Friday, July 31, 2009

Pokey Blogger

Yep, that's me. Pokeeeeyyyy. I've no good reason for it. It's just that it's summer and we left town and checked out and I just haven't gotten back into the groove of fully checking back in yet. (yes, it's a run-on sentence. sometimes i like a run-on sentence.)

But, c'mon -- that's not why you're here. You want to know about the Urban Mama Drama. And shame on me for letting you hang for so long.

This road trip involved a lot of the American West -- a lot of northern Arizona and southern Utah. Over the last few years I've learned that I loooove the state of Utah. BYOB 'n' all, but OMG it's almost too much for the eyes to process.

It's also about visting the in-laws. Urban Dad's family is just about all well west of the Mississippi. And the longer I'm married to U-Dad, the more I get why he is in Chicago. And I get his boundary issues that mystified me when we first met. And five years later. And why he thinks Best Namma Ever!'s geneology project is nice 'n' all, but doesn't really get it.

First, let me excuse the FIL and his wife from this. They are lovely people.

Now, a sample of the weirdness......

BIL #2 lives just outside of Denver, has a nice house, works his ass off and has two kids. Just about three years ago, he and his wife divorced, as she decided to start sleeping with Neighbor Guy.

This unfolded after all of us having to play nicey-nice at a family Thanksgiving visit while I was out-to-here preggers with U-Kid 2. (a visit with a novella's worth of drama that resulted in U-Dad apologizing all over himself to me for bringing us out there in the first place because this crap always happens and his wife doesn't deserve it)

Did I mention that Neighbor Guy's ex-wife can have him tested before dropping off their kids in order to make sure that he's on his meds???????

So we arrive at BIL #2's house after a nearly five-hour drive from MIL's. He's not home. But he's left the house unlocked for us and will be there in ten minutes. We run in to find bathrooms, but aren't too sure about where to settle in.

BIL #2 arrives at home, but no kids. He's been at a bar listening to a local band. He's a divorced suburban dad looking down the barrel of 50yo, but hangs out in bars with sub-30yo's. Fancies himself quite the hipster re: the local music scene.

Anywhoooo, turns out that he still has to go get the kiddos. That he's never gone to the house where ex-SIL & Neighbor Guy live now, which is now about 20 minutes away. That his son and daughter have some rabbits that they've been wanting to show him.

That we all get to go.

Keeeee-Ryyyst. Are you kidding? We have to go to ex-SIL's and her luvah's house? And after five hours in the car with a 5 1/2 yo and a 2 1/2 yo, we get to drive more? To the woman who's known for screaming and throwing things during fights with him? And for dissing MIL in MIL's own home?

So off we go, following BIL #2. And following him. Across town. Up a mountain road. And up. And up.

U-Dad & I put on the annoying kids' music in order to distract the U-Kids and talk. Well, so that he could mutter expletives. He has nothing nice to say about ex-SIL. I just wanted to skip all of this and head to Denver to see our next set of friends. U-Dad commenced apologizing all over himself again and promising a hasty escape in 36 short (?) hours.

I'm going to demur from saying too much about where we finally arrived, lest I fully disclose the judge-y jerk that I may truly be at my very core.

But BIL #2's barefoot, dirty, long-tangly-haired son waved us over. We pulled over to the side of a busy, windy road in a wide spot just past a blind turn.

We meeted and greeted, made nicey-nice polite talk and ascended stone steps to the house. Turns out that the rabbits are up the hill some more. So we ascend exactly 37 rickety wooden steps with only a thin metal rail on one side. I carried U-Kid 2.

We made chit-chat while we carried on some weird, dysfunctional, unnecessary rendition of Of Mice & Men. Honestly, all I could hear in my head was a Lennie-like voice... "let's pet the rabbits, George. i wanna pet the rabbits..." BIL #2 had to shake hands with Neighbor Guy. I couldn't tell is he wanted the ground to swallow him up right there or if he wanted to break NG's neck with his bare hands. NG offers BIL #2 a beer, which he, of course, accepts.

We ooooh-ed and aaaaah-ed over the stupid rabbits. Ex-SIL offered us something to eat or drink. We declined. She ooooh-ed and aaaaah-ed over U-Kid #2, whom she had not met before that day, since she had kindly relieved us of her presence around the time of U-Kid #2's birth. She again offered us somthing to eat or drink. BIL #2 then disappeared into some other wooded area so the kiddos could show him some few surviving koi fish (seems the local raccoons have found them to be easy pickin's -- and hey, weren't we supposed to be seeing rabbits and leaving? remember the 2yo who's been in a car all day and is sans nap?) More idle BS chit-chat. Ex-SIL offers us something again. We resisted the urge to say, "seriously, do you not get that we do not want to be here? and why would you want us here? we've been dragged along to cover BIL #2's back and see the damn rabbits. can we go now?" But BNE! raised me right, so I remained polite.

We finally got the hell out of there (U-Dad carried U-Kid 2 back down the 37 Steps of Doom) and told BIL #2 that we should hit Noodles & Co since the kids are likely starving. We herded U-Dad's niece into our car and followed BIL #2 and his son. And followed him. And followed him to..... the trendiest part of town. On a Saturday night. U-Dad started muttering, "oh hayle no! we are not waiting for a table, waiting for menus, waiting to order, waiting for food and waiting for a check while listening to his damn bands and watch him drink. he can do whatever the hell he wants. we're going to Noodles & Co and putting U-Kid 2 to bed. this day needs to freakin' end already!"

Thank you, God, for Urban Dad. Yes, you gave me weird in-laws. But you gave me Urban Dad. YouDaMan, God.

U-Dad got out of our car, went to BIL #2's car and explained as much. We all headed to Noodles. As we went in, BIL #2 joked that we should send the kids in while we adults all go next to to the .... you guessed it .... bar. Frankly, I think BIL #2 was due some food in his stomach.

And Noodles worked out beautifully. Just as we were wrapping it up was when U-Kid 2 finally went over the edge and needed to be taken outside. I happily obliged.

And when we got back to BIL #2's house, I happily offered to put her to bed. Since it was a new place, I stayed with her til she was asleep. It took over an hour. (honest!!!)

When I emerged, BIL #2 had a beer in his hand.

And U-Dad's nephew proceeded to whine at me about U-Kid 1. He and U-Kid 1 can't stand each other. And Nephew has a way of approaching me with a friendly smile and nervous laugh as if he's just oh-so-puzzled by something as he tells me something that U-Kid 1 has done. And every single time, no matter what it is, I kindly tell that little punk-ass some perfectly good reason for my daughter's behavior. Because BNE! raised me right, I will not tell my husband's 9yo Grandma's-Golden-Boy-nephew to take his whiny passive-aggressive little attempt to snitch back to the TV room. I will wait at least a few more years for that.

Oh man, it is good to be home!

(We're considering going east next year.....)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Once More... With Feeling

Ok, last post from the road. Actually found a hotel with a common computer! Very hard to find these days. But greetings on a dark and stormy night at the Super 8 in Salina, KS. We'll make it to the ever-lovin' arms of Best Namma Ever! tomorrow evening. I've been leery of posting from computers of friends, since this blog is my deeeeeep, darrrrrk secret, and ya never know what a 9-year-old knows about internet cookies.

More Cliff Notes:

The BIL outside of Denver... the "stable" one... gave us the most drama of the trip. The goofy BIL in AZ and the psycho MIL gave us no trouble. BIL #2 -- oh, wow -- rough start.

Yes, sports-fans, you'll have to return for the details.

On the upside, we connected again with Urban Kid 1's newly-moved-to-Denver buddy R. and her parents and little brother. They are such a cute, nice, young family. Man, am I going to miss them back in Chicago!

LP, in case you're stopping in......... I MISS YOU! We have MUCH to catch up on, many gory, gooey details.

Well, I'm hoping that I've stalled long enough to allow the U-Kids to fall asleep in the hotel room for U-Dad.

I'll try to start updating with details and even pictures once we're back in Chicago!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Road Trip Update

My kingdom for a laptop!!! Ok, maybe a trade... anyone want to trade an Urban Kid for a laptop?

No, actually, it's been a good trip. Here are the Cliff Notes:

Albuquerque, where we did a fun place called Cliff's Amusement Park, the Zoo and the Aquarium. Good LORD was it hot there! The hottest place so far.

Off to Prescott Valley, AZ to see U-Dad's goofy brother. Two nights there.

Off to the Grand Canyon. God bless U-Dad's wonderful half-brother... he's in the travel industry and is somehow involved with the new He scored us a suite next door to the visitor center on the south rim -- for free! The GC itself was overwhelming. But U-Kid 1 was utterly terrified. And U-Kid 2 was scaring the hell out of me because she wasn't scared enough. Oh, and some poor soul went over the ledge in his car that morning, which kind of set me on edge a bit. But it is utterly fascinating. And we know that we'd like to go back in about five years and do the North Rim instead.

Off to Zion National Park, Bryce NP, Arches NP and now we are in Swanky Resort Town in Colorado. Remember U-Kid 1's friend R, whose pilot-parents decided to move from Chicago. Ever-so-coinicidentally, they were wrapping up a few days in SRT as we were coming in. We managed to connect for a few hours before they had to drive back to Denver and we had to go to the MIL's.

We'll stay here for another night, then head down to the Denver area. U-Dad's other brother is in that area, so we'll see him and the kids.

Then back to St. Louis to collapse on Best Namma Ever!'s floor.

We'll head back to Chicago whenever we feel like it from there.

It's nearly impossible to find a computer and time to use one -- I'm in an internet cafe now while U-Dad takes the U-Kids to the carwash. And just to add to the fun, our car charger for my cell phone crapped out. Luckily, we also brought U-Dad's phone, and his charger works. It's probably the most use that his phone has ever seen!

But the DVD player and the Leapster continue to work perfectly. Thank you, God!

Will post details and pictures as the rest of the summer unfolds. Hope that all is well in your worlds!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Road Trip Update

Hi from Albuquerque, NM!

We started out on Monday from St. Louis and got as far as Joplin, MO. We stopped in Meramac Caverns in Stanton, MO. I remembered going there when I was a kid and being so amazed by it. But you know how when you go back to visit your elementary school, and everything seems to small? Similar thing. But it was still pretty cool. Overpriced for what it was, but nature does do her thing, and it is pretty neat.

We spent Tuesday going from Joplin to Amarillo, TX, stopping at the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City. U-Dad and I could have spent more time there. It was really interesting! But with two small kids, you do your thing and keep moving. Such is life.

We had Texas-shaped waffles in Amarillo this a.m. and are now at U-Dad's father's and stepmom's in ABQ. They have finally met Urban Kid 2! And U-Kid 1 and her grandma are getting re-aquainted fast.

The FIL and wife are very busy this time of year -- they sell shaved ice at festivals all over the area -- but we're wiggling in a little bit of their time. If we get really crazy, maybe we'll go work for them. I'm intrigued by the idea, but also hear Bon Qui Qui from MadTV saying, "but don't get crazy." (youtube it if you're unfamiliar. i would link, but am on the fly. worth the view, i promise!)

Ok, gotta run. More as I get time on a computer. Seems that hotels all offer free wi-fi because everyone today travels with a laptop, I guess. We're sooooo 2007.

I took the map off of the sidebar because it wasn't working to update it. Grumblegrumblegrumble.

Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keeping Our Powder Dry

Our week of squatting at Best Namma Ever!'s house is wrapping up here. Last night was the big fireworks blowout in front of her house. Urban Dad outdid himself and had a blast (sorry, I couldn't resist!) doing it. He's already planning for next year.

Pink Power Ranger's weenie boyfriend did not act in a weenie way. He displays well, so there's that. Our three generations of family are go-back-for-years friends with another family (also three generations) who came over for the night. This included a 14yo daughter, who is the Pied Piper to the Urban Kids. They followed her around adoringly, and she is always nothing but sweet to them. BNE! did burgers and hot dogs on the grill, everyone else brought something else, and we feasted and chatted. Of course, later on, Pied Piper Girl realized what time it was and that her friends were having a party. Without her. Then she went all teenager on us and wanted to leave right now, because after all, she has a life! (apparently the rest of us are mere shells of beings who bask in her aura? i can't wait to have teenagers.) We hurried through the last of the fireworks, but not so that PPG could look up from her texting long enough to check them out. It was because it started to rain. So towards the end, PPR and the guys -- under U-Dad's direction -- got soaked getting the big guns blown up. Half of the party had wandered inside, , PPG's mother was ready to kill her, I had no idea where U-Kid 2 was (well, i knew she was inside with about six other adults, so i figured she was fine), the front yard and street were trashed with debris and PPG's little brother was totally hopped up on sugar.

In other words, it was a truly fun and fantastic evening!

We've spent today cleaning the yard, the neighbor's yard, the street and the back yard while BNE! took U-Kid 1 to church. We've also done laundry, organized, packed and gone to Wally World (aka: Wal-Mart) to stock up on travel-sized items.

Hitting the road tomorrow a.m. and heading through Springfield, MO towards Oklahoma. I asked U-Dad today, "how far do you want to go tomorrow?" His reply: "Til we're done for the day," follwed by a shrug.

I love summertime!

Will post as we find hotels/motels/friends with computers.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

But We Have To Apply For A Driver's License?

Dy over at Classic Adventures gave me this idea for a post. You see, her son was having an allergic reaction of some kind, and she was feeling all bad for letting it go an extra day.

Make room on the Bad Parent Bench, Dy. I need to put my hiney on there, too.

You see, today U-Dad, the U-Kids & I got out of Best Namma Ever!'s hair and headed over to the local pool. There was a day care group there also, and a bit of a to-do when a lifeguard had to dive in after one of their kids who had gotten herself into a bit of trouble. Two other lifeguards ran over to Hero Lifeguard Guy to collect the little girl he plunked out of the water.

So here I am, back home, telling this story to BNE! as she made us waffles in her kitchen. The U-Kids were sitting at the kitchen island on the way-up-high chairs that are on one side. BNE! was across from them with the waffle iron, U-Dad was standing next to U-Kid 1.

Where was I? Standing next to U-Dad.

Wanna guess what happened to U-Kid 2? Yep, her arms started windmilling and *BAM* over she went onto the floor. She bonked her head, but landing on her left arm kept her from hitting it too hard. Then came the loooooong silence as she was scooped up. Followed by that piercing scream that cracks the windows. Then a few more screams.

Wanna guess what I was talking about when UK-2 toppled? I was complaining haughtily to BNE! about how those daycare workers were not watching their kids!

(UK2 is fine now)

How about the time when UK-1 was a baby, just shy of 1yo, in her crib. U-Dad was getting ready to go and came in to kiss me good-bye for the day. I had heard UK-1 coughing in her crib through the baby monitor, so I suggested that he not go back to kiss her good-bye. It would just fully wake her up, and poor me, I was sooooo tired and wanted to sleep a bit more.

When I woke up later, I was surprised at how quiet UK-1 was. I went back to her room to find her........

and her crib......

covered in hurl.

She had propped herself up into a far corner, the cleanest corner, and dozed off sitting up, trying to stay away from the nasty. (care to imagine the smell?)

Nope, never gonna forgive myself for that one!

How about the time that I was hurriedly slicing carrots, bang-bang-banging the big, sharp knife up and down on the cutting board, only to have UK-1 quietly come up next to me and reach for a carrot... putting her fingers UNDER the knife in her quest.

I didn't break the skin, but did come down on the fingers. I also screamed, reflexively threw the knife across the counter and grabbed UK-1 into my arms. We sat on the floor hugging while her mommy found her own heart thumping its way across the kitchen floor, forced it back into her chest and calmed herself enough to have the "don't reach onto the cutting board ever" talk with her daughter.

In fact, Dy, let me just nudge your Really A Good Parent hiney right off of there, while I take up this whole Bad Parent Bench. I seem to need room to stretch out.

Now, that all said, UK-1 and U-Dad are now out buying droves of fireworks. U-Dad involves our little cherub in this event pretty deeply. I warn him often that if we end up in the ER, that I am going to direct a humongous, high-velocity hissy fit right between his legs eyes.

Mama Bear is the only one allowed to mess up. Everyone else who messes up has to deal with Mama Bear!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two Posts For The Price Of One! Flavor of the Month and Vacay Update

Before I even begin this post, I need to take care of some business here... Flavor of the Month! And this month, it only makes sense for FOTM to be Urban Dad!

Gimme a break, you might say. So unoriginal!

Nay, but listen! July is Road Trip Month for the Urbans, and this only really works as well as it does because of Urban Dad!

First, he's a teacher. Hence, the time off.

Second, he's actually happy to hang out at Best Namma Ever!'s. He actually relaxes here. This, of course, tickles and delights BNE! to no end. You see, U-Dad is the one that finally convinced me to give her grandchildren. She loves U-Dad endlessly for that alone, plus all of his other qualities.

Third, he spent two straight days of our week alone in Chicago cleaning. Cleaning! He sent me out of the house in order to do it just how he wanted. Ladies, if you have to pick an extreme, go with the NeatFreak end of the spectrum!

Fourth, he reminds me to be nice to BNE!'s husband. He reminds me to pick my battles. He reminds me that I will not change anything, that I have a lot to do with our vacation remaining pleasant.

Fifth, he travels with two little girls and a wife with a bladder the size of a thimble. Potty stops do not phase him on a road trip. He's in no hurry.

Sixth, he tells me often that I am skinny, beautiful and brilliant.

Hey, wait! Don't change that channel!

Now for The Vacay Update Post:

Greetings from the Mothership in my hometown of St. Louis. Urban Dad & I ventured down here on Saturday and have been busy, busy, busy. So far, we have:

1. re-assumed responsibility of our children and even take them out of the house and out of Best Namma Ever!'s hair once in a while

2. re-assumed playing the heavy when the little angels get out of line. (i swear, Urban Kid 1 is five-going-on-thirteen)

3. had discussions with u-dad re: whether I am a hard-ass and whether he is a pushover.

4. had Urban Kid 2's half-birthday picture taken. We do a 1/2-birthday picture of her rather than a birthday picture because her actual birthday is December 31st. So we would have to go back about two weeks after the Christmas card picture was taken if we did the real one.

5. blown-up "warm-up" fireworks each evening.

6. listened to Pink Power Ranger discuss her now-lame boyfriend. I liked this boyfriend at first. Then I wondered. Now I don't like the weenie. They are moving in together, but now only kinda. And they're still dating, but now only kinda.

Yes, I'm rolling my eyes with confusion too. Pray for me on Saturday. He's coming over for the fireworks blowout, and I have to be nice to him. Because I love PPR. That's what I'll be repeating in my head: "love PPR, must be nice; love PPR, must be nice"

7. gone to the local swimming pool. My goodness, UK-2 loves the water! And truly, does anyone not have a tattoo anymore? Don't get me wrong -- live and let live and all that. But I'm feeling like I'm now the subversive one because I don't have one. Or ten.

8. discussed some more whether I am a hard-ass and whether U-Dad is a pushover.

9. renewed the wedding vows with U-Dad at BNE!'s church. She helped organize a "anyone who wants to can come and renew their vows" ceremony, so we joined the fun. BNE! got to see us married in a church (I'll dig up the whole story from a post long ago); Her Husband got to see us married at all; U-Dad & I had a lovely excuse to celebrate six years and eight months of wedding bliss. We also had a lovely excuse to go to dinner and drink the last bottle of wine that we brought back from Italy in April 2001, the year before we got married. (advice ladies: take the honeymoon first -- if you can travel with him, you can likely live with him.)

10. went to St. Louis' brand new Citygarden. Had a long chat with a St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter. Will bound out to the front yard tomorrow a.m. to check the paper to see if we're famous!

11. met my brother and SIL for ice cream and to catch up. This is my favorite brother, even though I'm not really supposed to have a favorite. But he's my favorite. And UK-1 adores her aunt. And oh-my-gosh is my SIL patient with a very-enthusiastically-affectionate 5yo.

More to come soon, as I get a moment here and there. It's hard to post when I'm simultaneously:
1. alone
2. focused
3. indoors
4. on a computer

Hope that all is well in your corner of the blogoverse!