Friday, July 23, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Erik, my husband, and I are having a problem.

It involves our pool. And summer. And friends. I want to invite people over at every opportunity and twice on tuesday and he - eh, not so much. I want to invite my mommy friends. The kids' friends. People from work. Neighbors. The guys I bought the lounge chairs from on craigslist. I've managed to squeeze in two soirees. The first Erik was charged with BBQ-ing oysters. A labor intensive and temperate gig. They were delicious. He was done. We also had people over on the 4th. I think he had fun. Maybe a whole summerful of fun.

I always heed his requests and dial back the invitations. Recently Erik expressed an interest in going out of town in August to attend a pre-season NFL game. (Raider Nation!) I rushed to secure his flight. Days later we realized there was a conflict with his plan. "Why were you in such a rush to buy the ticket?" he fussed. Truthfully - I'd already started planning the party I could throw and the people (and more people) I could invite if he was out of town.

Last night I stared wistfully at an epicurious menu. "Want to invite people over for a Mad Men themed dinner on Sunday?" I inquired. "Sure" he said, "if the people are just our family."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't quit the day job

We're struggling with childcare. Ain't that always the way? I don't know how anyone does it actually. There's always some variable to the equation that makes me scratch my head.

The people who have parents that help out with the care. Huh, what? So completely foreign I look around for a translator.

Or how about the camps or after school programs that demand that you pick up your kids by 5:30pm? I love it when I arrive all sweaty, nervous and out of breath and the program facilitators give me the side-eye as we both watch the second hand swing to meet the twelve on the wall clock. These people seriously have no idea how I OJ Simpson my way out of the office, sprint to public transportation, jump in my car and pray for green lights to make it just in the nick of time.

The only ones who seem to have it under control or the ones that I really envy are those with a great relationship with their full time nanny and more money than they know what to do with. Currently, I've stitched together a series of day camps and a few weeks of back up childcare provided by Erik's office. (That's fancy talk for day care, but since my kids haven't ever really been to day care they actually thought it was kind of cool. Look -- that room has babies! And it was in the city, so every day they got to ride the bus or the ferry in and have lunch with Dad.)

This weeks camp ends at 4pm. Luckily, we have a friend who has been gracious enough to allow her babysitter to pick up and watch our kids until we can get home. On one hand it is a total godsend. On the other, it's got me thinking about a career change. Not really.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Creating One of THOSE Kids

My consumption of Starbucks is not out of control. It's more of an occasional treat. Depending on our work schedules, there have been times when Erik and I would stop and pick up a latte regularly. But there have also been long stretches of time where we never go.

Once, I picked the girls up from school and Hazel gasped, "You had TWO lattes?" The evidence in the cup-holders. One was her father's and he had left about 1/4 in the cup. She drank what was left in his cup and was hooked. Having outgrown the gateway kid's hot chocolate, Hazel started asking if she could have a latte on the rare occasion we all went to Starbucks.

"Don't be one of THOSE kids," her father said for my ears as well as hers. I can see his point. The only thing more annoying than overhearing ahalf-calf, non-fat, carmel, mocha, Americano, extra hot, with an extra shot and whip cream order would be having it come out of the mouth of a nine-year-old.

So it turned into something she asks for only when she is with me. She's also started liking Mocha Chip ice cream. I'm pretty sure there a group of moms that could get in a twist about me allowing my kid to order a coffee derivative flavor of ice cream on the rare occasion we go to the local parlor. Let the record show, that my mother kept ONLY Rum Raisin in her freezer the entire time I was growing up. (This may or may not have been a weight loss tactic towards me, but I'm pretty sure the message she was sending was: this ice cream is mine. Gads, do they even make Rum Raisin anymore?) But I digress.

I would like to say, a few of the Starbucks employees have tried to persuade my kid back to the heated chocolate variety. They've even given me the judgy eye the first few time I was naive enough to make the recipient known on my order. Last week we went as a family, so two kid's hot chocolates it was. But with Dad, you're allowed to pick out a pastry!! Oh. The. Excitement. Guess what Hazel choose?

The coffee cake.

Her sister is a donut kind of gal, but she was drawn to the marbled cake. As we were enjoying our breakfast, I asked Hazel how she liked hers. "It's good," she said. And then she whispered to just me, "But it doesn't taste like coffee."