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Showing posts from February, 2008

Day 60. in which we meet Penny.

Dana and I were exhausted by the time we retired upstairs. The day had begun too early and started too late so we were in a state of delirium by the time we hit the bed. I had recorded In Cold Blood on the DVR but couldn't focus on it long enough to understand what was happening even though it took me nearly an hour to determine this. When I watch TV, that is really all I do. I tend to look at it but more often than not, I daydream. What is happening on the TV and what I am daydreaming about become muddled so that sometimes I can't recall the origin of my thoughts. This stimulates some interesting, but seemingly random conversations.

My head ached. I had started to feel ill on the bus ride home from USR which was gruelingly slow. The traffic on a Friday after 5 had come to a crawl. Kyrce and I had gotten the last two seats, but unfortunately not together. It had been such a long day. I didn't even feel like writing, and Dana didn't feel like playing Pool Pro Online on …

Day 59. in which Grandpa Bob is scared by Little Bear.

Dad and I were sitting with Lily this evening on the love seat, watching Little Bear. This show has a mellowing effect on all of us. It's a good one to wind down with at the end of an evening. Emily, the little girl on the show, was skipping rope with her animal friends - Little Bear, Owl, Duck and Cat.

While we were watching it, Dad looked over at me and whispered,"I don't know about you, but if I looked out across the yard and found my kid out there with animals talking to him, it'd scare the damned hell out of me!"

Day 58. in which Alex misses her brother's call (again).

Hey Rob!

Stop calling my house phone. It's broken. I know, I've lost count, too. Anyway, I eventually know you call because Vonage sends me an email of your message, but I typically don't get your message until the next day. Call my cell phone - the new one. I left the number on your answering machine! Miss you guys!

Love Alex

P.S. D.O.D. says hello.

Day 57. in which Alex plans her services.

Because Seth had an appointment at the dermatologist this afternoon, I switched my work-from-home day from Wednesday to Tuesday. Because of the snow, and the cold, and the incredible effort it takes to pack up my entire household, I found I was going a bit stir-crazy. I had not actually left the house physically since the previous Thursday when I had gone to USR. I find myself looking out the window in the kitchen over our back yard, longingly waiting for the time we can return to outdoor play. We are all getting buggy.

Dana brought the kids to daycare, which left me with a little over an hour to myself before I had to login to my computer for work. Typically, I use this time to throw in laundry and get the house in order - a task much easier to accomplish while the kids are at Evie's since I don't have to keep them from climbing the bookcases or coloring on the walls. During these times, I clean at God speed.

But this morning, I decided to sit with Dad for a bit on the couch an…

Day 56. in which there was Raisin Bran.

Boy! Raisin Bran! That's stupendous! Boy, I love Raisin Bran!

My father should be the poster child for Raisin Bran. If I marketed cereal for a living, I would definitely put Bob Brown's image on the front of the cereal box. He even comes with his own slogans.

Raisin Bran! Wow! It doesn't get much better than this!

This is all mine!?

I've got to go get me some of that Raisin Bran! Boy, I love that stuff!

Every morning Dad is overjoyed when presented with a bowl of Raisin Bran. He acts surprised and overjoyed all at once, espousing various odes on the joys of Raisin Bran. I wish everyone was as easily satisfied.

Some mornings, he's more patient than others. Occasionally, Dad will try to get himself a bowl of Raisin Bran before the rest of us are awake. Unfortunately, this often doesn't turn out too well. Fetching the milk can be a daunting task. The refrigerator does not simply contain milk. There's a myriad of options presented when Bob opens the door. Confounded…

Day 55. in which unholy things grow.

Lily's discovery of the chocolate in Seth's room led me to my own discovery. First of all, Seth had never put his Christmas stocking into the attic when we put away the rest of the Christmas decorations. This was the first of many violations.

I scanned the room to see if mischievous hands had broken into anything else. I found that it was difficult to tell if anything had been manhandled. This was because there did not appear to be any order to this room. Truly the black hole that is Seth's closet is growing in mass and expanding its chaos to take over the entire room.

Of further interest was the randomness of the disorder. It was as if the disorder itself was planned. It seemed too disorderly to not be concocted.

Dana began to laugh, "and Seth told me he brought all of the cups out of his room!"

Sometimes there is a shortage of cups in the kitchen cabinet. Most often these cups can be found in Seth's room.

I could easily see how Seth could miss some of these cups…

Day 54. in which we feel the silence of a Lilith misbehaving.

Saturday morning, I was running around the house trying to catch up on all of the cleaning I neglected over the work week. By Saturday, it tends to look like the house vomited upon itself. After tossing some laundry in the basement, I stopped in front of the entrance to the living room to assess the situation. Scanning the floor, I could see a corn cob, a brownie topped with nuts, a pickle, a hamburger patty, half of a bun, a slice of cheese, a piece of lettuce, a bottle of ketchup, and a tea pot. Lily was standing two inches from the television, mesmerized by Little Bear and Grandpa Bob was dozing on the love seat.

"Lily?"

Nothing.

"Lily?"

Still nothing. I rather listen to Little Bear than me, too.

I walked over to Lily and sat down cross legged next to her. She looked up at me.

"Do you think you could pick up your kitchen toys and put them back in the kitchen?" I asked. From my vantage point, I could see toys poking out from underneath the couch.

No. I can…

Day 53. in which we are enveloped by snow.

Friday should have been a commute to USR day but when I woke up, it was snowing. The forecast was not good. WDST reported, "Everything is closed." I thought this was a bit extreme but as they ran through the listings, which included several colleges - Dutchess, Ulster, Marist - I knew it was on target and that the commute would be dreadful. Particularly so since Kyrce's car was still bound together by Duct Tape and I had already run through all of my week's coffee allowance.

Working from home has its upsides and downsides. If I didn't work from home two out of five days of the week already, I would feel completely validated calling out on a day like this. Worse yet, half way through the day, the Old Tappan office sent out an email stating that all facilities would be closing early in the afternoon because of the storm. Since I was safely working in my bedroom when I read this email, there was no legitimate reason to stop early.

Dana, Grandpa Bob, Lily and Liam were…

Day 52. in which Duct Tape® sticks after Day 3.

The duct tape is really holding up. Kyrce and I made it back and forth to the New Paltz Park and Ride successfully. We didn't have to pull over to retape anything once yet. If I were Kyrce, I wouldn't even bother taking it to a garage. Duct Tape® only costs $2.35.

Day 51. in which there is fuzzy cheese on the staircase.

Don't you ever throw cheese on the staircase again!

Had I actually just said this? Had anyone actually ever said this? Lily had decided she was not going to eat the slice of cheese Dana had given her, nor was she going to throw it out. She had deposited it on the staircase like this was a perfectly natural thing to do. When I asked her to pick it up and throw it out, she refused. She simply said, "I can't."

Dana was about to make her pick it up, but he's kind of a sucker for Lily and noticed there was fuzz on the cheese, which was why she was particularly hesitant to touch it. Fuzzy cheese is just gross. So, as I watched Dana pick up the cheese that Lily had slopped on the staircase, I sternly said...

Don't you ever throw cheese on the staircase again!

A second later I was trying not to choke from laughing because it was just so absurd.

My own childhood was full of mysterious commands that never made much literal sense, but were figuratively masterful. Despite B…

Day 50. in which we tape Kyrce's car back together and retire Alex's only pair of shoes.

In my bedroom closet, you will find many things - a fishing pole, an old air mattress, a filing box for paperwork, some toys the children snuck in there. There are a plethora of shoe boxes but not one which contains an actual pair of shoes. Instead the shoe boxes are crammed full of mementos, old letters, and other such oddities. There's a crate full of old boots, but all of them belong to Dana.

I never had a passion for shoes. Every once in awhile, I find a pair that I truly love and then I wear them into the ground. In high school, it was my Chuck Taylors. In college, it was a pair of Steve Madden boots I loved so much that I had them resoled. They lasted me nearly a decade. Every other summer, I buy myself a new pair of Tevas. But that's the extent of my shoe love. Imelda Marcos I am not.

It's not that I'm cheap. But I rather spend my fun money on things I truly love. Like coffee. I could buy a new pair of shoes every week if I stopped drinking coffee. But that's …

Day 49. in which Seth and Lilith search the moons of Saturn for salted peach dessert.

Our living room furniture is high maintenance. Both the couch and the love seat are fashioned with backs made up of over-sized pillows. Many over-sized pillows. Many over-sized pillows that can be dragged around to various corners of our house. This living room set would be quite cozy to settle into, if it were not for the fact that every time I have a moment to settle into one, these pillows are missing.

Every morning before I leave for work and every evening before I go to bed, I pass through the living room and compulsively return the pillows to their proper place, fluffing and adjusting them in such a way that they will appear presentable should anyone stop by, but natural so it doesn't appear like anyone actually did this. (Yes, I know I'm ill...) I'm not certain if anyone realizes this. I suspect my family thinks they just magically replace themselves when they are not looking.

During the night, Grandpa Bob usually rearranges every pillow but never in such a way that …

Day 48. in which the house is eerily quiet.

We were gathered at the dinner table this evening, minus one. Lily was attending a birthday party with Auntie Em . Around the table we sat - Liam, Grandpa Bob, Seth, Dana and me - enjoying the dinner Dana had prepared for us. Happily for me, Dana tends to most of the meal cooking in our home.

It was then I noticed something eerie. Something not quite right.

The house was unusually quiet. The house seemed still. The volume of ambient noise in our house had dropped from its normally high decibel level.

Now what do you think could be the cause of that? :)


Day 47. in which the Cyclops Heart with the shank-shaft stitch finds its way home.

The Cyclops Heart.,
originally uploaded by sleepjunky. Seth and I missed in each other in passing on Friday evening. He left to go Uptown to Tony's Card Shop, a local spot where the kids gather on Friday evenings, while I was still on my way home from USR. We had a brief meeting in the kitchen after he came home on Friday night, but it wasn't until Saturday morning that I was presented with the Cyclops Heart. The Cyclops Heart (see Valentine's Day blog below) was conceptualized and handcrafted by my son, Seth, for his dear old Mum.

If you look very closely at the image, you'll note that Seth used a shank shaft stitch to sew on the button. Being that I have no sewing skills whatsoever, I'm not certain what this means exactly. However, I know it gave him a higher grade from his Home Economics teacher than he would have received had he not used this stitch. It's apparently very important when sewing on buttons. Maybe this is why all of my buttons fall off shortly a…

Day 46. in which Lilith becomes a spider.

Dana and I retire early, even on Friday nights. We're generally in our bedroom by 8 and unconscious by 9. Oh, our wild nights!

I was lounging on the bed with Lily and Dana when Lily decided she wanted to climb up the walls. This was partially my fault. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but in truth, I was laying on the bed, stretching out my leg so that my foot was resting on the wall. I used to get in trouble for doing this as a kid, and as unsophisticated of a habit as it is, I can't seem to break it.

"But Lily, you can't climb up the walls. You're not a spider."

"Not a spider?" she repeated back to me, raising her voice to a high pitch on the word 'spider' so that it ended in a squeaking sort of noise.

"No. and you're not Spiderman."

"Not a spiderman?" She seemed to be thinking about this a bit. "Mommy! I'm going to be a spiderman!" With this, Lily jumped off the bed and went running over to the easy chai…

Day 45. in which we reject commercialism.

I'm not big on Valentine's Day. I don't appreciate all the bunk they sell at stores. Kyrce and I stopped by Walgreens on the way home. We stood in line behind half a dozen people clutching helium red foil heart balloons and grossly cutesy stuffed animals. I've never seen a larger group of overwrought people, not even at the mall on Christmas Eve. Kyrce was buying Kleenex and cold medicine. I was buying toilet paper.

The kid working behind the counter said to me, "Is this it?"

Yeah.

Kyrce and I just started laughing. The kid behind the counter laughed a bit nervously and looked a bit embarrassed.

I was proud to be buying toilet paper. I didn't even get a bag for it. I just carried it out of the store in my hand.

Dana and I really didn't have any plans for Valentine's Day, which was mutually fine with both of us. I don't like clutter and I didn't want to have to pretend to like some stuffed animal that says "I love you" when you squ…

Day 44. in which Bob watches infomercials.

With my eyes squinting from the light, I stepped out of the dark sanctuary of my bedroom and into the bright, cold hallway. I didn't stumble far until Dad popped his head out of his room to greet me. I was surprised to see him in there still and not down on the couch, where he often is hours before we are awake.

Have you seen the Bowflex Revolution?

I didn't really know what to say. I was still half asleep and I probably looked confused.

Well, have you? Have you seen the Bowflex Revolution?! Dad grinned. He stood sideways in the hall and flexed his arm muscles.

Dad...would you please go back in your room for a bit? I have to get ready for work.

Oh! Where's that? In here? Is that where the Bowflex Revolution is?

Yes, Dad, that's where the Bowflex Revolution is.

It was nice to see him in a good mood, even though he almost seemed delirious. Since Dad was probably up for several hours before I stepped into the hall, I imagined he had been watching infomercials for the same.

In the…

Day 43. in which Alex finds harmony.

I got up this morning looking forward to going into the office, despite the long commute. I've actually come to enjoy the commute, mostly because of my companion and nothing to do with the ride itself. It's a gruelingly bleak ride, particularly in the winter when the scenery is looking rather dead. We have an hour and half on the way in for Kyrce to analyze my life, and an hour and a half on the way home for me to analyze hers. It's far cheaper than seeing a psychotherapist, and likely far better, since we know each other so well. Since we also both share the same position at work, we tend to face similar conflicts and issues as well, which certainly adds a degree of authenticity to the table.

I hadn't really left the house since I had come home from work the previous Friday, so I was really starting to get stir crazy. Leaving the house in the winter with three kids, Grandpa, and Dana can be a bit overwhelming. Just the act of getting everyone and everything in the car…

Day 42. in which Alex and Kyrce share the internet.

Dana is likely part of the last generation who will be able to exist parallel to the digital age without being intrinsically tangled inside of it.

Fascinating is that he and I have been together for years, all of which I have been attached to a computer for at least an hour for every day of this time. What I do at work for eight hours must seem particularly enigmatic.

Monday is a work-from-home day for me. I have two days a week of which I can work from home. This is a mixed blessing. While I love and adore my family, I love and adore them even more when I get away from them long enough to realize just how much I love and adore them. It's much easier to be amused by a toddler jumping up and down on your back if it's an infrequent event.

Kyrce and I sometimes work together at my house since we share the same work-from-home days. Dana isn't usually home when we do this, but was on Monday because of the bad weather - not ideal for roofing.

I came into the kitchen where Dana was …

Day 41. in which Bob recognizes Liam for the first time.

This morning Liam and I let Lily and Dana sleep in...not there is much sleeping in involved in 'sleeping in'... Generally, sleeping in as defined by our household means that you get to sleep until 7 instead of 5:30.

Liam and I came downstairs this morning, where we were greeted with my Dad standing at the bottom of the staircase. Nothing unusual about that. Dad generally ends up sitting in the living room half way through the night. I suspect he leaves his bedroom to go to the bathroom, and just can't find his way back to his bedroom. Anytime he hears someone coming down the staircase, he jumps up from his spot on the couch to see who it is. This used to be unsettling to me when he first moved in with us because I would not be expecting him to be sitting there by himself in the dark. In my half conscious state to fetch a bottle from the fridge, he would often scare the hell out of me by emerging from the living room just as I was passing by.

Of course, this was less unsettli…

Day 40. in which we eulogize the rise and fall of a Chia Head.

We had lofty goals for our Chia. When Seth first started soaking his head, we thought we'd take a photograph of him everyday to document his development. At the end, we would make a slide show out of our collection. The best laid schemes of mice and men...

We eagerly witnessed his growth from seed to sprout. We speculated on who he looked the most like, and determined he resembled Seth's father the most.



Even after Seth had suffocated the poor Sea Monkeys, the Chia Head lived on. Seth did his best to nurture his Sea Monkeys, but he accidentally murdered them. They would never grow big enough to play soccer, like they did in the comic book advertisements. While trying to give them some fresh water, all of the Sea Monkey sludge that had grown on the bottom of the Sea Monkey growth container came rising up the sides and suffocated all of the Sea Monkeys. I imagine this must be akin to how it felt to be in Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted.

During his lifetime, he was an excellent mode…

Day 39. in which Alex calculates.

When Kyrce and I started out on the road this morning, Kyrce looked at me and said, "You look happy."

I mulled this over in my head for a second and nodded, "Yeah, I guess I am happy!"

And not just because this was Friday, though I must say that probably helped.

We stopped at the Citgo and they had Kyrce's favorite Winter Blend and my favorite French Toast blend. This, too, was a good sign.

The morning at work passed uneventfully for me. However, someone with a neighboring office who will remain nameless - and no, it was not Kyrce or Wayne - left his laptop at home. You may think this is a unique incident; however, someone else I know - and no, it was not Kyrce - also left his laptop at home once...This is one of those issues in the 21st century that kills me. It's like leaving your homework at home. When you are a kid, you tend to think that this is an issue relative to childhood. Parents don't forget things. Parents yell at you for forgetting things. So, …

Day 38. in which Alex feels old.

I found someone on Facebook while randomly searching for people I might know. This someone I used to babysit when he was Liam's age. He has since graduated from college. How can this possibly be? I like to thing people stop aging when I'm not there to witness it. And accidentally stumbling on this baby after a couple of decades made my stomach feel a bit ill.

Day 36. in which Alex and Kyrce ride together!

Kyrce and I have a lot in common.

We have the same job, we mutually prefer lounge wear for our attire, and we both love the coffee from Citgo. Similarly, we both share many of the same fears and paranoias of the highway. This makes for an interesting partnership in carpooling. I've noticed others ride with us on occasion, but I see this as an act of desperation. The very first time one of our new production assistants rode in with us was also the last time - at least with me driving. I hadn't eaten all day long because I was too busy so I was shaky on the ride home. I had to pull over and let Kyrce drive the rest of the way. They made me eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to up my low sugar. Unfortunately, I missed the point where I needed to merge left and got off at the wrong exit. Kyrce took us for a tour of some back roads after that. It was nearly 7 before we got home that night. And we had left work at 4:30 in the afternoon!

Anyway, this morning while we sat parked at …

Day 35. in which we abandon clothing.

One of my least favorite things to do with the kids is tackle them to the ground, kicking and carrying on, while I'm trying to get their clothes on.

My kids want to be naked. And I have officially given up.

After all, it's not long in one's life that you can leap-frog around the kitchen as Lily does in her altogether yelping, "Ribbit! Ribbit!"

Let them do it while they still can.

Day 34. in which Liam and Lilith define their nature.

Today was one of those few lucky days in which Dana and I were able to sleep in. Liam woke up around 5:30, and Lily around 6, but both of them nestled into our bed, going back to sleep until almost 7.

Sunday mornings are meant for lounging. I have no idea how people can go to church on Sunday mornings. If God exists, God would certainly not want any part of this. Surely, he would be a lounger, too.

Liam and Lily slid out of bed, and were ready for action before me and Dana. So, we laid around and watched them play together. It's a lot like watching TV, only better content and occasionally, it is interactive as the kids bring us toys to play with while we loaf.

Across the room, I watched Lilith as she valiantly battled a fire-breathing lizard-dragon using a make-believe sword. And I watched Liam as he swept the floor with a toy broom in one hand, clutching a tea pot in the other.

Just like Mommy and Daddy? :)

Day 33. in which Seth cheats at Tetris.

I just checked my gamer home page on the Xbox web site. I now have one friend (Seth), and my score is now 15! This is very exciting for me.

Seth is so scared that his old Mom is going to beat him that he feels a need to try and distract me while I'm playing Tetris. I could feel his fear. He kept talking to me about unrelated things, trying to get me to look over at his side of the screen, and when this tactic didn't work, he'd pause the game to show me something random right when I was doing well to throw off my focus.

What I didn't realize until the very last couple of rounds was that he was actually cheating. He wasn't playing Tetris the old-fashioned way in which I could surely beat him. He was pushing up on the left hand analog stick. I'm not sure what this does exactly. It seemed to make things fall more quickly for him. I tried to imitate this but it just clogged up my side very quickly. I can't process as quickly as Seth can, and he knows this, so he u…

Day 32. in which Seth's game plays itself.

Kyrce and I battled some ugly weather on the ride home from USR. Actually, it was Kyrce battling, and me trying to think up something interesting to amuse her with. When you spend so much time in the car together, you tend to run through your more interesting stories quickly. I knew I was running out of stories, because in the morning, I started telling her a story which began, "I remember when I worked at Burger King in Texas..."

If Kyrce had had coffee in her mouth at the time, it probably would have been all over the inside of the windshield.

Yeah, I guess just the preface alone is pretty comical. I try to keep her entertained!

By the time we got home through the slushy ice that night, I was just in time to kiss the babies goodnight and tuck them into bed. Usually, this is upsetting to me, but I was so exhausted from this rather long week that I was actually relieved, looking forward to sinking into bed as soon as I could.

I felt like I hadn't seen much of Seth at all th…

Day 32 and ¾. in which Seth explains this so-called "Autopilot" mode.

My mom just doesn't understand the concept of having my character auto-attack someone. It's not like my character will run up to every enemy he sees and attack it, as I still have to tell my character to attack it in the first place. And he'll only do physical attacks during this state of auto-attacking, nothing else. So it's alright to set my controller down while fighting bumblebees, but when I'm fighting more high-level creatures, such as Giant Enemy Birds, and I need to use special skills to kill them, just setting my controller down isn't going to cut it.