Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being a Mom

Dear Sometimes-But-Not-Always-Elusive-Offspring,

So, now you are engaged. To a lovely girl we love as if she were our own. And someday you will have little EOs of your own.

When I was pregnant with you, I did not know whether you would be a boy or a girl. I couldn’t explain why, but I did not want to know. All I knew is that I was carrying a baby. My little miracle. And I loved you from the moment I knew you existed. I sang to you, and played the piano for you, and ate lobster for you (ok, that part was for me), and did everything I could do to make sure you were healthy.

I knew Dad wanted a boy (although he would have been happy with a girl), but at the time, I thought I wanted a girl. I believed I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy. I had heard so many stories about how boys were always getting hurt (breaking bones, getting into scraps, you know what I mean). How they were so messy. And they played with toy guns (it's true!). But I figured, having been a girl, I would know all about girls. So I made pretty little dresses in preparation.

Then you were born. A little “bundle of boy” as Dad called you. I’m not sure but that I may have had a momentary pang of … should I call it “disappointment” … at the knowledge that I was not to have my little girl after all. But if I had that feeling, it was nothing more than a fleeting pang, because I adored you totally and completely from the start. I cried when you were one day old, and then three days old and at various intervals thereafter, at first because you were no longer a physical part of me, but then because each day you were closer to leaving me. I cried because there was no Earthly way that anyone could ever love me nearly as much as I love you. I cried because I would have to go to work and leave you with a care taker. Without a second thought, I gave the little dresses I had made to a friend who had a little girl, and I went out to find the most adorable boy outfits to dress you in.

Every day brought new wonders for us all. I have such clear memories of those first three years: how you always ran to the door to meet us when we came home from work. I remember the silly faces you made. And “b’zim” was your word for anything that flew (bird, plane, butterfly, leaf). Even now, the cry of the “b’zim” bird always means spring is in the air. I remember picking up two water pistols one day and filling them up so that I could get out of the car with “pistols blazing” when you came to meet us after work one summer day (ok, moms sometimes play with toy guns, too). The Homeric battle that ensued, with you chasing me around outside the house with the big red water pistol, and me still in my business suit with the little blue one, will stay with me and make me smile forever. As will all those nights three-year-old-you made me play Patsy Cline’s “Crazy for Crying” and the Phantom of the Opera over and over when you went to bed.

I remember your first day of school, your trip to Poland, your disappointment when Hamid could not stay with us and how well you handled that. You were always a leader even in grade school. And such a clown: “Mom, what does a car do when it’s sleepy? It goes to the roadbed.” And yes, I do remember the bumps and bruises and the broken bones, the disappointments and the broken hearts (yours and others). I remember every Halloween costume you wore, every cardboard and tape creation you designed, every play I saw you in, every song I've heard you sing. Your accomplishments astound me, from your high grades, to your acting, your singing, your art, your achievement of Eagle Scout, Master’s Degree, PhD, physics as your chosen field…your kindness and sense of humor.

The hardest day of my life was the day we left you at school in Scotland and had to come home to the empty nest. But, of course, I know that is the way it should be.
I just want you to know that I am so glad that you turned out to be who you are. I love having my boy. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope that you and Hattie will experience the same feelings some day. Thank you for being my sometimes Elusive Offspring. I love you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birthday Shenanigans

My favorite husband had a birthday recently. For three months, I’ve been asking him what he would like for his birthday, but he always says: “Oh, I don’t need anything, just some time off to do the things I like to do” like fishing, golfing, hiking, you know, guy things. It seems we have reached that stage in life where, if we want something, we go out and get it.

So the day came closer and closer and finally I decided what I would do. I would buy him a really nice bottle of Scotch whisky. And some Tequila (because he’s been making margaritas to go with the yummy dinners he makes on his new grill). And then I stopped and picked up some stunning dark chocolate delights (to go with the Scotch…chocolate is fantastic with Scotch). And I made a pretty card. I said I’d take him out to dinner at my favorite, expensive French Restaurant in Old Town. IF he could get off work, that is (he’s part of a government task force on the BP oilspill so you know he’s a busy camper).

I arranged everything on his chair for him to see when he came in the door. He calls: can’t quite get away from the office. Scratch dinner out. He’ll bring home steaks to put on his new exciting grill. Great! I’ll make the shrooms and salad. Then he calls again. Nope. Doesn’t have time to grill either. He’ll bring home sushi. Wow! It’s his BD and he’s bringing home the sushi. He didn’t want me to go out and do anything because he just didn’t have any certainty about timing (queue the vision of a beautifully coifed and dressed, patient wife sitting at a stunningly set table with lit candles and fantastic dinner … souflee, maybe?... and no husband).

He then calls from the sushi restaurant. He says he’s next to the ABC store and thinks he’ll just pop in for some more Scotch and some Tequila. Why don’t you just come home, I ask. But I’m next door. Aw, don’t bother, I say, it’s your birthday. No big deal, says my husband, I’m right here. But why don’t you wait until I can come with you because I’D like to participate in choosing for once. Actually, I don’t care because I trust his judgment, but I said it really passionately, hoping he would believe I’ve been feeling left out of the process. Oh, he says, I’ll just go in and look around.

Some time later, he walks in the door, sushi bag in one hand, unmistakable black ABC bag in the other. He takes one look at his chair and says: “Oh! I see!” I told him he’s the doofiest doof I know! After I relayed this story to a colleague, he told me that what it says is that I know my husband’s likes very well. I got him something he wanted.

Happy BD, favorite husband.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Nightmare Is Over

Our refinance ordeal is finally over. What should have been a slam-dunk and should have taken only three weeks from start to finish, actually took eight months and ultimately required a letter to the CEO (something I have not done since I was in my twenties). I think I can safely say that the delay was not caused by us, but was caused by the bank (and, to be charitable, maybe even confusion on their part as to new rules brought about by the current economic crisis).

I won’t name the bank because I am very forgiving (and because in the end we got a really good deal…4.5% fixed, zero points and almost no other closing costs). Still, the eight-month delay cost us a total of about $10,000 and we could not refinance the higher interest loan used for the elusive one’s university education while the house refinance was pending. After five months, my favorite husband got so frustrated that he wanted to dump the whole thing and go somewhere else, which is probably what the bank wanted us to do, but I absolutely refused to give up that rate. So, persistence paid off and we closed on the deal last week. This should result in a savings of about $1300 per month…which also goes a long way toward making me so forgiving.

Now I have a plan to use that savings to pay off our other bills. I wrote up the plan a few months ago, but could not implement it until now. I think it’s going to be really nice to get rid of our debt. We hemorrhaged money this summer. There have been so many unexpected events since March, each costing between $500 and $1500…starting with the sad loss of Wolfie, going on to medical costs, two replaced clutches and a replaced motor mount, dental (OMG don’t get me started on that!), helping the elusive one get back to Scotland for his Masters’ Degree. My plan now is to cut costs and pay off the debt. It’s been a very stressful year, which explains, in part, my absence.

But I feel more like myself again. The stress is starting to let up quite a bit and I’m feeling really creative again, playing the piano, stitching, painting, reading…I hope the stars are properly aligned now for a new leaf on life. Now that the nightmare is over.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Future Is Here

When I was coming home from work yesterday, I really wished I had a camera at my fingertips. As I was passing the new (well, relatively new) WWII Memorial, I saw one of our mounted police sitting astride a beautiful Morgan, as still as a statue...looking intently at his Blackberry.

I wish my own Blackberry had a camera on it! I decided against the Curve (which has a camera) in favor of the World Edition (which does NOT have a camera) because I wanted to be able to use it in Scotland when the Elusive Offspring graduated in June. I didn't mind not having a camera in the Blackberry then, because I always had my little Cybershot with me. But for everyday life, I don't carry the camera.

I can't wait until Apple decides to open up its iPhone to all providers. As soon as the iPhone is available on Verizon, I'm switching! Until then...I'll suffer through without a built in camera. Sigh. I do have an iPod Touch, which my wonderful son gave me when he got it for free as a perk for buying a new MacBook Pro for his graduate work. I love it. It doesn't have a camera either, but it lets me read books from my Kindle (great for waiting in the doctor's office), and I can watch movies on it (that was wonderful when I flew out to LA recently).

Technology is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Daily's Lost Companion

I didn’t mean to be cruel. It just happened. Daily was at the back door, yowling at Kira and my favorite husband, who were in the back yard playing with a ball. I was in the front of the house, in the living room, listening to his howling, and it sounded like “lemmeout”…so I sort of made the same sound. He ignored me. He knew very well I was mocking him. We went on like this for a few minutes, but then I ramped it up a bit, into the real thing. I am actually quite good at making a variety of cat sounds. Been doing it since I was 8 or 9. I can fool dogs, cats and people. This time, I made the same howl that Wolfie used to do when he went into the basement (don’t know why he used to do this, but he did). Suddenly, Daily came running into the living room, meowing expectantly, responsively. He stood in the middle of the rug and looked here and there, with huge, concerned eyes – and it was clear to me that he was positive that he would find his long lost buddy, Wolfie. My heart broke.

Cesar Millan says that dogs (and I would add cats and all animals) live in the now. I believe that. For two weeks after we had to euthanize Wolfie, Daily frantically looked for him, everywhere. Whenever we opened a door to leave, he tried desperately to escape the house because he was certain that Wolfie was out there and all he had to do was go out and find him. But then, after a few weeks, he settled down and seemed to be moving on. He and Kira have gotten pretty close.

But when Daily ran into the living room the other day, expecting to see Wolfie almost five months later, I realized that, although animals live in the now, they don’t forget. Wolfie may be gone, but he's not forgotten. I cannot help but wonder what Daily would have done if he had found Wolfie in the living room.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finished Book Nine

I just finished the last Sookie Stackhouse novel (number 9)...ok. So, in the nine books, we have met vampires, shifters and were-folk, witches, fairies, an ectoplasmic recreation, and even a maenad. I can't help but wonder what's next, ghosts? Or will she just stick to the (in)human aspect of Sookie's relationships with the various men, vampires, weres, and shifters in her life? These are important questions that will only be answered when Sookie 10 comes out. When will that be? Let me find out...

OK, May 2010. Time to turn to something new. Been thinking about reading Gone With The Wind again. I still have a bunch of the old-fashioned print books hanging around the house (as much as I love my pony the Kindle, I love print books more). Barbara Pym... have her first book...that would be a good one to read. And the elusive one has a copy of C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters." It actually looks like a quick read...maybe I'll start with that.

So...that's what I'm going to do now. Start a new book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finished Project

This is a photo of my stitched, but not yet framed project, "Arabella Reborn," a Michael Boren design, in the original Fraises du Bois pink! It is a lot prettier in person than it is in this photo. I'll frame it when I finish stitching the companion piece, "Daphne Reborn," which I have only just started. I did Arabella Reborn in two full days. Maybe if I spend this next weekend stitching, I might also finish "Daphne." Somehow I doubt I will have the time, but I'll try. I also want to finish stitching a couple of other projects this year. I'll try to photo and post them as I complete them.