Friday, March 30, 2007

Make That Three Unemployed Adults...

Temporary Wasser Manor no longer includes four unemployed adults and a toddler, because I got a new job! I start on Monday and am totally excited.

This is great news for all of us. Steve and I really didn't anticipate either of us getting a job this soon. Now we won't have to dip into our savings to pay monthly expenses, instead using that money to buy the eventual new Stately Wasser Manor, or to buy a new car, or something cool like that. It also takes the pressure off of Steve so he can spend more time writing and looking for the right job, not just something to pay the bills.

Steve, Jack, and I celebrated last night by going out for pizza and ice cream. Years ago, I would not have thought that was a worthy celebration, thinking I'd need some fancy restaurant, at least not one with paper napkins. But this was all about our family and it was just nice being with my guys.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Temporary Wasser Manor

We did it! Steve, Jack, and I have moved halfway across the country. Stately Wasser Manor is sold, and we are currently residing in Temporary Wasser Manor, also known as my mom and step-dad's house.

Things are going surprisingly well, especially considering that we have four unemployed adults (Doug and Nancy are now retired) and a toddler living under one roof. If that's not the makings of a sitcom, I don't know what is. Everyone is respecting each other's space, and we're all making an effort to be considerate and clean up after ourselves. Well, except for Jack, who is content to scatter crayons all over the place.

Steve and I were both really concerned about how Jack would adjust to the new environment. There are just so many changes, and the only things that are really familiar are Mommy, Daddy, and Roary. For the first few days, he was incredibly clingy. He tugged at me constantly, saying, "Mommy! Come on!" He got upset when either of us left the room. He also kept referring to stuff that was "at home." He and Steve were driving, and he wanted to stop watching Nemo and switch to Monsters, Inc. Steve couldn't switch it, so he said, "Sorry, buddy. No Monsters right now." Jack said, "Monsters at home," which just about broke Steve's heart.

But things are getting much better. The biggest improvment came on Sunday when the "big orgish truck" arrived with all of Jack's toys, his crib, and the furniture for his room. Jack felt a lot more secure and was happy to rediscover all of his stuff. We have also been working hard to emphasize that this is "Jack's new house." I was very happy yesterday when we were driving home, and Jack pointed at the house and said, "That Jack's house. Right there." He is still clingier than usual, and he's prone to a major tantrum at about 6:00 every night, but that's to be expected, and it's better than I feared it might be.

As for Steve and me, we quickly came to the conclusion that the midwest is a much better place for us to be. No more do we have to leave at least half an hour in advance of doing anything. Five minutes will get you just about anywhere. And it is remarkable how much friendlier everyone is. On my drive here, I stopped at a toll booth in Indiana. I asked the man working there for directions to a hotel. He looked me in the eye, made a joke, and smiled at me as he answered my question. It's rather sad how much that affected me. Everyone we've encountered has been the same way -- friendly, helpful, and not irritated with us. Despite the fact that I don't have a job and have an occasionally tantruming clinger monkey kid, my stress level is lower than it was on an ordinary day in Virginia. I am really happy that the three of us have made this change.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Still Here

This has been a busy -- but great -- week. Steve and I are officially done working as of last Friday. I've got a great lead on a job, so everybody cross your fingers. The morons at Verizon, after a stunning display of incompetence and poor customer service, finally got our internet up again (the best part was when they asked me if I'd be using service with Verizon at our new address; I almost laughed). And Operation Relocation is well underway.

Steve and I wake up, have breakfast, and make waffles for Jack. Whichever of us draws the short straw takes him to school, where he is horribly clingy. This morning, not even a table full of Play-Doh would loosen his grasp on my leg. Then we spend the morning packing like crazy. We've given ourselves enough time that if we follow our packing schedule, we have the afternoon off. So far, we've gone out for good lunches, wandered through a small town shopping, watched a movie, and generally just relaxed. Even though I'm packing and there are a lot of loose ends to tie up, I am more relaxed and free of stress than I've been in weeks. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pregnancy Brain

My friend Karen and I once had a discussion about "pregnancy brain" and if it really exists. She and I agreed that pregnant women sometimes find themselves being absent-minded and forgetting things because their brains are simply overwhelmed with everything they've got going on. When you're pregnant, the fact that you are growing another human being is always in the back of your head, so stuff like where you parked the car just gets pushed out.

Karen and I felt pretty triumphant about the fact that neither of us experienced this phenomenon. She and I, at the time, had the same job, one that required us to keep track of a tremendous amount of projects, all full of tiny details, and all in different stages of production. Being pregnant, for us, was just one more project, certainly not one to be preoccupied with. And by the way, the fact that Karen could be 40, pregnant, and about to be a single mom and not be preoccupied with all of that is a testament to her ass-kickery.

The trouble is that now, even though I am not pregnant, I seem to have a case of pregnancy brain. Between my last week of work, trying to find another job, taking care of the barnacle like clinger monkey that is Jack, packing, moving, trying to find mirror boxes that I don't have to pay $100 to have shipped, and a gazillion other things, my brain is full.

This morning, I got dressed, cajoled Jack to get dressed and get in the car with a combination of gummy vitamins and the Dora "We Did It!" song, only to discover that I could not find my keys. They weren't in my pocket. They weren't in my purse. Great. Now what? Well, I did have my spare key in my wallet, one that the fine folks at Saturn give you for emergencies just like this. I could use that key to drive Jack to school, go to my eye appointment, then to and from work. I wouldn't be the first to arrive in the office, so not having that key was fine, and Steve gets home before me, so no house key necessary. I would, as the sexsay gay visionary Tim Gunn would say, make it work.

Then I realized that I must have had my keys at some point, since I used them to unlock the car. I vowed to search for them, maybe in the front yard, after taking Jack to school. But there was no need. My keys? I was sitting on them.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vacation from the Vacation

Steve, Jack, and I took a road trip last weekend to Allentown to visit Steve's parents, Bill and Diane. By the time it was over, I think we were all completely worn out. Time for the proverbial vacation from the vacation.

The drive there was a lot of work. Jack really never got the message that little kids love the car and usually fall asleep. Instead, I sat in the backseat with him and did my best to entertain him for the four hour drive. We sang songs, played with Roary, and looked for cows out the window. Then, Jack was no longer amused by that, and I was honestly too worn out to do anything more, so it was time to bust out the heavenly portable DVD player. Jack and I watched a Sesame Street alphabet DVD (featuring Stephen Colbert!), then The Lion King. We didn't get to town until Jack's bedtime, but despite that, Steve's parents thought we should all go out to dinner.

Let's think about that for a minute, shall we? Behold, the potential pitfalls:
• Jack is a two-year old.
• It was bedtime.
• Jack had just been cooped up in a car for four hours.
• Jack's behavior at restaurants is a roll of the dice.

Steve and I remembered our important resolution, which is I am in charge and I know what I'm doing. We told them that we most certainly would not be going out to eat, and asked them to pick up some sandwiches for us.

The next day was filled with similar challenges. The B&D had planned for us to go out for breakfast and for Diane's daughter and her family to come over for dinner, but didn't have anything else on the agenda. Jack tends to get bored and destructive when faced with an activity-free day at our house, despite the fact that it's filled with toys. The B&D's house is not only not filled with toys, but it is instead filled with breakable ceramic objects. And not just any breakable ceramic objects, but ones shaped appealingly like Mickey Mouse. And, bonus, Jack refused to take a nap. Steve and I worked our butts off trying to keep him entertained so he wouldn't have a gigantic tantrum and start chucking Mickeys at the wall.

The other kids arrived, thank Yoda. The littler ones had fun playing with Jack and immediately opened the drawer in the coffee table Jack had been playing around all day, revealing it to be full of crayons and coloring books. Don't you think that maybe that was some information that I could have used?

Once the visit was over, it was time for another long car ride (this one at least broken up by a visit to Boyd's Bear Country). At home, it became clear that Jack was pretty stressed out about the whole thing. He did not want Steve and me to be out of his sight, apparently worried we'd leave him. Jack and I were watching Dora (the TV was my friend), and Steve went outside to get a ladder. Jack completely flipped out, crying, "Daddy! Daddy!" and "Jack coming! He coming!" We had to reassure him several times that no one was leaving Jack anywhere and that we are a team -- Mommy, Daddy, Jack, and Roary, and that we stick together. Even still, he was incredibly touching and prone to tantrums at the drop of a hat.

I am completely worn out and somehow managed to gain three pounds over the weekend. I need a nap.