Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Exactly Are You Examining?

I paid a visit to an optometrist last Thursday. It's been almost 3 years since my laser eye surgery (which I am VERY happy with btw) and I wanted to know where my eyesight settled.

Nick apparently has near 20/20 vision. He's always able to read signs farther away and words smaller than I. And so, I've long had a clue that laser surgery didn't leave my eyes perfect. Though on that subject, any improvement from -5 or -6 vision (the average glasses wearer is probably in the -2 or -3 range) is an absolute miracle worth paying alot for.

Not having perfect vision but being able to see everything I need to see (without any corrective device) is exactly where I wanted to be. Glasses are something to be hated if you have to wear them daily or fumble with contacts. Relying on eyewear is torture and I particularly hated going to sleep not being able to see much around me once my eyeballs were taken out so to speak. But if you're not blind without 'em it's easy to appreciate them as a cute fashion add-on.

I was expecting and hoping that Mr. Optometrist would give me the awesome diagnosis I wanted, "You don't need eyewear but... I'd recommend a pair for driving... "or something like that. I want to again have the option of framing my eyes from time to time. Though messing with contacts would not be worth the trouble or cost.

As with most Dr appointments, your time is not of the essence and so I waited... and waited. After they did whatever they apparently needed to do--which probably included a cigarette break and a stop at Starbucks--a medical assistant or what-not called me back.

She began asking me questions she would know the answers to if she'd reviewed the 3 pages of paperwork I'd just filled out. I think I was pretty successful in my efforts to remain patient with her despite her taking notes on my answers on the papers where the answers already were.

She left. I peered around. I looked at the blank slate on the back wall where the eye chart is projected. I looked at the mirror on the top right of the front wall that apparently helps the image reflect onto the lower left section of the front wall. I thought hard about how that could work. So mysterious. I peered at the contact solution samples. I fidgeted with my fingers and tapped my feet on the Dr.'s stool sitting next to the elevated exam chair I was in. As I moved my squirmy foot I released a lever on the stool resulting in a somewhat loud metal clang.

Shortly after the clanging, in comes the Dr. I'd forgotten what pervs eye Dr.'s can be. Something about being 2" from your face in the dark does it I guess. Mr. Optometrist asks me if I had trouble checking in. You look stressed he says. I recognize this as a bullshit observation to start things off with me being impressed with his sympathetic super-nice-guy shtick. I try to passify his curiosity on my emotional state by admitting I'm a little impatient. I'm 'A Type' all the way.

I was not the least bit impressed or moved by his attempt to connect with my apparently overtly weary soul. Eye Dr.'s are usually not very clever philanderers I must say. "Let's get those eyes checked out. So you can find a spouse. Easier to meet people if you can see them." he says. I didn't laugh. But I didn't have to fill any silence cuz he quickly followed up with, "Oh, I see. You're married."

I'm gonna call bullshit again. My guess is you'd already noticed my ring but decided on a lame attempt to bait me for a little flirtation. If that works with other women - wow - but the fact that you're personality and observations are predictable and that you look like Bradley Whitford meets John Slattery does not work in your favor.

The Doc goes on to ask me questions about medications I'm on, ya know, questions I wrote the answers to in that darn paperwork I apparently filled out for no one. The subject of medication moves us to the subject of fertility.

"Why are you trying to have kids already?" he says.
"I'm 29." I say.
"Exactly my point." he says.
"I don't wanna be 50 when my kids start their first year in junior high." I say.
"Oh, you don't wanna be like me." He says.
"You haven't started on kids yet?" I say.
"No. I have, but they're babies and I'm almost 50." He says. "But you did say you were impatient."

I go on to ask him how that parental sitch works and whether he feels the kiddos will miss out on his participation. He goes on to tell me that seeing as how he has ample money they are well provided for and have no worries and I go on to tell him that my concerns don't have to do with how much money one has, but rather issues of energy, etc.

By this time he'd pulled his stool up close to mine, ya know so close you can almost feel the doc's nutsack on your knee. Which is obviously the best part of eye exams for us women. Psych. Or Syke, however it's spelled.

I was so grateful to be tested and find that I could read more than 'the big E' on the chart and after trying this or that lens, the test was done.

"You are somewhat nearsighted." he said. "Not at all a bad way to be. When your friends are wearing bifocals, you wont be."

He proceeded to put some sort of numbing drop in my eye (without explaining what it was for) and walked out of the room telling me the MA would be right in.

The MA comes in and says we're gonna head to a darker room so my eyes will dialate. On the journey to the dimly lit room I notice a display of pamphlets titled "Living With One Good Eye." I kid you not. That's what they were titled.

She motions toward a chair and I take a seat across from Ron. A dude on his cell phone who apparently likes to make business calls in the semi-dark. All the while trying to not be overly annoyed by the sub-par version of 'Moon River' playing overhead. In a vibrating voice, "Mooooo ooon riva' I'm crossin uoo uuoo in styyyle..."

Ron, with his Teva sandals and wool socks goes on to finish his convo. Something about how he had to lay off a guy named Shane but wants to bring him back to help him make 60ft metal rings for the Olympics.

About 5 minutes later, wishing I'd picked up that pamphlet for entertainment, she brings me back to the exam room. Then she leaves. Mr Optometrist is back. He does a final check of my eyes--again, his nutsack grazing my knee--and says "Beautiful. There is definitely nothing wrong with your eyes."

By this time I thought we'd solidified that we didn't like each other. Remember, you're the geezer who doesn't give a shit about your kids and Im that no-fun girl who wont respond to your quips.

I said, "So you're saying I don't need glasses?" He says, "No, glasses are exactly what I recommend." And I think to myself, then why did you say there was nothing wrong with my eyes?

Thinking the appointment was about over he decides to tell me that he thinks I was ballsy (yes, I objected to that choice of word given what anatomy was skimming my knee cap) to have gotten laser eye surgery in Hong Kong. Now, you might be thinking he knows what he's talking about being in the field and all, but I assure you this is not the case. Generally speaking American professionals know very little about their respective fields across the world unless they've been exposed to specific case studies.

I told him that I wasn't in fact ballsy unless you're considering that eye surgery anywhere is ballsy. You gotta know the culture I said. There are certain professions in Hong Kong where people are well trained and educated and some where they absolutely aren't. A wide wide pendulum. Its an unpredictable complicated reality you'd only know from living there yourself.

In the end I got the diagnosis I wanted. -.75 in one eye and -1.00 in the other. Thats pretty darn great. The Dr.'s words were exactly what I wanted..."You dont have to wear glasses, but..." I was elated. New glasses! Which I can wear when I want and not wear when I want. He left me for the final time without much fanfare. And I wasted no time leaving.

I quickly made my way to the offices optical shop and scanned walls of mounted frames looking for what would become my new edgy accessory. After trying and re-trying about 20 pairs I asked an employee for help with the selection process. I sat while she watched me model my final 3 picks.

"Oh, definitely not those." she said. "The dark frame makes you look like you have a unibrow."

I thanked her for her honest opinion and proceeded with the other two pairs. In an amazing feat the pair that she loved were the cheapest and I agreed the turquoise trim on those frames looked quite awesome on me. So it was settled and they were ordered. I should get them this week!

I'll close with this, if any of you readers happen to be semi-blind... I whole-heartedly recommend laser eye surgery. It is well worth the money and the 5 minutes of surgery?, well it is surgery, but it is over so quick. And, who doesn't want to visit the optometrist less often. Unless you're one of those other easily impressed girls Mr. Optometrist prefers to have as a patient.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Financial Confessional

I've done alot of returning this month. Might be a record, I don't know. Many times I bought something, and then realized it wasn't worth the money and wasn't a good choice. Here's what I have returned (so far):

1) A pair of open-toed boots from DSW. They were a whopping $70 but looked so cute on me. I saw them, didn't buy them and then went back to dsw to buy them. However, with my 'price per use' buying approach there was NO way I could justify them.

2) A pair of $30 simple black shoes from Payless. Good for winter. Comfortable. However the style was not great and I just bought them out of desperation. If I'd kept them I probably would've fought an immediate grumbling desire for 'better' shoes. Glad I took 'em back and kept looking.

3) A sweater from Old Navy. I'd bought one for $34.50 and then it went on sale for like $19 or something. Returned the old, got a different one.

4) I bought a few things from Marshall's that I didn't need, but wanted. A pair of silicone coated tongs, 2 small au gratin dishes. I realized I already have a pair of silicone tongs and the dishes I just wanted cuz they'd complete a set I have but I have no real need of them and haven't used the one piece I do have yet. I also returned some furniture cream and tights. I went home and looked at the couch and couldn't find the spot I'd wanted the cream for, maybe it's cuz of the low winter light. And the tights? Definitely not a need.

5) I bought a pretty cheap pasta dough roller and cutter and turns out it worked like it was pretty cheap. I also bought a silicone pot handle cover. The pasta machine went back due to bad performance, the handle cover because it wasn't a need -I've been able to manage thus far without one.

So, that's all I can think of at the moment. As I've mentioned before, I have a HUGE case of the wants this month. I've prayed for contentment. Still praying for contentment.

This 'case of the wants' is so bad I actually had an impromptu 'table sale' (a very mini version of a yard sale) when my in-laws came over last night. Made a few dollars, happy about that, but what would that 'Ask Eloise' person say about me as a hostess? Probably not good things. Although she probably would first be lambasting me for letting the in-laws do the cooking of the dinner we invited them over for.

Acck! Acck! So, this month still has 13 days and despite all of the above returns there are other non-essential items I bought and kept (some wilton frosting tips, legos, cardamom for $10, extra junk food, a wallet for $40 when I could've gotten a less nice one for about $15) and a few incidents of 'lost' money, eg bought some undies and bras at an outlet store - dont wanna pay for gas to go back and try to return them, let alone not sure if they allow returns. Had to buy tabs for the car. Got a $40 ticket because they were expired (didn't realize this) and bought $10 earrings that don't work for my ears only to then see a 'final sale' sticker on them - so, there will be reckoning come November 1st. It just might be a 5.9 on the Richter scale versus a 7.9 or something given some of my attempts to make good of certain bad buying choices.

Oh, and in case you're curious, the money from the 'table sale' will not be going to cover prior 'extra' purchases but rather to fund another purchase or two. Yea.... I think I need a check-up to immunize me against this nasty, nasty case of the wants. I have mixed feelings about confessing it here. No doubt this will spur Nick on to further crack down on my misaligned heart, and as you can see I am not exactly cooperating with the change I am praying for...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good and Bad of Yesterday

I was blessed to have a chef (grad from culinary school) come over to teach me how to make pasta and pizza dough yesterday. I was only able to have this experience given a special one-time offer of $20 for a 2 hour in-home class. We made plans for last Thursday and a scheduling error meant she didn't show up... She offered me an extra class, but instead just ended up staying longer yesterday to finish our baking projects - 3 hours for $20!!!! I am thrilled at the thought that I can now make my own pasta. Lets just hope that my next attempt (solo) turns out just as good. First, I gotta buy a pasta roller/cutter ($35/$45) since we used hers yesterday.

Another awesome thing, earlier this week I ordered shoes online. I was desperate for non-open toed shoes for winter (still short on winter stuff given time in HK and I didn't buy that much last winter) and I'd shopped at Macy's, Sears, Payless, DSW, Footwear something-or-other, and did not happen upon any practical non-heel, non-sandal shoes which I both liked and could buy in my size and price range!

After visiting so many brick and mortar stores with no success I decided it best to try cuz 1) they have a bigger selection than the store itself AND 2) I could return anything bought online to a local dsw store vs shipping my order back. But, didn't have shoes I wanted in in the size I needed either! I searched so many online sites. Amazon, Zappos, you name it. Finally I found Rocket Dog shoes on and decided at 24.99 it was worth the risk to order a pair of black and a pair of brown in a mary jane-meets-dr marten kind of style, with free shipping.

I took the plunge and got an email Tuesday confirming my order had shipped and would arrive in 5-7 business days. The very next day, yesterday, as I'm leaving my house at 4pm I notice a box on my front step. Yea! My shoes had magically arrived already!?! And the really great news is?? They fit and look great!

I'd owned a pair of Rocket Dog shoes before and so was crossing fingers that the brand's sizing is consistent between styles, and thankfully it is. And the construction and comfort is as good as my previous pair had been. The shoes are sort of felt-ish, and the tips look a little bit worn, which I suspect maybe Overstock sells some returned items? But, given other sites sell these shoes for $45 a pair (vs $25) I won't complain.

Around the same time my shoes arrived I'd been getting myself together to leave the house and could not find my wallet anywhere. Not in my purse, not upstairs, not downstairs, not in the car or under any cushions. The only place I'd been earlier in the day was QFC to buy eggs and whole milk for the baking class and so I decided that although I've never been one to leave my wallet anywhere, I had no where else to look. I honestly thought 90% chance the grocery store's lotto slash customer service desk wouldn't have it -- I just don't lose my purse or wallet outside the house ever!

Well, QFC did have it. And it appears all my cards and cash are still in there. I really, really was not up for losing the $25 that's in there, I need every dollar I have this month . I was soo glad to recover everything. The perhaps funny thing is, last week I bought a 'real' wallet. I've never owned one before and have always used makeshift pouches or zip-top things, leaving my purse somewhat unorganized. For whatever reason I'd seen wallets as a frivolous unnecessary purchase. But, I decided that to be a 'real adult' I needed to be able to account for everything in my purse and find it without the usual 3 minute search. Point being, I wonder if that change in my normal somehow lead to me leaving it?

I recall setting the wallet down by the debit card machine. I figure I left it sitting there. I also recall the cashier not being very friendly. I suspect she saw it as I walked away but did not call after me deciding it more gratifying to let me squirm later on when I realized my loss. No one called after me, the wallet was in plain sight, her eyes were on me as I left. All-around, poopy experience huh? But, glad I didn't have to cancel all my cards, etc.!

Another weird/bad event yesterday... Wednesday nights Nick and I lead groups at our church, him a men's group and me ladies. We co-lead groups of about 10 people. Anyway, in the middle of our leaders prep meeting the power goes out. Fifteen minutes before the official group starts and participants will begin showing up. There we are finishing our prayer time in the dark with 2 or 3 flashlights amongst the group of 25 of us. After the church leaders consulted it was decided we would have to cancel the night's group. We group leaders stayed to greet anyone who showed up to tell them of the cancellation.

As I drove home I worried about our house. In previous years a power outage might've been fun, but this month I just did not want to deal with having to replace groceries. Seeing as how the church is about a mile from our home I thought it a 50/50 guess on whether our lights were out. On my ride home from the church I saw houses that had power, then houses that didnt have power, then houses that did again and was no closer to knowing what was the case at our place.

I am thrilled to be able to say that this story ends with good news. We never lost power! My milk, eggs, cheese, etc... nothing wasted. Thank you Jesus.

Not quite done telling of the day's drama however... Nick came home at 5pm to find the garage door wide open. How could this be? He'd shut it when he left. I'd not been in the garage at all yesterday... Was a neighbors remote somehow opening our garage door? After discussing and pondering, me thinking that likely Nick hadn't actually closed the door as he left... It came back to me that at 4, when the shoes had arrived, my wallet was gone, I'd heard what sounded like our garage door opening. Could Nick be home early I thought? I looked out our kitchen window and saw a neighbors door open across the way. I waited a few minutes to see if Nick would come walking up the stairs (while desperately wanting to get to QFC) and nothing. I assumed I'd misheard. I left.

So I began telling Nick the story of the noise I'd heard at 4pm yesterday and how it was strange that he found the door open given what I'd heard. After some discussion he got the idea to retrieve my remote opener from my purse and press it while upstairs near the other end of the house. The garage door opened! How strange. Apparently in my frantic search of my purse for my wallet I'd inadvertently opened our garage. Crazy. Who knew the thing works on the opposite side of the house upstairs. Lesson learned.

Well, what a day it was. What a day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last Night's Dream

An hour ago I woke from a dream where I was being pursued by car by Sweeney Todd. He was behind me in his cruella deville/bat-mobile-ish thing and wanted me to drive a certain direction. I was lonely and feeling worthless at the time (I was 16) and considered following him.

It was wintery, the sky was ominous (I know how to set the mood even in my dreams apparently) and our car hoods were covered in about an inch of snow. Somehow, as only characters can, he reached his arm out of his driver's side car window (while driving) and with a hand long enough to write in the snow on the hood of his car he began carving out letters, a message on where he wanted me to go.

How smart of him seeing as how I was in the lead with my car. I watched him etch in my rearview mirror. I felt competing desires. He was the higgest bidder. Someone really wanted me. And yet I knew he wasn't eventually going to lead me to good things--though I don't think in the dream I necessarily thought or knew he wanted to kill me.

I couldn't decide what to do. I didn't have hope for what tomorrow held anyway but I kept my gaze forward, and drove judiciously hoping he'd believe I hadn't seen him behind me or his letters. He quickly, almost magically, sped in front of me (as only possible in dreams) and all-at-once there was a stretch of skinny tire tracks in the snow ahead of my car. He was moving fast. I stared at the greyish tracks in the white snow and wondered whether to follow. It was clear he was intent on reeling me in, only me, in that moment.

Someone wanted me. Really wanted me. Did I care what he wanted with me?

There's a little more to the dream, which weaves in actual people and places from my history... But in interest of time, and appropriateness of this forum, I'll be selective with details...

I am undecided on the place of dreams in the Christian life. However, I an confortable to ponder it a bit. Of course the obvious question I might have would be... Am I, or have I ever been so lonely or felt so worthless than I would follow an evil man? I haven't seen the 'Sweeney Todd movie' mind you, but I've read the synopsis and know the storyline.

I know in that time of my life (15-18) I didn't understand why people wanted to live long lives. I remember when I was 18/19 when on shopping trips where perhaps the opportunity came up to buy pretty comforter or 'invest' in little piece of furniture for my room (I still lived with my parents for various reasons I wasn't thrilled with) and I hated the sense of commitment, of fear, of unrelatability that came with the idea of buying things that you expected to be permanent fixtures in your life. I didn't like anything that required me to think 5 years out for that matter. I liked stuff, but not anything with a sense of commitment to it. A T-shirt? No commitment. A CD? No commitment, you just use it. A desk? A bedspread? A lamp? They represented 'settling down' and I certainly wasn't anywhere near settled.

In my dream Sweeney Todd represented a specific man in my life. That's not me interpretting the dream, that was sorta known in the dream as in the first half of it he appeared as he did, in flesh, back then. And the 'stage/geography' in the dream was where he and I usually saw each other. The dream began with this man being busy talking to other people, as sometimes he was back then. He was social, networked, and he knew I'd wait.

I was waiting for that man... And he knew it. It apparently worked for both of us. My patience turned to anger. I wanted to go and I was angry at having to wait for my ride out of there. I'd ridden with my parents who were also there and they too were talking, and talking, to someone or someones. At this point I wasn't so much thinking about that man (he'd faded out of the scene in that moment) but about how angry I was at my parents for not caring that I had been sitting for 90 minutes waiting for them. I was captive. Note: I didn't get my license until I was 17. So in the dream I wasn't allowed to drive, but somehow I must've hijacked my parents car, although this was skipped over in the 'story.'

In pondering my following Sweeney, I am thinking about this: what if my subconscience was (in the dream and in real life?) choosing between a) being with people who I felt abused and ignored me, maybe did or didn't love me or, b) with someone who I knew didn't love me, but really really wanted me and heck, I hadn't been planning on living a long life anyway..... I didn't know how to have hope for the future.

Did I just venture over into dream interpretation? I'm not sure... But, this dream was such a strange combination of the really unusual, and the really real, that I couldn't chalk it up to meaningless REM sleep induced entertainment without a little rumination first.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jeans never tasted so sweet

I wonder if you, like me, can remember mornings in your childhood where all you could think about was getting dressed. Maybe there was a special outfit. Or maybe getting dressed was the last 'task' standing in between you and somewhere awesome you couldn't wait to go.

I can bring back a few memories of little me getting ready in the morning. The night before the first day of school for 1st grade. I set out my light blue top and blue pants with tiny pink dots and white high top shoes. I remember laying the shirt above the pants flat on the floor and sitting still for awhile envisioning myself in that outfit. My attachment to those hand-me-down items was palpable. I was happy.

I can also remember at a young age learning the lessons around color matching. I can still remember my purple sweater with red hearts. I know every girl, of all ages, who passed through the '80's had something red and purple, and probably geometry came into the equasion too which shapes being the rage then.

But not suprisingly, at that age I had no clue thousands of people owned purple sweaters with red hearts. Mine was special. Mine was lovely. And I wanted to wear it all the time. I recall one day my mom having to explain to me that I couldn't wear my favorite skirt with my favorite top. 'I get that you love them both alot, but they aren't for wearing on the same day...' was the message.

The details around the skirt are a little fuzzy. I'm thinking it was pastel, maybe striped, I don't know for sure but I do remember it beginning to sink in that it the two pieces maybe weren't the best mates...

This morning I woke up excited to get ready. In a rush to get dressed you could say. Not because I am headed to Disneyland or because I bought a great new wardrobe item. In fact it's 6am on a Saturday and I would rather not be awake and heading to a dr appointment, but those are the facts.

The last few months have brought with them arduous battles of bulges. Yes, plural. I've honestly been living in yoga-ish clothing (though make no mistake I hate yoga) as it has been the only items in my wardrobe that have fit. The idea of having 10 out of 500 pieces of clothing that fit may sound concerning to you. And you may have noticed I haven't worn jeans or anything beyond a tank top or man sized t-shirt of late. And while it's been hot and sweaty here in Washington, that isn't the reason for the simple, reduced attire.

I haven't gotten obese. I realize that. But, my wardrobe unfortunately was filled with alot of items that simply had no flex room. Anyone who's fluxuated in size knows that there are certain weights or sizes that bring with them tighter clothing that just frankly have little flexibility.

And so my wardrobe would not forgive the 10 or 15 pounds I'd added. I had been flucuating, losing 5lbs and then gaining them--and then awhile back it just kept creepin up. Ya know, one step forward (a good workout and healthy dinner) and two steps back (that 4th meal from taco bell at 9pm after a full dinner) and before you know it I was banished from anything except my 'sloppy wear.'

I've been working out hard lately. And not giving in to the munchies. On vacation I had access to a gym and lots of free time on my hands so my workouts were extended and consistent. And since returning last week I've been building on that progress and the weeks before.

At some point in the last 3 months inevitably there was a day where I wanted to wear my jeans and sadly, trying to do so brought bad news. And I did try a few times after but those attempts served as a wake up call that it was more than just an lb or 2 that stood in my way.

Mind you, we are NOT talking about 'skinny jeans' (which is a term I don't care for, btw) we ARE talking about my 'everyday jeans' - which might help you vicariously feel the sting of dissapointment I lived with having my 'normal' duds out of the 'working zone'....

Anyway, as I ran my hands around my midsection in the past few days (which I do often, multiple times daily) to take stock of how much extra is there, I felt progress. The tire is deflating if you will. And yesterday I decided that today would be the day that I would retrieve the jeans and learn the truth of whether they were ready to have me back.

I am wearing said jeans as I write. That's the good news. The really good news. The bad news? Well, they are a bit tight. True, they are tight jeans, which is why this whole problem surfaced to begin with, but today they're really tight. But I can fasten them! And I can get away with wearing them. And I am stoked. Just a few more days. Probably by next weekend they'll fit like they used to.

I'm thinking I may put up with the inevitable marks around my mid-section which I will no doubt have by noon today, just because I am that ready to go out into public in something other than gym-ish materials.

I suppose the upswing to being headed to a dr appointment which will involve disrobing is that by the time I get there, today I may want to take my clothes off.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Both Aacck and Aawww

Sometimes I think Survivor has got it all wrong sending people into the jungle. Sure there's something to be said for having to weave one's own underwear and out-swim that strange naked guy (who's challenged in the weaving department) to reach the massive floating deck and bouy that are for some reason situated out in the amazon river.

Most of you know I am a part-time nanny. It's a hell of a job. I love it actually. But some days, boy does it have a way of testing that love. There are moments I flirt with insanity--but the good news is--that passes as quickly as it came. On the plus side, there is no long-standing stress as with projects at the office. No heart-less HR people. But, I wonder if there should be a 'childcare component' to the Survivor competition.

Today, I was so stretched I experienced angst-induced laughter. You know where you're so crazed you begun to bubble over with giggles?

Yea, today was tough. Funny thing is, now that I've been away from the kiddos for 2 hours, had a good dinner and am starting on a beer, I already miss those two boogers. Aren't pressurized situations supposed to be bonding? I think I can attest to that.

Here is an outline of my day:

Scene 1 / Beth and Ellie with play-doh

Beth: Ellie, I brought you some new play-doh
Ellie: Does it come with cutting tools?
Beth: No, cuz your old set has cutting tools. We can use those.
Ellie: I think the cutting tools are in that box.
Beth: No, see how the box is tiny? It can't fit cutting tools, but you already have some right over here.
Ellie: Where are the cutting tools?
Beth: Right here.
Ellie: Where's the rhinoceros one?
Beth: There isn't one.. you mean the horse?
Ellie: This is a rhinoceros.
Beth: Actually thats a horse.
Ellie: Beth, what is this?
Beth: It's a horse.

*Griffen in background begins to cry, Beth begins to tend to him*

Ellie: Beth can you play with me?
Beth: I need to check on your brother.
Ellie: Beth can you sit next to me right here?
Beth: I need to sit by Griffers for awhile.

*2 minutes of silence*

Ellie: Can you please play with me? Sit here.

*Etc. Etc. Repeat.*

-End Scene-

Scene 2 / Beth and Ellie at Sbuxs

Beth: Ellie, do you want anything? Something to drink or eat?
Ellie: Look at my shoe Beth.
Beth: Do you want juice? hot chocolate? a muffin? (takes Ellie out of stroller)

*Ellie does not answer and runs with abandon to table and chairs*

Beth: I'll have a 1% SFV latte.

*Beth joins Ellie on cushy chairs*
*Beth briefly gets up to retrieve drink and returns*

Ellie: Where's my drink?

*Beth walks back to cashier* (So much for thinking Ellie didn't want anything)

Beth: What drinks do you recommend for kids?
Barista: Hot apple juice, blended smoothies, maybe strawberries and creme?
Beth: We'll try the strawberries and creme.
Barista: Good choice. You'll be a big hit with that one.

*Beth returns with Ellie's drink*

Ellie: Where's my hot chocolate?
Beth: Look! This is pink and has cream in it. It's yummy!
Ellie: I want hot chocolate. (To her credit she said it matter-of-factly, not as a whine)
Beth: Try this instead!

*Beth tastes and says, "Ooh, it's good."* (FYI, that was a lie. I don't like cream in my drinks)

Ellie: I don't like it.

*Beth sets drink down and sighs heavily*
*90 seconds of Ellie jumping on chair*
*Ellie picks up strawberries and creme and drinks it*

Beth: Do you like it now? Is it good?

*Ellie does not respond. Continues drinking*
*Ellie continues squirming*
*Ellie decides to put drink down but misses table next to her chair*
*Drink splatters everywhere*

Ellie: Beth! My drink!

*Beth proceeds to ask barista for wet rag*
*Barista proceeds to keep Beth waiting*
*5 minutes of waiting*
*Beth contemplates leaving mess and leaving shop if they don't hand over a damn rag soon*

Ellie: The floor is wet Beth!

*Beth returns with rag and mops it up*
*Beth realizes rag wont be enough and gets 10 napkins too*
*Beth kneels down to further wipe up*

Ellie: (while sitting on chair) Beth can you stand up on the floor please?

*Beth ignores Ellie who doesn't realize she can't stand up AND clean*

Ellie: Can you stand up please?

**This might be where I began to go crazy**

Ellie: What are you doing?
Beth: Cleaning up the mess.

Ellie: Why are you wiping Beth?
Beth: Because when we (you) make a mess we (I) have to clean it up.

Ellie: The floor, it's still dirty.
Beth: No, thats just water. It'll dry.

*Beth begins to wearily and uncontrollably giggle*
*Beth returns rag to Barista*

Barista: You are so sweet. Most people just jet out and let us deal with the mess.

*Beth wishes 'kid drinks' came in kid-friendly cups*
*Beth proceeds to snap a few photos of Ellie with phone in between more questions and squirming*

Ellie: Can I see the pictures?
Beth: Ellie, your sunglasses are on up-side-down. (Beth fixes sunglasses)

*Ellie takes sunglasses off*
*60 seconds later Ellie puts them on again, up-side-down again*

Ellie: Is my game waiting for me at home?
Beth: Yes it is.
Ellie: Is it at home?
Beth: Yes it is.

*Beth proceeds to check time and begins process of leaving sbux for home*

*Etc. Etc. Multiply. Repeat.*

- End Scene -

There is more I could write about my day. Of the adventures of Ellie's teething baby brother-who didn't nap ALL day and cried alot and didn't want anything and didn't get better with Tylenol. Of the other questions from Ellie repeated again and again, over and over. Oh how many times I answered her questions on whether cherries have seeds and where the seeds go when you eat them... Etc. Etc.

Tomorrow is a new day. I'm hoping for just a few less questions and a few less tears from baby Griffey. But even if it's a repeat of today, I'll find a way to love it. I've always thought I would be good on Survivor.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Don't try to sell a 3 year old a Townhome

Last night we had friends over for dinner. In an attempt to interest their 3 year old I mentioned to him that we had a deck he could play on if he wanted to be outside. So we step through the sliding glass door which is off our living room and out onto our modestly sized 10' by 4' (approx) balcony and he's like, "So, uh, where is it? Where can I go?" and I was like, "Uh, so, uh yea, this is the deck..." He genuinely looked confused and repeated his question.

Welcome to the city kid. Space is a premium. Truthfully I pretty much said the same as he when several months earlier (prior to adapting to In-Seattle living) I left our friends place which is just a few blocks from ours and noticed their balcony was more of a ledge than a deck... If you think mine is tiny, their deck is so small it's literally standing room only. I hear it's called a Julliete or something?

It was then that I mentioned to Nick that I didn't quite understand whether it made sense to build a deck so small that it couldn't house even one small folding chair. That's when I had MY "Welcome to the city" moment. So Owen, I'm totally with you... Yea, it's not much of a play area and who was I to think I could fool you. Lesson learned, don't underestimate a 3 year olds ability to spot real estate flaws...

Truthfully a few years ago I wouldn't have thought myself a potential townhome owner, but after life in Hong Kong this place feels near heavenly and there are real pluses to living IN the city. And just FYI, our neighbors are quiet, the neighborhood well manicured. It's close to enough stuff, far away from enough stuff. I don't miss having a yard although that may change when us 2 become 3 or 4 or 5.

It more than works for now. It's lovely. But I guess I might want to host birthday parties for young children elsewhere. Just in case they want to play outside. But if in a pinch I learned a pug dog and bowl of candy can work absolute magic, atleast with Owen.