Sometimes my days have a sense of terrifying sameness. I don’t mean that my days are terrifying… just that some days I genuinely don’t know if it’s Tuesday or Thursday, and on Saturday mornings I sometimes have to be reminded that I don’t need to leap out of bed and make breakfasts and lunches, find socks and shoes, or change diapers (ok, that still needs to be done on Saturdays.) It’s definitely the strangest part about staying at home with Adele, and the part that I miss the most about my old job. I know that referring to The Workplace is somewhat verboten on the internet, but I worked at a pretty unique place. It had its red tape, of course, as all jobs do, but the interactions I had with my coworkers and our constituents pretty much made every day different. I MISS interactions. I miss talking with adults regularly. I miss working for an organization that made a difference and where I got to do really unusual and unique things. (I know, I know, why mention the unusual and exciting if I can’t talk about it? I guess I don’t want to break the cardinal rule of blogging, should I ever want go back to work at that same org.)
But I’ve also had both sides of the coin now. I went back to work full time when G was three months old and it SUCKED. I was a total wreck. I have no idea how Casey lived with me during that time; I could barely live with myself. I cried all the time. I made it through the workdays just fine, but I totally fell apart every night when I got home. My difficulty with that situation was what really helped us decide that I should stay home when A was born, though it was a stretch at first and hasn’t been the easiest thing financially.
We’re visiting a preschool next week to see where Adele will be going in September. And you know what? I’m ready for it this time. I won’t have the difficulties I had going back to work before, because I’ve been there already, and I know what to expect.
Plus, I have this to come home to, no matter what happens.
I took the girls to a playdate this morning. When we got back, I was… somewhat surprised. Because even though I had left my husband at home with a cheery wave and a “have fun demolishing the back porch!” * I was not really expecting to see what I did.
It looked basically like this when I left.
And when I got back it looked like this.
Have I mentioned yet that we bought our house from a flipper? A lazy, lazy flipper who apparently couldn’t be bothered to, I don’t know… paint the inside of the back porch while the rest of the house was being painted? (Though if we’re being honest, I don’t know that I had ever really noticed that fact before today.)
While I’m really excited about the next phase (a full porch, screened in, places to sit, a ceiling fan!) I am not as crazy about this phase, which entails not only the no-porch thing, but also the no washer/dryer thing (important) and also the no-easy-access-to-the-backyard-and-thus-the-garage-where-the-car-is-parked thing. Please let me assure you that I do recognize that this is a first world problem and I’m really only mildly put out by the situation, but I do live with the Messiest Baby Ever (TM), as well as a four year old who likes to make dirt piles and pick flowers and roll down grassy hills. I am rather fond of having a washing machine at my disposal.
While we’re on that topic, I have no disposal. Nor do I have a dishwasher. Or TiVo, DVR, or whatever it is the kids are using these days to pause their TV and watch it later. My husband is the least TV-watching person in the history of the world and so we’ve never really missed having anything but the basic, basic stations. We did mourn when our PBS stations went down to two instead of one, but you know, we manage just fine. Although I am starting to feel a little out of it in conversations with people who don’t live in my house, because I don’t really know who Snooki(e?) is and I have never watched any Real Houswives of Anything and also who is this Kelly Cutrone that Twitter is all over? I need some pop culture uppage, stat. Maybe I need an US Weekly subscription. I could read it on my porch!
* “Have fun stormin’ the castle!” If you know the movie this line is from without batting an eye, I feel that we are best friends. Despite my lack of current pop culture knowledge, I am a total movie geek.
This morning I called a radio station. Haven’t done THAT since I was in middle school. Come on, you know you did it too… a request for a song here, a dedication there… (maybe a Vanessa Williams song? No? Then Bon Jovi. COME ON. ADMIT IT.) Anyway, a morning show was having a talk about which celebrities have reputations as bad or good tippers, and people? I have not only opinions, but also stories on this topic. So many stories.
When I moved to New York in 2001, I was fresh out of college. I was optimistic, single (ish… that’s a story for another day) and living with a good friend in a tiny apartment on the Upper East Side. That apartment was so awesome, and by “awesome” I mean “crazy.” It had originally been part of the apartment next door and they had been split in half to make two apartments. Hey, guess which side got all the original plumbing? (Hint: not mine.) And so along with the weirdness that was a very triangular-shaped bathroom, the bathroom had no sink.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute– no pun intended… NO SINK. As in, no place to, you know, brush your teeth, wash your face… the things one tends to do in bathroom sinks. But luckily, our kitchen sink was right on the other side of the wall! And was a deep double sink! So we adapted, and one side of the sink was for kitchen duties and the other was for teeth brushing and face washing.
It was weird.
Anyway, back to the stories. I was living in New York and waiting tables, which is obviously the dream of EVERY college graduate, and I worked at a great little restaurant on the Upper West Side. We had a fair number of famous people come in, and clearly we all took note of who tipped well and who didn’t. We had a few famous regular customers (Alan Alda and his wife… so nice) and some who came in from time to time (Jason Biggs with various girlfriends; Tom Cavanaugh, always 15 minutes before closing time but always hung out with the waiters after his meal and left a big tip so no one minded) and then there were the big names who only came in once.
I had to call the station to report my best and worst famous FAMOUS tippers… ladies and gentlemen, Renee Zellweger is a huge tipper. Love her. Seventy percent tip. Which is why, even when people complain about her scrunchy face and the fact that she never wears anything but Carolina Herrera, I will always love her. Well, those reasons and the movie version of “Chicago.” (“They’re gonna wait outside in line to get to see ROXIE.”)
Worst tipper? The girl from the block. The girl who probably, at some point in her career, had to wait tables to get by, the girl who has the rep for being as high maintenance as they come… Jennifer Lopez. Is anyone surprised? All the waiters kind of were! Eight percent, ya’ll. EIGHT. That is some bad karma right there, Jennifer. Weren’t you married to a waiter once?
So that’s the story of why I, a thirty-one year old, called a radio station. And I’m not embarrassed. But Jennifer Lopez should be. Eight percent tip? FOR SHAME, JENNY. For shame.
Yesterday, I realized that I had done the classic falling-down-on-the-job thing when I realized that my daughter doesn’t have school this Friday. You know, because of Easter. Because Friday is Good Friday. And my child attends an Episcopalian preschool. (I am dense sometimes.) So aside from realizing that I really need to figure out something fun for us to do on Friday, I remembered that the class Easter party, involving treats that yours truly SAID she was going to provide but had not yet purchased, was on Thursday. I realized that I had to go to Target.
I love Target, I do. But I recently made a vow to myself that I wasn’t going to bring my four-year old to Target with me EVER AGAIN. (Well, it was really more of an oath, taken in blood, by the light of the full moon. That’s how serious I was about this vow.) This decision wasn’t made lightly… I mean, I have two kids. Target is my other home; I’m there a lot. But recently all trips have deteriorated into me frantically hissing “You must stop this behavior or we will turn around and walk right out of here and I MEAN IT” through my teeth at Georgia as she melts into a puddle of whining in the toilet paper aisle. Couple that with the fact that Adele has figured out how to unsnap the belt thingy on both the shopping cart cover AND the actual snap on the cart itself, and attempts to eject herself from the cart with regularity, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
But go to Target I did, and we had some Serious Talks in the car on the way over, and G promised that there would be no whining or asking for things (when we walked in she immediately did both of those things and was not smote by lightning, despite what I told her would happen if she broke said promises.)
I made it through the insane Easter section, tossing into the cart only what was on our list, then headed to the food area where I grabbed a gallon of milk and a bottle of wine (okay, two bottles of wine) and then over to the baby area for wipes. We made our way to the front registers (whining all the way, and I’m including myself in that because I’ve discovered that whining is contagious) and I loaded everything onto the conveyor. At which time I realized that I did not have my wallet.
That’s right. No wallet, and people behind me in line, and frustration oozing from my every pore.
I loaded everything back into the cart, brought it to the customer service area, apologized for my idiocy, and walked out with two screeching children, one hoisted under each arm. I got to the car, wrestled them into the car seats, strapped them in. and sat down to breathe in the front seat… and saw my wallet on the floorboard of the passenger side of the car. I almost cried at the though of going back in, but I did it anyway because the thought of going BACK to Target after the kids were in bed was too much.
The moral of the story is, I think, that Target is the devil. And always remember to look for your wallet before you go in.