Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bright Side

Shitty Thing The First: I am not happy about the election results and I was up way too late watching dismal returns.

Shitty Thing The Second: Lumpyhead forgot his backpack this morning.

More accurately, his parents forgot his backpack. I am grumpy. Bump is tired. Lumpyhead didn't have school on Monday or yesterday, so our morning routine is in disarray. It was the first time we forgot it, but I'm sure it won't be the last. We are, after all, us.

Lumpyhead was distraught at dropoff. As I was pulling away, I saw him shuffling dejectedly to the school door. He was so hangdog that an adult stopped to ask him what was wrong.

Lumpyhead was thrilled to see me - and the damn backpack - when I returned to school a few minutes later. Almost as pleased was his teacher. "Oh the backpack," she remarked flatly, clearly relieved. I'm certain Lumpyhead complained nonstop about that damn backpack the entire time he was bereft.

On Friday I made my second appearance in Lumpyhead's classroom, and wow, nothing compares to the affection of kindergarteners. There were hugs and nonsense stories and more five-year-old awesome than I can describe. Three little girls drew pictures of me. One kid told me he loved me.

So when I showed up with Lumpyhead's backpack this morning, I was treated as a Recognized Celebrity. It is impossible to be cranky when you're greeted with wildly enthusiastic waving and excited squeals.

Man, I love kindergarten.

Monday, November 01, 2010

More Halloween

Dragon costume - complete with wings and surly baby brother. We couldn't get the fire-breathing part to work.

First person to point out that it's a little short gets cut with a snapped-off depleted glow stick, I swear to god.

Bump respectfully submits that he wins Halloween.

But even his mad carving skills and Vike-o-lanterns couldn't help my embattled team.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure I Win Halloween

Lumpyhead decided he wanted to be a dragon for Halloween, a gold dragon, so I stayed up all night last Friday sewing a costume. I produced one that was waaaayy too small. A few alterations made it wearable - a little lame, but wearable - and once Bump figures out the portable minifan/flashlight/fire-breathing part of the costume, Lumpyhead will be ready for Trick or Treating.

He has a Fall Festival in school today - it's like a Halloween Party, except that they can't call it a party - for which his teacher invited him to dress as his favorite book character. A dragon is not his favorite book character. Plus it has a tail* and I don't think he can get in and out of it independently, so he needed another costume for today.

After some complaining over my insistence that Diego and Mario were not book characters ("just because you have a book with them in it does not make them book characters"), he chose Owen from the Kevin Henkes book.
So I spent last night sewing pajamas and a yellow blanket.

Lula decided she wanted to be Milli from Team Umizoomi, which was by far the easiest of the costumes.
Her hood turned out a little goofy - and it's a bit too tight - but it works.

I planned for Nathan Jr to wear Lumpyhead's DJ Lance costume, patting myself on the back for finally, truly, finding a no-(additional-)effort costume. After locating the costume (a feat in itself), I discovered a piece of paper folded into it that held Lumpyhead's measurements. Then I took Nathan Jr's measurements.

There was no way I was fitting that ginormous baby into that costume.

I decided Nathan Jr should be Sir Topham Hatt. Because if you're too portly to wear your brother's hand-me-downs, you might as well go all the way and Embrace the Fat.

Now, I know you guys are all "Phhht, whatever, I make a toddler-sized cutaway tailcoat every morning between the crossword puzzle and breakfast," but I kind of suck at sewing. I enjoy it, but I do stuff like sew dragon costumes that are six inches too short in the torso. I started with the grey pants, and had to make them three times because I couldn't figure out that the pattern said "sew front to back" and not "front to front." Because sewing front to front does not give you pants. It gives you . . . I don't know, the thing I had.

I consulted the internet and designed a pattern** and made Nathan Jr a morning coat. Then I created a vest and even a tie.
He looks really disheveled in about 10 seconds; the coat sleeves slip off his shoulders, his shirt comes untucked, he gets really sweaty under the hat. But I always assumed The Fat Controller was a bit of a drunk, so I think it works.

*The tail. Oh, the tail. Turns out I wasn't supposed to stuff it until the very end. But I didn't get that (A-plus for reading comprehension), and spent most of the night trying to sew with a stuffed tail poking me in the gut - which starts to feel a little obscene after awhile.

**So, turns out nobody makes a pattern for a toddler-sized morning coat. Maybe I'll tell you about The Making Of the Coat later, because, damn.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Think That Makes Me Mr. Magee

When Nathan Jr protests - and oh, does he protest - he uses the phrase "No can like that."

Not "I don't like that" or even "No like that," but "NO CAN LIKE THAT."

It's not that he doesn't like it. He can't.

As if he's thought it over, and while he really wanted to be on board with this whole "going to bed right now" thing, after careful consideration, he's voting against it.

Or, after extensive lobbying by special interests, he's been bought and paid for by Big Broccoli, so is unable to support the eating of asparagus at this time.

It's like Drunk Hulk goes to Washington.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Those Can't Be Real

I know he's still growing, so they could be developing naturally, but somehow I doubt it.

You know how it is. Once celebrities start with the enhancements, they can't stop.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reports from Kindergarten

On the first day, Lumpyhead said he had math and reading. He reported what he ate for lunch, but his answer at 7pm was different from his answer at 4pm. So he either had two lunches, or is an unreliable dietary witness.

When pressed about math, he said he "did skipping," which I assume means counting by twos, or fives, or tens or something. Because he also claimed he did it well, and if he tried to do that thing where you big hop, little hop on one leg and then a big hop, little hop on the alternate leg - instead of writing about Lumpyhead's first day of school I would be posting a photo of my son with a big floor burn on his face.


I was warned when Lumpyhead started kindergarten that he would come home exhausted. A full day of learning, plus no mandated rest/down time, creates a five-year-old who is wiped out by pickup.

On Day 1 he was running laps and doing that super-fast run-in-place dance move when I came home. He was so energetic that Nathan Jr - who was happily riding an apple juice buzz - regarded his brother with suspicion and an unmistakable "Dude, CHILL OUT, you are seriously harshing my mellow right now" gaze. Nathan Jr joined him in the dance for about three seconds before needing to lie down (I suspect room-spins from the apple juice buzz).

Wiped-out kid, my ass, Kindergarten. WHERE IS MY ZOMBIE, Universe? Huh? I WAS PROMISED A ZOMBIE.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Horrific Milestone of Kindergarten, Week 2

I'm getting better at this Abandon Your Firstborn Son thing.

First, I moved his booster seat to the other side of the car - the curbside - so he can more easily exit the vehicle as the PTA Ladies circle, hungry for the tears of an anguished mother.

Second, interspersed between the preying PTA Harpies are little children, probably there for a softening effect, most assuredly forced into their duties by their PTA-cult-leader mothers. Poor Dears. (Or, you know, responsible fifth-graders who volunteer for Safety Patrol.) They stand at the Kiss-and-Ride, with their reflective belts and shoulder harnesses, cheerfully opening car doors and greeting arriving children.

This morning I got a Child Minion. He helped Lumpyhead out of the car and into his backpack, then shut the car door. I watched him take Lumpyhead's hand and lead him onto the sidewalk.

And then my corpse piloted my car to work, for I died from the cuteness.

(Oh, and I have visual confirmation that the Evil PTA includes males. A father-type stood there at the Kiss-and-Ride, his bloody fangs bared, as I drove away. Or perhaps he too was smiling at the outrageous cuteness happening aside my right rear quarter panel, IT'S HARD TO SAY.)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

PTA Ladies Took My Son

It's true what they say. Once the video stops rolling and the cameras turn off, the world is a cruel place. Just ask Lindsay. Or Lumpyhead. Away from the glare of the digital flash, Lumpyhead experienced kindergarten this morning – the non-sanitized version.

I'd been warned that Day 2 was worse than Day 1. On Day 1, the PTA Ladies who lined the parking lots and directed traffic were a friendly presence. On Day 2 they were a menacing horde with one goal: Rip My Boy from His Mother's Loving Arms.

Oh, don't bother to respond, PTA Lady. You with your sympathetic "I've been there" eyes and your gentle "It will be okay" smile. You cruelly forced me to get back in my car after a quick hug – maybe two – oh, and a little kiss – and send my five-year-old to walk that fifteen feet to the school door ALL BY HIMSELF.

Don't think I missed that fleeting expression of doubt on my son's face. I saw it. I'm his mother, and I notice these things. That momentary uncertainty was the last thing I witnessed before I pulled away.

Rest assured, PTA Lady, that if I could have identified you through my veil of suppressed gaspy sobs, you would be SWIFTLY AND SOUNDLY SHUNNED the next time we meet. You have escaped my wrath, for now, and must earn my future condemnation through direct insults or misdeeds (on at least two occasions, because that first time I'll probably chalk it up to you having a bad day). But if that happens, you will SUFFER MY MALEVOLENT RAGE, most likely in the form of a carefully worded and subtly sarcastic email, in which my righteous anger and indignation will be apparent only to me.

Oh, I will have my revenge, PTA Lady. You and your kind are hereby put on notice. How dare you?

-Lumpyhead's Mom

P.S. I do not want to join your group. But I probably will.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Would Prefer "Garten" to be Preceded by "Beer." Or "Ina"

Lumpyhead starts kindergarten tomorrow. His backpack is loaded, school supplies have been delivered, and his lunch account is funded. He met his teacher last week, visited the school, and tested the playground. We've been working on the pep talk all summer, and he's excited. He's ready.

I'm not sure I am.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ba Dum Bump

Lumpyhead was playing with an inflatable flamingo in the pool.

Lumpyhead: Mmmm, delicious flamingo.
Me: I don't think people eat flamingoes, Buddy.
Bump: Flamingoes, no. But egrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention.

My husband, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Can Come in Handy That Way

I went to the Social Security Office with my mom so she could apply for benefits under my dad's record.

I'm fairly certain she was the only English-speaking white woman to arrive with an Asian interpreter to translate bureaucrat-ese.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Things That Only Suck a Little About Attending Your Father's Funeral

1. Hearing how your father touched the lives of such a large and varied group of people, and learning how many others will miss him terribly - almost as much as you will.
2. The socially adept fellow mourners who manage to say the right things at the right time.
3. Seeing distant family and friends again (both the ones who live far away and the ones who are aloof).
4. Aunt Wilma.
5. Missing your children a lot, but being really glad they're not with you.
6. The amazing support from your friends - through every means possible - like getting text messages and voicemails (when I can triangulate between the big rock and the church steeple and a windmill and score two whole bars) or watching the florist haul in truckloads of flowers from your friends and colleagues.
7. Finding out your mom has high-speed wifi. (It went like this. Me [incredulous]: "Mom, do you really have wifi?" Mom: "What's a why-five?") It's a little unreliable, but it's wifi, man, and upon its discovery the heavens opened and the angels sang and I cried a little.

Things That Don't Suck About Attending Your Father's Funeral

I still got nuthin.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things That Completely Suck About Attending Your Father's Funeral

1. It means your dad has died.
2 through 8,932. See Number 1.
8,933. Leaving a fantastic beach house in Charleston, SC - three days into your trip - and finding an airline that will deliver you to Sioux Falls, SD (in a hurry, one-way or multi-city, for less than a gazillion dollars).
8,934. You end up back in your teeny-tiny hometown, with spotty cell service, even spottier blackberry service, and internet through your mother's ancient computer.
8.935. It is logistically impossible for your family to join you, so you spend most of the time answering the question "Where's your husband and kids?"
8,936. No, that's not my husband. That's my brother.
8,937. That's my uncle.
8,938. That's a woman. Dude, are you blind?
8,939. The social morons who want you to guess who they are. They approach you with the words "I bet you don't know who I am" and then just stand there, expectantly. [Note: It is perfectly acceptable to say "I bet you don't know who I am," and follow that immediately with "I'm Firstname Lastname and I know your mother/father/family through…" But if you just stand there waiting, imagining that you are a) so astoundingly memorable and that I will recall that one time your daughter and I went to the swimming pool together and b) so age-resistant that I can recognize you from twenty years ago, then you are seriously drinking too much of the local nitrate-laced water, my friend.]

Things That Don't Suck About Attending Your Father's Funeral

I got nuthin.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Nathan Jr discovers the trick for not looking ridiculous in a red felt cowboy hat: Add a Horse.

The issue remains for the boots, however.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nathan Jr's Birthday

Tuesday is Nathan Jr's birthday.

Like his siblings', his birth was induced at 38 weeks. There was very little uncertainty about when he would be born. The obstetrician scheduled an appointment with the hospital, labor was induced with pitocin, and grandmothers' flights were booked well in advance.

I realized at the time that because we could schedule his birth, perhaps we should take advantage of the calendar and give Nathan Jr a cool birthdate: 08-08-08.

You may recall that I'm not a very happy pregnant lady. I'm sick for the first half and GINORMOUSLY HUGE for the second half. I spend the last month or so experiencing constant contractions which enable me to walk into the hospital already 4 to 5 centimeters dilated. (On the bright side, that makes delivery pretty fast. Nathan Jr was out on the second push.) Then there's that whole "sober" thing that doesn't mesh well with my lifestyle or personality.

Someday, when I'm far enough removed from the horror of pregnancy, I may wonder why we accepted the first available time slot on the 3rd. Why didn't we request the 8th? Well, Future Me, allow me to respond:

Reason 1: Bump's birthday is the 10th.

No one wants to share their birthday, and a full week between Bump's Special Day and Nathan Jr's Special Day seemed reasonable. That gives me a whole week to recover from planning Nathan Jr's birthday party and to prepare the Absolutely Nothing I typically shower on Bump.

(Yeah, I kind of suck. At least I make a cake, though, and seven days guarantees that Nathan Jr's cake will be completely gone and Bump will get his own damn cake.)

Reason 2, aka the Actual Reason, and Waaaaaay More Compelling Than That First Thing: There are FIVE days between the 3rd and the 8th.

If you had suggested to me - pregnant and contracting and extremely unhappy me - that I wait five (5! FIE-HUV.) whole days to get that baby out, just so he could have an amusing birthdate, I would have punched you in the throat.

If you had suggested it via telephone or email, I would have walk-waddled to your house and then punched you in the throat, muttering the whole way about what a fucking idiot you are.

So Happy Birthday Nathan Jr. I suppose I could have used this post to marvel that you're already two, to describe how awesome you are and what milestones you've reached, or to imagine the incredible man you will become.  But I didn't.

I'm glad you were born. On the 3rd.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'll Need to See Your Referrrrrrrrraaaaaal . . . .

Nana came for a short visit last weekend, and we miss her already.

Among other things, she told us there are lots of film shoots around New Orleans right now. Some of her friends - the ones with lots of time and patience - have enjoyed serving as extras. She tried to get Doc (her husband) to answer a casting call for "big guys" to be zombies.

And then we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Doc is quite tall, like his son was, with the same lineman's build. He certainly fits the "big guy" description, but the hospital might not like scheduling around his budding acting career.

I should probably point out that Doc is a neurosurgeon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Yes, Thank You for Noticing" Might Have Been a Better Reply

My toenails and fingernails are currently the same color as Lula's.  On Sunday, a very sweet 20-something woman grinned at us and asked, "Did you get manicures?"

"Well," I said, "if by 'manicure' you mean sitting on the bathroom counter and painting under duress, then yes."

"Duress?" she asked warily.

"She was yelling and I tried to shut her up with nail polish," I explained while darting off to prevent one of my children from causing yet another disaster.

"Oh," the poor girl said softly.

I think she was imagining the lovely world of having a daughter, where charming mommy-and-me outings for mani/pedis precede baseball games. I probably shouldn't have burst her bubble.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I went to a Big Box Hardware Store this afternoon to buy paint. Bump is refinishing furniture for Lula's room, and we were negotiating color choices this morning. I was being difficult because the correct shade of pink was not among the 45 frillion color chips he brought home (That's too light! That's not red enough! I want it to match the super-cute rocking chair Nana sent!) so Bump threw up his hands and sent me to the damn store myself -- well, with the chair.

I eventually found the right hue and collected all my purchases while lugging around a child-size rocking chair. I got tons of comments about it (it is super-cute, after all) and realized that my quasi-standoff with Bump about which of us was trudging back to the damn store with the damn chair to find the perfect damn pink probably ended the right way. While he is physically better able to carry a piece of furniture like a handbag, socially it was probably less awkward for me to haul a wee pastel chair around in public.

All the attention from strangers about the chair meant I wasn't alarmed when someone approached me in the parking lot with a smile.

"Are you Vietnamese?" he asked.

"Nope," I chirped. I always find that question a little weird. Sometimes I go out of my way to avoid satisfying random obnoxious curiosity, but I was feeling generous. "Korean."

I put the chair in the passenger's seat. By the time I got behind the wheel the guy was next to the car, waving expectantly. I rolled down the window.

He was earnest and stranded. His car had broken down. He called his friend but it had been over an hour and his friend hadn't arrived.

I offered him my cell phone.

He declined. He worked at a National Gas/Service Station Chain (a work shirt bearing the company's name was draped over his shoulder) and really just needed a ride. Did I live around here?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

They're Half Dutch, You Know

On my side. Yeah, it's confusing.
You can't accuse Lumpyhead of jumping on the bandwagon - it's the 2006 uniform.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Parental Relativity of Time

5:38AM - Baby cries

If you're the one getting out of bed, the baby woke up at five-thirty.
If your spouse got up, the baby woke up at quarter-to-six.

And that, my friends, is absolute.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pissed Off One

Dear Volkswagen,
Your current ad campaign resurrecting the Slug Bug/Punch Buggy concept is very cute. The SuperBowl ad featuring Stevie Wonder made me laugh out loud. I spent many childhood hours sucker punching my brother or rubbing my arm in the back seat. So kudos to you for an effective blend of nostalgia, humor, and brand identification.

But for placing your ads on Nick Jr - and thereby teaching my children to beat the crap out of each other while howling "BLUE ONE!" - I hope you die in a fire.


Lumpyhead's Mom

P.S. You know what Nick Jr? Fuck you for this, too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm Not a Big Fan

1. I'm pretty sure Delta Airlines is fucking with me.

After being really, really, stupendously shitty about my flight to Sioux Falls, the airline was fantastic about canceling my parents' flight. They rebanked the miles I used to purchase the tickets and even refunded the $10 fee. What the hell?

Also, five days after I got back to DC - still complaining bitterly about the stinking $150 I had to pay to redeem miles on short notice - I received this email:
See? They're totally fucking with me.

2. Bump's family is coming to visit in a few weeks, which means seven more people (aged toddler-ish to eighty-ish) will be in my house. This spurred a frenzy of furniture shopping and money hemorrhaging, and while I knew we would need these items eventually, OMG holy sudden cash outlays.

We got a bunk bed for Lumpyhead. All three tormentors are very excited about it, but for now no one is allowed on the top bunk. We haven't placed the top mattress yet to further discourage climbers.Why buy a bunk bed and not use half of it? Well, because the room has a ceiling fan.

I know, I'm an idiot, right? We need to do some creative arranging, because right now a child going for the top bunk is destined for a head thwacking, absent some masterful timing and lightning-fast reflexes. While we can situate the bed so that a climber is not automatically imperiled (which is the plan, obvs), the fan will always be within reach of the top bunk.

Is this a non-starter? Can a child be convinced to leave a ceiling fan alone? Will one good thunk-thunk-thunking make the point in spades? Do we have to take down the ceiling fan or unbunk the beds? I need an answer before my sister-in-law arrives with three more heads and thirty more fingers to jeopardize.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Camp Lumpyhead Update

Bump took the tormentors to a new playground yesterday. It was a beautiful day, and he took full advantage of one of the few not-too-hot days that we get in the DC metro region.

Then they had fast food for lunch. And everyone took a nap.

The kids were more excited about the chicken nuggets and french fries than they were about the awesome playground. Bump was really excited about the nap.

In my attempt to contribute to Camp Lumpyhead, this morning I gave Lula a craft project and Nathan Jr an activity to help develop spatial relations and fine motor skills. For I am awesome.

. . .

Okay, FINE. I didn't put milk on their fruit loops.

Then I gave Lula a string to make a necklace, and Nathan Jr an empty bowl into which he could transfer his cereal before eating it.

Nobody half-asses it like me. Don't even try.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Camp Lumpyhead

Preschool ended last week. Today was supposed to begin a glorious two-week period wherein visiting grandparents provided childcare while Bump and I frolicked, responsibility-free, for a fortnight.

Bump planned to complete all the projects he cannot undertake with three kids around, and scheduled a butt-load of doctor's appointments. Ha! Butt-load. (It's funny, because one of those appointments is a colonoscopy. HA!)

But my father's kidneys failed last month, and while he's feeling much better, his doctor was not amused by the idea of his just-released-from-the-hospital patient leaving town for two weeks.

So, today begins Camp Lumpyhead (with apologies to Stimey - who does actual, theme-based days with her kids and is awesome). If I were running Camp Lumpyhead, it would go like this:
  • call Grampa and Gramma at regular intervals and have the children tearfully ask "When are you coming to see us?" (evil villian laugh)
  • resolve to go to the playground. Take one step outside and determine it's waaaay too damn hot to go to the playground, and return to the fiftieth consecutive episode of the Backyardigans.
  • decide to go to the pool. Gather pool items, change kids into swimsuits, slather sunscreen on floor while trying to splotch a few drops onto a pack of rabid alley cats, pack snacks, wait for child to use the potty, remember forgotten swim goggles,wait for other child to use the potty, start out the door, discover smallest child has gone and had hisself a little old rest stop, change smallest child's diaper, curse swimmy diapers, change smallest child's swimsuit, head for the car again, realize it's too close to naptime to go to the pool, and opt to spray children with the garden hose.
I can't wait to check with Bump to see how the real Camp Lumpyhead is going.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Refugee Redux. Also, Fuck Shit Damn

    As many of you know, I grew up in rural Southwestern Minnesota. When I visit my parents, I fly to Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota: airport code FSD. The other option is Sioux City, Iowa. And while booking a ticket to SUX is poetic in so many ways, Sioux Falls is almost always the airport of choice.

    I don't go back very often; it's easier and cheaper to bring my parents to DC than it is to fly to them with three monkeys and their corresponding crap. The last time I visited Sioux Falls my father was having emergency bypass surgery. I boarded a plane with no luggage – I bought clothes when I landed – and abandoned Bump with two small children and plans to move heavy furniture the next day, in the midst of an expansive home renovation.

    My mother called me yesterday afternoon because my father has been hospitalized. I have once again made a last-minute trip to FSD, although on this occasion I took the time to pack several pairs of my own (clean!) underpants, among other items.

    Highlights thus far (other than the underpants thing)
    • I had two beers and a decent crab cake at National Airport. No, really.
    • Dad looks better than I expected. He's not ready to pitch the softball season opener or anything, but I had braced myself for a shriveled old man lying in a hospital bed, connected to various wires and beeping machines. He's . . . oddly random. One minute he's awake and asking about Bump's fantasy football team, the next he's half asleep and snoring or muttering or giggling and grinning like a newborn with wicked gas. I dunno.
    • The airline is a complete and total asspimple. I feel nickel-and-dimed to death, and am the victim of several small-scale extortion plots, of that I am certain. ("You want to see your father? That will be $1200. Oh, it's a medical emergency? Well, in that case, it will be $700. To go to South FUCKING Dakota. We have cheap flights to Paris and Tokyo, and your kids could fly free to Turks & Caicos or Bermuda, but since you want to go to exotic South Dakota, chaCHING. Pay up, sucker. Oh, you want to use frequent flier miles? Then it will be $150, because you want to leave today. Next time please plan your medical emergencies 21 days in advance.") Fuckers.
    • I was saved once again from my own glorious stupidity by -- well, more stupidity. I decided to take Nathan Jr to FSD with me. It would provide my mother with some happy distraction and relieve Bump a bit from several solid days of solo child care. Bump and I dithered about whether or not it was a good idea to take the baby, but my aunt offered to provide backup babysitting if Nathan Jr proved too taxing for my mother or the hospital setting was too stressful for him. Plus, he could still fly for free. Take that, airline. While I was furiously packing my things Bump packed for Nathan Jr. On the way to the airport I realized we forgot his passport/birth certificate/proof of age, which the reservations agent assured me was necessary for him to fly as a lap infant. He stayed home with Bump.
    • Dad's IV drip sounds like a mewing kitten, which is either cute or makes me want to drown it in a burlap sack. It depends on when you ask me.
    • There were some amazing lightning flashes at the Minneapolis airport (one cannot fly directly to FSD), along with heavy rain. While beautiful, it created some seriously rough flying conditions. I was pleased not to have a toddler-sized projectile on my lap.
    • As I settled into my seat with the in-flight magazine, I had a flash to a different timeline. Bump and I still had two incomes and no children, and could leave at a moment's notice for a weekend excursion. After at least one drink in the terminal bar/restaurant, we would jet off to somewhere fun, where massages and art museums awaited. (Okay, we never went to art museums or got massages. More likely, our schedule included a tee time, dinner reservations, and at least one incident of drunk puking by yours truly.)
    • Then I flashed to another alternate timeline, one where I brought Nathan Jr with me as planned. Instead of my seatmate exchanging gracious pleasantries with me, he was scowling at a squirmy squealy sweaty fat toddler who kicked and flailed and yelped before crying and sinking out of my lap to the floor between my knees by arching his back wildly and turning his arm and shoulder bones to jelly.
    • I blame all the flashing on that damn Lost finale.
    • My brother will arrive in Sioux Falls this morning, and I have warned him that if he doesn't show up with a cooler and plenty of beer I am going to punch him in the throat.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Huh. Turns Out the Substitution Property is the Answer.

    I saw a dead dog on the side of the road this morning.

    I grew up in a rural area, where fallen creatures on the shoulder are very common. But I honestly don't recall the last time I saw roadkill. In 2007 we drove to the beach and I saw some smashed watermelons on the highway, but if I have to remember a specific incident before then - or one including an actual dead animal - I've got nuthin.

    It was terribly sad.

    Also? Really confusing.

    How does a dog end up on the northbound express lanes of 395? (Those lanes are sandwiched between several lanes of traffic on both sides.) The poor thing must have fallen out of the car it was riding in, right? In which case: HOW DO YOU FAIL TO NOTICE THAT YOUR PET HAS EXITED THE VEHICLE?

    Sorry about the shouting, but, damn.

    Perhaps the crazy mutt jumped out of an open window? You think, maybe? In which case: WHY WOULD YOU OPEN A WINDOW FAR ENOUGH FOR YOUR SQUIRREL/HUMMER-CHASING MONGREL TO LEAP THROUGH?

    Jesus. That's like handing the baby a blowtorch and being all "caramelize the top of that creme brulee for me, would ya Drools?"

    Speaking of religion (What? Blasphemy counts), maybe that's where I should look for help in understanding this troubling manner.

    I'll start with this nugget of wisdom I've picked up during my commute:
    Great. So DOG = GOD.
    To which I'll add a little philosophy:
    And TA DA!

    Dog is dead. There you go.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Sharpen a Number Two Pencil (Heh, I said "number two")

    1. Where the fuck are my keys?

    Lula and I went to the Farmers Market yesterday, and I set my keys down in the kitchen because my hands were full. Later I saw Lula playing with them, and I thought I took them away from her, but this morning I spent at least 15 minutes hunting.

    Bump dropped what he was doing (the time-sensitive morning deadline stuff like packing lunches and fixing breakfast and stuffing wriggling feet into clean matching socks) to help search and to interrogate the children. "Have you seen Mama's keys? What about you? Lula, what did you do with them yesterday? What do you mean you don't know? Try to remember."


    Either Aunt Bob is wrong, or Pete is wrong. I know who I think is right, but you are going to settle this once and for all.

    2. If I showed up at your house and said, "Wow, I hit every light between my place and here" you would think:
    a) Every light was green; I didn't have to stop at all.
    b) Every light was red; I had to stop every time.
    c) "I have no idea what the hell Lumpyhead's Mom is talking about. Again."
    d) "Uh, I live in New Zealand."

    3. What if I said "I made every light"? (same choices as above)

    4. If "I caught every light"?


    By the way, the answer to 1 is: In my purse.

    (But! But! Not in the pocket where I normally keep them. In a different one.)

    Also? I'm pretty sure if you contact us in six years, and mention this, Bump will STILL be annoyed.

    Friday, May 21, 2010


    I've had a shitty week at work, but I just went out to lunch at a golf course.  I ate a great burger, drank many beers, and forced two of my colleagues to work the words "nougat" and "marzipan" into ordinary office-related sentences.

    If only I had brought my clubs, I could have spent a little time at the driving range.

    It almost makes up for the shitty week.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010


    Lumpyhead is ALWAYS! SCREAMING!

    I don't mean he's squealing all the time. I mean when he's talking HE'S ALWAYS SHOUTING AT US.  Bump is constantly sighing "Buddy, I'm right here. Why are you yelling?"

    Sometimes he's excited, but usually he's just casually mentioning that he cleared Level Whatever on his Gameboy but HE'S MENTIONING IT SO LOUDLY I CAN HEAR HIM IN THE ATTIC. It's like sitting across the dinner table from a guy with a bullhorn. Or Aunt Bob when she's drunk.

    If I had a dollar for every time I've reminded him "Use your inside voice, Billy Mays" I'd be a very wealthy woman.

    Please tell me this is just a phase.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Back on the Horse

    When I haven't written in a long time it's hard to get back into the swing of things. Everything I consider posting seems too trivial and boring. So I'm taking the pressure off and just jumping back in.

    Here's Nathan Jr drinking tea with his pinky in the air, because it cracks me up.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    And I Only Had to Deal With Two of Them

    Bump took Lumpyhead to a kindergarten open house this morning, so I stayed home with Lula and Nathan Jr.

    In the two and a half hours Bump was gone, we baked bread, rode bikes, blew bubbles, and had a tea party. My proudest accomplishment was fitting in a quick shower, thanks to Dora and Tivo.

    It was exhausting.

    I arrived at the office by 11:30 where a half-finished project from yesterday was waiting for me, along with a new meeting request and seventeen unread emails. But my afternoon suddenly seemed a lot easier than my morning had been.

    Friday, April 02, 2010

    I Think I Got It Now

    Hey, so remember how I'm a complete idiot who can't tell the Voltaggio brothers apart?
    I think I got it now.
    This one's Bryan.

    Yep, Bryan.

    Thursday, April 01, 2010

    SECRETS REVEALED: How to Get Long Hair Fast

    Finally! The secret to long hair FAST - in easy step-by-step instructions.

    Step 1: Begin with short hair (sour expression and spotty mirror not required).

    Step 2: Find ordinary hairbrush (goofy expression not required).

    Step 3: Make hairbrush MAGIC.

    Step 4: Finish magic.

    Step 5: Activate Magic Hairbrush

    Step 6: Instant results!

    You're welcome.

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    I Is Relly Smart

    I have grumbled for years that DC drivers can't cope with weather. Morons drive around in snow with no clue what they're doing, going way too fast or way too slow. The smallest bit of rain inevitably snarls traffic. I can understand why snow would be a problem, but why is rain so hard?

    It occurred to me for the first time this morning: it's probably not the precipitation, it's probably the extra drivers on the road.

    If it's an option, people who might otherwise walk or bike or take public transit get in their cars when it rains. The ten or fifteen or twenty dollars (or whatever it costs these days. I work on the Hill, remember, I'm supposed to be out of touch) to park your car in the office garage is worth not having to wait for the bus in the rain.

    Has this been obvious to everyone else, for like, forever? You can get back to me on that, because now I'm busy investigating Pope Benedict's religion, if the sky is indeed up, and whether or not bears defecate in forests and other wooded areas.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Cruise Ship Haircut

    Nathan Jr needed a haircut badly. It was only $15, so we got it done on the boat.
    This is Nathan Jr with his grandmother, before the haircut, looking scraggly.

    This is the lovely woman who gave my baby his first haircut.

    She was very sweet, and very worried about making him cry.
    He wiggled and squirmed and we juggled and bounced, but lo, he did not cry.

    And it looked pretty good.

    Even the next day.

    Until it got wet. 
    (Nathan Jr took an unexpected dip in the pool on our first shore excursion. Unexpected for me, that is. He very much meant to go in when he did.)

    A few minutes later, starting to look a little . . . off.

    Three days later, looking like a hot mess.

    There were whole sections the very sweet boat stylist missed. The back pieces that tend to stick up stuck up at vastly differing lengths. He reminded me of Kate Gosselin. I tried to even it out a bit myself, but it was clearly a disaster. Nathan Jr didn't cry during his first haircut, but he got a lousy haircut.

    What? Really?

    Yesterday I resolved to fix that catastrophe on Nathan Jr's head.

    This is the committed professional who fixed my baby's first haircut.

    This stylist wasn't so worried about the child crying. She wasn't crazy about it, but she was more concerned about giving him a decent haircut.

    The result was impeccable. Nathan Jr cried the whole time.

    He cried the second we plopped him into the chair. I held him on my lap and he threw a fit. Afterward I took him outside to try to calm him down and he sank to the concrete sidewalk and wailed. He screamed while I paid the Committed Professional (and tipped her mightily for the hazardous duty). He wept all the way home. He sobbed while I gave him a bath, which was necessary because no mere cape could contain the hair clippings that flew while he fish flopped, red-faced and angry.

    Perhaps I was mourning the loss of my wonderful, wonderful hair, Mother. Did you ever consider that?

    It's impeccable, but it is very, very short.

    Drooleykins, the Buzz Cut King of Molarville

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Help Me Out Here

    Look, I travel in pretty liberal circles. Most people I know think like I do.

    But I understand those who disagree. I know that many smart, kind, loving people really believe in lower taxes and smaller government. I respect that. (I also know that it's easy to beat the shit out of someone who thinks education should be handled on the local level by painting that person as "opposed to education funding.")

    I understand the political realities that have given us huge deficits, low taxes, and lots of government spending.

    I am painfully well-informed and like to think I'm open-minded.

    But I don't understand the opposition to health care reform.

    At all.

    I mean, I get the policitally motivated "capitalize on the frightened, misinformed electorate" sentiment. I think it's irresponsible, but I understand the political calculation.

    I know we often think that if people who disagree with us just understood the issue, they would agree with us. I know that belief is usually misplaced. It leads to shouting and anger and hatred.

    But I don't understand the well-informed, thoughtful, well-reasoned other side of this. Is there one?

    Someone help me.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Phoning It In

    I know, I know. It's really stuff on the baby's face, not his head. And these photos are from, like, December.

    Please ignore the snot and the klassy klothesline.

    I tried to photoshop out the snot, but there's not much I can do about the klassy.

    Wait. [LIGHTBULB!]

    Oh look, she figured out how to move the damn laundry before taking a picture. Here. You want one?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Same Time Every Year

    Why does February fly by, while March stretches on forever?

    One day it's February 20 and two seconds later I realize it's March 2nd and I yelp curse words and scramble to pay bills and arrange other first-of-the-month things. Then, vowing to never let that happen again, I carefully watch the calendar to ensure I handle things at the end of the month like I'm supposed to.

    So on March 15 I start thinking "Okay, I'm gonna need to take care of that stuff soon." But 63 days later it's somehow only March 20 and I'm all "WHAT THE HELL, CALENDAR?"

    This happens to you too, right? How can only a couple of days make such a difference? I don't have this problem on 30-day months.

    Oh com'on. You know it happens to you, too. Maybe you haven't noticed it before, but trust me, sometime around March 28 you're gonna be all "That Lumpyhead's Mom, man, she's a fucking prophet."

    Wednesday, March 03, 2010

    TPA = WIN

    Work is crazy, Nathan Jr was sick, and I'm still trying to get my head on straight from our vacation.

    The kids' passports inexplicably arrived on time and without incident, a happy coincidence Bump and I are still marveling over. Good thing, too, because we needed them exactly ZERO times on the trip.

    The tormentors loved spending time with their cousins, enjoyed the ports of call, and adored the on-board children's program (supervised on-board kid activities - i.e. "drop 'em off and have a few hours to yourself" - Bump and I were big fans, too).

    Other than the seasick, I had a great time.

    Can't say I enjoyed the seasick.

    But! Did you know that the Tampa airport has a great children's play area? Well, it does.

    Entertaining the monkeys at National Airport

    Entertaining the monkeys at the Tampa airport.

    The Tampa airport totally wins.

    So, to recap the lessons learned on this trip: 1) use Tampa if your travel plans take you to Florida and 2) being seasick sucks.

    (Yes, I suspected I would get seasick. In the past I have remedied seasickness by being drunk or asleep while on a boat. I tried the behind-the-ear scopolamine patch this time, and I did not feel disgustingly nauseous between the vomiting episodes, so I guess the patch worked.)

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Weather Karma Not Exactly Working Out in Our Favor

    Provided we can actually escape the clutches of THE STORM OF THE CENTURY (of the week) on Saturday, we'll leave for the cruise this weekend. Bump checked the weather in one of the ports of call today.

    Yeah, under the temp that says "Funnel Cloud." I'm thinking that can't be good.

    Friday, February 05, 2010

    The Neighbors Got a Snowblower

    "Look!" Lumpyhead yelled from the top of the stairs. "There's something very wrong with the snow."


    He guided me to his bathroom window and pointed across the street. "There's something wrong with the snow, see? They're lawn mowing it."

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    Okay, look.

    It's fucking February.

    It's time for the holiday wreath-substitute door spray to go away.

    But I luuuuuurve it so.

    Plus, Nana made it. It's an heirloom. Or something.

    Fine, fine. It's coming down this weekend.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Mystery Text

    Bump just received this message:
    We're not sure who sent it, but we're pretty sure it's from his grandmother.

    We were unable to respond, but we hope Feef - or whoever sent the text - got home safe.

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    The OMB Director's OBM

    So the Director of the Office of Management and Budget has an "Other Baby Mama."

    My first thought is "Congratulations" and the second is "Wow, that guy has some seriously fantastic time-management skills" because I'm working a much less demanding job and do not have time to date even one person in New York.

    My friend Anne knew Ms. Milonas at school and claims she is very nice. (Anne is an excellent judge of character - don't let the fact that she hangs out with me convince you otherwise.) She had no idea the woman was the daughter of a shipping tycoon.

    The news coverage on this is interesting (although not half as interesting as the gossip and speculation running around my office - god I love my job sometimes) and funny. The tag on Wonkette's post makes me ecstatic about the future. Achenbach's take is hysterical, even though he seems to forget that an heiress doesn't really need a partner to raise a child. 1) Capable women can ably parent alone. It may be difficult, but women have been proving this for years. 2) Rich women can hire staff.

    The New York Post's article is especially harsh. Using old-fashioned phrasing like "jilted" and "kicked to the curb," it paints Claire Milonas as a heartbroken, knocked-up dumpee who was left waiting at the altar.

    I heartily disagree. A "brainy Yale grad and Harvard MBA" can find her pills when she wants them. I suspect that she was ready for a baby, found a guy everyone says is brilliant, and obtained his genetic contribution the easy way.

    Go Claire, Go. (Anne says hi.)

    And congratulations on the birth of your third child, Mr. Orszag.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Lumpyhead's Law

    Bump's mother decreed that for her next birthday, she will be surrounded by all of her grandchildren. On a boat. A big boat.

    Yay, right? Except I may have to be at work.

    While I am disappointed by this, Bump is positively horrified by the specter of having to travel with three children on his own. Indeed, if given the choice between the office and a Caribbean cruise - a cruise wherein one is expected to fly to Tampa, board a ship, spend several days at sea, disembark and fly back to DC with three children aged four-and-a-half, three, and eighteen months - I think the office wins.

    I approach parenting with a modified version of Murphy's Law, let's call it Lumpyhead's Law: Shit WILL go wrong, just try to prevent catastrophe. The cruise line strongly recommends all passengers have passports in case an event like sickness, missed departure, etc. requires air travel. Therefore Bump's mother strongly recommended the children get passports, and her travel agent urged us to get passports, which meant Bump's mother really, really wanted us to get passports. In the spirit of Lumpyhead's Law, we decided to get passports for the tormentors.

    Dudes. Passports cost a freaking fortune. Sixty bucks for the State Department. Twenty-five bucks for the Post Office. When I read that the Post Office charged $15 for passport photos, the Dutch in me kicked in. Hell, I have an off-white wall right here in my kitchen. The internet says you can make your own passport photos. Fuck the fifteen dollars; I can do it for twenty cents.

    But you know what I can't do? Get my children to take passport photos in the kitchen.
    I don't think the State Department would find these acceptable.
    These either.
    But hey, these are pretty good.

    I was pleased with my efforts. Two by two inches, exactly? Check! Faces measuring between 1" and 1 and 3/8" from top of head to bottom of chin? Check! High-quality prints? I'll print them at Target, just in case my printer is not acceptable. Check! Final price? Sixty cents. (Not including the hours I spent cajoling my children against a blank wall and cropping and measuring photos, of course. One and three-eighths of an inch can bite my ass.)

    Then we went to the post office. The very nice lady who processed our applications worried that the background was too dark on my DIY passport photos. "Where did you get these done?" she sneered. ("Uhh…" "Oh.") She fretted about our departure date and my decision not to expedite the processing. (But we're seven weeks out! Expedited processing is another seventy-five bucks per kid! You may get $3.30 from me for some bullshit "domestic money order fee" because I have a debit card instead of an actual checkbook, but you will not browbeat me into another $225, so help me god, Very Nice Lady.)

    Very Nice Lady dutifully filled out forms and stamped things and clucked "so cute" and handed the now-feral children activity books. She worried more about the photos. "It costs fifteen dollars to do them here," she told me, "but the photo place two doors down will do it for six dollars. I just don't want the State Department to deny your applications, it being this close to your departure."

    That's when I caved. Nearly fifty bucks for photos is a load of crap, but eighteen dollars? If I knew I could get real passport photos for $18 I wouldn't have bothered with all those shots of Nathan Jr's ear in the kitchen.

    Bump took the children to the photo place while I continued with the paperwork. Turns out the $6 price was for adults. Children under five cost $11.

    But hey, you know what a photo place can do? Take acceptable passport photos of all three of my children in about forty-five seconds.
    Boom. Boom. Boom.

    The only reported difficulty was that Lumpyhead kept smiling, and the photo place demanded neutral expressions. (Nathan Jr certainly has the blank/I have a cold/"why are you flashing that thing at me" expression mastered, doesn't he?)

    Very Nice Lady was pleased with the new photos. Several minutes later, we had completed passport applications. The whole process took about two hours (not counting the kitchen photo shoot - and subsequent cropping and measuring - which I heartily recommend against).

    Bump and I fully expect the passports to arrive two days after the kids leave on the trip.