Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where is Generation Z?

As April, my beloved birthday month, draws to a close, I am a year older and my tag needs to be renewed. But what I really want to talk about is:

Did you know Gen Xers are old enough to have kids, and did you know that Gen Yers are old enough to be out of college and working in an office where they are annoyed by Gen Xers having kids? According to Penelope Trunk (whom I seem to like a lot lately), "Here’s something Gen Y really hates: when Gen Xers bolt out the door early to deal with their kids."

Funny how the people most annoyed by kid-related-issues-interfering-with-work seem to be those people closest to being kids themselves. Until they get pregnant. Yeah. Cosmic justice, baby.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Take Your Child To Work Day

The night before Take Your Child To Work Day (TYCTWD), I was on the phone with my very good friend from high school. I told her that Q would be going to my office with me the next day for TYCTWD. My friend said, "Oh, fun! Are you going to take her around and introduce her to everybody?"

Which brings up Misconception #1 about TYCTWD: This is the first time the child has visited the parent's workplace.

For about 80% or more of us working parents (I'm willing to bet), our kids have already been to our office, probably more than once. In Q's case, my sweet little one has been here more times than I can count. She knows where every candy dish is located in the building. She knows who is glad to see her and who isn't. I've had this job for over six years. Do you really imagine that there has never been a situation which required me to both be at the office AND watch my kid, simultaneously? There are "Teacher Planning Days", for example, which means the teachers work on that day, and the parents work on that day, but the kids do not attend class. So, what to do with the kid? What if you don't have someone who sits around waiting for this one day out of every three months to watch your kid for you while you go to work? What if you actually have work to do? At the office? take your kid to the office, where they annoy you and others, and you try your best to get through the day without screaming at them in front of your boss. Fun for all.

Misconception #2 about TYCTWD: The working parent is available to focus on the child's learning opportunities throughout the day.

The thing is, sometimes, in spite of blogging, complaining, pretending to care or pretending that you don't care, etc., most of us really do have certain job duties that we have to perform, nearly every day. And they aren't always things we can schedule as we'd prefer. The day I brought Q in for TYCTWD, I had a conference call scheduled for 1pm. What was I gonna tell the other six people on the call? Let's do this some other time 'cause I have to figure out how to keep my 8-year-old fully engaged or at least busy with work-related activities throughout the day? We have financially-determined deadlines that aren't going to change. So Mommy was on the phone. The call started at 1pm. The gabby guy didn't stop talking, mostly off-point, until after 3:30. Where was Q? Nestled on the couch in the main suite area, reading her assigned book for the week. Waste of her time? No. Mommy get her work done? Yes. Everybody happy? Yes (sure, why not, I guess so). Good use of TYCTWD? No.

Misconception #3: TYCTWD is the same as anytime child goes to parent's work.

TYCTWD did not "exist" for Q last year. Although, again, Q had been to my work several times last year, it was never for the official TYCTWD reason. In fact, the actual day of TYCTWD, I wondered why so many other parents had brought their children to the office. I felt like, well, crap, what did I miss? Did I not read a flyer (yet again!)? Well, no. I had missed nothing. Because nothing was sent home for Q, because last year, Q was in 2nd grade. Q's school only permits 3rd-5th grades to participate in TYCTWD. So this year was her first year officially partaking of this activity. It was a big deal to her. Because it was an official school assignment for her, and she was proud to be involved in it.

Misconception #4: All that down time made the day a joke and a waste of child's time.

This one's for me. This is the lesson I learned. There WERE opportunities for Q to learn. I taught her some things about how computers connect to the network. I made her setup her own laptop. I took her into the computer systems room and explained what would happen if I just happened to unplug this wire right here. Mommy's phone would start ringing. Do you know why Mommy's phone would start ringing? Because without me, they can't use email or get on the internet, etc. At which point, I was proud that she already had experience with her own gmail email account and knew her way around a laptop, etc. It meant something to her. And by the end of the day, I even had her finish the final touches on that computer in the empty office from earlier in the day. And she wrote a note on the whiteboard, letting the person know she could now do this neat thing on her computer that she'd been asking for. Whoopee. Yay. Q learned. She was involved. She had a sense of accomplishment. She is not jaded yet.

And then we went home. She wrote about it in school the next day. I found it interesting that the teacher/school does not do a public sharing of what each kid experienced. They just wrote quietly about their experience, and turned in the paper. Interesting. Only the teacher gets the benefit of the cumulative knowledge of what each participating student did at the respective workplaces. Not sure that that is the most effective use of TYCTWD, either.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take Your Child To Work Day: Penelope, I feel ya

You know how much I love my kid, right?


Even so, I must agree that she'd be better served by spending today at school instead of here at the office with me. Basically, Penelope Trunk's post about abolishing Take Your Child To Work Day is dead-on right about this activity being of problematic effectiveness.

I wrote a comment on her blog that I rather liked, so I'm copying it here:

I'm at work, with my daughter, right now. She's down the hall, playing her DS in somebody's empty office that I'm doing some work in. I had to come back to my office for a second to do something. As soon as I sit down at my computer, to do what I need to do for the person down the hall, my fingers automatically take me to my blogroll, because that's what they do. Every day.

Do I want my daughter to know that my fingers take me to my blogroll, every day, while I'm "at work"? No, I do not.

This is why I do not like Take Your Child To Work Day. Because I do not want my child to figure out exactly what...uh..."work"...I do at my desk, necessarily, while she is slaving away at school learning how to divide and what "simple machines" are, taking spelling tests, meeting her reading goal for the week.

It should be Take Your Child to Your Kickass Job Or Else Stay Away While We Slack Day. I mean, if she got to see me save the world or something, that'd be one thing. But watch me write another blog post? Meh. I'd rather she didn't know, thank you very much. Actually, what I'm doing for the person down the hall is pretty cool, if you care about unified communications and even know what a fax is. But she doesn't. And she couldn't care less. I know, because I tried to explain the relevancy to her. I basically got a big fat "Is it time for lunch yet? Oh, look! I just earned the diamond gem stone by killing Eviltor and now I'm on the top level of this game!" response.

Yes, this is an enlightening experience. But not for her. For a does-my-job-totally-suck-and-is-my-kid-THAT-pathetic kind of way. So, yes. I'm with you. Let's abolish this thing. This TYCTWD is not helping either of us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Semi-Hawt, Semi-Nawt-Maintenance Men

This post is brought to you by Blognut. OK, that's untrue, because it's still me (gudnuff), but I owe the impetus for actually posting these pictures to Blognut, who just may or may not post her own picture of her own version of a semi-hawt maintenance man on her own blog. Now, I'm not sayin' these are some hawt pics. I'm just sayin', check out my maintenance man's interesting use of technology.

This guy has a cute face, but it's not visible in these pics. This is how he spends his days:

He is not a Maintenance Man in the facilities-management kind of way. He is a phone/telecommunications tech. I took these pictures on the sly when we had a T1 line go dead about a month ago. People called up saying their internet apps were dog-slow. Turned out, we were operating with one less T1 line than normal. Two guys came out from the phone company, found a pair of wires that weren't connected properly in some metal box somewhere out in the alley, used an alternate pair of wires for our T1 connection to by-pass the problem pair, and we were fixed.

Don't you love how he hangs that...that...meter reader thingy off his belt so it bumps his butt when he moves? What's up with that?

Luckily, he didn't walk around like that, with it attached to his belt that way. He just snapped it on while we were hiding out, er, I mean, troubleshooting the problem in the phone closet. I just thought it was weird, but smart, but nerdy, but attractive in that "Ooooh...shiny!" kind of way (except it's not shiny, just motion-y...movement tends to attract my ADD brain's attention as much as bright, shiny objects do), to have that thing hanging there like that, swinging back and forth between his legs.

Yes, I said it.

It's time for a low-brow post, and this is it. I'm a year older since yesterday, and have embraced that whole I'm-too-old-to-bother-with-being-socially-acceptable thing (for today, anyway). Bring on the semi-hawt, not-really-a-maintenance-man-but-close-enough pics. Bring on the pandering to the populace. Bring on the google searches. And Blognut, bring on YOUR semi-hawt maintenance man. I bet yours is better than mine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's My Birthday

Today is my birthday.

In a way, I got the best birthday gift ever, from Leo, last night. He's been thinking that we, all three of us, could go to Europe next year!!!

I love to travel. I have not had the chance to travel for over twenty years. I yearn for it. I miss it. I miss it I've missed it every single day for a couple of decades now.

I almost squealed when he said it. Especially when he said the word "London" and then "Paris".


Leo has never before uttered the word "vacation" without the word "Disney" preceding it.

This is all pie-in-the-sky planning at this point. This may not happen. But that Leo is even talking about it...holy cow. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

If only he could get a job. If only we had the money. I have no idea how he thinks we can afford it. Because we so cannot afford it. But just that he is even willing to plan it...whether it happens or, it would be so cool to travel with people I love. People I LOVE. Have you ever traveled? In a group? With people you know from school? Or with strangers? Or alone? So not the same. No where near the same.

This is huge. Imagine traveling with people you LOVE. To a foreign country. For no reason other than to spend time together, as a family, in a different place, experiencing it together. Are you kidding me?!!

Best birthday gift EVER. Just the thought of it. Wow. It'll never happen. I have to keep saying that, to keep myself grounded, to keep myself from getting carried away. Oh, but the thought. What a fantasy. Way better than anything else I'm dreaming about otherwise. I would stay in my yucky-spot ("yucky-spot" = current job, IT career, no more school, no hopes of changing for the next twenty-four years...TWENTY-FOUR YEARS...oh god...dear lord in heaven...twenty-four years of this same thing...somebody get me a paper bag to stop my hyperventilation)...I would stay, I could stay, in my yucky-spot if I knew I could do things like travel to Europe with people I love, every couple of years. Every three years, even.

Anyway, today's my birthday. Leo already picked up my cake from the store, and brought home some special candles to put on it. In the shape of question marks. Smart man that he is, there are only two of them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ever Feel Like Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz?

Scarecrow: "First they took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!"

Tinman: "Well, that's you all over! "

I've been blogging a lot lately, but you'll not find much of it here. On my blog! (Doh!) Rather, I'm leaving pieces of myself at other people's houses, er, blogs.

See? I don't just leave my shoes under the coffee table, I leave blog-bits all over the web.

.....................Messy, messy. Don't get stressy.
.....................Just clean up and be impressy.

So, here are some discussions I've been having with myself, on other people's blogs.

Church at Easter: We don't really attend church very often, although I insisted that all 3 of us go last Sunday to sit there with Grandma and Grandpa. Why? Because I'm scared, that's why. I'm scared about Q being uneducated and possibly socially disadvantaged by her lack of church exposure. So, for any of you non-church-attending parents reading here today, how do you handle your kid's lack of religiosity? I had a boyfriend once who got beat up on the playground as a kid because he didn't believe in God. Now, I doubt it'll come to blows for Q, but I am concerned about stigmatism (HA!). Q-The-Unsaved or whatnot. How have your kids dealt with this issue? How has it manifested itself in their lives? Do they sneak out on Sunday morning without your permission and secretly attend youth group meetings? Do you catch them singing hymns in the shower that they learned from kids at school? Have you noticed a certain sneer when they say Darwin's name? Are they hiding bible verses under their mattress?

Pleasure In The Rearview Mirror: Is there such a thing as a Good Boss? Should we view each bad boss we have as a learning opportunity, as something we get to move away from eventually so that later we can be glad we're not still at that job with that sucky boss even though the one we have now also sucks but in a totally different way? Besides your boss's suckiness, and my horrible Work Husband, is there anything else you can only appreciate now because it'll be nice to see it go when you leave?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Someone's Got To Believe

Tonight was the night. Tonight, about an hour ago, in the car, in the dark, after a wonderful, friend-filled, fun-filled day, I finally told her the truth.


Yes, I am the Easter Bunny. And it took her less than a minute to ask if I was Santa, too.


That was enough. She knew.

And she was fine with it. FINE. She was just glad I'd told her the truth finally.

I'm not fine with it. I'm sad about it.

Well, we agreed to keep going with our traditions. I'll still be hiding eggs tonight. She'll wake and and look for them. Happily.

Here's what she said to make ME feel better about this new world we now share:

"It doesn't matter who did it. It's just the fun you have with it."

Then she smiled. "Hey, that rhymes!"

And I hugged her more than once for telling me everything was alright still. I feel so guiltily grateful that she is fine with knowing and able to comfort ME about the situation. Really, I was quite upset about the big unveiling. I had dreaded it for a long time. Another death. Another corner turned, no going back. Welcome to this side of the world, where there is no magic.

And the best part of all is that she said, "Just don't tell Daddy that I know, okay?"

And we haven't. And he is waiting for me to finish hiding the eggs. Because he believes that she still believes. And that is all the belief we need to keep this thing going for at least one more year. I think she is so smart and so cool and so fun. I feel a little bit in awe of her right now.

From several years ago, but still, it captures her well:

Q, I love you more than words can express. And I hope your Work Husband is not an uber-douche.

Such sad news, such loss, so much to process

What in the world was going on last Thursday?

I was not familiar with Maddie Spohr prior to Thursday. I can’t seem to find out what happened other than that this little almost-2-year-old girl died. Was she sick? Was she murdered? Did she suffer from a known condition? How unexpected was it? (The Spohr web site is hard to reach due to the high volume of traffic it's receiving.)

These questions are on my mind because a little boy died on Thursday in our town. He was 9 years old, in the 4th grade. He goes to, no, he went to my daughter's school. He had a known heart condition. Everything was going as normal on Thursday, a typical day. At some point Thursday morning, he fainted/passed out at his desk. The teacher performed CPR, in front of the rest of the class. He did not regain consciousness. They called an ambulance. He got to the hospital and died shortly after he arrived there.

He was fine in the morning, went to school like any other day, was dead by 2pm.

I don't know his name. They aren't releasing it. My daughter didn't know him directly. Every parent of a student at that school on Thursday received automated phone calls to our cell phones and to our home phones. We received emails. The local paper gave out breaking news updates every two hours. It was shocking. It was unexpected. It was very, very sad.

What happened to Maddie? Not that it matters, ultimately. But in a way, knowing the circumstances leading up to the death helps us put it in broader perspective. Thanks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stolen Lines, like, totally

Now that I've opened Pandora's Box and mentioned Work Husband here, it makes sense to continue along that road. Because I feel like it.

I sort of mentioned in yesterday's post, and went into some detail in my comment to that post, about this Work Husband guy with whom I have to work.

One time, when he was conducting a training session on the new version of Excel, he setup a sample spreadsheet with columns for Name and Title and Office Location, etc. He put his first name in the Name column, and for his title, he put "God". I kid you not.

So I've been swearing to him all this time, apparently.

And just now, I saw the following post over at It's Easy to Complain. Fun too. The poster doesn't allow comments, as far as I could see. So I'm reposting his entire post below, and telling you all this: his uber-douche describes MY Work Husband pretty accurately! Only at my work, if I said “You have got to be fucking kidding me," I'd be the bad guy. So I just say it under my breath and read blogs on my phone while he blabs and blabs and blabs.

From It's Easy to Complain. Fun, too:

Don't Waste My Time
Yesterday, in my quarterly review, my boss said he loved how I do my job, and encouraged me to be more of a leader on the team.
This morning, I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when the uber-douche I work with tapped me on the shoulder. “Do you have a sec?” he asked. “I am holding an ad hoc meeting and I wanted you to participate.”
I sighed loudly and begrudgingly agreed. I go into a conference room. He sits at the head of the table. Everyone in the room is on the same level within the organization; no superiors are present.
“Thanks for coming, guys,” he said, voice dripping with self-importance. “I wanted to do an impromptu brain storming session for ways that we can enhance the company image in relation to hot button issues of the day, like the green movement, etc.”
The room sat in silence for two seconds. “You have got to be fucking kidding me,” I said, and I got up and left. Everyone else followed. That is good leadership.

And yes, Work Husband loves to do the tap-tap on the shoulder, or suddenly pops into your office, never asks if you're already working on something, etc. He is 51% why I hate my job. He is about 40% why I am thinking of law school, because he is most likely going to be my boss once our current one retires. And I'd rather incur $100,000 in debt by going to law school than stay here for that fun little experience.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Real Husband vs. Work Husband

[These are the facts: "Real Husband" and "Work Husband" are two different people in real life. A guy I work with is "Work Husband". He has about three years of seniority at this job over me, but we are peers otherwise and we have to check with each other over almost everything we do (because our boss wants consensus on everything). He and I have worked together at this same job for over six years now. I'm not a big fan of his. But he's a hard worker and saves me from having to do a lot of grunt work and a lot of travel. He is a necessary evil, as far as I'm concerned. "Real Husband" refers to Leo, the guy I really am married to, the father of Q. We've been married, in the real-life traditional sense, for ten years.]

They can both be super pissy people. I often fight with both of them. But I need both of them. I need each one to do his job so that I can do mine. And I need to coordinate and collaborate with each one. What's weird is when I work with one within minutes of working with the other.

When I am "discussing" a contentious issue with Work Husband, there is a point where I am awaiting his response, after a couple rounds of question-and-answer. There is slight tension in my neck muscles and I'm squinting my eyes (even though we're talking on the phone) and I'm just stressed in a Is-he-actually-going-to-give-me-a-substantive-response-this-time-or-what kind of way.

When that point is reached with Work Husband, I am used to him coming back with an off-hand dismissive tactic, or with outright defensiveness, or sometimes a direct attack (these are getting more rare, thank god). I've gotten so used to this (we've worked together for over six years) that I have a timer ticking off in me, waiting for his withdrawal from the actual conversation. I am conditioned to expect a lack of resolution and lack of agreement.

I brace myself for this moment. It's like waiting to return a serve in tennis. And that's fine. It's not debilitating stress. But then the ball is not served. He just pretends like he's gonna serve, but he really just starts packing up his gear and is getting ready to walk off the court. It's very unsatisfying and you're left with all this anticipatory energy that just stays in your knotted up neck muscles, even after you've hung up the phone.

I didn't know there was this concomitant tension until the same moment would arise with Real Husband. Same scenario. We're having a contentious discussion and I've thrown out some point or some query and I'm awaiting his response but am really just expecting more contention. But Real Husband actually lobs the ball back! In a collaborative, thoughtful, substantive way. It knocks the tension right out of me. I'm so surprised to feel my shoulders fall, my eyes un-squint. Aaaaah. An answer! A real answer without attitude or strategy behind it. Just an honest-to-god, substantive response. And it is such a moment of simpatico. Like he just gets me. Like, I had forgotten that talking to somebody could be this easy.

It is the most relaxing sensation. And it is an absolute surprise every time, because each time it catches me off-guard how tensed up my muscles are and how good it feels to have them relax instantly, unbidden, unintentionally. Naturally relaxed. Suddenly at ease. Comfortable.

And it is those moments when I know how compatible we are. We are not strangers fighting to mesh two disparate, jagged natures. We just "get" each other. This is the part that works, effortlessly. This is the core of "us". This is when I know there is no mistake, that he really is my Real Husband. And this is when I know how glad I am about that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lunch was a ketchup packet

I picked up Q very late, like with 2 minutes to spare before they start charging a dollar a minute. But she'd been forewarned about this, since I knew I had a late afternoon meeting that would probably last past 5pm. My husband was out of town for a job interview. He's been averaging about 2-3 job interviews a week, for about three weeks straight now, and has gotten no offers. This job interview was a five hour drive away. Not sure what I think about that. Meh.

Anyway, she gets in the car and announces she's starving.

Q: I wanna eat FAST. I'm soooo hungry! Hurry up so I can eat!

Me: Why are you so hungry? (as I'm pulling out of the school pickup area, headed home)

Q: All I had for lunch was a ketchup packet.

Me: What???!?

Q: The only thing I ate was a ketchup packet.

Me: Don't they give you something to eat, though? (I knew this meant her lunch account was at zero - usually they call and leave an automated message, but we didn't listen to the messages the night before due to getting in late after a Girl Scout meeting - and they serve some kind of limited lunch offering if you're out of money on your account. It's not much, but it's usually more than a packet o' ketchup!)

Q: Warm bread with cold cheese in the middle.

Me: What do you mean? (I guess I wanted to hear the phrase "grilled cheese sandwich that had gotten cold" but then how would the bread still be warm? I was perplexed!)

Q: I mean the bread was warm and the cheese was cold.

Me: Yeah. Okay. (At least she's consistent. But I still can't quite "get" how that could be.)

It's been a frustrating, very annoying day, with a twist of satisfaction at the end because my meeting went well. But now I'm over-analyzing a sandwich. And wondering how bad it must have been if she chose to eat only a packet of ketchup instead.

Q: Hannah was really nice to me, though! (delivered with a really cute smile)

Me: How so?

Q: She snuck me crackers under the table.

Well, thank god for Hannah. I actually know who Hannah is. I went to Lunch Bunch earlier in the year and Hannah sat across from us. She was the one who kept putting slices of lunch meat from her brought-from-home meal on her face. At one point, she forgot she had left a piece of ham on her cheek. As she got up to leave with the rest of the class, she said, "Oh! I still have meat on my face!" And, to steal a line from dgm, she laughed and laughed.

You can tell dgm's kid and my kid go to very different schools.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Things I've accomplished recently

I finally finished Obama's first book Dreams from My Father. It took me forever to read it. I actually finished it last Sunday, before we left for Disney.

Again I ask: how do you people make time for reading??!?

Thoughts on the book: so much to say about race. Mostly, I came away feeling resigned. I am one of the multitude of White People, the nameless, faceless throng enjoying our white privilege. I cannot be seen as an individual, much less heard, or have much validity in a conversation between myself and a non-white about race. Little of what this white, middle-class working mom has to offer would bear any weight.

I guess it bugs me that my white liberal guilt is meaningless. But it's pretty much all I have to offer. Which is pretty close to offering nothing.

Besides my vote, of course. I can contribute to change in a nameless, faceless way by voting for it, choosing it, supporting it, sending in money to make it happen. But that doesn't change how whites and non-whites interact at my job, to be specific. It's disheartening. I feel like I'm on the team, but barely tolerated as a water/towel girl or something. My support is still overshadowed by my color, or lack of color, to be accurate.

As for other accomplishments: I am making progress at work. I've started some research and am gaining momentum on a major project, so that is huge. Looking forward to this coming week. What a shocker! So, that's good news. Feels like I'm waking up from a long stupor.

And....I have unpacked my suitcase!!! Wahoooo!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back and Blue

As we drove farther and farther away from Disney this afternoon, my daughter cried for almost twenty minutes with tears dripping off her chin. Poor Q! (In her defense, we had told her we would go into the park and ride some rides before leaving, but our plans changed, so that was a bitter disappointment for an 8-year-old to accept AND we had also told her that maybe we would stay an extra night, but that didn't work out either, so she was dealing with a double does of disappointment.) And in part it's because she's an only child and has nothing to distract her from such moments. These moments make being an only child more of a burden than a privilege.

She said she was sad because she was remembering the fun we had. She looked at me with her watery eyes and specifically mentioned the memory of me jumping up and down on the Delete key as one of the fun moments.

Aaaaahhhh! That is so cool! And, I hope, the life lesson I was trying to impart took hold as deeply as the memory of her mommy being silly.

There was a giant cement keyboard on the ground, and as we were walking past it, I was fondly calling out some of the keys, remembering times when they played a significant role in my life (like the F1 key for Help or the F2 key to get to the system menu...things I don't use anymore, but I can remember when they mattered to me...not that she'd care about any of that). We were almost to the end of it when I saw the "Del" square, and I just HAD to jump on it. I jumped up and down on it and called out "Delete! Delete! Delete! I LOVE the delete key!"

As I was jumping up and down, probably embarrassing my husband, I was mostly thinking about an earlier post wherein I cited things I was grateful for, and the delete key - and sometimes knowing when to use it - had definitely scored a place on that list. (Such thoughts aren't uncommon. I think about blogging a lot throughout the day. Remembering things I've written can really help me do the right thing - like unpack my suitcase! - or feel grateful for delete keys.) So yeah, if you were there and you saw some crazy lady jumping up and down on the giant keyboard, that was me.

So of course Q asked, "Why do you like the delete key?" as we continued on our way toward the elevators.

And I said, "Well, sometimes you know, you're typing something to somebody, maybe sending them an email, and you're all like, 'I hate it when you do that and if you ever do that again I'm gonna be so mad and your hair looks crazy and I can't believe you told Ryan I think he's cute...' and then before you send that email, guess what? You can hit the delete key! Just hit that old delete key...delete, delete, delete...the delete key is awesome! It's like a great friend who stops you from saying stuff you probably shouldn't say and maybe hurting someone's feelings. I love the delete key."

And that was one of the fun memories she told me about the next day. What a great moment for me. I'm all happy about that.

Then she gradually cheered up and told me that she realized that it was fun because we brought the fun with us. And Daddy said we could all go see Monsters vs. Aliens the next day when we were back home, and that helped cheer her up too. Then she put her headphones on and started watching dvd's on her laptop and all was right with our little family for the rest of the ride home.

We're back, and she's still a little blue about it. She's having a hard time transitioning from all of us sleeping together in the same room while at Disney to being back at home, where she is banished to the other side of the house all by herself when bedtime comes along. So, I'm gonna go lie down with her. For tonight, anyway. Just until she's asleep.

(P.S. I saw a sweater for sale there for $540. WTF???? Imagine buying it, and then having your cat piss on it...OMG...)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When Bad Smells Attack

Previously entitled: "Disney Does Not Smell Like Cat Pee"

This is a sister post, without her knowledge or consent, of Cee's post entitled "The Smell" that I dearly loved and often think about, for reasons that are obvious once you read what's below.

I haven't blogged for over a week. I have numerous posts I've started, but haven't had the time to finish, let alone edit. I've been reading all of your posts, though, and commenting as circumstancs allowed. But it's been weird, ever since my trip a couple of weeks ago to New Orleans, in fact. I don't like being away from blogging so much, and it probably shows. I might as well be wearing a "I'd rather be blogging" t-shirt!

And the truly sad part is that I'm pouting (quietly) about my bloggy-depravity, er, I mean deprivation, whilst in the middle of Disney.

It's spring break this week for us, along with millions of other folks in the USA. And yes, we're at Disney. Again. For the fifth, maybe sixth, maybe even the seventh time since Q was born.

AND, Disney smells. Or so I thought. Disney smells like cat pee. But of course, that's not true. Disney does not smell like cat pee. But do you know what DOES smell like cat pee? My suitcase. The one I took to New Orleans. The one into which I put a bunch of clean clothes for this week's trip to Disney. Those clean clothes went into the suitcase smelling like, well, clean clothes. They came out of the suitcase smelling like cat pee.

Why? Because when I got back from New Orleans, I left my suitcase open on the floor of my bedroom for days and days, maybe for over a week, probably. Guess who thought my suitcase was a fun place to visit? Maybe even a place to relieve herself? Yeah, one of our two cats. I think it was Nibbles, which especially irks me 'cause she's my favorite and I don't like being mad at her. Stupid cat. Stupid me for leaving the suitcase out and open and available. Argh.

So the night we arrived, I discover where the funny smell is coming from. I sort out my clothes and realize I'm gonna have to wash whatever has gotten the pee on it. The next day, I wear a shirt that doesn't match anything, but I think is fairly safe. I was wrong. Everywhere I went, I kept catching a slight whiff of cat pee. And had to switch from automatically thinking, "Man, Disney has really gone downhill. It doesn't even smell clean. Ugh!" to "Oh yeah. That's me. How nice. It's nice to know I'm the kind of person who shouldn't be allowed in the park with all the clean people."

That night, I washed everything I brought. Yep, doing laundry at Disney. Funny how that makes a vacation feel kinda less vacation-y. My husband was highly amused and felt very vindicated. I got several versions of "Maybe now you won't wait so long to unpack" from him, all delivered with sublime satisfaction and whatever that German word is for enjoying other people's misfortune. ["Schadenfreude"]

And I kept hearing my mother's voice from my youth, "Gudnuff, when are you going to learn to take care of your things??!?!!!?!"

Well, now we have the answer. We finally know it's March of 2009, dear mother. I will learn the necessity of getting my suitcase unpacked and put away in March of 2009.

Not this particular suitcase, though. Not from this trip. This suitcase is headed for a trashcan. Disney does not have trashcans large enough for a medium-sized suitcase, though. So, Hyphen-Mama, how does one recycle a smelly suitcase?