I realized that I needed to change the profile picture of me in gmail today. I’ve had my old profile picture for 13 years now and I was reluctant to change it. It was a photo of me (though you couldn’t tell it was me really) from a far distance that showed me suspended in air jumping into our condo’s pool in Singapore. I was in a swimsuit, all my limbs were extended so you could see the X shape and I was laughing as I hovered for a moment above the water in the pool. We must have just begun to know something was wrong with Edda and that photo of me represented the time between the time of before and the time of after. And it showed that I could laugh whether I choose to plunge into a cold pool or I chose to plunge into the unknown of parenting Edda. I suspect a lot of people have that singular moment of before/after – it’s different for everyone – but that photo commemorated my particular moment. But I changed it all to the photo above today. So boring! My selfie, decidedly after and still mostly happy. Though I have my moments. And I’m in general constant terror of more before/after moments which are bound to happen to me.
Last night, Jeremy looked at me and said – “Tomorrow is Christmas!” And I said – huh? Jeremy’s been tracking his bike all the way from CA and it was scheduled to be delivered today. He looked at me all expectantly and said – I want to take the entire day off and wait for it and then put it together! But he did not stay home and wait for it. He asked – you going to be home all day? I generally am home most of the day, but I don’t make it a point to be at home all day, but today I made sure I was home all day and even taped a big sign to the door saying – I’m HOME! Don’t leave with the big box. Thank you!! So all the delivery men rang the doorbell and waited and eagerly asked – is this your big box? Funnily, we had about 5 deliveries today which included many big boxes which unexcitedly included 4 bags of dog food and 8 packages of diapers and finally a 4 pm, the long awaited box came. I helped the FedEx guy lift the box into the house & he said, don’t worry, it’s not that heavy and I laughed and thought to myself – Jeremy paid extra to just to make it not that heavy.
Jeremy is not going to have time to take the bike out of the box for a little while. We will just have to wait and see.
I got a text at noon from Vince today declaring that he wanted to make lasagna for dinner. Why was he thinking about making dinner at noon during the school day? I dunno, but I was totally up for having someone else make dinner. He got home at three, looked up a recipe, drove me to the grocery store, got all the ingredients, learned to use the self checkout with the entered bonus/super saver card, paid for it with his credit card (really, my credit card with his name on it) and drove me home and then made dinner. He explained that he was like Garfield, he hates Mondays and loves lasagna. He also wanted to video record his cooking.
This was an amazing lasagna.
While we were out yesterday, Maxi got into the pantry and ate a whole bag of chocolate chips. This meant that she was wired all night last night. She couldn’t sleep, she kept whining, jumping on our bed, jumping off our bed, pacing our bedroom wooden floor with the steady (and annoying) click, click, click of her untrimmed toenails and we kept taking her out, letting her pee, hoping that the chocolate would make it through her system so we could all get some sleep. She finally pooped around 4 am and finally settled into slumber. And so did we.
This is such a nice photo of Vince, like he’s some grown-up or something. Shocking to me. I did end up taking the nursing gig for the small company that provides in-home care for dementia patients. It’s not quite what I thought I was going to do, but it’s interesting to me in certain ways. It’s way more case management than nursing skills (I may never learn to put in an IV), but it’s fine. It won’t take a ton of time, it’ll be during business hours and I will be, in my mind, “of service” which is what I wanted from nursing school in the first place.
The whole family went out to lunch at Mission BBQ. We originally wanted to go to Urban Hot Pot, but there was an hour long wait because we didn’t show up right at opening. We so rarely go out as a family on the weekends, it was a little strange to be doing this outing.
The food was quite good, but the ambiance was not my favorite. Also, I could see that at the table next to us, a couple of 5 year old girls were making fun of Edda (it was a large party, the grownups were at the other end away from us, so the making fun was out of sight of authority). I don’t mind when little kids stare at us, they are usually not doing it out of malice – they usually are just trying to figure it out which I don’t mind, but these little kids were making fun of Edda which I do mind. I tried waving a friendly hello and then when that didn’t work, I wanted to slap them. (I did not slap them!)
Vince drove us to Walgreens where then he bought a pack of gum.
Vince & dad working on Chinese sentence structures.
Vickey & Bert came over and spent the afternoon with us.
And then we went to Thu & Jen’s cheese wheel party!
You know, I was all prepared to talk to my children about many things: sex. drinking. drugs. relationships. money. social media. I’ve done it all, bought condoms and put them on bananas (Vince turned them into water balloons and dropped them all out the bathroom window – middle school), talked about consent, Juuling – which Vince brought up first, how to be fiscally responsible (what retirement plans are, what a good mix of spending/saving is), trying to keep an eye on the memes (I’m terrible at this). I’m waiting on the relationships (though we’ve talked about sexual orientation), but now I get to talk to Vince about school shootings and protesting about gun control. He heard that students at RM were organizing a walkout yesterday (Wed). You can read about it here. Because our HS is so close to the Metro, the kids were going to take it all the way downtown. Vince was unsure if he was going to go – we told him that protesting was, in this case, important, but if he wanted to go to just blow off school, it was not a cool thing. I dropped him off at school in the morning (and he was still unsure) and gave him a Metro card, a portable charger, told him that if he decided to go to text me that he was leaving school and turn on his Google locator for me. He looked at me and said – I know, you are a worried mom. And I said that if he went, that I was more worried than the “generic” worry – I was worried that there would be a bunch of kids in the outdoors with no protection and I was worried that there would be a copycat. He said – copycat? And then I had to admit that I was worried that someone would shoot them. And then he quietly said – oh. He decided not to go because there was some classroom stuff he’s behind on, but he said he regretted not going when I picked him up. Then this morning, he was about to leave for school and then he said that there was a shooting threat for his HS and he seemed quite worried. I wasn’t sure what to do, do I tell him how to hide in his classroom? How to barricade the door? To not be a hero? Or do I tell him to not be worried? I did not take it seriously enough to even consider having him stay home. Then tonight, he fleshed out the shooting threat story a little more. Apparently a student threatened to shoot up the school right after the Florida shooting and immediately got suspended and today was his first day back at school. The student said that the original threat was a “joke” but during his suspension posted some threatening stuff on social media. And this kid is, if it wasn’t apparent, slightly odd. So Vince reported that a lot of kids were not in school today.
For Valentine’s Day, I asked Jeremy to go to this play at Montgomery College. I like celebrating Valentine’s Day around the actual day and not on the actual, actual day. An Enemy of the People – Ibsen. I wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day that was an outing and kind of cheap (Wed night was buy one get ticket free, so it was a $12 outing) and interesting. So the play was excellent and I like supporting local theatre, but man, it was serious and timely. There was a lot of yelling.
Jeremy went bike riding on President’s day with the Potomac Pedalers. Usually he goes on Sat or Sun and it’s fine, but he hasn’t made much headway with being friends with the weekend bikers. On President’s Day, he went on the advertised “Usual Monday Ride” and had a great time, everyone was very friendly, the ride was long enough and they went fast enough for Jeremy. I was like – how can it be the usual Monday ride? All they all unemployed? Turns out, they are all retired. Jeremy, who is now in fantastic biking shape, was working hard to keep up with a bunch of 70 year olds. Jeremy also just spent two years worth of careful savings (the fun fund is empty now!) on his first, real, true road bike. So if you gave him any birthday or Christmas money in the past two years, it’s gone now.
Vince is in the middle of a state-mandated 30 hour classroom driving course. Along with the classroom bit, he gets three two-hour in-car driving lessons. While Jeremy was out biking with the 70 year olds, Vince got into a car and had his first lesson at the wheel. On the way to the driving lesson, I could tell he was nervous – he asked how he could possibly drive a car without ever having driven a car, but I told him that’s what lessons are for! I picked him up from his driving lesson and he asked to drive us home once we got off the Rockville Pike and onto our neighborhood streets. I had taken the van to pick him up, so he drove our enormous minivan down our street.
After Chinese New Year dinner, we dropped Vince off at scouts where he headed to West Virginia to go cabin camping. Here’s a photo from the FB page…
The weather here is so strange. It was 70 degrees earlier this week and then we had a snow storm last night and now it’s on its way back up to 70 in a few days. I ran on the treadmill this morning and then swam a bit to stretch the body out. I messed up my hamstring a few weeks ago, so I’m willing it to fix itself. I’m old, so it’s not listening to me.
It was crummy in the morning, but morphed into a beautiful afternoon. Jeremy went bike riding. Edda and I hung out on the couch and napped and watched TV and read a book.
Vince came home and was grouchy. He apologized for being grouchy and continued his grouchy-ness until dinner time. There is a big project due in a few days, he made some forward progress on it.
I have fallen out of the habit of daily or almost daily posting/blogging. This is not satisfying to me. The time, then, just slips through my fingers. I forget what I’ve been doing all week and then it all disappears like smoke in the breeze. I will try to do better, that it what I say about all things, but most times it all ebbs & flows without much direction from me.
I went to Philly on Tues for a quick back and forth to see my friend Vidya. He’s being discharged home soon which will be nice (to be home! to see his daughter everyday!) and crazy daunting. I’m not sure how to help them, a lot of the help that is needed is physical which I am happy and perfectly capable of doing, but I’m his friend and not his caregiver and there is a difference. I remember when Edda was small and I was running around trying to cram a million hours of therapy practice outside of her formal therapy sessions driving myself insane and someone told me – you are her mother and not her therapist and that was really helpful to me.
I think I have a lead for a part-time flexible nursing job that will just slide into our family life without too much trouble. It’s not ambitious, it’s poorly paid, but it’ll bridge my resume until Vince goes to college. It does work with the geriatric population and it is with a small-family owned company and it’ll segue nicely into palliative care/hospice which is something I can do in a few years. I won’t have to go part time at my regular job and I get to keep all my night time habits like sleeping and all my weekend habits like watching Netflix. I hate being a new grad, all hospitals have “new grad” programs that start only twice a year, involve extra classes and projects, I don’t want to do any of that. Really, all I need is 4-6 weeks of training to do the job and then I can do it. I lament that I’ve “given up” on any ambitious career (in both engineering (running engineering teams at 3M) and nursing (pediatric heart transplants)!). I would have said that I’ve disappointed my parents in the previous decades, but now I think I’m just, in my mind, not living up to some sort of mythical feminist standard of what was expected from my trajectory in my 20s. Anyways, this is good enough. For now.
Happy Chinese New Year! We celebrated last night with family at the Far East restaurant.
We had peking duck which was extra delicious.
I want to tell you that Edda had the most fabulous time at dinner. She laughed and laughed and had two Peking duck wraps and loved the fish and the dumplings. It was a lovely evening.
Edda got me a Valentine’s Day card and sent it in the mail.
I had a lovely day, though slightly unproductive. Jeremy made me what I wanted – beef and barley soup with pretzel bread on the side. He got my favorite strawberry cream cake from Whole Foods. I had dinner with my family & we discussed the merits of the Seth Rogan movie – Sausage Party.
Wed found us with yet another snow day which was just as well because, though I could have sent sniffly Edda to school, she did well with another day at home. I, again, took the day off. Jeremy came home late on Wed, so we didn’t really get to chat/debrief until Thursday morning when it was clear that he was sick as well.
This past week gave me pause about finding a nursing job. Edda was sick, Jeremy was traveling, there was a snow day, a caregiver had the flu and cancelled on me the 2nd half of the week, there was a wheelchair / orthotics fitting for Edda on Thurs which required early pickup and there was a ton of honest discussions with Vince about school / college. I just felt like I can’t fit another serious time/space obligation in there. I can fit a 15 hour flexible thing in there, but I can’t fit a 30 hour non-flexible thing. Vince decided to not do the IB program – this was after a lot of discussion with me and careful thought on his part. Junior year is going to be difficult, even without the IB program – so I want him to be OK with what he is doing. I will say that I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time away from the house because Vince is going to go to college in a blink of an eye and then I won’t have this chance again. It’s not entirely smooth sailing, we did argue this past week (we always argue when Jeremy is out of town, Jeremy is like the rudder of our family, a steady, calming presence, though in the back and generally the last to know – hahahah sailing, rudder. I like it.).
Vince got his first overnight babysitting gig. Our next door neighbors had hired an actual grownup for their Valentine’s weekend getaway, but the sitter cancelled because of (what else) the flu and so we pinch hit for about 24 hours. I forget that toddlers need 100% supervision. Edda, who I think needs 100% supervision, doesn’t really need 100% supervision like a toddler needs it. Vince, Edda and I went to the mall with our toddler and had Chik-fil-A for lunch and saw Paddington 2 (excellent!). With both Grafton and Edda as temperamental movie-goers, I was unsure if we were going to be able to see if Paddington would be reunited with his family (when Vince was very small, we never found out if Nemo was found, but Edda has certainly made up for it by watching it 100,000 times). Grafton said in the middle of the movie – I don’t like this anymore! – but we powered through. We set up a tent in the guest bedroom and Vince did the whole bath, story & bed routine. Grafton surprised me by promptly falling asleep in our spare bedroom. I thought no way is he going to fall asleep quickly in a new environment, but he did!
Edda had a really nice time on this outing. I wish I was better about taking her out on adventures. It was nice to have Grafton as an excuse to spend time with both of my own kids. (Jeremy was still recovering from the week and needed some alone time. I can’t believe he passed up on seeing Paddington 2! No worries, I gave him the complete plot synopsis on Sat night.)