Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Know, I Know...

I've been lazy about posting just now. But this time-saving Centro gizmo has been eating too much time. But I think that we're up and running and fully operational now -- it and the computer and talking to each other and all of the old info from my Palm Z22 has been transferred to the Centro. So life can now continue. And time-saving may commence.

Stayed up way-too-late last night catching up on all of your blogs. A bit bleary-eyed today, but it was worth it!

More soon....................

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Baaaaaack!

We're back! We're back! We're back in the big city!

So how does a house get so dirty when no one's been here for 3 1/2 weeks?

We got back late yesterday afternoon and haven't stopped since.

We've unpacked. Then we donned spacesuits and cleaned out the refrigerator. It is now the cleanest and emptiest that it will be until next July's trip. And how does... oh never mind... trust me, it needed doing.

Then I was completely hooked by the nifty offers from Verizon and now own one of these:

Except that mine's dark blue. And I got a very bright pink cover for it thrown in for free, so really it's pink. Sorta.
Anyway, getting to know my new toy should be good fun.

More soon! But first, we should really put some food into the shiny clean fridge, huh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pink Power Ranger

Greetings from The Mother Ship! We thought that we would stop in here for a couple of days before heading back to Chicago. But it really is a vacation here, with very little to worry about, so we're hanging until as late as Saturday.

I've more to say on the MIL topic, but she's starting to bore even me right now. So let's change themes, shall we?

Today, it's about the Pink Power Ranger, my sister, who is a police officer here in a nearby suburb. I want to give all of you a proper introduction to her. Y'know why? Because yesterday she almost helped deliver a baby.

PPR is currently on days, 6am to 6pm. And in St. Louis, summertime is nasty-hot. Imagine getting to put on a bulletproof vest, polyester uniform, boots and a hat. Ugh. But, as usual, I digress.... PPR got a call from dispatch that a woman was giving birth at home on her mother's bathroom floor, that the baby was crowning. The grandmother was frantic. PPR was closest, so off she went. As she went 95mph, she grabbed her phone and called a paramedic friend to request CliffNotes on baby delivery. PPR was the first on the scene, putting on rubber gloves as she ran up the driveway.

When she came into the house and found the women in the bathroom -- you can imagine that it was not a tidy scene -- the baby had been born moments before. The grandmother had caught the tiny girl, who was three weeks early. PPR checked to make sure that the infant was breathing, as she wasn't crying, but just quietly looking around and blinking. All was well. Dispatch was on the speakerphone, and everyone there was hanging on their seats waiting to hear what happened. The grandmother wanted to cut the cord, but PPR asked her to wait -- that the paramedics were fast on her heels.

Hey, did you know that paramedics carry a premie kit? They have blankets and even a little hat for these situations. Neat, huh?

Firefighters, who are also EMT's, arrived on the scene as well. Grandma kept busy making calls, Mom was in a bit of a stupor as she was loaded into the ambulance, and PPR got to hold the baby while people got organized.

All in a day's work.........

So that's PPR. She'll show up to deliver your baby. She'll also come over to a kid's house on her day off in a patrol car and in uniform to assure a little boy whose mother died of an anyeurism the week before that it was not his fault and that he did everything right (she was the first on-scene for that original call, too). She takes kids out of awful situations and gives them a teddy bear and puts her arm around them.

But make no mistake -- she'll Taser your ass if you need it.

Then she'll put you in pink handcuffs and take you to a holding cell too.

Finally, she earned the Top Gun award from the Police Academy. The only time anyone could remember a woman getting it. She shot a 299 out of 300. With both hands.

Poor Urban Dad -- PPR has taken us to a shooting range. The safest place to stand if you can't stand behind U-Dad? Directly in front of his target. He just can't hit it. Meanwhile, PPR's bullseye explodes in neon color over and over and over again. It's a sight.

I'm lucky to have PPR as an aunt for my kids, I think.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Homeward Bound

I was delighted to find a Business Center in our hotel with free internet access, so here I yam!

We're heading back East today, travelling our very familiar route on I-70.

The night before last, Urban Kid 1 got to have her first sleepover, staying at her uncle's and cousin's. She was mainly there to see her cousin, who is almost exactly one year older than her. And her uncle was quite the host. When we arrived yesterday morning, the kids were on the patio eating waffles, apples, plums, milk, etc. It put my usual "here's some cereal and milk" routine to shame!

Yesterday, it became a Dad and Daughter event to go swimming. Urban Kid 2 was up against a nap, so I brought her back to the hotel. Urban Kid 1 went off of a diving board for the first time and otherwise had a deliriously delightful time.

Urban Dad and BIL were able to discuss MIL. Seems that his kids are now somewhat afraid of her (aren't you by now?). BIL dreads taking them to her place and is spacing out the visits a bit more. And, like us, once they get there, they stay busy as hell -- swimming, biking, hiking, etc -- in order to be out of the house. At his last visit, he had to physically put his arm around her in order to walk her out of a restaurant (wow! she left the house!). I asked, "due to drinking? or just age?" U-Dad replied, "I dunno. Both??"

The next few years could be interesting. Possibly sadly so.

Last night, we had dinner with an old friend of U-Dad's. Thank God we decided to eat at the hotel. U-Kid 2 hit meltdown mode (thank God we also were able to eat outside). U-Kid 1 was bored and not up for sharing the U-Dad with his friend. So I made a few jokes about how our friend must be so excited that we brought the kids to dinner and couldn't wait for us to bring them back next year and tried to breezily make an exit with U-Kid 2. A few minutes later, U-Dad was at the door with U-Kid 1.

Bless his heart, an hour or so later, he brought me a sandwich.

So the three of us cozied down for the night and (finally!) zonked out. And U-Dad got a much deserved night of having a few drinks and chatting with another grown-up. Add the fact that it was a wonderful old friend around whom he could be himself and let down his guard, and it was all the better. He so rarely does this himself, but regularly takes the kids to allow me to do this at home. So I was glad to see him have some grown-up fun.

Ok, off to breakfast with BIL and the kids. I have to admit that these kids -- the little that I've actually seen them this trip -- have been just fine. In the past, I've had to confess to U-Dad that I don't like the little undisciplined urchins. But I haven't seen that so far this trip. Think happy breakfast thoughts...................

Then today we hope to get as far as Hayes, KS today.

More as soon as I get another computer!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Adios, Shangri-La!

We're outta here tomorrow, so I'm out of touch for a few days. We're off to an area just outside of Denver to visit U-Dad's somewhat newly-divorced brother (not the rehab guy). We'll stay there for the weekend, then head to St. Louis. We were considering tripping out to the Grand Canyon, but are bagging the idea. The U-Kids are wiped out. And U-Kid 1 has specifically requested stopping back at Best Namma Ever!'s place before we head back to Chicago. It'll be nice to hang out a bit more at The Mother Ship before going back to real life!

So the latest from Shangri-La:

I was alone with the MIL for a few minutes, who was watching a crappy news channel. AT TOP VOLUME, of course. She makes some politically-oriented comment. She knows that U-Dad and I vote the opposite party, but hey, it seemed genteel enough. So I make a gentle comment back. I'm thinking that we're just skimming the surface, agreeing-to-disagree kind of thing. She skips right past the political thing and goes straight for a personal insult followed with dismissively looking away from me and back at the crappy news channel.

That sh*t ain't cool.

I confess that it was *stupid* of me to even enter into the chat. I should have smiled and nodded and agreed and gone on with far-happier existence with the only sane son who has managed to escape her clutches. I admit it! Now I know.

On another topic -- this one of our children learning Spanish and even understanding a Latino family at the park:
She wants them to learn French. I have no problem with that. If they chose to study French later, that's great by me. But right now, U-Dad and I are prioritizing Spanish. She got flustered with us not buckling and finally said, "I guess it's good to know for talking to the help."

Yeah, does that complete the picture?

But on to more positive things!!!!!!!

U-Kid 1 has managed to make two friends while here. Once was another little girl named Leelah who went on a horseback ride with her. The other was Jacob, who was on a hike with his mom and dad at the same time as us. We told both families about the nifty recreation center pool that the town has.

Yesterday, we went swimming at the rec center pool, and Leelah showed up! By the end of it, we were invited to go swimming at their hotel's pool. So that's on our agenda for later this afternoon. (it's a swanky place, so MIL approves) As Leelah left, Jacob arrived! So U-Kid was was quite the rec center pool social butterfly!

Afterwards, she took a shot at their climbing tower. And this time she got all the way to the top to ring the bell... TWICE! At our gym in Chicago, you have to be 5yo to climb the indoor wall. And they have to be a part of a class. She's dyin' to get on that wall!!! Imagine how much fun she'll have with this accomplishment under her belt.

UK2 is loving the floatie thing more. And she's also warming up to the MIL's standard poodle, who completely terrified her when we arrived. Now she lets her lick her foot and even her hand. She'll even reach out to touch the dog if the dog isn't looking at her. This, of course, brings MIL nothing but joy. And it also provides a much-needed topic of conversation. Yay, UK2!!!!

Catch up to you once we're in St. Louis!!!!! Hope all is well in your world!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Recipe for Paradise

Oh yeah, it's paradise here. So far, MIL has stated how boggled she is that so many children are born with Down's Syndrome. After all, there's a test for that. Why would you have a child like that if you know it has Down's? This was after I told her that a good friend in St. Louis has a son with Down's and started a wonderful foundation there as a result. Also, I told her that U-Dad and I opted to not have the test, that if that's the card that we were dealt, then so be it. She scolded me on that one -- you're too smart for that! Why would you do that? I don't want any grandchildren like that!

Revolted yet?

Take a big chunk of that and season it with a blasting TV set on the Lifetime Channel -- is there really such a large market for such truly awful drivel? And if it's not on Lifetime, it's on the news. Where two small children can hear AT TOP VOLUME about a series of rapes happening in a park in Florida. Or perhaps enjoy the delightful themes of Law & Order: SVU reruns.

Yum, yum!

So here I am at the internet cafe while U-Kid 2 naps and U-Kid 1 is out "helping" U-Dad with his workout at the local high school.

Ok, I'm done venting. And my time is up soon. And I know of exactly one Starbucks in this otherwise cute town, so I'm heading there next. And I'm trying to not be crabby and to put on a happy face. White-knuckling it a bit, but I'm a grown-up, and I only have to do this once a year really, so I need to get the hell with it. (MIL can't bring herself to visit -- this is the 2nd time she's ever laid eyes on U-Kid 2 -- UK2 will be a better person for it, I imagine)

Peace out, friends! Hoping for happier posts in the near future!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Greetings from Shangri-La!

We have safely arrived in Colorado. The MIL lives in a lovely resort town that has been known to be frequented by celebrities. Well, it used to be. The hip, young celebs seem to be hitting Utah of late. The more, um, perhaps "geriatric" crowd seems to be here. But it continues to be a perfectly beautiful place. And DRY. Urban Kid 1's curly blonde locks are straight here. Mine are closer to manageable as well. No celeb sightings, so far. But I never really see them. Ok, last year, I almost walked smack into Robert Wagner because out of my peripheral vision I thought he was the U-Dad. That's been it for me, so far. I know that so and so lives over there, and another former-big-deal lives over there. But they don't seem to come out much.

But more important things!!!!!! Yesterday, we meandered nicely around town. U-Kid 1 noticed a balloon artist guy making nifty things, so she waited in line and was rewarded with balloon fairy wings, antennae and a magic wand. She preened all over town, soaking in the adoration. Of course, back home, it all came crashing down when she -- for some strange reason -- tried to jack the wings up over her head to remove them without any adult help. One wing popped, then an uninflated balloon tangled hopelessly in her hair. Many tears and a pair of scissors got involved. But on the up side, she's getting excited about Halloween already. Yep, in July!

Today, we went to the local recreation center and swam in their truly wonderful pool. With my new eyes, I was able to zip at top speed down the gigantic waterslide without a care in the world about losing a contact and being effectively blind. UK1 was big enough this year, so she must have done about 30 consecutive runs. UK2 got to hang out in the baby float thingy, fussing a bit at first, but gettin used to things by the end.

Now, UK2 is napping (the only reason I have left her alone with MIL, who has likely started at least her second martini by now). UK1 and U-Dad have rented a bike with a tug-a-bug on the back for her. It's like a second bike, but with no front wheel, so it attaches to the back of his bike. She gets to pedal and use handlebars, but he's in control of it all.

UK1 seems to be brave this year. We'll try horseback riding tomorrow. She cried pitifully last year. The nice folks there gave us our money back. She seems to be more up for it this year, so here's hoping.

Oh, eye update! Before we left, the doc had my right eye at 20/40 and my left at 20/20. The right one may catch up or may not. I'd love for it to, but don't much care really. Hey, did I tell you that I SWAM today???!!! That I dunked underwater and played with my kids?????

So far, the MIL is behaving. Minimal discussion of the fairly newly-divorced BIL and his two psycho kids. Her words, "He still hasn't gotten over that divorce." My words to U-Dad later, "I think it's HER who hasn't..."

Oh, and the night we arrived here, we were informed that the other BIL is in rehab for addiction to oxycontin. I *wondered* why we hadn't heard from him in several days. He has been in rehab perhaps 20 times (no hyperbole here). I would elaborate with my own personal questions about the situation, but am running out of time here at the library. I have less than five minutes. So forgive any typos and lack of flair!!!

Hoping to get more computer time in a few days at the local internet cafe, where I'm not so tightly on the clock. I miss all of your blogs!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just Checking In

Hi All,

Fun has been long, but privacy has been short here at Best Namma Ever!'s. I'm dyin' to do a proper post, but have not had much of a chance. But we've had a long, leisurely and very sociable visit here at The Mother Ship (aka: St. Louis).

One more full day here just to do laundry and casually gather ourselves. Then it's off to Colorado to see the MIL.

Details on everything as soon as I get time. But I've been jonesing hard to at least say hi... and don't forget me...!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Holiday Road

Check ya later, Ladies and Germs! We're off for the Annual Urban Family Road Trip.

Tomorrow, I have an 8am eye doctor appointment to see how the bionic eyes are coming along (left eye is great, right eye still a bit fuzzy). Then we load up the U-Kids and head to Best Namma Ever!'s.

We plan to blow up her front yard. You see, you can buy fireworks in Missouri! Last year, Urban Dad was so excited by this prospect that he came out of a fireworks tent with two large grocery bags of rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, etc. After a quick stop at Lowe's for a length of pipe, he spent the evening happily blowing it all up in front of my mom's house. Honestly, do men really ever get past 12-years-old?? But it was a hit. This year, the neighbors asked my mom if he was coming back -- they want to make sure to watch. The Pink Power Ranger is bringing over some fireworks she has stashed away too.

By the way, when people ask Urban Kid 1 how we're spending the 4th, she says, "we're going to blow up Grandma's front yard."

After a few days of mooching free child care off of BNE! (yes, we're good at that), we'll pack it all up again and head to Colorado to visit the MIL. Pray for us.

Once we get out there, we'll decide the next step. Keep going west? C'mon back home? We haven't decided yet.

I'll try to post as I can.

Happy July 4th to ya!!!!!