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.