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Showing posts from January, 2008

Day 31. in which Alex regrets the era of instant communication.

We just replaced the cell phones that broke last Fall. Our household has this curse with cell phones. We just can't keep them in one workable piece - Dana being the worst with this. Seth once brought one of mine into the pool with him, forgetting it was in his pocket, although that was several cell phones ago now.

We lived a season without cell phones. Getting a new phone seemed like an entirely good thing to me. Being an hour and a half away from work now, it would make it me seem a bit closer to home.

However, I had forgotten this distance from home is sometimes not a bad thing...I feel like an evil mother saying this, but at the same time, the one good thing about going to work is it can act as a respite to the ruckus that generally accompanies small children. It's also sometimes nice to find out after the disasters after the disasters have been resolved. However, Dana uses it entirely differently, and feels a need to report every new little incident at the homestead.

Before I…

Day 29. in which Alex can't sleep.

At night, I fall asleep instantly and I sleep like a rock - that is, until one of the kids or Dad wakes me up somewhere usually between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Barely awake, I stumble through the dark bedroom towards the culprit, praying I may soon return to slumber. Usually, it's Liam these days. Lily will just quietly sneak into our bed, unnoticed at first, until I wake up to her foot in my face. Mostly, it is Liam who I must get up for during the night.

Liam and I sit in our quiet bedroom, listening to the others breathing their sleeping breathe. He will lay very still for a toddler. I sometimes forget that he isn't an infant because in some ways he still is cuddling like one. I watch Liam stare off into the dark, every moment watching his eyelids become heavier and heavier as he drifts off back to sleep. I don't want to be too anxious to lay Liam back down so I wait until I feel him resting very heavily into my arms.

With Liam asleep, I return to bed. I already kn…

Day 28. in which our heroine escapes unscathed (knock on wood)

Last Friday evening was when the scourge first took over our house. It afflicted the youngest first - first Liam, then Lilith. In the wee dark and sleeping hours of Monday morning, it came for Seth. Next Dana fell with it by the evening. And Grandpa Bob lost his appetite completely. Something was truly amiss...

Being Monday is already a bad state by its very nature. A creature of habit, I'm completely thrown off by the weekend. I feel like I am being re-released into the universe after being in a long coma every Monday morning, like I have forgotten how to exist outside of my pajamas over the weekend.

And I knew this particular Monday was going to be bad from the very start. Fifteen minutes into the morning, Dana and I were having this completely useless argument about laundry. Yeah, laundry. Dana couldn't find something because I had moved it from the spot he keeps it so he can find it in order to wash it because it was dirty. (Did you get all of that?!) These arguments aren&#…

Day 27. in which Alex crosses the hall.

There is a room across the hall from mine that I would like to frequent far more often than I do. However, it's a room full of small chokey things and irresistible gadgets that I could not possibly bring Liam and escape with toddler unharmed. I remember the first time that Lily was allowed entrance to Seth's room for a brief moment. Upon entry, a loud and joyful 'ohhhhh!' came out of her little mouth. Older brothers are so awesome. They have the coolest things.

It's only 7:16 PM, but everyone in the house was exceptionally sleepy so we retired upstairs even earlier than usual tonight. Dad is settled in (a long day he had...) and snoozing in the next room. Liam and Dana are sound asleep, and Lily is lying next to Dana now, mostly asleep but whispering things to herself. Instead of writing in my dark room of slumbering people, I am sitting across the hall in the secret retreat that is Seth's.

Once Seth actually hid me in his room for awhile. The downstairs was just…

Day 26. in which we are introduced to Sonny Liston.

When Lily and I came downstairs from our afternoon nap, we found Dana, Grandpa Bob and Liam lounging around the living room, watching some show on National Geographic about the history of sports. They showed some videos of men playing football and old footage of men boxing, but the volume was so low that I don't think anyone really knew what was playing on the TV. Mostly Dana was bragging to Grandpa Bob how he could remember any number, how he had a photographic memory when it came to numbers, and he was making himself out to be some mathematical genius the likes of Nash. I couldn't help but roll my eyes to hear this as I followed Lily down the stairs, but I have to admit that it sounded like they were having a good time.

I sat down on the couch across the living room from Dad (Grandpa Bob) as Dana got up to get a drink from the kitchen. Dad was looking at the boxers on TV and said, "I wonder if they're going to show Sonny Liston."

I had never heard of Sonny Lis…

Day 25. in which we perfect the dragging rush.

Liam sounded his alarm around 5:30 a.m., which was 20 blessed minutes more than the day before. I ran around the house, up and down the stairs, like every morning. Time to wake up Seth. Time to wake up Dana. Time to make the coffee. Time to feed Dad. Time to get showered. Time to get clothes for the kids.

I dragged myself over to Kyrce's house through the back yard. We dragged ourselves to USR, fueling up on Citgo coffee, which is surprisingly good... I dragged myself through work, through emails, through conference calls. We dragged ourselves back to Kingston, talking talking talking. We dragged our tired selves through the grocery store, me and Kyrce, fetching a very late dinner for my family waiting at home. Once in the house, I realized I left half of tonight's dinner in Kyrce's car! Seth ran through the dark backyard in super speedy time to retrieve it. I dragged myself around the house rushing rushing rushing to get everyone fed. I sighed heavily when I sat down to ea…

Day 24 and ¾. in which Seth publishes his Giant Enemy Crab fighting tutorial.

It is true that I aspire to hunt Giant Crabs. Those things have been terrorizing the Earth since
Ancient Japan, and I want to put a stop to it.

You, too, want to hunt Giant Enemy Crabs? Here's a step-by-step tutorial on hunting these elusive creatures...



STEP ONE - FIND THE GIANT ENEMY CRAB
~~~~~~~
GIANT ENEMY CRABS can be found anywhere near a large body of water, and on rare occasions, rivers. Especially the Hudson River, but you got to be careful about hunting them over there, as Giant Enemy Crabs will be significantly larger due to the PCBs in the river.

STEP TWO - FLIP OVER THE GIANT ENEMY CRAB
~~~~~~~
FLIPPING OVER THE Giant Enemy Crab can be one of the most challenging steps to slaying this elusive beast. There is no definite way to flip a Giant Enemy Crab over, but anything from distracting it with food,wedging a hydrolic jack and flipping the monster over, to simply shouting'Roll over, boy, roll over!' and hoping for the best. After this step, the hunt becomes significant…

Day 22. in which Lilith calls home.

On Tuesday, I worked from home and the phone wouldn't stop ringing from one Pearson person or another. It was a busy day, which is good and bad. Good because the day passes very quickly as I'm too busy to be clock-watching, and bad because, well...I was so busy!

I have a personal aversion to the phone, and I typically cringe when it rings. I don't feel obligated to answer it simply because it is ringing, and I refuse to go running through the house in an attempt to catch it before it goes to voice mail. However, when I'm working from home, I am obligated to answer the phone because I am working.

As a child, I had a love affair with the telephone. I would often call my best friend (who later become my 'stepsister'), Stephanie, and we would literally keep each other company on the phone all day long, breaking for nothing. This made our parents absolutely insane, and I seem to recall Stephanie telling me once that her parents got call-waiting (which was grou…

Day 21. in which Alex's spidey senses kick in, and she conquers the XBox Live 360.

We all learned a few things today.

Liam linked shaking his head from side to side with the notion of "NO".

Lily learned how to hang off the banister of the stairs and chirp like a "monkey princess".

Seth was reminded that he is not helping his mother by doing his own laundry; Seth is helping Seth when he is doing his own laundry.

Some lessons learned are better than others...

This morning I went back to the chiropractor. I've had to reschedule my last two appointments because of my tight schedule. He wanted to see me twice in one week, and I haven't been back since the initial visit. It's hard to commit to seeing a chiropractor twice in one week. For me, it's hard to commit to even once a week. This seemed to surprise the chiropractor. He lectured me about why it was really important to take care of myself, and how I needed to come in twice a week, telling me how he wished he had taken more time when he was my age (he's 55 now...). It's hard to…

Day 20. in which Alex elaborates on journaling and sleep-eating.

For most of my life, I have kept journals of one kind or another. In grade school, they were mostly three-ring spiral-bound notebooks. In high school, they tended to be cloth-bound in which I would paste souvenirs - movie tickets; school dances; four-leaf clovers - into the inside of the covers. In my twenties, I upgraded to combine both functionalities - spiral and cloth-bound notebooks. All of these contained mostly a lot of indecipherable nonsense, full of random notes to myself that I left much of the subtext out of to protect my privacy should the notebooks ever be found and read by someone other than me.

Most of these books are gone now, except a handful of ones I maintained in my twenties. However, since they are encoded, I'm afraid I don't clearly remember many of the moments I attempted to capture in a journal. Fuzzy memories.

In my late twenties, I decided journaling my reality wasn't exactly exciting. It was a lot of philosophical angst, mixed with drawings of st…

Day 19. in which family comes to visit!

Today was so busy, I thought my mind was going to implode.

Liam woke us up around 5:30, which was good, because the family was already arriving before I had a chance to finish cleaning. Although I don't think in our house there is ever a moment when the house is totally clean...it just drifts between degrees of cleanliness since there are always residents in action. I can pick up the living room, and have it completely destroyed by toddlers within fifteen minutes. Neither Lily nor Liam can resist the temptation of dumping out the container of blocks. It's one of Liam's favorite games. He dumps them all over the floor, and swipes his hand back and forth over the top of them very quickly to help scatter them. I guess it's just the opposite of the game I play, from his perspective. He gains more satisfaction dumping them, and for some reason, Mommy likes to play it the other way around.

There were 6 children in total: Seth (not so much a child), Patrick (my nephew from Rob)…

Day 18. in which Alex ponders Babe the Blue Ox and his keeper.

Dana and I were lounging in bed, looking at the TV. I am not sure if he was watching it. I was daydreaming and staring at it blankly.

One of the things I like about Dana is that I can ask him something completely random, and he doesn't wonder at my tangents.

So I leaned into him and said, "Who was that guy who had the blue ox?...Was that Paul Bunyan?"

Dana simply said "Yeah" and kissed me on my head.

And that was that. I went back to daydreaming, and Dana went back to staring at the TV.

Day 17. in which Alex is saved an hour of life.

Occasionally, I am home not a half hour late, but an hour early!

This is due to yet another blessed co-worker, Lanette, who has helped to keep me employed by helping transport my person to work. She doesn't quite drive; she hovers over the thruway in her super-speedy Audi. You would think I'd feel terrified, given my misgivings about driving in general. But because the ride is so much smoother than the Ford Focus or Kyrce's Toyota Camry, it's actually less frightening to do 90 in that then it is to 65 in ours.

Dana was overjoyed to see me walk through the door. He was holding Liam in his arms, and opened the door as soon as Lanette pulled into our driveway. Lily came out on the porch and started yelling, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" I have to admit, I felt greatly loved right then.

In what seems like many moons ago, Lanette used to drive me from our old office on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston (Ah! those were the days!) down Lucas Avenue to an apartment complex in which…

Day 15. in which Seth starts labeling our food supply.

Seth and I met up in the kitchen tonight for an evening snack. We often meet up here after the kids are passed out. I am overwhelmed by the number of people trying to talk to me at the same time in the evening. This tends to happen when everyone is still awake in the house. Kids are tugging at the legs of my pants, Dad is asking me where the bathroom is, and the phone is ringing... My brain shuts down completely when multiple queries are directed to me at once. I become frozen, like a deer in headlights. I am unable to answer anyone's questions! I hear things happening but I can't process them all at once, and Seth is one of the only people who truly recognizes this...and when he witnesses this happening to me, he is kind enough to keep our dialogue for a quieter time...

Seth does not have the best eating habits. (Feel free to try and defend yourself here, Seth!) I think I may have identified the problem. Seth doesn't like to comb his hair - this is one of our only points o…

Day 14. in which Bob is surprised!

It seems to me that I am increasingly misplacing things. This sometimes frightens me. It's hard to tell if I have a memory issue, like the Brown's, or a paranoia issue, like the Brown's...

I asked Dad today, "How old were you when you started to have memory problems?"

Dad smiled, and responded, "That's funny! I didn't realize I was having memory problems!"

Sigh. :)

Day 13. in which Alex doesn't watch TV.

I tend to have the tv on in the evening right before I drift off to sleep. I don't recommend this to anyone, and I'm not even sure why I do it. It's kind of like viewing a car accident. It's irrisistible, and yet, there is nothing good about it.

We get several hundred channels delivered to our DVR box from TimeWarner. Typically, there isn't one channel that offers anything worth watching. I wish there were only one or two channels to select from that offered quality programming instead of hundreds of nothing.

In the 1980's, there used to be a channel dedicated to telling you what was on the channel line-up. There were maybe only thirty or so channels to choose from. The background was a blue screen, and it rolled by at a speed in which you could actually read.

In the 1990's, this channel became half-advertisement, half-information. The top half of the screen began to display commercials, or even worse, commercials masquerading as programs. It was irritating. A…

Day 12. in which Alex awaits Seth's return.

Seth doesn't believe me, but if he could see me now, he would.

Anytime Seth leaves home, and I've been telling him this for years, I wait for his return on the steps outside our home, sobbing, waiting for him to return.

It's quite cold outside tonight. Probably about 28 degrees Fahrenheit. There's a crescent moon in the sky. Lily was concerned that it was falling on our ride home from Evie's (the babysitter) last night, but it seems to be sticking in place, thankfully. Fuzz is in the house screaming. Fuzz is Seth's cat. He's had her since he was around two years old (Lily's age now). She always howls when Seth is gone.

I am wearing my blue and white pajama bottoms, the fuzzy slippers Andrea and Andrew gave me for Christmas, and a pale yellow t-shirt that reads "I Rather Be in Rio". This t-shirt is a ready-made "Golden Boy". I love that you can purchase completely thin, worn-out t-shirts brand-new. (Boy, that's a lot of hyphens...…

Day 11. in which Alex and Dana attempt to watch a movie.

The past several years I have only participated peripherally in the outside universe. There are a lot of things that have occurred of which I have a vague sense, and of which I have not fully consumed. I also have a sense that I probably didn't miss much...

What I mean by this is that when you become a parent, you tend to become very aware time, or specifically, how very little time you have. So, you don't waste time in the same way you did Before Children.

Of course, time has not changed. But as a parent, you find yourself on a regimented schedule, much out of the sake of necessity and maintaining mental health. I remember a time in which I did not wear a watch. I wouldn't ask what time it was, but about what hour it was? Now I am scheduled down to the minute from the moment I roll off the air mattress to the moment I collapse into the air mattress.

Dana and I decided we would watch a movie after getting the kids into bed. At first, it seemed like everyone would cooperate. G…

Day 10. in which we wait for Day 11.

A very tall Seth.,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. Remember how long the days used to seem when you were little? I recall the summer I realized that the length of summer vacation was not half the year, the summer I became 'aware' of the calendar. I think this may be one of the saddest, yet least recognized, moments of childhood. The moment when you recognize that the days no longer flowed together in an endless blur; the counting of the calendar to tomorrow had begun.

It's unfortunate that we spend most of the week waiting for Friday. I am guilty of day-counting. Our entire family is. This also puts a lot of pressure on Friday. Friday has to be a bang-up day. Something has to happen! I know I typically feel disappointed as I drift off to sleep on Friday, because I feel that I'm already one evening into the weekend, and I haven't even thought about doing all of the things I really want to do, let alone actually doing any of them.

Worse than day-counting is week-c…

Day 7. in which Alex returns home alive from USR, and sees Chuck Norris.

Liam,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. Today was one of those days in which both seemed to never end and yet which passed in a whirlwind blur. From the moment I get out of bed in the morning to the moment I collapse in the same spot, I am in motion. The days in which I have to commute to Upper Saddle River, New Jersey for work are killer.
And Mondays, in general, are not a good day for me. I feel like over the weekend, I forget what I do for a living, and it takes me a good day to get back into the rhythm of what is happening. I am a creature of necessary habit.

The ride home, as always, was a fun adventure with my co-worker, Kyrce. Kyrce and I often talk passionately in the car about all the things we would like to say at work, but can't. Once, she drove past the Kingston exit because we were so into the conversation. Although right now, I couldn't tell you what that conversation was about! Poor Dana was ready to rip his hair out from the kids that night, and had called when …

Day 6. in which Alex tries to decode the mysteries of Bob.

Robert Allen Brown, Germantown, NY, Christmas ~ 1970?,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. Last night, I had this dream that I had uncovered a manuscript my father had written years earlier, along with a package of letters that were bound together with a rubber band. The letters I found were letters that I had saved which he had kept from years when I had lived in Wichita Falls, Texas. Unfortunately, I don't recollect mailing Dad any letters (although because I do not remember does not mean that it did not happen), and when I asked Dad this morning if he had ever written a novel, he plainly answered 'no' (although because Dad does not remember does not mean that it did not happen, either).

In hindsight, I should have realized I was dreaming, because ever time I tried to get settled in some place where I could read the manuscript, I was interrupted. I could not read more than a few words before something random would occur. The last thing I remember was sitting in the back…

Day 4. in which the house is resurrected, Alex conquers health care, and we destroy the KGB and FBI.

It was quite a day!

Our home truly looked like a storm had blown through it. But really, it was just the typical whirlwind activity of our five-person household simply existing. The nighttime is particularly bad for us. Since we often get home late from work, as Dana did last night after a rather gruesome day on the roof in the frigid cold, we are rushing rushing rushing, and then collapsing. Leaving behind in the dust are our dinner dishes, a diaper left on the floor, dirty laundry that falls where it was removed as Dana and I struggle to just keep everyone entertained and safe from swallowing junk off the carpet.

\I spent the day rushing around the house at manic speed from the moment everyone left the house. I tossed laundry. I washed loads of dirty dishes (our sink being very small). I undecorated the tree, and dragged it outside. I moved things to the attic. I vacuumed and scrubbed. I washed and I organized. I love to organize. Change in the change jar. Buttons…

Day 3. in which Liam is still sniffeling, and the house looks like a bomb hit.

A Goopie, Sick Liam.,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky.

This was one of those days where I felt like I was drowning most of the day.

I couldn't stop checking my work email, which consequently led me to inevitably working ,which lately feels more like a game of Chess than it does a project management job. It's making me very tired.

So, Liam is screaming his head off because he wants my sole attention, and I can't type over IM to the production assistants, because I'm holding my goopy baby. And I can't talk well over the phone, because I'm trying to cradle the phone in my neck and hold a tyrannical Liam...it was a very angsty day.

Even as I drifted off last night to sleep, I couldn't stop thinking about work. I hate that. I don't know why I can't fantasize obsessively over something good. Like going to Rye Beach, New Hampshire. Or eating lobster bisque. Or having pretend tea with Lily.

Which reminds me of why I need to do this. Because even though th…

Day 2. in which Liam is sick and we nap.

A napping Lily.,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. I'm hopelessly addicted to CBS soap operas - in particular, to As the World Turns. I hate to admit this publicly, and I think it goes against my nature, but it's true. There. I said it. I love soap operas.

Now, it isn't soap operas as a genre that I am in love with, and I wouldn't start watching a new soap opera. It's for a couple of reasons that I tune in daily to As the World Turns. As a small child, after lunch, my mother and I would retire to the living room, where we would curl up together on the couch, and she would watch soap operas while I napped. It's one of my fondest memories of relationship with my mother, which unfortunately, has become a bit distant over the passage of time. Mostly, I would nap. (I have always been a lover of naps.) But other times, I would lay quietly with my mother and follow the storyline, as much as my little mind could grasp. I even remember when Iva from As the World Turns wh…

Day 1. in which we are lazy.

Dana child-rangling Liam and Lily,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. I am attempting to write this with my father sitting across the table staring at me. I used to find this unsettling, and sometimes, I still find it irritating, despite myself, but today has been a relatively good stuck-in-the-house kind of day, and I'm enjoying having him here with me.

Because of this new project, I spent a lot of the day bugging my family, taking their photographs. They are kind of used to this behavior; only my son showed some resistance - he's a bit of a hermit, and I think he finds this invasive. It's so hard for me to correlate my own childhood with his, because he is living in such a strange digital age of which I have no equivalent.

(My father has just informed me that he is going to sit in the other room. My father doesn't do anything without telling me first. Anything.)

Anyway, at the end of the day, I have seventy photographs. Seventy photographs of moments I thought w…