Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

31 December 2006

The Disappearance

I wish I could say that my blogging absence was due to something exciting - like a lottery win and an around the world adventure, or a spontaneous cross country move. Unfortunately, the hiatus was the result of more mundane events - some work related problems and some family chaos. Neither is something that I can comfortably talk about right now. We are all fine, but this past months has left me asking myself some difficult questions about our future plans. Sorry for being so cryptic - at some point, I hope to be able to laugh about all this, but right now I'm just a tad overwhelmed.

On to the excitement of Christmas . . . the blurry pictures show the result of global warming in Maine. That's right - no snow this year. This is our first Christmas trip with no snow and we have been traveling to Maine for ten years, except for 2001 when I gave birth to KK two days after Christmas. The kids asked about the snow, but were content to play with their cousins and the numerous Christmas gifts bestowed upon them by Grammie and Grampa. For them, the trip was a great time -- Santa and their relatives were exceptionally generous, hours of play with cousins and friends, walks on mud filled roads -- even without snow, it was a wonderful time.
We arrived back in Florida two days ago to 80 degree weather. Three out of the four of us have lingering colds - 'tis the season! No plans for New Year's tonight, except to put the kids to bed early and relax. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I wish you a joyous New Year! Bonne Annee! Ein Gluckliches Neues Jahr! Godt Nytt Ar!

02 December 2006

Over the River and Through the Woods

The quick and dirty on Thanskgiving in New Hampshire (there was a 'nice' photo of the trees and stream where we stayed but Blogger does not wish for me to use photo at this time - Damn you, Blogger!):

1. Hew to KK as they walked outside the first morning - "Hey, look at the frosting on the car!"

2. Attempting to make fudge with powdered sugar results in chocolate taffy, but NOT fudge, no matter how long you put it in the freezer.

3. Children who refuse to sleep for their parents and then sleep perfectfully for their grandparents WILL NOT receive a visit from Santa.

4. My parents are becoming the old, obnoxious, retired people who winter in this state. Not only did my father who used to ice race cars fail to drive over forty miles an hour, he also refused to follow the direction to my brother's house given to us by my brother. We spent an hour driving forty miles an hour through the mountains for no apparent reason.

5. This is the first time in ten years that I did not make the meal and I missed it. Plus, we had no left-overs.

6. It is amazing that my sister and I grew up in the same house. Sis has been building a house for more than three years (according to their bank loan it was suppose to be done in a year - yeah, that tends to impair your credit rating) and there was a list of things the bank wanted done before the end of November. We all go over there to help - there is no system or order. Neither Sis nor brother-in-law (BIL) is sure what to work on first. Food has not been made (there are ten people coming to your house, you might want to plan a little!). Sis planned to make lasagna but forgot. I made it, realizing after I cooked the noodles that the only cheese in the house was shreaded cheddar and colby jack. At night, I am sleeping on a pad from a lawn chair, in a room with no heat, with my four year old niece's blanket that doesn't reach my toes. Next to me is PH who is sleeping on an air mattress with a leak thus resulting in the middle of his bed sinking to the cold floor and PH being wrapped like an enchilada by the air filled sides of the mattress. Both kids are in the room and I have dressed them in full length pants and sweaters to sleep. There should be a test people must pass before they attempt to build a house - Sis and BIL would fail it.

7. I love my family. I love to visit with them. I miss them. But living with them would result in my hospitalization in a psychiatric facility.

01 December 2006

Friday Feast

Appetizer: Have you ever flown in a helicopter?
No never. I tend to become ill in small planes and make use of those cute little bags that are so thoughtful placed. I imagine flying in a helicopter would produce the same results and I fear they would not have the cute bags.

Soup: What color is your warmest coat or jacket?
I have a stylish, fitted ski jacket in sky blue and white. Never did I think a white winter jacket would be slimming, but I look positively svelte in it. Living in Florida, I get to wear it for one week when I visit my parents at Christmas which is too bad because there is little else in my wardrobe that has the effect of that jacket.

Salad: What is your favorite rainy day activity?
Before children, it was reading. There is nothing better than a cold, rainy day, a blazing fire, hot chocolate with Bailey's Irish Creme, and a good book. Now, it's building a tent from chairs and blankets or playing the game "Put Mommy to Bed" which allows Mommy to lay in the bed while the kids read me stories and put me to sleep.

Main Course: Describe your hands.
Small, short, slightly swollen fingers. The life line is longer on my right hand. I have prominently veins which is why my Husband says I am a Borg.

Dessert: If you could eat only one nut for the rest of your life, what nut would you pick?
Cashews, of course. My Husband thinks I should have a different answer to this question.

27 November 2006

Sorry for the hiatus

Life at Hexe's house has been a little crazy. After the sick kids, Hew decided to make the most of his terrible twos. For nearly two weeks, he has refused to sleep through the night. The tantrums escalated into forty-five minute screaming fits. I seriously started to think we needed to have him evaluated AND THEN my parents arrived. Hew slept through the night - no problem. This was after I had called my mother sobbing as I was so sleep deprived, trying to explain why Hew needed a neurological exam. She laughed and said he was two, testing his boundaries, and apparently winning. Damn, I hate when that woman is right! Since then, some minor tantrums but definitely more sleep.

Add in craziness at work. Plus this time of year seems to depress me. I know I'm obsessed with heat, but it is nearly December and it is 80 degrees. Late autumn should be cold mornings with frost, steaming coffee, and a fire in the fireplace. I do realize that all this is just excuses for my lack of writing but with the lack of sleep, I've barely been able to find matching socks in the morning - complete sentences were just too much!

We did make it to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving. Once my parents arrived and Hew slept, we had a nice time. I know it sounds thrilling - 'nice', but our standards are pretty low here. We stayed at a place with a pool which made the kids happy and PH happy, and it was in the mountains with a stream running outside my bedroom window, so I was happy. PH and I even had a dinner sans children once my parents came to visit. We ended the evening with a cursing, tiring screeched stop as a BLACK BEAR was smack in the middle of the road as we drove home. Yes, it was a BLACK BEAR - not some large dog. The thing moved rather rapidly back into the woods, but then turned and watched us watching him for several minutes. We just kept repeating different versions of OMG THAT IS A BLACK BEAR! See - easily entertained.

More on New Hampshire later. Sorry for the lame and awkward post - I'm out of practice. For those who celebrate Thanksgiving - Hope it was 'nice'.

03 November 2006

Look out Norway . . .

I love making travel plans - the anticipation, the research, the discovery. Other than frustrating airline mileage redemption programs, I enjoy the entire process of planning for our next trip almost as much as the actual trip. A future trip to an unknown destination is just the escape one needs when the doldrums of evevery day life set in.

I have previously mentioned my frustration in planning our summer trip to Norway. After numerous tries we finally gave up on the idea of using our frequent flyer miles. Even after informing the airline that Stavanger is in NORWAY not GERMANY, it was impossible to use the miles unless we were willing to stay for six or more months. As the kids will be at Grammie and Grampa's house, six months seemed a bit of an imposition. So after a few weeks of research and searching different options, we have finally procurred tickets to Stavanger for eight days in June. I do understand that this more than six months away, but I now have plenty of time to anticipate, research, and discovery western Norway. Plus, some basic Norwegian must be learned as we will be visiting the family PH stayed with as an exchange student.

So anyone with information or suggestions about the area between Bergen and Stavanger, drop me a line. (This means you, Renny - although I know you are on the opposite coast). For now, I can be found ignoring my sick child (yes, that's why I'm home mid-day) so that I can troll the web and fantasy about my escape. Happy Friday!

31 October 2006

Just call me the Scrooge of Halloween

I love autumn. It is the time of year I miss the most living in the God forsaken Mouseland. I love Halloween - carving pumpkins, the kids all excited to dress up and go door to door in the neighborhood, shrieking over their favorite candy, proudly showing off their costume to their friends. Ah, Halloween . . .

Over the years living here, I have come to accept that our neighborhood is one where many parents drop their children off in order to trick or treat. I have learned not to question where the kids are from and just smile and hand out fifty dollars worth of junk that will rot through their teeth as they sleep tonight. After all, it's Halloween . . .

BUT (you knew there was a but coming) . . .

BUT, there comes a point in time when it's time to retire the costume. When I was a kid, it was around age twelve or thirteen. You were in middle school, you were a teenager, you were already feeling awkward and a costume certainly didn't help - you were too old and you knew it. It appears that today's teenagers have not been made aware of the age limit. So below are some suggestions for today's youth in order to determine their eligibilty for trick or treating.

  • If you are old enough to shave any part of your body, you're too old.
  • If you can drive, you're too old.
  • If you walk away from the door with your hand on your girlfriend's ass, you're too old.
  • If you have had elective surgery to enhance certain body parts or reduce other parts, you're too old.
  • If you have impregnated someone or birthed a child, you're too old.
  • If you have your own credit card or checking account without a parental co-signer, you're too old
  • If you don't know how to get off the damn cell phone while your candy bag is open, you're too old.
  • If you qualify to earn minimum wage, you're too old.
  • If you can't be bothered to put on a costume, you are too old.
  • If you can legally buy alcohol (or you're old enough to desire a fake I.D.), you're too old.
  • If you're costume is a tattoo and (visible) body piercings, you're too old.
  • If you're old enough to access porn on the internet, you're too old.
  • If you dress as a playboy bunny, you're too old.

Unfortunately, this has been my evening and I could go on, but I think you get the picture.


22 October 2006

Welcome to the Neighborhood . . . NOT!

I have previously mentioned my uptight, rude, petty neighbors, but their obnoxious behavior had reached a new high. Last weekend, PH and I began to put our lawn back together. During the summer heat, we generally let some of the weeding go. We still mow regularly but it is fair to say that we do let things grow out a bit. It's hot and things just tend to wither a bit no matter what we do.

Anyways, last weekend, we began weeding and trimming back the shrubs. We cleaned up on the side on the house and cut back a couple trees. We were happy with our start and intended to continue our "clean up" this weekend. I also should add that we do have a sign in our yard, supporting a local political candidate that we know.

Fast forward to Wednesday after work. I'm driving home with both kids, figuring out how to get dinner on the table. I pull up and grab the mail before going in the house. Strangely, there is a letter with no return address and our names are not on the envelope, just our address. Once the kids are in the house and have a snack, I open the curious envelope and there with various spelling errors is the following message:

Here's the deal...We will vote for your favored political candidate and in turn you can take care of your lawn, cut your bushes and bring your property UP TO OUR COMMUNITY STANDARDS.

The letter was unsigned, of course, as my neighbors don't have the courage to approach us personally. Now, these neighbors have no problem sending their children to play in our yard while they go about their business and we watch their kids, but they can't be bothered to speak with us. I am counting the days until I can sell this house and move.

So, did these cretin cowards keep us from working on our yard? Certainly not, but we left the front yard looking as is and have done a lovely job cleaning out the back where our children play and our one neighbor who is actually decent lives. As far as the front, I'm thinking about a dozen pink flamingo yard ornaments - what do you think?

16 October 2006

I love my new job . . .

Today: 7 hour drive for a 5 hour seminar! Now going to bed.

13 October 2006


Right, this moment I am riding in the car as PH and I drive home from Cedar Key after a weekend sans kids. Being without the kids is surreal in its own way (don't worry, we left them with MIL and not locked in a closet), but even more surreal is that I have internet access in the car (new wireless thingamadoo that PH's work decided was a necessity). Even stranger, is that we are listening via the thingamadoo to a radio station in Norway. Just heard the news in Norweigan - fine for PH, not so interesting for me.

Our first trip to Cedar Key, we were young, high pressured professions, with no kids, a crap load of college debt, and no home. We laugh at the changes eight years have brought - we are very lucky - a home, two healthy children, friends and family who love us.

For those who haven't heard of Cedar Key, which I know is the majority of you, Cedar Key is a small island off the Northwest Coast of Florida. There isn't much there. A couple bed and breakfasts, a few boats, and a cute little downtown. It just happens to be the place that PH proposed eight years ago. We haven't been back since then, but PH planned a surprise get away weekend for our anniversary. This would be where I would post the beautiful pictures of the coast and the adorabel little B&B, except that in our haste to run away from our children, we forgot to grab the camera battery.

What is even more surreal is that we are in the same car from 1998 when we got engaged - my 1995 Volkswagon Golf. I moved to Florida in this car and still have not had the heart to turn it in, but the time for a proper burial is coming. So, this our last trip in this car - funny, it's to the place where our lives together began.

08 October 2006

A Visit to Hell

Just when things begin to fall into place, we visit PH's family and Hew comes home with a flu. Poor Hew had a temperature of over 102 for three days. PH stayed home with him on Monday and Tuesday, and I stayed home Wednesday. PH swears that I can not blame his family for this, but EVERY time we see these relatives, they or their children are sick. AND EVERY TIME my kids end up sick!

I will concede where we met for the visit could have contributed to Hew's illness. The location was NOT my choice but PH's brothers already had plans to got to this place. Drum roll, please . . . We went to The Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando. I tried to have an open mind, but truly the place is Hell on Earth.

Imagine thousands of small, overly sugared and overly caffinated children screaming in a large pool with maybe two life guards. I won't even mention the urine/water ratio.

What disturbs me is the blatant commercialism and over spending. Parents were seen giving into every whim of their children - allowing them to purchase and consume whatever they wanted. My brother and sister-in-law soon fell into this trap, and when they purchased a "surprise" for their children, their elder child threw down the gift, pouting and whining that the gift was not what she wanted. Did punishment or a reprimand ensue? - No, instead the child was consoled by her mother that she could go back to the store and "get what she wanted." Mother additionally berated Father for not buying the "right gift." I had to grit my teeth and leave the room.

Forgive me for wishing for the "good old days" where a parent understood that their role is not to befriend their children, but to love and guide their children into becoming decent human beings. Also, entertainment should be a backyard and an imagination. A child who can not entertain themselves for ten minutes without television or a loud, flashing electronic device is missing out. My siblings and neighbors still laugh over the "plays" we used to perform in the backyard - including a modern version of Cinderella, where yours truly decided she didn't want to marry the prince (my childhood neighbor who did end up coming out of the closet years later), but instead had the wicked step sisters turned into appliances (a washing machine and a vacumn) and then Cinderella moved off to the city to get a job! Yes, even then, I was an independet women. Seriously, the skills children develop while playing outside and using their imagination are skills they will continue to build on for a lifetime, and they certainly won't come from watching Nickelodeon or going to their hotel.

There - I'm done ranting.

30 September 2006

Copy Cat

I stole this idea from Sunshine. Go to Google and enter your name followed by "Last I heard s/he was". Here the life I didn't know I was leading.
Last I heard, Hexe was

1. Living in Austin, Texas and appearing on MTV's Austin stories.
You just know that MTV is looking for a working Mom with two kids who's idea of a wild party is a bunch of preschoolers hopped on kool aid and cupcakes.

2. homeless and begging people to send her cash.
Does begging work?

3. the husband's kitty.
This is PH's favorite. He's hoping this means I have some sort of Cat Woman costume for our anniversary at the end of the month. Keep dreaming . . .

4. getting a petition signed against lip piercing
Do you blame me? What are all the multiple piercing people going to do when they get old and it all starts to sag, thus creating open, gaping holes in their bodies? Think about it!

5. living in Syracuse, NY and was represented by galleries in NY.
Who knew that stick drawings could be so profitable?

6. going back to Florida to have her second kid.
Never left after the first kid, and sadly, still here after the second one.

7. headed up North.
Alright, who's been talking about my Thanksgiving trip before I told my mother-in-law that I am taking her grandchildren away for the week?

8. going upstairs for a smoke.

9. "preggers"

10. crazy for crystal pleating polyster for scarves.
Wow - I must have said that while I was partying in Austin and drinking that crazy kool aid.

God, it's good to be back!

29 September 2006

help my blog is gone

24 September 2006

We interupt our regular program . . .

I am feeling very guilty that my blogging has dropped off since I returned to work. I just haven't felt very inspired to write as the new job has been very overwhelming and I can't say much about it. Some good news from the home front:
  1. Hew has kicked into gear on the potty training. He only uses a pull-up during nap and night. We are still celerbrating every number 2 with a lolly and a potty dance, but at least I am not changing dirty diapers!
  2. KK has decided to be Tinkerbell for Halloween. Hew is still undecided, but is leaning towards being a "princess" like his sister. Sigh . . .
  3. PerfectHusband's job has been especially generous as of late and we are now going the New England for Thanksgiving. We are headed to the mountains, where we hope to have a dusting of snow, to get us into the holiday spirit! We thought about heading to Germany or the Netherlands as we have a week and found a really great price, but then realized our children do not have passports - oops!
  4. The stress of the new job has resulted in a few pounds of weight loss which my MIL noticed during her visit yesterday.
  5. No major hurricanes have hit our area yet!

I will try to find a life and have something more interesting to write about.

09 September 2006

The loss of customer service

I have just spent the last hour and a half trying to book an airline ticket for June by redeeming miles that I have allegedly earned on USAirways. I say allegedly because it seems that even though I have the miles, they can not be used out of any airport. Every time we have attempted to redeem our dividend miles, we go through this. If I had been limited to one airport and a set date, I might be more understanding, but I gave the seven different customer services people with which I spoke, seven different airports in Florida I was willing to fly out from and three different airports in Norway at which I was willing to arrive. I also gave them a week of dates to use. The excuses include:
  1. I can not find a Stavanger airport in GERMANY (might that be because it is in NORWAY!)
  2. There are no seats available on any domestic flight out of Florida for the entire month of June (after that statement, I just asked to speak with the next person)
  3. The Star Alliance of which USAirways is a member does not fly to Norway (Also part of the Star Alliance are Scandinavian Air and Lufthansa and in less than thirty seconds on their websites I could find flights to Stavanger, Bergen, and Haugsund)
  4. Scandinavian Air and Lufthansa have no seats available all of June (see two above)
  5. "We do not talk to our partners in the Star Alliance so I can not tell you if any seats were ever available to be redeemed."

After these conversations, I have to question my sanity in flying with this airline. If they do not have the ability to train their personnel, why should I believe that they have the ability to keep a plane upright. If only there was a really long bridge to Europe . . .

05 September 2006

My Latest Addiction

I know that reality shows are for the most part crap. Yet, I can't seem to turn off the t.v. My latest favorite is RockStar: SuperNova. I turn in twice a week, staying up past my bedtime (yes, 9:00 PM is bedtime - I'm old) to watch these musicians sing for a place in the band SuperNova.

While I enjoy the music, part of my infatuation is the bad boy rocker image. I was much too good as a teenager to have dated a rocker, but I can still picture myself driving on some back road like a bat out of hell, screaming out of tune some rebellious lyrics. The bad boy, Toby, the family man, Magni, and the brassy Delana keep me coming back. While I enjoy the show, I know that if my daughter came home with the multiple piercing that Delana showcases or my son came home telling me that he was going to be a rock singer I'd have a fit. Some obsessions are best enjoyed from a distance.

03 September 2006

What have I become . . .

I don't buy Barbies. Not to fear, my daughter has her fair share of disproportional Barbies from my mother and my sister. I also take issue with Disney's portrayal of women as "princesses" needing to be "rescued" by some handsome prince. I am all for make believe, but all children should know at a young age that they do not need to be rescued - that they are capable of being/doing anything.

At KK's preschool, there is some four year old who wears a crown to school EVERYDAY. Rather than running around the playground, hanging from the monkey bars, this kid stands around in a full princess gown and crown, making disparaging and hurtful comments about the other kids. As much as KK loves running around and hanging upside down, occasionally she wants to be a princess at school and I am forced to remind her of the school dress code (which is selectively enforced - the "princess" kid's Daddy sits on the Board). Additionally, I personally could not allow her to wander around "reigning" over the other kids.

So, imagine my surprise, when a couple weeks ago, PH shows me an advertisement in the local paper for Disney's Princesses on Ice, and I readily agree to take KK because she'd love it. Just tatoo sucker across my forehead. It was as I feared - numerous, salivating, squealing, young girls (some not even old enough to walk) shoved into princess dresses with full blown make up and nail polish. I could see the yearning in KK's eyes as she was dressed in her pink Osh Kosh overalls.

For those of you who have not attended such a show, it is a condensed version of the Disney classics on ice skates. Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel are all saved by their prince and they skate off happily ever after. Even Mulan, Disney's attempt to appeal to the modern woman, was all aflutter as her prince got down on one knee to propose and then swept her off her skates. Sadly, I was both attracted and repelled. Sure, I'd like some guy on a white horse to handle all of my daily chores and stresses, but come on, that's not reality. Are we not setting our daughter's up for disappointment when the prince turns out to be a guy who can't put the toilet seat down, leaves his underwear on the floor, and periodically forgets to "save us"?

So with ideals already in the toilet, I allowed KK to pick out a Tinker Bell costume, which she is currently wearing. Running through the house flying. Hey, at least Tinker Bell didn't need to be rescued by some handsome prince . . .

26 August 2006

This was my life four weeks ago. My kids, my nieces, and the lake. It all just seems like a distant memory now.

This new job experience has thrown me for a loop. I'm struggling to keep up day to day. My confidence in my decision making has drastically diminished. I made a career change for the future - to benefit my family. Yet, now I'm working more hours than I have in four years, for less money, and for much less respect. I question this decision daily.

Some is the job, but some just seems to be the way I'm wired. I struggle with change. I'm such a contradiction because I'm constantly working towards the future and looking for ways to challenge myself, but dramatic change puts me over the proverbial edge. This experience has me questioning our thoughts about a possible overseas move (however, I am more certain that we need to leave Florida). How would I handle such a drastic change? Would I be able to adapt? Is that idea just an ideal?

Thanks to those of you who have recently sent me a positive note. I can not say how much those have meant this past week. I'm going to try to let this go for now and see where I am in a few months when the job isn't so new. Hopefully, with a little more sleep, a little more knowledge, and a lot less stress, my confidence will return. And hopefully, I'll have a little more time to blog :)

21 August 2006


After a week in the new job, I am not anxious to leave my warm bed and begin my work week. After a few tense days last week, administration relented and backed off their unreasonable demands on my time. Even with the modifications, I think it will take me some time to become comfortable with my "new life." So, until that happens, I'm planning a trip for my kids' spring break in March. Traveling with an almost three-year-old and a five-year-old just screams stress relief, doesn't it?

The question of the weekend has been where to go for one week in mid-March with two small children. We've talked about Northern New England - a visit to Boston and then spring skiing in New Hampshire, but we are definitely looking for some other ideas. We considered an overseas trip, but with the lack of time and the kids' ages, it would need to be a direct flight (or a great deal :) ), which seriously limits our options. The only requirement is that I get to leave the State of Florida. So, suggestions anyone?

15 August 2006

The Biggest Mistake?

Well, I have been back to work full-time in a new career for just over a week and I am seriously thinking that I have made the biggest mistake of my life. I understand that adjusting and learning a new career takes time, but I am beyond overwhelmed at this point. My immediate supervisor has already gotten into trouble for having the audacity to suggest to the "powers that be" that overloading me this early will lead to a disaster. As he has been told to back off, I am now on my own to try to navigate this new job.

What is so ironic is that before when I was a "customer" and not an employee, I was always right, my opinion was valued, and I was treated with respect. The moment I changed to employee, my status changed and it has become perfectly acceptable to bully me into taking on much more than my contract required. I already miss the time I had with my kids and am struggling to figure out how to balance all this. Thankfully, PH has been wonderful and has stepped up to take on so much of what I used to do. Realistically, that can't go on forever and I just hope I can find a way to get it all done without screwing up royally.

So much for my promise that I wouldn't blog about work . . .

11 August 2006

My First Friday Feast

Here's my First Feast:

Appetizer: Tell about a toy you remember from your childhood.
I had Weebles (you know, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down") that my neighbor stole. He peeled off their plastic faces and clothing, and painted on new faces and clothes. His mom found them and made him return them and apologize. I was the only kid with customized Weebles.

Soup: If you could make one thing in the world absolutely free for everyone, what would it be?
A quality education.

Salad: Approximately how many times per day do you think about your significant other?
It depends on the day – usually around three. However, if the kids are being whiny, it increases as I count the minutes until he gets home.

Main Course: What is something you believe in 100%?
Manners. Is it so damn hard to use please, thank-you, and you're welcome?

Dessert: Name one thing you have done this week that you would consider a "good deed."
I took a young colleague to lunch. She just moved here and I was reminded of when I moved here ten years ago and how kind people had been to me.

Enjoy the meal!

09 August 2006

Time to face the music and put the doughnut down

Yesterday I had to have my picture taken for my new job. I hate having my picture taken as it is a reminder that I'm not happy with how I look. And now I have to wonder why I don't do something about it.

Before kids, I was very active. I ran and worked out and easily maintained a single digit figure. My first pregnancy, I gained too much weight and was on bedrest for eight weeks. I never lost all the weight before number two arrived. Last year for a short time, I really committed myself to working out, but I didn't stick to it. Now with a new job, I have to wonder when I will find the time and why don't I make this a priority.

I understand the concept - less food in the mouth and move movement. I understand that being overweight is bad for my health - especially with a family history of diabetes and heart problems. I understand that I would feel better about myself and have more energy. So, why can't I get my arse up and make it happen?

07 August 2006

Excuse me, where is the baby aisle?

Setting: Hexe running around kitchen like a deranged escapee trying to get dinner on the table. KK and Hew periodically wandering into the kitchen to throw toys on the floor and tattle on each other.

KK (meanders into kitchen holding her piggy bank): Momma, I want to buy a baby.

Hexe (distracted by hot items on stove): Uhuh.

KK (louder and more insistent): Momma! I got fifteen dollars. Is that enough to buy a baby?

Hexe (still preoccupied with hot stove): KK, you know that babies don't come from stores.

KK (sighing dramatically): I know that babies come from their mommy's belly, but then the mommy takes the baby to the grocery store for people to buy. So is fifteen dollars enough to buy a baby?

I have no idea where or how this thought developed as we have been to the grocery store more times than I can count and I have yet to see a baby aisle. Besides, if I knew during all those sleepless nights I could have sold my kids to Publix . . . . I think it best I don't finish this thought!

03 August 2006

. . .and the vacation is over

Not only is my vacation over, but my new career begins next week. I am crossing the bridge from one life to another. Before children, I was a career woman. I worked nights and weekends when I had to without question. I worked hard and climbed the ladder. I knew who I was and where I was going.

And then KK came along and life changed. I changed jobs but still in the same field - a job that was more child friendly, part-time, flexible, and with the best boss I will ever have. After Hew was born and I went to my wonderful boss and explained my decision to change careers to something less glamorous, with less prestige, and even less money, but with more time for my children, he understood. The new career is more positive and contributes more to society. I am excited and scared.

I will never blog about my work - fear of being Dooced or sent along the way of Petite Anglaise keeps me silent. Also, the new job is not one I could discuss without betraying the trust placed in me. I only mention it now because for me life is changing. And with change comes the hope for the future . . .

31 July 2006

A large piece of humble pie, please . . .

Hexe to PH on Thursday after learning of his Grandmother's death (and after several hours without A/C):
"Just give me the computer. I'm quicker and more efficient in finding a flight."

Tonight, PH to Hexe on the phone from NY:
"I tried to check in on-line for my return flight tomorrow, but it appears that my return flight is for August 30, not August 3 . . . I've already called the airline and paid the fee to change the flight."

SHIT! Pass me a fork . . .

When PH leaves . . .

  1. We eat hot dogs, pizza, and scrambled eggs for dinner (not at the same time).
  2. Everyone takes an afternoon nap including me.
  3. Finger painting occurs daily.
  4. I allow Hew to run around with no pants on, thus forcing him to use the potty.
  5. I clean various bodily fluids and certain solids off the floor as a result of #5.
  6. Dora and Arthur are now a daily requirement (if you don't know Dora and Arthur, don't ask - you don't want to know).
  7. When PH calls, I spend much of the phone call giving the phone the finger as I listen to him talk about how he went to dinner in a restaurant with his brothers and they actually had a few drinks (yes, I know this was after his Grandma's funeral, but I'm still here and he is in NY by himself - yes, I'm being bitchy).
  8. I yell "Stop fighting!!!!!!!!!!" 1,368 times a day.
  9. Using the sprinkler outside counts as bathing.
  10. I wonder in amazement why more single parents are not institutionalized and I understand why certain animal species eat their young.

29 July 2006

Mother of the Year . . . NOT!

Number of hours PH will be gone: 36

Number of Hours it took for Hew to jump off stool, hit the corner of the coffee table, and have a swollen black eye: less than 6

Sigh . . . .

More Pictures on the Route de Vin

It's rather crazy here - PH is leaving for NY this afternoon for his Grandma's funeral and we just our A/C back working after twenty-four hours of a very hot house. Here are a few more pictures of our day on the Route de Vin.

Here's where we had a nice lunch . . .

and PH had a very large beer!

The narrow streets . . .

and pretty houses with the flower boxes.

During our post lunch walk, PH made a friend!

With PH leaving for NY, I don't think my next few days will be as relaxing as our day on the Route de Vin!

27 July 2006

Route de Vin

I have been trying all day to post our pics from the Route de Vin, but Blogger seems to have issues with the photos. Here are three of the photos and I'll try to get the others up later.

We were intending to go to Colmar (near the German border) from Gerardmer, but never made it all the way to Colmar. We kept stopping in all these little town on the Route de Vin. Most of the town were walled and outside of the walls were miles of vineyards heading up the hills. This first pic was taken from inside the wall town, looking out towards the vineyards.

These photos came from the towns of Kayserberg and Ribeauville. This is an area of France that I would love to revisit in the autumn. Many of the towns had portions of old stone castles or homes in the vineyards.

All of the house had these lovely flower boxes. We wandered from town to town looking at flowers, vineyards, and tasting wine. The area is known for Reisling and we found a couple bottles to bring back to my family as a thank you for taking care of KK and Hew. It was a beautiful way to spend the day :)

24 July 2006

Very Bad Day

WARNING: This post may contain whining, self-pity, and foul language.

I know Monday is often a difficult day but today is extra bad.

-Spent this morning at a funeral for the husband of one of PH’s childhood friends. I’d only met him once but it was a horribly sad affair. He was 39 with two children. He and his wife had recently moved west – a lifelong dream for them. Less than thirty days later he is killed by a drunk driver. Their teenage son read a poem at the funeral and I’m still crying.

-PH’s mother called from NY yesterday. PH’s Grandma (age 90) has cancer and things are not going well. It appears that PH will be traveling to NY soon for another funeral.

-The Tour de France is over and I have nothing to distract me.

I know after a month away I should be able to suck it up and put on a happy face for two more years but this place sucks. In no particular order, here are my complaints:

THE WEATHER – Yes, it is hot everywhere. But for most places, hot weather lasts a couple weeks. It has not been below 70 since May. It will not go below 70 until at least October. Last nights low was 78. Yes, I have air conditioning, but I hate being imprisoned in my house for five months. KK and Hew lived outside while we were up North. Hew lasted fifteen minutes yesterday before coming to me flushed and sweaty, begging to go inside. I need cold weather. I would like a seasonal change. I want SNOW!

THE EDUCATION SYSTEM – Florida has the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation and consistently ranks in the bottom as far as education. Rather than just admitting this and looking for a solution, our esteemed Governor wants to argue with the numbers. Yet his administration refuses to admit that they screwed up by hiring a company to correct the essay portion of Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) that did not have education requirements for the scorers. A passing score on the FCAT is required to be promoted and to graduate, yet the scorers of the exam did not even have to show that they had any education. A state that refuses to invest in children will continue to pay for years to come.

MY NEIGHBORS – I do have some lovely neighbors, but a majority of our neighborhood stopped associating with us after the last presidential election. We were the sole Kerry supporters in our entire neighborhood and had the audacity to put a sign in our yard. Never mind that there were fifty Bush signs. First, they signs were stolen, but we kept replacing them. Then, some women from the next street over showed up at dinner time and informed us that we must not be educated on the issues. After her “education” did not work, she told us that we were irresponsible and didn’t care about our children’s future. SERIOUSLY! I told her to get the hell out of my house. PH was nicer and explained to her that we both have graduate degrees that we paid for ourselves and that maybe our education just differed from hers in that ours taught us how to compute the national deficit after four years with Bush (never mind the fact that the US was on the way to becoming one of the most hated nations and destroying the Constitution upon which it had been founded). Crazy lady then reported to the other neighbors her failure to convert us. We then received religious flyers on our door and in our mailbox telling us we were going to hell (YES, STILL SERIOUS!).

NO TAXES – Generally, this would not be something to bitch about, but no taxes means no quality services (ie education). Additionally, it pisses me off that grumpy old people come here to make their residence to avoid taxes after they and their children have had the benefit of good school and community services elsewhere.

GRUMPY OLD PEOPLE – I love old people. I am thrilled that my children have a majority of their great grandparents alive, but some old people believe that age allows them to cut to the front of the line, hit me with their grocery cart rather than say excuse me, and drive down the middle lane in the road. Manners should not decrease with age.

I know that I am tired and grumpy and the world will look better tomorrow after a little sleep. Right now, I could use a little less heat and death.

21 July 2006

Morning at Hexe's House

At 6:45 AM Hew wandered into the bedroom looking for PH. I explained that PH had already left to swim this morning. Hew wanted breakfast and I wanted 15 more minutes of sleep - guess who won?

6:45-6:49 Hew plays with buttons on remote, turning the lights and fan on and off.

6:49 Hew moves on to the buttons on the clock radio, resulting in deafening version of Sheryl Crowe's "All I Want to Do Is Have Some Fun." I try in vain to find the right button to save my ear drums but instead drop clock on my foot. Finally, manage to pull electrical cord out of the wall but the battery back up kicks in and music continues. After several minutes, finally find a way to turn music down but not off.

6:57 Hew has gone into KK's room and woken her while I am fighting with the radio. They both demand breakfast.

6:58 When I tell Hew that he is going to use the potty before breakfast, Hew runs away and locks himself in his room! The lock sticks and I can not open the friggin' door. I then have to find a screwdriver and unscrew the door knob to open door.

And a good morning to you too!

20 July 2006

Tour update

After yesterday's dismal finish, Floyd Landis was considered finished. Yet today, he has come back, taken the lead, and may actually be back in contention for the yellow in Paris! Allez, allez Floyd!

A Lovely Day in Basel (or Bale)

There is no mistaking when you leave France and enter Switzerland. As PH and I walked into Basel, I stopped and pulled out a map to get my bearings. A kindly, older gentleman on crutches approached us and said "Where would you like to go?" Stunned at the use of English and the kindness (sorry, I could never use the word "kindness" to describe the French), PH and I failed to respond and stared open mouthed at the nice gentleman. The nice gentleman encouraged us to speak by stating that he spoke English and would give us directions. I finally managed to state that we were looking for the marktplatz. The nice man gave us directions and left before we could collect our thoughts and thank him. So, if you see a kind, elderly gentleman on crutches in Basel, Switzerland, please thank him for us and explain we are not rude Americans - we had just been in France for a week and were not prepared for someone to be nice to us :)

The kind gentleman set the tone for Basel. It is a lovely city, on the water. I wish that we had spent more than one day there. Basel is a place I would like to go back and see again. As we walked into the city, we were greeted by a market in front of this lovely red building, which is the Rathaus.

We spent much of the day wandering these lovely streets. As it was overcast, it was perfect to just walk. (Yes, that is Hexe walking down the street below.)

I love the large decorative doors.

We also did the tourist boat ride, which is a gondola of sorts connected to a wire that crosses the Rhine. You cross from the older historical section of Basel to the more modern section of the city. What is interesting about the ride is that the gondola uses the fast current to cross the river versus a motor. The pic below shows the gondola coming across and passengers waiting to board.

And this was the view, once we crossed the river . . .

Switzerland is certainly more expensive than France, but we were still able to find a very good plat du jour for two that included chicken in a yummy sauce, rice, salad, and a decent glass of wine for under 25.00CHF. I did notice that clothing and children's toys were definitely more expensive in Switzerland, but we happened to be in Basel during the "Sales" and PH found a nice shirt for less that $15 US. Overall, it was a wonderful day :)

19 July 2006

Le Tour

As a thank you to Jen for all her suggestions and advice, I'll start at the end of our trip and the Prologue of Le Tour de France. This was one of my favorite days from the vacation and I am now convinced that I could live in an RV with two small children for twenty-one days and follow this race around France.

My interest in cycling is purely as a spectator and began after Hew's birth. Home on maternity leave with a constantly nursing child and a slightly jealous two year old, I needed an escape badly. As Hew nursed, I started watching the Tour because of the scenery - the nice mountains, the pretty fields, the quaint towns. I eventually learned the team names and then the riders. Soon, I was hooked on the racing - the doping scandals, the French bitterness at an American winner, the peloton, the king of the mountain race . . . I could go on and on.

When we learned our trip to France would coincide with the opening day of the Tour, I knew we were headed to Strasbourg. This year's Prologue was an individual time trial through the streets of Strasbourg. We arrived hours before the beginning of the race to stake out a shady spot where we could see the riders beginning and ending the race. We had lunch supplies and water, but had sadly forgotten our creme de soliel. After a quick stop at a pharmacy where I was lectured in French about how I must apply the 30 SPF every two hours due to my pale skin, we were ready.

This pic is for Jen . . .

This is Team Discovery warming-up with George Hincapie in the middle.

This is a picture of the shirt vendors. It cracked me up because it was the only place I every seen just men shopping. Even PH thought he needed a team shirt and couldn't decide between a Phonak team shirt or CSC team shirt. He generally supports Team Discovery. When I questioned why not Discovery, I was told he didn't like "the colors." I had to turn away before laughing hysterically:)

This is one of the floats from the parade. The parade goes on before the race and each floats throws various objects (hats, bags, noise makers, bottle openers, pens, cardboard hands, etc) into the crowd. We came back with a bag full of junk thanks to a very tall German who was standing next to us and wanted to make we came home with souvenirs.

It took me awhile to figure out what this great big phallic symbol on top of the car was advertising. It's a pen - yeah, that wasn't my first guess:)

Finally, the race! This is Guiseppe Guerini from T-Mobile as he left out on to the course. We were standing right up against the fence and PH would lean out to get the photos of the riders. A couple times I thought he was about to be hit by a rider who was close to the fence. You could feel the whoosh as the rider went by. Needless to say, we have 50+ photos that look exactly like this.

Since coming home, I haven't been able to watch as much of the race as I would like. My early favorite was George Hincapie of Team Discovery, who is struggling. However, Floyd Landis of Phonak (an American) is riding well. I have admit to feeling a certain amount of delight in another American winning this race! Viva Le Tour!

18 July 2006

A Sad Welcome Home

I had this day planned out. I was finally home, back to high speed access and only two children, who could run wild while I blogged and posted vacation pictures. Unfortunately, the call came late last night. I expected the call but I thought it would be later in the week. My aunt had finally died of cancer.

She learned in April that she had a "recurrence." You look for answers - she wasn't a smoker or a drinker. She didn't lead a danger life with exposure to cancer causing materials. She was neither young nor old. She was just a recently retired school teacher who lived her life in the area where she'd grown up. She wasn't perfect - there were strained relationship and old hurts that even impending death could not heal.

What no one told her back in April was that death doesn't come easily. She suffered - a lot. She was conscious and aware most of the time. One day recently she confessed that she never thought dying would be such hard work. Cancer sucks.

So today, I am reminded to get off my ass and enjoy my life because there are no guarantees that tomorrow will be easier or better. In fact, there are no guarantees, you will have tomorrow.

09 July 2006

PH gets Germany!

Last year Hexe and I went on vacation to St. Wolfgang in Austria. Our flight connected through Munich, Germany. On the way to Austria we stopped at a German beer garden and had lunch. Neither of us pooped. It didn’t count. But this year, I was able to get Germany all to my own. Or, so I think I did. You will have to let me know your thoughts.

Hexe says that in order for us to earn a country, you must eat an actual meal and poop in the country to claim it as your own. Potato chips and airports don’t count. So far I have Canada, Norway, France, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark. Florida also counts. Last year neither of us pooped at the German beer garden, but this trip I was the one who pooped -- and Germany is all mine! Let me explain…

During this vacation Hexe and I were driving from France to Switzerland. On the way we had to stop and buy a vignette for the car. The vignette cost 25 euro even though we only planned to spend one day in Switzerland, but it was worth it. Since we had to stop at a rest area to purchase the vignette, I chose to stop at one located in Germany. If I could poop, then Germany would be mine. But, when I went in to claim it as my own, this is what I saw (sorry, for some reason I cannot upload my own photo).

What the hell kind of toilet is this? How do I use it? Apparently, there must have been a budget cut and they were unable to purchase the WHOLE toilet. I was eager not to lose Germany to Hexe so I did my best. The problem was where do I stand? Do I squat? I know that squatting is the oldest known mode of human elimination, but if I squat, then how far down do I go? What do I hold on to so that I don’t lose my balance? How do I avoid splatter? Do I leave my shoes on? God knows I didn’t want to slip and fall in the hole. I began to question if I really wanted Germany today.

Before claiming the fatherland I made sure of the location of the flushing mechanism. To my joy I was happy to see hand rails were attached to the walls. I held on (use your imagination here) and claimed Germany for my own. However, now I had a real problem. There was no toilet paper. Apparently, the budget cut was worse than I thought. After doing a little dance, I went looking for paper in the other stalls, but they were ALL OCCUPIED! Apparently, everyone wanted Germany today. Since I speak German worse than French, I chose to look for some paper towels.

Unfortunately, this bathroom still has those old wrap around cloth towel machines. These are the ones where you pull down on the nasty cloth for some “clean” cloth and then the old used nasty cloth disappears back up into the machine. (I firmly believe it never gets replaced. Instead the cloth just wraps around, magically cleans itself, and comes out again.) So, rather than attempt to use the mystery towel machine I went looking for Hexe.

As I came out she noticed my walk was a little different and asked me if I was okay. After explaining my “situation” Hexe was nice enough to gather a huge wad of toilet paper from the ladies room.

Hexe confirmed she didn’t poop, so Germany is now all mine. Although, I am not sure if it was worth it.

PS: Hexe is still up north and has no real internet access. She’ll be back soon. Until then you get me, PH.

06 July 2006

OMG - I have finally figured it out. Here's a pic from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. Must now edit the rest. Back later!

04 July 2006

We're Baaack . . .

I had every intention of posting from Gerardmer, but it appears that when the hotel advertised internet access, they didn't actually intend for a guest to use it. I probably could have sought out internet access elsewhere, but our Paris pace set by my brother in law (BIL) continued. We visited Basel, followed the route de vin, drove to Strasbourg and watched the Prologue for the Tour de France.

The stories of mutilation of the French language were endless. I have no doubt that the staff at the hotel are still laughing over PerfectHusband who asked for the flowers to be turned on in the pool instead of the lights. Or the poor waiter who tried not to smirk when I said I was a cafe when I meant to say I would like a coffee. Or there was the endless argument between myself and PH about whether a "serviette" was a towel or a feminine hygiene product (PH didn't wish to embarrass himself further by asking for a feminine hygiene product when he just wanted a towel for the pool).

In the end, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my father when I first moved to Boston many years ago. We were joking about my Dad getting old and having to leave our small New England town to live with me in Boston. My Father replied that he would rather wander the streets of our hometown senile and homeless than live in Boston. That is how I felt about Paris. Much to my BIL's disappointment, I can not imagine myself living there. It is busy, dirty, crowded, rushed, and stressful. I applaud BIL's love for his adopted home, but it's not for me. Thankfully PH agreed fully and at one point when we driving around lost, he commented that he would rather live next to my parents on a dirt road than live in Paris.

Here is where I have been trying to post a picture to show that yes, we did have a good time despite being French speaking challenged. However, PH has pointed out that I accidentally took most of my photos at a very high pixel rate so I need to save them back to the camera and reduce the rate in order to post them as the computer keeps rejecting them. I'll try again tomorrow . . .

25 June 2006

oh la la la

I should preface this post by saying that I have had half a bottle of wine so excuse the misspellings and incomplete sentences. (yes, it is a sad commentary on my life that half a bottle of wine should have such an effect but ce ma vie!)

Nice rainy day in Paris. We celebrate my niece's one year birthday. Although the rest of the family who were present were French speaking, they were very kind to us and made a great effort to include us. Our understanding of the language is much better than our ability to speak so we were able to follow most of the conversation. My niece loved being the center of attention and rewarded our bilingual encouragement by stuffing a large piece of cake into her mouth and then throwing the crumbs all over the floor.

PerfectHusband and I also ventured to a market and were able to communicate well enough to purchase wine (which I have consumed), chicken, vegetables for a salad, bread, and strawberries. Other than a slight mix up about the amount of strawberries, we ended up with what we thought we were saying!

We spent the afternoon wandering in the d'Orsay. Although crowded, it was a lovely way to spend a rainy day. Besides the beautiful artwork, it was fun to stand on the top floor, overlooking the large clock, and watch the people. After, we meandered back to "our" apartment warmed the chicken and bread, pulled out some good cheese, and made a large salad. It was a wonderful day and I am feeling a little less overwhelmed by this city. I have lived in Boston and D.C. but in reality I am more comfortable in a smaller city. I am enjoying Paris, but I am looking forward to leaving for Gerardmer on Tuesday.

24 June 2006

Les adventures des vacances

After a quick stop in Montreal, we arrived in Paris yesterday morning. Brother in law (BIL) met us at the airport to lead us to our vacation rental two doors down from his apartment in the First Arrondissement. In the past thirty-six hours, we have been to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company, Jardin du Carrousel, Jardin des Tuileries, walked the Ile de la Cite, rented bikes and rode them through Friday night rush hour traffic, and walked the Seine.

BIL is the tour guide from hell. BIL has lived in Paris for the past ten years with his French wife and their young daughter. I am very happy to see them, but BIL believes it is his personal responsibility to 1) make sure we do not fall prey to any scam and/or thievery and 2) indoctrinate us into the understanding that all things French are the best. I am sick of hearing how the water, soda, apples, buildings, milk, clothing, cars, children, etc, etc are all better in France. Additionally, I am sick of being run ragged looking at random buildings were Moliere lived, Cezanne died, and Monet shit. Finally, I am sick of being told how to hold my camera, where to put my money, how to walk, and what shoes to wear. PerfectHusband and I were going to take a break from all this family togetherness and go to dinner alone, but BIL believed it necessary to lead us to a restaurant and interpret the menu for us (even I know the basics of poulet, bouef, fromage, and the various vegetables and herbs). While we are certainly enjoying Paris, it would be nice to discover it without constantly being told that it is all superior to any place else. I find it difficult to resist the urge to remind BIL that not only was he born in the old USA but he was born in the State that is known for a giant mouse.

One last complaint has nothing to do with BIL. Today, in Notre Dame I witness flagrant disregard for a church and it truly pissed me off. Even though it clearly stated no photos, flashes continued to go off. People disregarded the barriers, lifting them to allow themselves and their uncontrollable children to sit and touch items that they certainly have no business touching. People were loud and obnoxious on cell phones. I'm talking about all people - not just the English speaking. I'm no religion freak but I also think that when a church invites you to enter you should treat it with respect. It made me angry to think about the fact that if people were so disrespectful in a church, then the rest of the world in certainly in deep merde.

So, now the pictures and then I'm going to bed so I can keep up with another day of BIL touring.

Tried to post pictures but computer failing - off to bed!

18 June 2006

Missing Hexe

Today is Father’s Day and for the first time I am not with my wife and children. Hexe, I miss you and the kids more than I ever imagined. Thank you for your post below. It was a great way to end the day.

I know that our lives are not always easy, but I truly want to thank you for all that you do for me and the kids. You are ALWAYS taking care of us – no matter what comes along and no matter how hard it may be for you. Your love has helped me to be the father that I wish I had when I was growing up.

I know that this week apart has been hard on you. You are alone taking care of our children, with no help from me – or your family. You have no air conditioning, have had little to no sleep, and your family has been driving you mad. You are exhausted, stressed, and worn out. You have not had a break – and you deserve one. I will be there soon and I cannot wait for our trip to France.

The love you have shown me and the children is love with such passion that I could never have known it in my wildest dreams. I am proud of you. I don’t say it enough. Perfect, I am not. But I cannot imagine my life without you.

As each hour passes until we are together again, you will be in my thoughts, in my dreams, and in my heart. Thank you for taking that chance with me nearly eight years ago. You have made me a better man, a better father, and better husband (who is far from perfect).

We will always have Paris. And thanks to your hard work and sacrifice, we will soon leave this god-forsaken-state and start the next chapter of our lives together.

I love you!

Happy Father's Day PerfectHusband

PH - Happy Father's Day! Four and half years ago you gave me the first of my most precious gifts and life has never been the same. Two years later and our family was complete. Thank you for being a wonderful father and wonderful husband. Enjoy your quiet time and we can't wait for you to arrive. Love me XOXOXO

Daddy - I love you even though you are at home. I love it when you play with me. I can't wait for you to get here and then Grammie and Grampa will come home too. Happy Father's Day. Love KK

Daddy - I like it when you swim with me. Happy Fathers Day! Love Hew

17 June 2006

Houston, we have lift-off . . .

For unknown reasons, my parent's computer has finally decided to work. YEAH!!! This should be the part where I post lovely pictures, yet the camera lens has become stuck and camera will not work even though I have read and followed all directions in the manual. If it's not one thing, it's another!

Even without camera, all has gone relatively smooth. The plane rides went very well. People were very kind and the kids were GREAT. Yes, KK did have a little vomiting incident, but as the mean flight attendant had refused my request for an extra vomit bag, I didn't feel at all bad when KK vomited in the plane as we were getting off. It was pure karma to the grouchy flight attendant.

We had a nice visit with Giant Nephew. For an only child, he adapted pretty well to the chaos of having two hyperactive children running around him non-stop. He does have to be fed every two hours (no, I am not kidding!), but once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing.

Tomorrow we are off to Aunt M's camp for some swimming and possible jet ski rides. Will try to use parent's camera to take photos and if all goes well (fingers crossed) I may actually have photos for tomorrow. Signing off now to read all the blogs I have been missing - yes, I am officially addicted.

15 June 2006

You cannot get here from there

I have been asked to attempt a post. Here goes nothing:

Hexe has access to a computer, but that computer doesn't have access to the rest of the world. I'll be heading up north on Tuesday. If all goes well, then Hexe will be back blogging Tuesday night. Until then, you get me... PH

When Hexe arrived at her mother's home on Wednesday she learned that her brother is moving to a new home and Grandmother had volunteered to watch Hexe's giant nephew for the next two days. (Giant Nephew is not even one year old, but he is bigger than our two year old son, Hew). Of course, Grandmother had to leave before first light this morning to "visit a friend" who was being buried. I don't know why she cannot say the F-word (funeral), but that is where she told KK and Hew that she was going.

So, Grandmother heads out to "visit" her friend at 5:00 AM. Of course, Giant Nephew wakes up screaming for a new diaper and the first of his 10 meals for the day. Hexe crawls out of bed to his crib and tries to silence the screaming, but unfortunately Hew and KK get up and join the chorus. After 3 bananas and endless bowls of raisin bran Giant Nephew is finally silenced.

Hexe tries to take a nap, but her "Aunt M" stops by unannounced for a visit with the kids.

When "Aunt M" finally leaves Hexe tries once again to nap, but then Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather come by for a visit with the Kids.

I cannot imagine why, but Hexe tries to nap for a third time, but this time "Aunt N" comes by.

Hexe then leaves the kids with "Aunt N" and goes for a walk in the woods. (She did come back.)

I miss the screaming. The silence back here in Florida is deafening.

13 June 2006

Takin' the long way around

. . . It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself.
Guess I could have made it easier on myself
But I - I could never follow
No, I - I could never follow
Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else . . .
Takin' the long way around.

-The Long Way Around
Dixie Chicks

As a kid, my mother used to say that I always took "the long way around" because I was so stubborn and independent. Sometimes, I think that is my theme to life. When I called my mom to say we'd be a day later due to the cancelled flight, she just laughed. We have a flying curse - our flights have been delayed, cancelled, and rerouted. Two years ago at Christmas, we were stranded in D.C. and were told that it would be THREE DAYS before we could get a flight to anywhere in Florida. We drove back - renting a car and two car seats for Hew (then age 9 months) and KK (then age 2) - 17 hours. In the past, I have sworn that I will not fly again, but my resolve doesn't last a week. Plus, now I'm just happy to arrive and return in one piece.

So tomorrow, I'll try again - takin' the freakin' long way around.

No, I'm not kidding . . .

Flight cancelled due to mechanical problem. Try again tomorrow.

12 June 2006

V A C A T I O N in the summer sun . . . .

My computer's hard drive has died. Thankfully, I am leaving in the morning for my parents' home where I will at least have dial-up access. Am dreading solo flight with KK and Hew - I am hoping for a miracle where both children sleep through two flights (hahahahahahahahaha!!!!). I just have to get there and then the fun begins! Hopefully I'll have some photos to share soon!

09 June 2006

I'm an Idiot . . .

The unthinkable happened last night - our home computer died (I am currently on PerfectHusband's work laptop). PH has already called his computer guru who believes it to be a possible virus as well as a hardware problem(?) - who knows? Normally, this would not be a problem - I'm going out of town for awhile anyways, BUT all our plane reservation confirmation numbers, car rental confirmation number, and all the information I have gathered for Paris and Gerardmer (except for a lot of wonderful information sent from Jen) is stuck in the computer!!! I know, I am an idiot. I should have printed it out months ago. I understand it is all recoverable (at least that what's the guru says), but the issue is time - will we get it back before Tuesday morning when I fly out or will I be spending my weekend calling airlines and the car rental company to get confirmation numbers, as well as frantically trying to recreate the information I already had? Why didn't I print the plane reservations or car rental reservation when I made them? Why didn't I print the information I'd found on Gerardmer and Paris? Because I am an idiot!

08 June 2006

Welcome to the Sunshine State - Would you like some possum?

I know that I have a bias against Florida but the following story came from a brother-in-law who lives a few hours from us here in the Sunshine State. BIL owns a coffee shop/cafe and this is a recount of an e-mail we received yesterday:

Yesterday, a lovely group of "locals" came in for lunch. "Momma" who couldn't read, was a little blind and a little deaf had one of her offspring (or in this case "ahfspraang") read the choices to her. (side note: The first item in the Taco portion of the menu is "Rockem sockem Tacos. Its what we call the ground beef taco.) Momma stopped a server, who was passing by observing the exchange, and asked if the rockin possum tacos were real possum or just 'coon. Resisting the overwhelming urge to explain the great lengths we go to provide the finest ground possum for our tacos, the server managed to keep a straight face and tell her that they were ground beef tacos. The woman was truly disappointed and "ardered" the chicken.

This is what you find once you leave the Disney grounds - do I need to say more?

07 June 2006

I'm leaving on a jetplane . . .

Six day until lift off. Packing has begun. The hunt for the perfect small toys that will entertain Hew and KK for the six hour trip is underway. Six days and I will finally get to leave this oppressive hot weather!!!

Once at my parents house, I will have a week of single parenthood as PerfectHusband will not join us until next week. Once he arrives, I will hand the kids off to my parents, and he and I will leave for France.

I am always a little nervous leaving the kids. It's not that I don't trust my family with them - Grandma and Grampa will spoil them rotten will ice cream, cookies, chips, and various other junk that are generally lacking from their daily diet. My sister and her children will arrive so that there will be playmates. They will have a great time.

I think it's the potential death thing that makes me nervous. Before we ever leave the kids, we reread and if necessary, revise our will. Not only that, but we do a medical authorization form for my parents and sister in the event that the kids get hurt. Just call us anal. Before having kids, I would board a plane on a whim - no thoughts of death and serious bodily injury. Now I have to contemplate who should raise my children in the event of my death and PerfectHusband's death. It does tend to put a little damper on the vacation travel.

But even with the thought of wills, medical authorization, and flying alone with two children under five, there is still that excitement. I love to travel - to see new places, to mispronounce words in a different language, to explore, to walk aimlessly, to eat new food and drink some wine, to see a small part of life in a different place. Six days . . . .

05 June 2006

Another Exciting Weekend

The highlight of this past weekend was yesterday when we lost power for an hour. Right as I went to cook dinner, the lights flashed and died. PerfectHusband nearly had a coronary as he was working on the computer on his big project that will be presented this week. Luckily nothing was lost. As we cooked dinner on the grill, the inside temperature climbed above 80. Immediately my irritation gauge went to high and it seems to have carried over to this morning.

Lately I am am in holding pattern. I am waiting for my new job to begin. I am waiting to leave for vacation (hurray!). All this waiting makes it difficult for me to enjoy now. I feel like I get less done now when I have more time than I did when I was working. Enough whining . . . will write when less irritable.

02 June 2006

Please excuse me while I rant momentarily . . .

Many years ago, before children, PerfectHusband and I moved into our current home. At the time I was not welcomed with open arms by many of the women in the neighborhood because
1. I had no children, and
2. I worked.
The majority of my female neighbors are stay at home moms. I have no problem with stay-at-home moms - they are great, but as I have previously mentioned, even after kids, I still went back to work part time. So sue me - it's what works for me. You do what's right for your family - not any of my business.

Anyways, it seems that I am now the anti-christ of the neighborhood because I mow the yard. Yes, that's right - I mow the yard . . and not only that . . .I like it! Most of the neighbors have a lawn service, but we have a riding lawn mower. The kids take turns riding with me or they play where I can see them as I do this. Apparently, this activity is considered THE MAN'S job because I have received snide little digs about this. Today, two female neighbors drove right by and just glared at me as I waved from the mower.

God, imagine their reactions if they knew I use the table saw and the belt sander. . . I'd probably be run from the neighborhood.


Hew has reached another milestone today. Finally, this morning we said a sad farewell to the crib. For the past couple weeks, Hew has been fluctuating between the crib and his “big boy bed” (formerly know as the guest bed). This morning when I asked if it was time to put the crib away and Hew agreed. I think it had more to do with me letting him bang with his hammer while I disassembled the crib. Plus at one point the side came loose and crashed down causing Hew to delightedly repeat on the phone to PerfectHusband “Momma, crib, BIG CRASH!!!”

Here it is before the BIG CRASH . . .

and then after the BIG CRASH!


I was actually a little sad to see the crib go as Hew is our last (we hope!). But, I don't think I'll shed a tear once we get him out of diapers.

Congrats my big boy!

31 May 2006

I'm sorry I asked . . .

Since it appears to be 80s day at Mausi and Kim's, I was reminded of one of those moments when you wonder who in hell you have married. Many years ago, PerfectHusband was looking at old photos of me as a kid - all bad 80s hair and braces. We were laughing at the various fluorescent outfits when I innocently asked "You didn't have any 80s outfits?" PH then confessed that he owned and wore a red Michael Jackson jacket from Thriller. I couldn't even speak. What does one say when one discovers they are married to a man who wanted to dress like Michael Jackson? There aren't words . . .

(I feel the need to add that in no way to we want to endorse anything Michael Jackson as not guilty by a jury certainly doesn't mean innocent.)

30 May 2006

It's like a heatwave . . .

It's hot. I know - welcome to Florida, but ironically this Floridian hates the heat. I become irritable and just plain depressed when the temperature starts reaching 90 plus in May. It is a reminder that I have at least four months of hell to sweat through. It seems as though the soaring temperatures also effect KK and Hew. It's only 9:00 AM but the fighting started on our sweaty morning walk and has continued non-stop. Is it too early for a glass of wine?

On the positive side, it is only two weeks before I board a plane for the Northeast . . . with two children under five . . .alone. While I am very excited to leave, the thought of the flight alone with KK and Hew is daunting. The last time I flew alone with them both, KK was two and on my lap and I was five months pregnant with Hew (I should say that KK was on what remained of my lap). The flight was full and I ended up in a row with two female snow-birds who were annoyed that any children had even been allowed on their flight. They continued to talk loudly about me as though I could not hear them. I returned their kindness by becoming violently ill as we landed and vomiting into one of those horrid little bags. I can only hope that this trip goes slightly better, but deep down I know it will be worse.

PerfectHusband declares I am a pessimist. Easy for him to say - he will be flying up later to join us. From there, he and I will fly sans children to France and then he will fly home alone. I will go back to have a week of Auntie Hexe camp where I will repay my sister by taking her two children as well as my own for a week. After that, I will fly home . . .with two children still under five . . . alone. Prayers and good thought are encouraged!

Now, once I am there the fun begins. Cooler weather, even rain possibly, family non-stop, lobster, clams, mussels, Whippers Sandwiches, Humpty Dumpty potato chips, cold lakes for swimming, dirt roads, hills, mountains, strawberry season, the farm, sleeping with open windows, boat rides . . .my idea of summer.

28 May 2006

Here goes nothing

Yes, I have managed to take a photo with my new camera. Now, I'm going to try to upload it here - wish me luck . . .

IT WORKED!!! I know for most of you this is no big deal, but I am technologically challenged. PerfectHusband is the one who always does this stuff. Little does he know, that while he is napping with the kids, I am the first one to upload a picture to the computer. Now off to learn how to crop photos - God, I'm brilliant (at least for the moment)!

25 May 2006

The Digital Age

Part of my whining about MIL visit is because PH and I were going to enter the digital age this weekend. Yes, we have finally broken down and bought a digital camera. We were going to be total geeks this weekend and read the entire instruction manual so we were prepared for our upcoming trip.

YES, I did say TRIP!!!! As I do not start work until the end of July, I am taking KK and Hew up North to see family. Starting praying for me now as I will be flying alone with them. The exciting part is that my sister and I are doing a kid swap, wherein she and Grammie take my children for nine days and then I take her children (my nieces, ages four and six) for a week. Although this sounds like torture as I will be by myself flying with two children and will at some point have four children - all under seven, it will be well worth it. (insert drum roll here) PH and I are going to Paris to visit his brother and then on to Gerardmer, France. Gerardmer is approximately seventy miles south of Strasbourg, very close to Germany and Switzerland. We will be spending a day in Basel, Switzerland as it is so close, and we will also see the Prologue of Le Tour de France in Strasbourg.

So, here comes the favor, my fellow bloggers . . .Please send me any suggestions, tips, or memories of your time in any of these areas. In reality, Paris will be mostly visiting family so we don't expect to get a lot done. In Gerardmer, we will be on our own. We chose the area because of the hiking, lakes, and Vosges mountains. We also liked the idea of being able to cross so easily into Germany and Switzerland for a meal or an afternoon. We love trying local restaurants - places the average tourist wouldn't find without assistance. Please help!

23 May 2006

The Daily Grind

So far today: went to gym, picked up bagels, four loads of laundry, changed two diapers and forced potty use three times, took kids for walk, went to bank, went to grocery store, art project with scissor and glue, out for bike ride, cleaned rooms, did dishes twice, made lunch, and read story. What an exciting life I lead. . .

22 May 2006

Desperate Housewives Finale lands PerfectHusband in the Dog House

First, I promise not to disclose any plotlines of the season finale of Desperate Housewives and ruin the end for those who have not yet watched it. I'd give it a 7/10 - good but not great, except for Lynette (Felicity Huffman) who I adore and gets a 10/10.

With that disclaimer said . . . PerfectHusband and I were watching the finale together. At some point, based loosely on the show we began having one of those hypothetical conversations you can only have with your spouse. The conversations that begin with "what if" and usually end in disaster.

Hexe [during commercial, of course!]: So what if I died tonight - you wouldn't get remarried?

PH [mindlessly *clicking during commercials]: You're not going to die tonight.

Hexe [more insistent]: I could. Even if I die in the next ten years, I know you'll get remarried.

PH [still mindlessly *clicking]: How can you know?

Hexe: Because you're a man [ie: you need someone to grocery shop, cook, clean, do laundry, and find KK's damn stuffed rabbit everyday]. You'd get lonely.

PH [still mindless]: I'D GET A DOG!

Hexe [turns and stares at PH who is still mindlessly *clicking]: So, I could be replaced by a DOG!

PH [hesitatingly, suddenly realizing something is amiss]: I never said a DOG could replace you. [accusingly as though this is my fault] You said I'd be lonely.

Hexe [eyes bulging out]: I'd be dead and you'd be lonely, but you could fulfill that loneliness with a DOG?!!!!

PH [wildly looking around room for escape]: Oh, the shows back on. I think I should stop talking now.

Little too late, Mr. Not-So-PerfectHusband.

*clicking - repeatedly changing channels for no apparent reason