Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cankles & Cargo Pants

This was my first trip away from the anklebiters. My saintly aunt and uncle kindly agreed to watch them for a week, and preparing all of the little details that make up my life with the kids was a daunting task. Borderline overwhelming. Since they would be driving my car, I needed to get that disinfected. Since they would be cooking in my kitchen, I needed to find the stray mold spores hiding in my veggie drawer. By the time it came to leave, I was a tired, exhausted, emotional mess of a wreck that tried to hide her tears as her little ones furtively waved goodbye.

And then I boarded a fifteen hour flight headed to Hong Kong. Most of the travelers were extremely well dressed- in utilitarian cargo pants with cool looking shoes. Our flight was sold out, but luckily, the middle seat between Matt and I mysteriously remained empty. As people continued to board, Matt kept telling me not to get my hopes up. Then they locked the doors, and I did a celebratory jig and stretched out.

My older brother asked me what I was going to do on such a long flight. I jokingly told him that I packed lots of sticker books and lollipops. Little does he know, that I've been thinking about this for almost ten months. Fifteen hours of solace. Granted, most of it would be in the middle of the night, but for someone that hasn't been to the bathroom by herself in five years, this was an opportunity to indulge.

Cathay Pacific gives everyone their own little screen- and you can watch a live camera outside the cockpit, play video games, watch television or catch a movie. I watched "The Hangover." I started laughing so loudly the cargo pants people started giving me strange looks, and since it was 3am California time, I piped down. (Side note: Hangover was hilarious. So was "I Love You Man"). I also read. I splurged at Amazon, and throughout the week, I read the following:
The Help- by Kathryn Stockett (loved this. loved. loved. loved.)
Best Friends Forever- Jennifer Weiner (eh. Didn't like this one).
The Lost Symbol- Dan Brown (like my brother says, you always feel kind of dirty for reading such commercial candy, but it was decent)
Water For Elephants- by Sara Gruen (I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it a lot.)
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation- by Lauren Willig (cute historical fiction)

It was strange- leaving at 2am and flying east. We chased the night for the entire flight, and I kept opening the shade- checking for daylight. It was dark for quite a while. When we finally landed in Hong Kong in the mid-morning, my eyes were tired and my legs were swollen. We had a few hours to kill before our connection to Beijing, so yours truly decided to get a traditional Chinese Reflexology massage.

Big mistake. Huge mistake! It was the most painful 45 minutes of my life. My ankles were so swollen from the flight, and the elderly Chinese woman not only used her knuckles as torture devices, she slapped the patootie out of my calves. Matt took pictures, and if I didn't look so completely vile I'd post them. I kept trying to look composed, but I kept dissolving into giggles of pain as my legs were kneaded, poked and prodded.

After that and a $9 latte from Hong Kong Starbucks (they serve mango brown rice wraps y'all!) we boarded our flight for Beijing.
To Be Continued...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Awake, But Not Really

I'm back from China.
I did not choke on a fish eyeball at the Summer Palace.
I did climb the Great Wall-
which almost gave me a heart attack-
but that's a story for another time, hopefully soon.

Did you ever hear of this saying about jet lag?
East is the Beast & the West is the best?
I still think I won't sleep tonight.
15 hours is a big way to swing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bed Bugs

My dog thinks he's a cat. He's 65lbs of pure canine denial and thinks he belongs on your lap. Or in your bed. Every morning, George stealthily waits until Matt hits the ground running at o'dark thirty.The minute he hears the shower taps turn on, he leaps into bed and dives under the covers.

This might be funny if I haven't already been invaded by one or more anklebiters. My kids don't like to sleep alone. They have mastered the art of the "looking insanely cute and needy at 3am" routine that I regularly awaken with one or more princess-pajama clad bodyparts casually draped across my torso. (Where do kids get the talent to inflate their body mass and overtake a bed? How can a 3 year old take up that much bodily space? It defies the law of physics.)

The irony that should have been an Alanis Morrisette lyric is that I used to hate being touched when I slept. Seriously. Before kids and schizo-pooches, I would draw an imaginary line down the bed when it was time to get some shuteye. Like a roadtrip game played in the backseat of a 1970's station wagon- "this here is my space, and only my space. Do not cross that line or I will feed the dog an ice cube from the cooler and have him puke in the only pair of shoes you packed for our 2 week trip." (true story).

Now, I regularly constrict my ever expanding body into the 2cm of space that my daughter leaves me on the edge of the bed and wait for the sun to rise. So my crazy pooch can come join in the fun.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Meter Is Running

Back to school is kicking my ass.
There, I said it.
I only have 2 kids, so it's not like I'm Kate Gosselin over here, and one of them hasn't even started yet.
But Annie is only in school for 3 hours and 20 minutes.
3 hours and 20 minutes is not a lot of time when you factor in walking up and down the hill to school, Target runs because your kid hates Target and grocery store runs because your kid hates Operation fruit snacks. Starting Friday, I have to drop yet another anklebiter off at yet another school.

Which will leave me approximately one hour to be alone.
ONE hour.
Holy schnikey, folks. This could get ugly.

Then, because I'm so concerned that Annie is not in a full day of rigorous learning, I've bulked up her afternoons with activities. Like swim lessons. Ballet. Tap. Tumbling. Poking her mother's eyeball out with an ice pick.

Today, I had to go get vaccinated against typhoid and mad cow disease before my trip to China. Scheduling this amongst all of the many Mom-Taxi maneuvers I do was trickier than devising a national healthcare system. I've put off my airconditioning repairman THREE times because I'm not home for a long enough time to accomodate their window. I can't get my hair cut for another month for the same reason.

I feel like I'm constantly watching the clock. Or sitting on my ass waiting for someone to be done. With something. Because at the end of the day? I'm coming undone. All over.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Change of Heart

Today went great. Annie was excited from the minute she got out of bed. Her Daddy took the day off from work, and the whole damn-family walked the half block to school. She lined up outside of her classroom, waved goodbye to us, and was shepherded into the classroom by a teacher that was trying not to laugh as all of the mothers lost their swizzleshizz.

Yes. I cried.

Then, because I'm such a genius at time management I scheduled new swim lessons for the FIRST day of school- I took both kids to the swim club at 4pm. Annie's new instructor had a bit of a challenge. She kept giggling. She kept cackling (this Wicked Witch of the West cackle that means nothing but trouble). He would ask her to swim straight- she'd go sideways. She'd dive down to the bottom of the pool. She'd float on her back. ANYTHING but what he asked her to do.

After fifteen minutes, he gave up. He swam up to the side and asked if I minded if he gave the extra time to her little sister. Which was a great idea, but after 45 minutes of non-stop swimming for my three year old, she was completely wiped out.

By 5pm, my house looked like a toddler episode of "Cops." My kids were half naked, mouthing off worse than meth addicts from the South and screaming like wild banshees.

Oh school. How could I ever doubt you? I heart you. With every fiber of my being.