Monday, October 29, 2012

Post Apocalyptic Nonsense

When I was a kid, I would hyperventilate at the Planetarium when I tried to wrap my brain around the idea that the universe went on forever. It freaked me out to think of earth, and of myself, as a tiny spec in the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure you can call it an existential crisis when it happens to an 11 year old, but there you have it.

Nowadays, the same type of feelings spring up when something big happens. In this case, Hurricane Sandy. Of course, I worry about my friends on the East Coast, and I'm sure everything will be fine as long as everyone stays safe. But when I look out my window and see not a single cloud in the sky, my heart rate quickens a tiny bit at the thought of how far away we really are from our friends and family scattered throughout the country, and in a lot of cases, the world. The physical vastness of the planet (and the Universe!) compared to what our bodies are physically capable of freaks me out. Mainly, it scares me that, should something like the Day After Tomorrow happen, our little family wouldn't be able to strap on some hiking boots and rejoin the rest of our family because we are just too far away.

Before this post takes a turn for the far too serious, let me disclose that B and I have been serially watching the Walking Dead all weekend anytime Mia is asleep. We have about 8 episodes left to go before we are totally caught up and can start watching what is currently airing on AMC. Ever since the days that I got majorly into Lost, about 50% of the thoughts I have while watching an apocalyptic style show (Lost, Revolution - which I watched 2 episodes of before giving up because I didn't like the main character) are somewhat wistful about how much simpler life would be if something like that would happen. Not so much in the case of the Walking Dead -- I do not fantasize about living in a world where there are zombies ready to eat you around every corner. But a world without electricity, or marooned on a tropical island? Sure.

The reason anyone can actually go away from home for anything is that it's easy to stay in touch. It was easy to pick up the phone or sign into AIM back in college, and it is even easier now to sign into Skype and have an actual face to face conversation with your parent, or make sure your child knows her grandparents' faces. It's easy to get on a plane and visit your grandmother for Christmas, so that she can see her great-grandchild. All of it is easy, and when I have my existential crises, at least I'm reminded not to take it for granted.

Because, it may come a day when there are flesh eating zombies preventing me from getting on a plane for a friend's wedding. But probably not. Until then, everyone on the East Coast stay safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012

More, All Done, Shoes, Outside.

A couple of mornings ago, when I was changing Mia's diaper, she strung those four words together. Now, it may have been a total fluke, but, I'd like to think that Mia was very plainly telling me about what she wanted to do that morning. She'd like to eat "more" ("More" being her universal descriptor for food, then she'd like to be "all done" and get down from her high chair. Then, she'd like to pick her "shoes" out and put them on, and finally, she'd like to go "outside". Sounds good, Mia.

Outside of that very cute display, Mia has had a rough week. Her bottom molars are popping out, and it is making her a very unhappy little toddler. She wants to snuggle, but she doesn't want to snuggle. She wants to read a book, but she doesn't want to read a book. She wants to sleep in our bed, but she's uncomfortable (and tells us so). These are very complex emotions for a 17 month old. I felt the little pointy tips of her second bottom molar yesterday as I was brushing her teeth, so I'm thinking we should be home free by the weekend. Or at least we'd better be, because we're going on 5 weeks of no sleep here.

Other than teeth, out little life is packed full of activities over the next couple of weeks. I'm my parents' power of attorney for the Real Estate closing, so I'm pretty excited for the closing and walk through on Tuesday. It'll be exciting to see the house again, but since the current owners are staying for two more weeks after the closing, it won't be empty yet. I was hoping to have a nice long stretch of time between the closing and the end of our apartment lease, so that I could paint without any furniture in the house, but hey, the situation can't be too perfect. I do have a couple of colors picked out from Lowes though. A nice bright yellow for Mia's room, a dusty rose/taupe color for the living room and a Robin's Egg blue color for our bedroom. After living in a rental with white on white walls for 2 years, I'm ready for some warmth and color! B is not thrilled to execute my big painting plans, but quite frankly, I'm the better room painter. I'll start a "House" label once we move in and start updating about the redecorating plans. We'll be buying a couch and a dining table at some point in the first few months, but we're not sure how quickly that can be done. I hate our couch, with a passion, and I desperately want something baby and dog proof. Since my parents will be our landlords, it really feels like we'll be able to make a home there and I'm very excited for that. I had a grand old time taking care of their condo in Chicago during law school, and this feels even better. There will be a backyard, a bedroom for Mia and a designated guest room. I'll post pictures as soon as the current owners get their stuff OUT.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I've got a topic/question/situation/issue that I'm looking for feedback on: What do you ladies and your husbands or significant others do for your anniversary each year?
I'm wondering if for most people anniversaries are not really huge deals. If in fact I'm the crazy one making more of a deal out of it, or WANTING to make more of a deal out of it, than I should, or rather if most people do truly quite a bit for their wedding anniversary and my husband needs a slap upside the head for being so casual.
I was going to spell out what I wanted to do this year, vs. my husband's desires, vs. what we plan to do as a compromise now. Instead, I'd like to hear from you ladies first as to what you typically do, and if those plans, gifts, etc., are your first choice or usually a compromise because you and your man's opinions differ (heck, maybe for some of you, HE'S the one who thinks bigger than you do). Then after some responses I'll fill you in on Romeo and my current situation.
FYI: It's the middle of the night, but technically Monday, and our anniversary is Wednesday, so the more dialogue the faster, the better, in case he does deserve the dog house and I deserve a change of plans in time. (Or perhaps vice versa, like I said, it is possible I'm the extreme one.) But no matter when you gals have time to respond, even after the "big" [?] day, I'd still appreciate it all for future reference.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I can't seem to get myself together enough to compose an actual topic for this post, but I want to write something, so we'll go with the classic bullet points.

  • Sleep. There has been little of it since my Mom came to town... nearly 4 weeks ago. Mia's been in a pack n play in our room, since you know, we are still in our 2 bedroom apartment. She wakes up at the sound of a pin dropping, and since she finds that I am RIGHT NEXT TO HER, she gets is MAD. So yeah. Last night being a totally run of the mill night of being up from 12:30-3 am, repeatedly asking to go "Outside", because, you know, that's what all babies should do at 3am. 
  • Yesterday was my reduced hours day. Normally, I hate to take a Monday because it is nicer to have a mid-week break, but I had my annual exam at the OB in the morning and hate coming to work after my legs have been up in the stirrups. TMI? This morning and all last night while dealing with my child, I was totally psyching myself out about catching up on work this morning. I had this very strong feeling of dread for this one phone call I had to make that I had put off on Friday afternoon. Then, I made myself pick up the phone first thing after walking in, and of course it was totally undramatic and fine. All that hand/steering wheel wringing for nothing. I both hate and love when that happens.
Mia both loved and hated this turtle at Springs Preserve.

  • Also, coming into the office after dealing with a cranky toddler, I thought that I was at least home free from baby sounds, smells and... liquids for a good 8 hours. But no, my boss' 8 month old grand kid is here and also cranky. Also, I managed not to escape baby urine and spit up, because he got both things on my top about 45 minutes ago when I volunteered to give my boss a break and walk him around the office.
  • My Mom went to Chicago for the weekend to visit my Brother, and we had a nice little family weekend. Mia and I went to the playground on our own on Saturday because she was bouncing off the walls. It's gotten cooler 'round these parts, so it'll be a pleasure to be outside for the next couple of weeks.
Fall in Vegas. With leaves!!
  • Crafts. Juliet and I are going to be teaming up for a craft fair this weekend, so my apartment is covered in stray beads and scraps of leather. It's been fun, but I have been consumed with having a good selection for the fair. If we have any local readers, come to Christ the King Catholic Community on Torrey Pines and Tropicana between 9am-6pm and look for Frilly Kreations for a selection of fleece blankets and leather wrap bracelets. Of course, I probably won't even sell half of my inventory, so leftovers will all go up on Etsy in the following couple of days.
  • I can't seem to think of anything to close on, so rather than just abruptly ending this post, I'll warn you that I'm abruptly ending this post.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Do I Actually Want?

***Yeah, this is really, really, long, and I apologize.  I don't know what happened.  Read it in more than one sitting if you must, but I do think it hits on some primal, yet unspoken thoughts we all have when it comes to our parents, no matter what our age and situation.  Or, of course, maybe it's just me.  :)  Oh, and it's almost 6am and I haven't slept yet, so sentence structure and grammar?  Yeah, not really happening.  Bonus points for every word you find that isn't really an actual word, but just something I made up that sounds passable.  See?  That right there.***

Here's what's up:  I found out today that my mother lost her job.  I've glanced through all my posts and realize I haven't written a lot about my parents.  A ton about my MIL and FIL, but not my own folks.  This also means I haven't nicknamed them yet, and first initials won't do, because my dad shares his first initial with someone we already write about.  Um, gosh, why did I save trying to be creative and coming up with blog nicknames for my own parents at 5am?  Think, Juliet, think.  Oh, okay, let's go "Lord C" and Lady C," for you know, Lord and Lady Capulet from the play.

So, Lady C lost her job.  Details are fuzzy, as in non-existent.  I missed her teary voice mail on my cell by literally 10 minutes, and by the time I called back, she wasn't picking up.  We have been playing phone tag the entire evening.  What I do know is that I'm shocked but not surprised, and yes, before you pause too long wondering, it is entirely possible to be shocked yet not surprised.  I am not surprised because she has been worried and talking about fear over losing her job for probably 2 years now due to the fact that the company replaced her direct boss (she's an administrative assistant) and he didn't like her as much as the previous person did.  Not being there first hand I have never known whether this was just my mother being a worrywart like me (hey, you wondered where I got it?)  or whether there was due cause for her concern.  Thus, my lack of surprise, however I was shocked by the actual news, because while I've heard her worry for years, nothing ever happened nor were there any warning signs that something might.

What makes matters worse than "simply" being laid off in an economy where jobs are still scarce, the fact that Lady C doesn't have a college degree (she worked for the company 16+ years and climbed the ladder from receptionist to her final position as admin assistant to the office manager), and that companies seem to want young doe-eyed 20 somethings they can pay minimum wage and no benefits, is the fact that my mother was the bread winner (and source of health insurance benefits) in my parents' household.  My dad, Lord C, lost his full-time job at least 3 years ago.  He's been working from home selling health insurance, but it doesn't have benefits, and while he's tight-lipped, I know he's struggling finding clients and making a living because a year ago he picked up a part-time job at Bath and Body Works, and a few weeks ago a second part-time job as a gas station attendant.  (For those of you playing along at home, that's 3 jobs total.)  Not exactly how I pictured my 63 year-old father, who used to make $60,000+ a year as a top department store salesman, living out what should be his last working decade.

Oh boy, this post is way too long, and I haven't even gotten to the real actual reason for writing tonight.  Let me cut to the chase-- if that's even possible at this point.  I miss my parents like crazy.  I moved to Las Vegas 6 years ago, straight out of college, not really knowing what would happen, how long I'd be here, etc, etc, etc.  But I do acknowledge it was completely my choice to move 1,735 miles-- the exact distance from my front door to theirs.  What I didn't plan on was falling in love, getting married, and having a child 1,735 miles away from them.  And it's hard.  Hard as hell.  My son only knows Grandma MIL and Grandpa FIL.  I want him to know Grandma C and Grandpa C.  Romeo has tried to comfort me by saying that as a kid he had one set of local grandparents and one set of long-distance ones.  And while yes, he was closer emotionally to the local set, he doesn't have super, amazing, one-of-a-kind memories of them.  Those memories are reserved for his long-distance grandparents.  The fact that those visits were fewer and far between makes the memories sweeter.  I appreciate the sentiment, but frankly, I think it's a load of crap.  I want my parents here.  I've wanted them here since I was pregnant.  And not just for Tybalt's sake.  I want them to know him as well.  I also am sick and tired of everything from holidays and special occasions to everyday excursions to the park or the mall being only with Romeo's mom.  I want my own Mom (and Dad).  I miss them.  I want Christmases with them that don't require trying to budget $2,000 for airline tickets, hotels, rental car, etc.  I want my parents to just drive to our place for a dinner every once in a while, and us to them.  I want them to get the chance to babysit Tybalt instead of that right and privilege only belonging to Romeo's mom.

And the thought of my parents moving "out west" from Chicago has never been absurd.  My sister and her husband live in Provo, UT.  Which, while it's a lengthy drive, is, in all honesty a very do-able trip for a long weekend.  However, while my mom was the breadwinner, and in this position, as I've [too lengthily] tried to describe and show is not just a normal title and job she could transfer to, let's say, the Las Vegas branch of the national company she works for, a move while not absurd, was not practical.  Or, more straightforward, pretty much impossible.  While my dad could do his "things" anywhere, my mother definitely could not.  I've begged, I've told her to start applying online for administrative assistant positions in any company, any field, anywhere in the west closer to my sister and me.  I've always pushed for Las Vegas, because I selfishly want them with me and their grandson, not my sister in Utah, but still, anywhere out west where they are a drive away would be fine.  But my parents' response has always been that they wish it could happen, but like I said, while my Dad is flexible, my mom couldn't leave her steady job without another job lined up, and even doing that, she wouldn't be making nearly as much by starting over at some new company that doesn't know her.  And while it's painful, I've accepted that.  But when I got the voice mail this afternoon, I couldn't help but actually feel HAPPY.  I should feel horrible and upset for the injustice my mother is feeling.  And yeah, I do.  I should be worried about my parents--my father has heart problems and my mother has arthritis, knee, and lower back problems-- and now they just lost their health insurance.  And again, yeah, I do.  Yet I also feel like this is IT.  This is the time for them to pick up everything and just move out here...NOW.  Don't scramble to find a job, Mom, and then use that one as an excuse to stay in Chicago still.  In one of her voice mails today as we played our incessant phone tag, my mother said they are in fact talking about taking the opportunity, yet at the same time, "this probably isn't the time to make rash decisions."  And I want to say, "Why not?  Now is actually the perfect time to make a rash decision."  Romeo has already told me not to get my hopes up.  Moving is expensive enough.  Imagine trying to move now that you have only the balance in your checking account to live off of.  And I get that.  I get that it seems impossible financially.  But I'm so scared that if they don't scrape the money together and do it now, they'll get tied into Illinois again, and they never will.

Here's the last thing though for tonight.  I cry myself to sleep sometimes over how much I miss my parents.  I hug Tybalt tight sometimes and cry into his shoulder that my parents aren't around to see his milestones and witness his amazing personality.  But does that truly, honestly, mean, that if and when my parents got here, I wouldn't regret them being here?  I want them here on my terms, and that's just not possible.  They'd be here on their terms.  I said somewhere up above here that I wish they lived so close they could drive to our place, or us to theirs, for dinners every once in a while.  But that's the key right there--"every once in a while."  If they are here, they are HERE.  Do I want the pressure of being expected to see them whenever they want to see me?  Do I want my parents, who arise even on their days off no later than 6am, to find out that I sleep until 1pm on the weekend when Romeo can wake up with Tybalt instead of me?  And how would I deal with the jealousy (I can see all three of their skin turning green now) when MIL, who has never had to share Tybalt in her life, now has to share with my parents?  And my parents who will want to see him every possible chance, seeing they didn't get to before, realizing they must still in fact share with MIL?

So, do I push as hard as I can and tell them exactly why they should move this instant and come out here?  Or should I resist the urge and just stand back, with my hands clean, and see what happens by fate, and by their own decisions, without a word (or much of a word) from me?  (I mean at the very, very least I would think that I need to state once again that I would welcome them here.  No?)

There is an infamous "joke" that really truly happened when I was hospitalized and only semi-conscious two years ago.  I've only been told what happened because I was so drugged that I have no memory, so I'm paraphrasing the following dialogue, and for the sake of the story you should also know that Henderson, NV is a bustling town with jobs and shopping and basically all Las Vegas has, as it's suburb, and is only about 20 minutes away from our current apartment, whereas Bullhead City, AZ, is just across the state border, with no real economy or job opportunities (let alone a mall, so who'd want to live there anyway!  lol) but about 90 minutes to 2 hours away:  My mother was at my bedside, along with Romeo.  (It was her first visit, when I was touch and go still in the ICU.  And I couldn't talk because I had already been given a tracheotomy.)  She was crying I guess and holding my hand and saying, "Daddy and I need to move out here.  We can't keep living this far away from you, 'Juliet.'"  And apparently even in my stupor I nodded and smiled and even teared up.  So she said "How would you like that, if Daddy and I moved here, huh?  Wouldn't that be good?"  And again there was more emphatic nodding and smiling on my part.  Then she said, "What about Henderson?  That would be a good choice."  At which point, I stopped smiling and shook my head 'no' violently!  Luckily my mother laughed and replied, "Too close, huh?"  And Romeo chimed in saying, "What about Bullhead City?"  To which I apparently went back to nodding fiercely and smiling widely, and the whole room busted a gut laughing so hard.

So perhaps, while I fantasize about a Norman Rockwell situation with my loving parents right here, I should take a clue from my no-holds barred, tell it like it is because the drugs are like truth-serum, semi-conscious mental state...20 minutes away?  Hell no, but feel free to move about 2 hours away so you have to call first before just dropping by for dinner...

Monday, October 1, 2012

To do list: One big check mark

I have told you repeatedly about how we've definitely outgrown our apartment

The top item on our to-do list for October was: Find a house to rent.

Criteria: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. Tile or laminate in living areas. Small back yard. Closer to daycare. 

and.... DONE.

Remember how I told you about my Mom coming to stay for about a month? Well, I guess before she left China, my parents had decided to invest in another rental property. They already have one condo in Chicago, one that I used to live in and rent from them. Evidently, they are liking their status as Landlords, because they had decided to buy a second condo in Chicago.

When my Mom got here, I told her that we'd be moving on December 1st, and that while she was here, I'd like to go out and look at a few rental houses. My parents LOVE looking at houses, even if they aren't in the market to buy. When we lived in Chicago, one of their weekend hobbies was going to Open Houses. ("It's an Open House! They WANT you to come see the house"). I wasn't really surprised when my Mom showed quite a bit of enthusiasm and browsed the listings that I had received from our rental broker. 

One or two nights later, evidently having lots of time to think and Skype with my father overnight fighting jet lag, my Mom asks: "Would you guys like having us as Landlords?" Wait, what? 

After a couple more discussion points, the answer was a very enthusiastic Yes.

So, all last week, I came in to work late, left early, had extended lunches and was very busy on my weekday off to meet up with our Realtor and various houses around the Valley. Some old, some new. Some big, some small. House #1 was in perfect condition, but a bit smaller than I'd hoped with little storage. Not a deal-breaker, I told Mom. If this works for you, it works for us. But, it felt too soon in the process to make an offer. What if there was something bigger, with more storage, that was just as nice? 

A dozen houses later, a couple more fit the bill. One with a very large backyard, with real grass. The thought of us having to water and mow a lawn in the desert was giving me secret palpitations. Another in an ideal location was tempting, but the zero outdoor space not great. Both off the market by the time we got home from lunch that day. 

And then Friday morning, we had one last appointment. We liked the pictures, we liked the location. Mom says, if we like it in person, I have my checkbook in my purse. We walked in, saw all-tile floors, a small but big-enough back yard, an upgraded kitchen and before we even went upstairs to the bedrooms, Mom was already reaching in her bag. 3 bedrooms, 1500 square feet, 10 minutes from B's work and daycare. Our only compromise is a 1 car garage, but that is very easy to ignore when I look at the gleaming kitchen counters and seemingly endless cabinet space.

For now, I only have this picture of Mia approving of the banisters. Also, see, no carpets!
Closing is scheduled for October 31st, which means we have a leisurely 30 days to move out of the apartment and into the house. I am so excited for Halloween this year.