Monday, February 13, 2006

100 Things

This seems as good a way as any to start...

  1. I grew up in a college town.
  2. We lived close enough to campus that we went trick-or-treating at fraternity houses and could hear the cheering from the football stadium in our yard during games.
  3. My dad plays the banjo in several Dixieland jazz bands. And he’s really good.
  4. For my daughter’s third birthday, he recorded a CD of himself singing a bunch of kids’ songs, accompanying himself on banjo. I treasure it.

  5. I was a band geek in high school but haven’t played my clarinet since. I do have my childhood piano in my house and try to play it whenever I can (which, as I bet you can guess, is hardly ever).
  6. I have a younger brother and sister whom I adore (and my brother’s wife is great too).
  7. We had the usual sibling spats as kids, but now get along very well.
  8. It could be because we all live so far apart (sister on West Coast, brother on East, me in the middle).
  9. Still, my sister is the only person I would ever do the Amazing Race with. Not that I’m applying.
  10. I went to college in Philadelphia. I majored in English and French. For awhile there, je parlais couramment le francais. I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten so much of it.
  11. I spent a semester in Grenoble, France. I wish I’d stayed longer.
  12. After college, I wrung my hands for a few months and then moved to New York City. (I wanted to work in magazines, so I really had no choice, but I was afraid of the big city.)
  13. I lived there for 7 years, then moved across the river to New Jersey.
  14. Despite my initial reservations, I loved New York. It was a great place to spend my 20’s.
  15. I was a magazine editor for 8 years.
  16. The pay was lousy, but the perks were great.
  17. I traveled for free to Alaska, California, and several places in the Caribbean.
  18. I got to eat at many of the city’s best restaurants, also free.
  19. I did not buy shampoo, soap, conditioner, moisturizer, or makeup for almost a decade (thanks to the samples sent to our beauty editors).
  20. I also wrote a book (but my name’s not on it—it was “By the editors of…”).
  21. I met my husband after dating his friend a few times.
  22. We’re still close to the friend, and he was in our wedding party.
  23. My husband also grew up in a smallish town in the same state I did, and went to college in Philadelphia, but we didn’t meet until we were both in New York.
  24. Before I met him, I always said I wanted to marry someone who cooks and who sends flowers.
  25. He does both.
  26. While we were engaged (and living together), we adopted a dog from the pound.
  27. She’s still with us and has patiently endured the addition of first one, then a second child.
  28. She looks, and sometimes acts, like a puppy, but she’s about 7 years old. She’s part German shepherd and part mystery canine. Any guesses?

  29. She earns her keep by eating all the crumbs the kids drop. Although, come to think of it, that’s pretty much offset by the hair she sheds.
  30. I feel much more guilty leaving her at a kennel when we go out of town than I do about my kids being in child care all day.
  31. The first time I had to do it (pre-kids), I cried.
  32. We also recently acquired a fish, named Tinky by my daughter. I’m sure all his fellow macho Siamese Fighting Fish are ready to come beat him up now.
  33. He lives in a really cool Fish Pod.
  34. I always knew I wanted to be a mom (even before the dog).
  35. As a pre-teen I was fascinated by names and made up fake families just to name all the kids.
  36. I shudder at some of the names I liked back then (no, I’m not sharing). Now I play with this instead.
  37. Pregnancy kicked my butt both times. I had many annoying but non-threatening symptoms: all-day nausea for months, heartburn, dry skin, daily bloody noses, backaches, shortness of breath, and PUPPP.
  38. Before I made my announcement, my mom guessed I was having a second baby because I was carrying a tin of almonds in my purse (I guess she didn’t notice the Balance bars). The only way I made it through morning sickness was to eat constantly, and I mean every 10-15 minutes.
  39. I never understood how people could sleep on the subway until I was pregnant. Once I was, I dozed from 42nd Street to Spring Street almost every day.
  40. Our first child was born in April, 2002.
  41. Spring is a great time for a baby—you avoid cold and flu season and just when you are ready to spend time walking outside, the weather cooperates.
  42. Before I gave birth, I’d read thousands of articles and books on childrearing, thanks to my job.
  43. So I was prepared for those first days and weeks to be awful.
  44. Surprisingly, they weren’t. Although some of the nights were.
  45. My daughter was an easy baby and I enjoyed my (very generous) maternity leave.
  46. I was neither happy nor sad to go back to work. It was what it was.
  47. But once I got there, I was pleased to be back. My boss is a working mom of three who rocks.
  48. It was the long days my daughter spent in child care, thanks to a two-hour daily commute, that got to me.
  49. But I did make a great friend because our daughters were in the same child care center.
  50. Meanwhile, my husband despised his job. Mostly on a whim, he applied for a new one in the Midwest.
  51. We went for a “please-come-work-here” recruiting trip at the end of January. The temperature never reached double digits during our 3-day stay.
  52. But we had a good time anyway.
  53. We agonized over the decision to move. We knew we’d like raising our child in a smaller town, having a bigger house (for the same price as our small apartment), and giving up commuting. But we’d be leaving all our friends and family.
  54. On the morning of the day he’d promised to give his answer, my husband still didn’t know what he was going to say to his potential new boss. I’d given him my blessing to say yes or no (but I hoped he’d say yes). I waited by the phone at work to find out.
  55. Telling my boss we were going to leave was hard, but I came in with a telecommuting plan.
  56. She went for it, and two years later, I still have my job. Go visit to see what I do (but don’t tell them I sent ya).
  57. The thing I miss most about living in the city and working in an office is dressing up and accessorizing. Most days, the only adults I come in contact with are the teachers at my kids’ school. So it hardly seems worth it to dig out some cute earrings or a fun necklace that will just get painfully yanked off by my baby.
  58. I secretly wanted twins when I was pregnant with my second child, so that I could get two for one and steamroll over my husband’s lack of interest in having 3 kids.
  59. After my son was born (spring 2005), I was so relieved that there was only one of him.
  60. He couldn’t be cuter, but he’s a lot more difficult than my first child was. I think it’s the reverse effect of what happened when she was born. One was much easier than I thought, but two was much harder, because my expectations were all wrong both times.
  61. He’s 10 months old now and still not sleeping through the night. We’re working on it.
  62. I really need some sleep. Really really.
  63. I adore my kids but could never be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I don’t have the patience or creativity. Working part-time while they are at a wonderful child care center suits me best.
  64. My mom worked full-time when I was growing up, and I felt enriched by the great caregivers we had. We still keep in touch with some of them.
  65. I think if they were young parents today, my mom would work (she’s very ambitious and successful) and my dad would stay home full time. He’d be great at it.
  66. I don’t like fake cherry flavor anything. I also don’t like shrimp, lobster, crab or any other kind of shellfish, much to my husband’s dismay. Or coffee.
  67. Reason #1 why I’m blogging: To make sure I record stuff about my life and my children’s growing up. Keeping a paper journal isn’t working.
  68. Reason #2: All the cool people are doing it.
  69. Reason #3: I believe there is a (probably nonfiction) book idea inside me somewhere. Writing more might bring it to the surface.
  70. We don’t have a single plant in our house. We can’t seem to keep them alive. Keeping the humans and animals fed, clothed, and reasonably clean is higher on my priority list.
  71. Outside, the plants get slightly more attention. We have 20 rosebushes lining our front walk, courtesy of the previous owner of our house. They are bright red and beautiful, and I try very hard to keep them healthy. My sister, an expert gardener/botanist, is trying her best to show me the ropes from afar. So far they’ve survived two seasons with me.

  72. We live in an old house (built in 1919) and wouldn’t want it any other way.
  73. Especially since the previous owner did all the heavy lifting: replacing the roof, furnace, kitchen, and bathrooms, and refinishing all the hardwood floors.
  74. Call me an elitist, a raging liberal, or both (guilty, at least on the latter), but I love NPR and read the New York Times every Sunday. OK, I buy the Times every Sunday—no home delivery where I live!—and occasionally read all of it by the following Sunday.
  75. There is a specific order in which I go through the sections, always finishing with Styles. I used to play “Do I know anyone in the Weddings section this week?” with a good deal of success, but now I’m too old.
  76. I play fantasy football.
  77. I’m not that good at it, although I did make the playoffs last season.
  78. I’m probably one of the only players who multitasked by expressing breast milk while participating in the online draft.
  79. I’ve also pumped or nursed in airports, airplanes, restaurants, parks, stores, malls, a photo studio, and an out-of-the-way (but not at all private) corner of the Jacob Javits convention center in New York City.
  80. I love this stuff and would drink gallons of it if it didn’t cost $1.49 per bottle.
  81. I am a pretty happy person. When bad or upsetting things happen, I feel low, but eventually the needle always moves back toward “good.”
  82. I haven’t exercised regularly since before my kids were born. I’d finally found the workout that worked for me: Bikram yoga. It’ll probably be out of fashion and unavailable by the time I’m able to get back to it. Right now, there are no teachers in my area.
  83. I’d love to do the training to become a teacher, but can’t imagine spending two months away from my family (hey, not to mention my job) to do so.
  84. I love to read, but the only time I usually do it is at night while I’m brushing and flossing my teeth. It takes me 20-30 minutes to get ready for bed because I read the whole time.
  85. Before I left New York, I was in the same book club for 7 years. I still miss it.
  86. Knocking on wood: I’ve never had a broken bone, had any surgery besides dental work and my two c-sections, or been hospitalized except for childbirth.
  87. Speaking of dental work, my teeth are excellent (not a single cavity) but they’ll probably fall out because my gums are crummy.
  88. Household chore I don’t mind doing and even kind of enjoy: laundry.
  89. Household chore I loathe: cleaning, especially anything that involves picking up hair (human or canine). Ewww.
  90. I am a bit of a control freak. (That sound you hear is my husband saying “A BIT?!”). I still believe it’s because I do know the right way to do things. Why shouldn’t I share the wealth?
  91. It bothers my editor’s heart that so many of these items start with “I.” Let me go change a few of them right now.
  92. Sometimes when I’m pacing the floor with my son at night, I conjugate French verbs (to see if I remember how) or compose haiku. I can’t remember any of the haiku. Usually they are some variation on
    Way past midnight
    How long can you keep this up?
    Mom cries more than you
  93. Countries outside the U.S. I have visited: Canada, the Bahamas, Barbados, Turks & Caicos, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore.
  94. Places I’d still like to go: Mexico, South America, Australia, Sweden, and more destinations in Canada, France, Italy, and Greece.
  95. Our little town truly is Mayberryesque. I almost crashed my car the first time I saw a couple of boys biking down the street, fishing poles in hand, on their way to the river.
  96. I really do see someone I know on at least half of my visits to the supermarket. I’ve also seen our family doctor at the pool, the Y, and a restaurant, and my OB in the park.
  97. Two of the three doctors present in the operating room when my son was born live in our neighborhood. They chatted with my husband about their next poker game.
  98. On the 4th of July, everyone drags their blankets and tarps to the harbor to stake out a place to watch the fireworks. Then they leave them there all day unattended.
  99. Did I mention about no home delivery of the New York Times? Our local paper does have an entertaining police blotter, though.
  100. My son’s name isn’t really Opie, but we do call him that about half the time. It’s a nickname derived from his initials. So far, no red hair or freckles.


b1-66er said...

next time you pace the floor, maybe you should compose a couplet for the world's biggest choka in the making:

mothergoosemouse said...

As well as I thought I knew you, I still learned a few things while reading this list! And it just made me miss you more.

movin'mom said...

Okay Mayberry Mom,
I was directed to you by Mega Mom which I assume you met at BlogHer! I decided to check out your Blog and back read some posts to see if you had anything to say about Mayberry since this will also be my new home! I am concerned that you put a pic of your home on your 100! I know I sound like a mom but I will crack up if I drive by your home and actually see it now!! Thank God, I'm normal! Maybe I will TP it just so you will know that I have finally arrived in Mayberry! I like to shake things up a bit! -(she wonders,"Will we be neighbors?) - Hmmm?