Archive for February, 2009

House Hunting Hell…

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The buyer’s market is buzzing in Los Angeles, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. At least–it is in our modest home buying bracket. Competition is ferocious for houses with shredded interiors, houses with mild hills in their kitchens, droopy ceilings, scarred wood floors, most houses with ominous holes in all closet walls (why???). Frankly, it’s discouraging after a day of house hunting to be informed that the hovel-interiors we could fall in love with and joyfully restore are bombarded with offers far above the sellers’ asking prices, bumping us out of the game. However, the good news is that after visiting these hovel-interiors we return to our one bedroom condo with its HD walls and enormous old-fashioned TV and king sized bed in the living room and Ikea inspired baby’s room and S washes the dishes and I dust and vacuum and just check to be sure there are no holes in our closet walls and there aren’t, ever. And we realize with relief that we have hope, despite cramped quarters, and that we have respect for our living space, despite cramped quarters and that we have a lakeside view, despite the evaporating water line in the silly sad vacant lot next door. And we carry on in our hope that the right hovel will choose us as much as we choose it and place our offers anyway and then we put the baby to bed and share a tub of popcorn, watching whatever latest release Blockbuster has to offer that doesn’t involve excessive dire gun-drama or Armageddon. We carry on, not bothering to wonder how long we will be carrying on until we get a house. And in this carrying on, the movie playing, the popcorn not burned for once, we look at each other and realize we don’t do this quiet, togetherness stuff nearly enough. And we squeeze hands. And then dump the popcorn in the trash and switch off the movie and the lights because how the f*** did it get so late and he’ll be up for the midnight hump in like half an hour, so be quiet, quiet, quiet, just go to sleep, quick, sleep. Shh. S***! Brush teeth. Sleep. But the brain, the brain—zzzzzzzzzz.

And today, we’ll do it again—and again—and we’ll just see what happens—all vitals (popcorn, movies, Chunky Monkey ice cream, a bag of organic apples that taste like candy and my no-holes closet stocked in cheerful T shirts from Target) standing by. Why?

Because, essentially, we have everything.


One Night (Out)…

Monday, February 23rd, 2009


Not five minutes from home I’m thinking, What if there’s an earthquake, what if he chokes in his crib and the MF (Mater Figure) doesn’t know he’s choking, what if the cat impulsively sleeps on his face, what if he gets his blankie twisted around his head, what if a drunk driver hits us and we’re killed. I’m thinking, This going out stuff is for other parents, I am boobs and lullabies, protector with spigots, hugely supportive fan bearing milk ducts. I’m thinking, Turn the f****** minivan around and let’s get the f*** home right the f*** now before it’s too f****** late to f****** save him.

And just then we pull up at an amazing all-windows-and-tasteful-art creation in WeHo and inside is one of my favortie mommies in the world, Dubya-Mommy, hugging me and my husband hands me a glass of champagne and proceeds to really admirably entertain party guests with Dubya-Mommy’s witty husband and it hits me: I’m out of our condo, in WeHo, wearing a little bit of make-up and a going-out outfit including my old black suede boots with the creaks in the heels that I can’t explain and my pre-birthday manicure is glowing and I’m in a little whirl of soiree with a drink that tastes like honey, a gourmet crudite on the horizon and I forget about my baby. Just. Like. That.

Until another mommy introduces herself saying she has a 15 month old girl and since she and her husband are freelancers and keep odd hours (the mommy’s eyes, at this point, begin to grow huge and wild), their daughter has no set schedule, nor seems keen on a schedule, actually doesn’t want a schedule and the mommy confesses she hasn’t had sleep in 15 months, or at least far less sleep than I’ve had and I nod sympathetically as she snarls and growls about the ridiculous concept of schedules for children, stupid, who needs schedules, no need, her hand gestures becoming relative to a panicked bird’s wings flapping hard and fast and I sip my exquisite champagne thinking, Oh my poor, sleep-deprived darling mommy, you are full of s***. And when she takes a breath to tear into her cake like a hyena into flesh, I tell her my son brings me his blanket when he is ready to nap, which is vaguely around the same time every day. And I watch the mommy’s bravado crinkle a little, then tumble like old cliffs into a beating ocean because she is tired, just so, so tired—and because she is too exhausted to hide her exhaustion, or because she can’t hear about schedules, or because she despises my meted grain of potential hope, or perhaps because she doesn’t like me, or perhaps because she does, she vacates my personal space. And I take another sip of champagne and focus on my husband’s transformation from tired daddy to savvy comic, thinking, Farewell fellow sleepless mommy, I feel for you, I do—but you’ve made my NIGHT.

Two Valentines…

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Two V Day bags.vbag13.jpg

Which bag did I present to my husband? Which bag did he present to me?

Keep in mind that I am the SAHM of an energetic toddler with sleep issues, a mommy who sticks her cell phone in the fridge thinking (not thinking) she is sticking it in her purse, who can’t find her reading glasses when they’re on top of her head, who is baffled as to why store clerks chuckle at her, realizing when she reaches the car and has packed groceries and baby inside and happens to glance in the rearview mirror that she has Gerber Hawaiian Delight mixed with rice cereal on her face and uneven ponytails.

Big V bag!

He gave me a beautiful huge bag filled with chocolates, a necklace with a shell vaguely shaped like a heart, a coffee mug in the squat Hobbit-crockery shape that I enjoy, a super-mini-teddy bear and all those wonderful V Day things I pooh-poohed when I was single (because dates and Valentine’s Day never coincided), like heart shaped chocolates, which T enjoyed examining and dropping into our shoes.

Teeeeeeny V day bag!

I gave him that other bag with Target swimming trunks stuffed inside, snatched from the rack as T verged on a melt-down.

It’s good to be loved.

Valentine’s Cookie Swap

Friday, February 13th, 2009

This cookie swap I was relaxed about what I brought to the table, knowing I wasn’t going to be ostracized for—cheating. Although it wasn’t blatant-cheating—I didn’t bring a clear plastic container of Ralph’s frosted cookies and slap ’em on the table as I fished dirt out of my ear and chili-belched. Pre-made cookie dough, Reese’s chocolate/pnut chips, multi-colored sprinkles and a box of those hard candy hearts with illegible sayings on them? Cookie fixings! As T napped, I utilized my limited cooking baking talents (that go with my limited pancake cooking talents) and because of diligently checking the stove and responding when the timer went off instead of finishing typing a sentence or completing another laundry fold or simply staring into space, only a few cookies bore charred undersides (I saved those for my husband) and the rest? Voila:


As opposed to my Pre-Thanksgiving Cookie Swap scabby, dented, roughed up buggers stolen from somebody’s compost heap:

Ugliest Cookies!

Oh I needed an outing with my baby, to interact with other mommies and listen to their adventures in the cold/flu season, to hear worries other than my brain’s under-educated worry-blather, to release with releasing others. Thank you cookie. You were my ticket to an amazing mommy’s-treat, today–including lots and lots of cookies far better than anything I could make myself, cheating or not.


Boy Eats Dog…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


For the third night in a row T threw up in his crib. Midnight. On the phone to first the 24/7 nurse, then T’s doctor, my husband explained and explained our son’s situation in his deep, uber-clear, frightened-parent voice. Finally our doctor told him to zip it. Her rapid-fire diagnosis:

Slight rash on body, flushed cheeks and knees = possible MMR reaction (Gahhhhhh!!!)

Vomiting = virus that’s going around

RX = BRATY diet, but amputate the “Y” for yogurt because definitely no way no-how nuh-uh give T any cow’s milk.

We crept to T’s crib, watched him snooze as we ran the doctor’s diagnoses through our minds. Little guy, we thought, his hair still damp from us sponging out the barf, his pj’s clean and cozy, his crib sheets changed, a barf-free blankie in his little arms. Little guy. Then we crawled, shakily, mouths slack, 1,000 years old, into bed.

Next morning: Poop more solid! Healthy BRAT-for- breakfast appetite! No MMR rash! Crisis over! Everything back to normal! (whatever normal is…)

Then: Nappptimmmme

After 20 minutes of annoyed sounds, frisky coos, more annoyed sounds, then total silence, I peeked on T in his crib, assuming he had finally succumbed to the afternoon nap, confident my frolicking-naked-in-the-Oasis time could begin.


T’s eyes met mine. Whoops! Wait a minute–why is he holding his stuffed dog like—OMG! Eating doggy’s paw! Eating doggy’s paw!

I dashed to the crib and snatched doggy from baby, by doing so raining a hail of pellets on T’s head, to his delight.

Doggy was not filled with pillowy cotton-candy-type stuffing. Doggy’s paw, wet from my son’s “Alien”-like saliva was wide open and leaking millions of tiny plastic pellets. I looked at my son. A pellet was on his way to his mouth.

On the phone to poison control AGAIN , I explained and explained the situation in my deep, uber-clear, frightened-parent voice.

Poison control laughed: Ho, ho, he said, those pellets will poop right through him. However, he added, suddenly serious, Is the child currently choking?

I called Blood Sister. She told me not to worry, that the pellets would pass through T. Apparently Blood Sister’s son once swallowed the gel pellets found in those squarish packets that come in shoes and vitamin bottles. He pooped them out, she said.

I emailed Dubya-Mommy in Thousand Oaks. She wrote back about her 5 year old: I have never had to call poison control. I want her life!!! (plus, she has a swimming pool…)

I called my husband. Call the doctor!!! he said. I called the doctor and was transferred to the nurse’s voicemail. She never called back.

Evening: Three pellets in the diaper! Okay, okay, I told my husband. He only ate a few. I got there in time. Ha, ha. We’re okay.

That night: No vomit. We’re back to normal! my husband and I whooped joyfully. (whatever normal is…)

Morning diaper: Holy smokes!!! (my husband said) OMG!!! (me) Pellets! Lots and lots of little plastic pellets.

Afternoon diaper: Bingo!!! (I said, chokingly). More pellets. Little bugger worked fast on that doggy’s paw. How can a toy store sell doggies stuffed in pellets and get away with it? Why weren’t “pellets” listed in the doggy’s ingredients? Bastards! Why?

Why ask why?

Next poop will be interesting to examine. Reminds me of guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar…

And on to the next!

UPDATE: 1 more diaper bearing pooped pellets. 3 nighttime vomiting episodes, then 1 night off, then 1 night of 2 vomiting episodes, then 1 night off of vomiting, but diarrhea kicks in, the all-the-Great-Lakes-bled-into-one of exploding diapers. 1 Dr. visit where I was told, sternly, STOP IT after confessing to Googling nighttime vomiting and coming up with horrific scenarios. 1 tsp Benadryl before bed 2 nights running = no nighttime vomiting. Diarrhea persisting, but hopefully BRAT will help. Where’s my tropical island interlude! No, no, it’s okay, it’s okay. What a trooper (pooper!), this little guy. Little guy! zzzzzzzzz.

BRAT Eater!

Early One Morning…

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

(the i heart pasta face)

Wake up. He barfed in his crib.


Barfed. In crib.


Diaper’s leaking diarrhea.


On my arm.

I’ll change him. Oof. I’m okay! Fell from bed.

What color is it?

Is what?

The diarrhea. What color is it? I can’t tell from my arm.


Hm. So is the barf.

Maybe it’s the baked yam from lunch?

I don’t see any of his dinner in the barf or the diarrhea.

What did he have for dinner?

Whole wheat pasta wheels in organic tomato sauce!!! Remember???

Oh yeah. No, I don’t see any of that in his poop–only yammy shi—I mean, crap. That’s weird, isn’t it? How could the barf completely bypass dinner and only expose his lunch? How—phew. Must gag…

He doesn’t have a fever.

He’s singing.

Do you think it’s a reaction to the—(gulp) MMR?

No! Absolutely not! No way! Do you?

So I guess we don’t need to call the 24/7 nurse?

Oh, hee, hee—wet go of my nose, silly bunny!

Or take him to the ER.

Unless he does it again pretty quick?

Right. I’ll change his sheet.

I’ll see if he wants some apple juice.



Dr. Sears says BRATY: banana, breast milk, rice cereal, APPLESAUCE, not apple juice, toast and yogurt for when baby has barfing and the squirts!

Hmmm? Ho! Hee, hee. Look how cute he is. What does the doggy say? WOOF. WOOF. WOOF.

I’m gonna put him down now.

See you in bed. Oh, hey—what’s your name again?

(Sighhhh.) Mud.

You know, Mud, you’re pretty sexy all diarrhea-splotched. My wittle walking Jackson Pollock, my wittle exploded can of organic pumpkin, my wittle—


Other conversations with my husband (zoo perils, Queen Mary escape plan, more poop, etc.): CLICK HERE

O Lot…

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Now that we are house hunting, the silly sad vacant lot that sticks around next door doesn’t seem so hideous. In fact, today our usual eyesore is not even a lot, but a beautiful, shimmering lake after the rains. We are suddenly the owners of a lakefront condo. Ah, life and all its quirky turns!


The white heron/egret elegant creature that decided to visit has made the lot a mini-wetlands. Perhaps I should take T fishing over there, or clamming…


I do like being NoHo lakefront condo owners as opposed to this charming previous view with the infamous squirrel killing pole in the background:

Charming Prev. View

Lakefront is a definite stress-lessening agent for the sleepless mommy as she reclines on the king sized bed forever (hah!) dominating the living room, notebook (I mean real paper) on her lap, pen poised, musing on the lake’s sparkle and profundity of the stunning wading bird—as her son—naps…

Prison? Noooooo. Paradise.

sparkle baby

It’s all in the sparkle, baby.

Man, add a little water to a vacant lot and the fowl just keep coming! This morning: a mad honking overhead and then touchdown—Canada Geese. I hope the water and its visitors stay for the winter—but I’m afraid our annual February heatwave will turn the lake back into a vacant lot, with steaming, stagnating puddles and madly darting larvae.

Amazing Geese!

But it’s beautiful for now and as close to Bradford-On-Avon as we’ll get this year.


Sunday, February 1st, 2009


THE NEW NEWS: We’re at long last house hunting.

WHAT WE SEE IN OUR PURCHASE BRACKET: Squatter’s digs. The creepy dark, the uber-dank. The “Oh my goodness, I can see through that wall and right into the kitchen!”

THE ONE FIXER-UPPER WE PUT A BID ON: We didn’t get. O my sweet cottage-type 3 bedroom house with an enormous back yard candle-stuck in a huge interesting tree! I miss you. Despite having to replace floors, fix holes in walls, gut and redo the kitchen before moving in, I misssssssssss you.

THE TRULY TORTUROUS BITS WHEN HOUSE HUNTING: Foreclosures. Evicted families. Seeing a kid’s room empty and utterly trashed. Some houses are their own brand of eerie post-war-zone. And the banks want money for them. Lots and lots of money. Contrary to popular hearsay and Internet-speak, many banks are not accepting offers below the purchase price, even though in the coming months that price will be lowered (again) anyway. Sometimes the bank may say whoops, made a mistake, and raise the purchase price even though a happy house-buyer’s offer was accepted, forcing the buyer to withdraw. Banks, in our experience thus far, are not prone to desperation and they have magic cameras that make hovels look like spritzy mansions on the Internet. These are the realities waiting for the naive house hunters as they pull up in their minivan with their bounding toddler and are greeted by exploded middle-America. To speak plainly: it’s a mess out there.

WHAT I DO: As of today—put on a happy face and say “Yes, lovely, oh yes, lovely” to everything, despite my husband calling me a Stepford-Whacko. It’s better than the alternative.

THE TRUTH: It’s stressful, house hunting. It’s appalling what happened to so many families. It can’t just be a matter of not reading the fine print when people purchased their little bit of American Dream. The scheister factor must have played an enormous part. Seriously. Sorry, Suze Orman. But I believe this. Oh, It, It, It. Witnessing “Its” results up close and personal is—lovely, ooo, oh lovely, lovely. Lovely.

Yes, lovely. Oh, yes. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely. Have a beautiful day!

little snoozer!