Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Root Beer Floats

I'm starting this post as I think of it, in the hopes of actually finishing a thought, instead of Googling La Leche League, or looking at GapMaternity's fall line...

Yes, dear readers, root beer floats, and while they weren't consumed sitting in my old red Subaru, served to me by an in-line skating server, just a few miles south of Middlebury, they were actual A&W floats.

So, my brother's wedding is an issue I've skated over for the most part, mostly because the road to this family event has been fraught with danger, strife, and drama, and I'm not into airing my family's laundry online - generally speaking. The trip down there however, had many highlights, and it's not fair to ignore the funny stuff just because I haven't said much about the topic before. After all, the story ends happily. How often do you get to say that?

Mark and I left Framingham last Friday at 6:30 AM, with our luggage and our dogs in tow. We had to drop the dogs in RI with my in-laws before heading out onto the open road. Our destination: Westminster, MD. Our route: RI-102 to US-44 to I-384 to I-84W. Staying on 84W, we meant to head to Scranton, PA, then down I-81S to Harrisburg, picking up PA-15 via I-83S, traveling as far as Gettysburg, then taking MD-97 into Westminster.

My parents swear by this route, as it avoids the traffic and tolls of the "coastal route" through New Jersey and Delaware. They usually make the trip in 7 1/2 hours, so I figured we could do it in 8. I didn't, of course figure for the difference between our having to detour via RI and Route 44, and their just hopping on 84W in Sturbridge and heading off....

So, we were a few minutes late for the rehearsal. Ten hours later. Ugh.

The rehearsal dinner, hosted by my fabulous parents, was held at the local Japanese Steakhouse. There were 40-some of us there, taking up four teppanyaki tables, and let me tell you, we are a hilarious bunch!

Mark got steadily smashed on sake, my brother was shooting Jameson's (his namesake whiskey, of course), my mother's brother fell in love at least six times that night alone women less than half his age, and I seriously considered babynapping Dyanna's cousin Peter. Just another night with the family.

After chaperoning the late night barflies at the restaurant (my husband, my uncle, and my cousin, the Army truck driver), I finally got the sleep I'd been waiting for since dawn.

We spent the next morning getting Mark a lightweight, light colored shirt, since the one we packed was dark blue, and wholly inapropriate for the 95 degree day we were facing, and then while Mark slept off the sake and cigarettes (my uncle is a terrible influence), I headed to the pool to hang with my parents, my Aunt Nan, and her daughter-in-law and granddaughters, not to forget the indomitable Rylee. We were soon joined by one Katehead, who drove up from the DC area just to say hi (as she is running away to Shanghai next month with a clown convention), and before too long, she, Mark, and I found ourselves at the local KFC-A&W (oh, unholy union of fried chicken and root beer!) for pre-wedding "lunch".

Notably, the wedding was meant to be in a lovely historic rose garden, but about a half hour before the ceremony started, a storm front literally gathered itself (it didn't roll in, it gathered right there) over the field above the garden, and spewed forth rain, thunder, and spectacular lightning over the spot. It was downright Biblical. Needless to say, the ceremony was moved under a nearby shelter, and all went off without a hitch, including driving the bride over from the museum to the shelter in a golf cart to protect the dress.

The reception itself was nice, and the best parts for me were seeing my brother so happy, and seeing my Mom with most of her siblings in one room. I do love a family reunion!

We left earlyish the next morning, and tried the "coastal" route home, and discovered that we saved no time, and spent far more money, though the trip felt shorter because the roads were more familiar, at least to me, since I've driven all over the eastern seaboard.

After picking up some Vietnamese takeout in Worcester, we headed home with the dogs, and let me tell you, all four of us were pretty glad to be home again.

And that, was the story of the root beer floats.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

We're Having A Baby... and It's Eaten My Brain

Duh, right?

I honestly think that pregnancy has sucked all my blogging ability away from me, since I have eleventy billion things to do in preparation for the little man (who, by the way, is tickling my internal organs with exceptional frequency these last few days - busy guy).

Yesterday, for instance, I sat down to blog, and ended up registering us for a childbirth class, a tour of the maternity ward, and then calling a potential pediatrician.

I had already been to the vet yesterday, with O, Maurice, & Amelie, to get some meds for her nasty ear infection. And I'm sure I had great plans for a rant about $90 bills for someone to tell me what I mostly already knew, and give me an anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial/anti-fungal ointment. ::sigh::

During the last two weeks, I've had my tooth mostly fixed, a very successful second ultrasound (which confirmed that Babypants is not, I repeat, NOT, suffering from a kidney problem - hooray!), married off my brother, and replaced the clutch on my VW. Ouch. Life is pricey sometimes.

Oh, and O started speech therapy sessions three weeks ago, at a fabulous new private practice here in Beacon Hill, called Chatterboxes. I love his therapist, she's terrific, and I think he's starting to show some improvement!

I also just ordered a small fortune in yarn in order to complete my Christmas knitting. Christmas knitting? you say.... Yes, since come early November (or Dasein668's birthday, whichever) I'm going to be wicked distracted, I drew up a list of recipients and projects, and figured out yarns, etc... Now all I need is for the giant Knit Picks box to arrive...

The wedding, for those of you who might be curious, was everything I had expected, but all in all successful. The ceremony was very nice, and it was spectacular to have 4 out of 5 of my Mom's siblings in one place, some even with spice and offspring, and their spice and offspring. I love family reunions.

Coming up in the next few weeks: I'm taking Rylee to the Spencer Fair on Saturday, we're having a wedding party for Jamie & Dy in two weeks, and then it's all baby, all the time until the critter shows up, and then it's really all baby, all the time.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh, My Yarn!

I got an Ebay package full of yarnaliciousness tonight.

Twelve skeins of Knit Picks "Panache," a 40% baby alpaca 20% cashmere, 20% silk, and 20% superfine merino blend that is, perhaps, the fiber equivalent of my buttercream recipe. In a word, luscious.

Because it's from Knit Picks, it's very reasonably priced at $4.99/50g ball, but I'm feeling supa-smug, since I got the whole shebang for $37 on Ebay, including shipping, which would have cost me $59.88 plus shipping, direct from the company. I love when other knitters sell off their stash.

One colorway will be devoted to Christmas knitting. One is going to be a charity project, and the third may just me for me. Cause Mama wants a new hat and mittens for the winter!


A Quickie (cause sometimes you just need one)

Here we go:

~I'm knitting a sock to alleviate the repetition of knitting another giant afghan.

~I got to see LB, Dasein668, Fibby, and of course, my birthday godson G over the weekend, when I attended his fourth birthday party in Portland. I brought with me perhaps my ugliest cake yet, a 3-D rendition of an angler fish (pictures when someone kind emails me some JPEGS).

~I had round two of my Endodontic Adventure last night, so my tooth is sore from being drilled and picked at.

~We have a third ultrasound today, and a follow up at the OB/GYN.

~I still have a very nasty cold, and I wish NyQuil could come over and play...

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

In Celebrity Stalking News... Bradley Whitford!

Yesterday, I took the three kids to the Museum of Science for a while after their day camp program (conveniently run by the MOS) let out, and while we were there, in the playground physics exhibit, I saw a guy who looked an awful lot like Bradley Whitford. I did a double take, and he smiled at the person he was talking to, and then I knew it was him. (Oh, Mr, Whitford, when are you coming back to television?)

I'm not one to interrupt famous people from living their lives just to satisfy my own curiosity (but I sometimes wish I was...), so I just let it go.

A little while later, on our way up to the Cahners Computer Lab, Jack very nearly walked into him, while he was checking a cell phone or a Blackberry, or something. Again, I did nothing, as he flicked me the "don't worry about it" smile, as folks who understand kids do when kids nearly plow them over in crowded museums.

Mind you, as I admonished Jack for not looking where he was going, my heart was crying, "I loved Studio 60! I'm sorry it didn't fly. Try again, I'll watch!"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Look Ma! No Walls!

It's been an exciting weekend here at the Falling Down House. Mark has been tearing the third side off the old part of the house, re-sheathing it and installing the new windows for what will be the bathroom and office/library. I spent yesterday taking care of some things, like getting Amelie's stitches from her spay surgery taken out, visiting my parents, taking the dogs to Callahan for a few hours, grocery shopping, and baking off cakes for Miss E and GGS.

Miss E's cake came out beautifully, if I do say so myself. I used the white cake recipe from the Better Homes & Garden's cookbook (an oldy, but a goody), Rose Levy Berenbaum's Stabilized Whipped Cream along with some crushed Oreos for a mousse-y filling, and Kaye Hanson's Buttercream, which is an adaptation on classic Italian Mousseline Buttercream - yum!

Today, I spent up to my ears in buttercream, making the 2 dozen hibiscus flowers for the top border, and icing the "grass skirt" onto the sides. It went fairly smoothly, except for a small hiccup over the green icing...

Amelie has been wearing the gentle leader for two full days now, and the difference in her behavior is amazing. Her jumping is almost gone, and she doesn't pull on her leash anymore. She's not psyched about wearing it, but we're all so much happier with her, that I hope she feels the difference... Of course, Friday night she at two corners off our coffee table in the twenty minutes it took Mark to shower. Bad dog! If only we'd started her training before yesterday...

My old iPod finally came back, and oddly enough, while it won't interface with my computer, Mark reformatted it to his PC, and it's working fine, though had one thing right, the screen doesn't work anymore. In fact, it's cracked, and the lcd stain has spread, but Mark figures he'll use it as an oversized Shuffle for his truck.

Among the things I haven't done this weekend: laundry, housekeeping, or staying off my ridiculously swollen feet. Oh, well...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Achey Breaky Tooth

Woe is me!

So, last week, my #19 molar (so says Dr. Tevyeh Dines, my new Endodontist) was very sensitive to cold and some chewing and just generally sore. Not being an alarmist, I took a Tylenol and told myself to buck up. When, last night, I awoke in the wee hours with excruciating pain, I decided to call my dentist this morning. He was on vacation, so his receptionist referred me to Dr. Dines.

They had an emergency appointment free, so I arranged for Nana to watch O for a few hours this afternoon, while I had my tangy tooth explored.

I just got home from an emergency root canal.

My whole mouth is numb. Hehehehe...

Apparently, the baby is unaffected by the local anesthesia, and they use a nifty digital x-ray system with half the radiation of the old school method, so between that and the double lead aprons, they got to see that I had a big old mess brewing in my mouth. Lovely.

I get to go back, too. Twice. Due to my delicate condition, Dr. Dines chose not to be totally invasive, and doesn't want to close my file until he can do a full round of carefree x-rays, ie: after the baby is born. The upside to prolonging the treatment is that they are therefore willing to let me pay over time. So the offensive $1325 fee for a root canal is broken up into installments, which only pinch a little.

Never a dull moment.

And don't let them frighten you, intrapulpal anesthesia is no big deal.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bat in the Box Fan and Other Stories

Bat in the Box Fan

Last night, around 11:15, I was reading a book in bed while Mark slept, and I heard what sounded like a huge moth hitting a bug lamp, only the sound was definitely in our room (where, for the record, there are no bug lamps). I sat up, turned on my lamp, looked around the room, and saw what looked to be a piece of black garbage bag at the bottom of our window box fan. It was only when the "garbage bag" waved a small paw, got hit by the fan blade and was thrown to the other side of the fan, did I realize it was alive!

I woke Mark up with, "hon, there's something alive in the fan!"

We both got up, and watched the fan, trying to figure out if the damn thing was alive, or dead, rabid, and anyway, what do we do? Oh, and how on Earth did it get into a closed room and inside a box fan?

Neither one of us was at our best at that point in the evening, and we both just wanted to be in a bat-free bed and sleeping, so Mark did what any guy might do in that situation. He unplugged the fan, opened the screen and tossed the fan out the window.

PETA is coming for us, I know...

We knew it was hurt, we didn't know if it was safe, and we have pets and an unborn child in the house. It was also 11:30 at night by this time.

We had a hard time falling asleep after that.

Mark is hoping that leaving the nest of mother and 3 baby bunnies alone instead of ousting them from our flower beds is enough of a karmic balance to make up for our bat incident...

Why Sucks A Fat One

I loved my G4 iPod. It was only 20 gigs (small, when you look at the 80 gig iPod videos out now), had no color screen, had no video capability, but did have the Jupiter sandstorm on the screen from the pug attack.

When it stopped communicating with my iBook at the end of June, I tried the 5 Rs from, and then tried charging the battery separately and retrying the Rs, before admitting that my 3 year old Pod was perhaps doomed. I decided to research a repair company, since Apple requires the deed to your house in order to repair something off warranty. I found a place that got solid reviews on several Mac forums, and seemed to have a straightforward policy.

I sent my poor, sad, dead-hard-drive-y fryPod off to the repair folks with high hopes. I specifically cited the liklihood of hard drive issues, and asked them to ignore the damaged, but still mostly functional screen.

A week after I got confirmation that they had it (instead of the promised 48 hours after arrival at their facility), they gave me an estimate for a screen repair, but mentioned nothing about the drive. I emailed them, and expressed concern, and that I didn't want to pay for screen repairs at this time.

They basically told me I was stupid, and that there was nothing wrong with my iPod (that wouldn't communicate with my computer, nor would it play music or respond as a disk...).

I told them to cancel the order and I'd take it back, please. They responded with an offer to buy it from me for $10. I wanted to know why for so little if there was nothing wrong?

The screen doesn't work.


It was damaged, but functional, when I sent it off. So, now I have a mystery problem they don't believe exists, and they broke my screen. And they want $25 for shipping, handling, and diagnosis. OK, fine. Just send back my damn iPod. On principle. Grudgingly, they agree to do so.

That was 20 days ago, and I'm still awaiting an email with a tracking number. It's waiting for shipping, according the customer service rep who returned my email a week ago.

The moral of the story, I guess, is that the price is worth it with Apple, since the customer service is usually so pleasant.

Of course, in the meanwhile, Mark bought me a new 30 gig G5, supposedly from he and our unborn son. Cutie (and what a sneaky little fetus!). I still want fryPod back, though, so I can decide what to do with it now.

Miss E Says the Darnedest Things

This story goes back two weeks to find Miss E, O, & I in the car on the way home from picking her up from day camp. She was showing me a turtle she'd made in art class out of a paper bowl and paint. It was pretty cute!

She says the turtle's name is Princess Dandelion, and that she's allergic to tuna fish and peanut butter. She goes on to explain that the princess's father has banned all tuna and peanut products from the land, because everyone really loves them, and kept trying to feed them to the Princess, and having to say no all the time was making her sad.

Somehow this seems telling about the society in which these kids move around. I was a crazy-imaginative kid, and a character with allergies would never have occurred to me. And none of Miss E's family have allergies, so it's entirely a concept from outside the home, but one that's been ingrained in her since pre-school.

Of course, no recent conversation defining the time and socio-economic place we inhabit with the kids beats the one I had with Big Brother J (who is eight and a half and on the brink of third grade for those not in the know) just before the last installment of Harry Potter was published.

Don't worry, there are no spoilers here (and please don't post any in the comments, I hate that).

His friend told him Harry would definitely die. This friend is famous for saying he's read/seen/played with things before they're available to the public, and he's rather an outrageous liar. Still J was concerned that it might be true.

I reminded him that no one had read the book yet, and that he would get to read for himself in just a few days, and then we talked a bit about why it was a possibility. We talked about how good has generally overcome evil so far in Rowling's books, but that there is always a cost. I told him that I thought Harry would live, but that I was certain others would die.

Then I asked him what he thought.

He replied, "I think Harry Potter won't die, because if he does, no one will want to buy Harry Potter stuff anymore or see any more Harry Potter movies." There was no irony in his voice. No bitterness. This was just what he thought.

Truly a child of the marketing era, huh?

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