that. The new, bigger diamond is absolutely stunning - what a difference! I can't stop looking at it, all sparkly and mesmerizing. I snapped a few pictures, but my camera sucks and can't do close-up kinds of pictures. They come out all fuzzy. So it's hard to see the detail of the ring, but you can at least get a general idea:

how it looks on my hand

fuzzy side shot. You can *almost* see the scrolls underneath the raised sides... Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 02, 2005


Grr! I'm so pissed off I could spit nails! In another installment of the ongoing drama of getting the new center diamond mounted in my ring, the jeweler called last week to tell me the happy news that my ring was finished and ready to be picked up. Great news, right? I thought so, too. I made plans to go to Portland yesterday to get it - I was excited to have it back on my finger where it belongs. I mean, it's nearly been 6 weeks! However, plans change. Mr. Chick was going to be working near Portland all week and said he'd pick it up for me on Wednesday morning. I wait breathlessly for him to call me and tell me how it looks. When he finally calls me, he tells me that ONE side of the ring looked excellent, but the other side? Not so good. Yes, the designer (Judith Conway - BAH!) fucked it up AGAIN. I was stunned. And sad. And then really, really pissed. They've messed it up before - this is not the first time they've sent back shoddy work. UNACCEPTABLE!! It was their shoddy work that lead the jewelry store to issue us a $400 credit in the first place, 7+ years ago. This time, according to Mr. Chick, one of the decorative scrolls that support the raised Cathedral-style sides (with channel set diamonds in them, natch) was all smooshed on one side. HOW the jewelry store missed it is beyond me. But worse that that, how the designer studio missed it is boggling. It took Mr. Chick all of 10 seconds to spot the botched up section. I guess it wasn't exactly hard to see.... The jewelry store went all apologetic and offered all sorts of assurances that they will get it fixed to perfection ASAP, blah blah blah. WHATEVER. We leave at the butt-crack of dawn on Tuesday for a 10 day trip to the east coast (have I mentioned that yet? No? Details in another post, I promise), and I WANT MY RING FOR THE TRIP!! Chances are slim to none that that will happen. Not the way these people seem to operate.

For some reason, Mr. Chick is all calm and cool and unruffled about this, whereas *I* am ready to drive up there and throttle someone. Personally. With my bare hands. This is a big role-reversal for us. Usually I'm the one saying not to make waves, to not make a big deal, and he's the one asking for all sorts of make-goods and statements of unacceptability. It has me wondering if he's got something up his sleeve, actually. He's just acting so odd about this - sort of shifty-like - that makes me wonder if he's telling me the truth. I'm sort of expecting him to bust out the ring and shout "surprise! Gotcha!" or something. Hmmm... In the meantime, I'm going to continue being a first-rate bitch when it comes to the subject of my ring and how ridiculous this has become, and start drafting my "eat shit" letter, to be sent to both the jewelry store and the designer. GIVE ME MY DAMN RING!!

Free Counters
Hit Counters

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?