Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How You Doin', Mr. President?

On Friday, our last full day in Washington, I awoke in a foul mood. This was due in part to our sleeping arrangements. With two double beds and a sleeper sofa in the common area, we had to get creative with the sleeping partner combinations. Somehow I ended up with the Girl for two nights and it was not the angelic mother-daughter sleeping experience I had envisioned. We did not, for example, wear flowing white embroidered peignoirs (out of flannel or something conservative, naturally), and braid each other's hair while watching HGTV. Instead, we both collapsed into bed exhausted and cranky and slept fitfully: She, because she was apparently dreaming about playing tennis and me because she seemed to think I was a tennis ball.

This tender moment has to be a lie. Whenever I sleep
in a bed with one of the kids, I end up getting
kicked, hit, or drooled on.  
I hadn't really planned anything for the beginning of our day on Friday because we had such big plans for the afternoon. We had the amazing opportunity to go to the White House! I know! So, I had thoughts that we'd spend the morning visiting a museum close to the hotel and then ironing outfits, taking showers, and braiding hair (while watching HGTV, naturally). Just like our sleeping arrangement, this vision was quickly replaced with real life.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Boats, Shakes, and Spies

Thursday was our first full day in Washington, and I had planned ahead by booking us seats on a DC Duck Tour in the morning and making reservations at the International Spy Museum in the afternoon. The Boy was still feverish, the Girl was still limping, and the Baby was still incapable of walking a city block without turning around with her hands in the air and moaning, "cawey me!" Despite all this, we were going to have some fun! The Duck Tours depart from Union Station, which allowed me to reminisce to the children all my fond memories of the venerable train station. I mentioned the time that I bought a scarf at the Putumayo clothing store in the retail area at Union Station in the early 90's, before I realized that I wasn't a scarf person (and before Putumayo realized it was a world music company, not a clothing company). And, I told them that the Pizzeria Uno has been in the same spot on the upper level since I visited Union Station in high school. "When was that? The 1900's or something?" the Girl asked. Well, I never! Yes, but it was the late 1900's.

Pizzeria Uno in Union Station in 1990, or perhaps 2013. Who knows?
Obviously, the children were not entertained by my Union Station memories, which was unfortunately as we were quite early for the tour and had some time to kill. This is bad news because whenever the Baby gets bored and we're at a new place, her bladder shrinks to the size of a quarter and she'll whisper in her little voice,"Mommy, I need to use the westwoom." I'm fairly sure that it's just her love of public restrooms and not an actual physical need that is driving her request. Public bathrooms are generally just gross. Navigating public bathrooms with three children of different genders is highly inconvenient. I do love a nice family bathroom because it spares me the mental gymnastics involved in figuring out how whether it's more potentially damaging to take an eight-year-old boy to the women's room or send him alone into the men's room. Similarly, I haven't solved what to do with him while I take the Baby to the women's bathroom, except to have him loiter in the hallway outside the restroom like a pervert. If anyone has figured out how to do this, please let me know!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Freestyling, Flying Things, and Oblique References

Since we arrived at our hotel before noon, we had the entire afternoon to drag our exhausted/injured/sick children around Washington, D.C. And by "we," I mean "me" because the K had to go to work. His firm has a Washington, D.C. office so that he didn't have to miss a minute of the glamorous world of practicing law for a family vacay (insert emoticon with one wryly raised eyebrow). He was able to join us for lunch and was nice enough to pick a spot (BGR, The Burger Joint) and map out directions on his phone. Unfortunately, he selected driving directions, so we traversed nearly the entire circumference of Dupont Circle moving with the traffic, before we arrived at Connecticut Avenue, which was only two streets over from our starting point had we walked against the traffic. Did I mention that it was 98 degrees? When we finally reached Connecticut Avenue, we walked right past the restaurant, which was on the other side of the street, and were halfway to Maryland before we realized our mistake. At this point, the Baby decided that she could no longer walk and I completed the Butaan Death March to BGR carrying 98.6 degrees and 40 pounds of Baby. I wasn't exactly wowed by my veggie burger, but the kids seemed to like their sliders well enough. They did have one of those fancy Coke Freestyle machines:

Over 125 different Coca-Cola flavors. Read all about it in Wikipedia
Naturally, the children had to help me figure out how to use it because I was probably dehydrated from our flight and carrying the Baby all over God's green earth (err, well, God's grey sidewalk littered with homeless people). It certainly couldn't be that they had to help me because I am old. Certainly not!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gimme a Break

Didn't Nell Carter have a way with words? I think that I've mentioned before that our school district is on a balanced schedule, which is a fancy way of saying that the kids have two months off during the summer and four one-week breaks during the year. Although,"break" is kind of a misnomer, if you ask me. First of all, it's not a break for me to have to entertain the children for an additional eight hours a day, and it's not a break to plan a vacation and play cruise director, so I'm not calling them breaks anymore. I'm calling them continuations.

So, for our Fall Continuation, we planned to visit Sister who lives in Washington, D.C. We all know what happened last time our family traveled to the Nation's Capital. That's right, lice-a-palooza 2011. I had high hopes for this trip, because how can you really top discovering a head lice infestation at 9:00 pm, the night before you are scheduled to tour the White House? Admittedly, it would be tough, especially because we couldn't go for the whole week because the K had to work. But, we had a full compliment of activities scheduled for our Wednesday through Saturday trip including museums, meeting the president and vice president, and getting a puppy. Do you think I'm joking? I am not. We are just that bad ass.

Our saga began on Saturday, the first day of "continuation" when the Baby came down with a fever of 103. I dosed her up with Motrin and resigned us all to waiting out the illness. How long could it last? Surely she would be better by the time we left on Wednesday. On Saturday night, while I was checking on the Baby's fever, I heard a crash from the Girl's room. She had woken up from a deep sleep and found that she had pins and needles in her foot (I would say that her foot fell asleep, but then, she was asleep, so that would be confusing.) She jumped out of bed and tried to shake her foot awake and inadvertently banged it on the bed frame. She seemed okay at the time and went back to sleep.

The next morning there was no change to the Baby's fever and I was so consumed with keeping track of her temperature and giving her Motrin and Tylenol that I completely ignored the Girl who complained that her foot was bothering her from where she kicked the bed frame. I think it's an unwritten rule of parenting that the kid with the fever gets more attention than the kid with unspecified orthopedic complaints, unless a bone is sticking through the skin. Speaking of breaks...


Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say No

Well, it's that time of year again. Every fall since the kids started school I tell myself that this is going to be the year that I take Nancy Reagan's sage advice and just say no. Of course, Nancy was talking about drugs and I'm talking about being a room parent, but the tag line is the same. Oh sure, some might say that drugs are more harmful than being a room parent, but those people haven't seen me crying on my computer keyboard when I realize that I have to plan a holiday party that can't include the word "holiday" or the word "party." And they haven't seen me studying food labels at the supermarket to make sure that no food we are serving has even stolen a furtive glance with peanuts, eggs, milk, gluten, or red dye. I'll bet that some drugs would be more enjoyable, just not the really addictive ones that make your teeth fall out.

Before this school year started I vowed that I would not be a room parent. I kept on telling myself that I was turning over a new leaf. No more volunteering! This was my year to relinquish control and let someone else plan the class holiday book swap. Well, how you think that worked out? I'll give you a hint - I haven't been blogging much lately, have I? My delusions were so bad that I had to stage an intervention with myself. I sat myself down and said, "look, we have been down this road before. No one is going to volunteer to be room parent and you're going to think about how you've done it six times and that it's one of the few things that you are currently qualified to do. It's room parenting and lice treatments. That's all you've got! And, on the off chance that someone else actually does volunteer, you know that you are a super-critical moaner and if that poor soul who volunteered to be room parent doesn't know what she's doing, you'll bitch and complain about her doing a shitty job and that's unfair to everyone. This is going to happen. You know that you will be a room parent. It is your destiny." Then I punched myself in the face for being such a know-it-all.

Apologies for defacing this lovely piece of clip-art.