Monday, June 7, 2010

Goodbye Old House

It's hard to fathom, but we are about to say goodbye to our old house. It sold and now we're beginning the escrow process. I remember when we bought it 11 years ago. The family we bought it from told us we'd bring home our babies into that house - we did. Child #1 and child #3 knew it as their first home. We recall walking through the doors 30 minutes after leaving the hospital thinking, "Now what do we do?" After a five month wait we finally brought our third child home. A place he'd never known before - welcome home, orphaned one.

We went trick-or-treating in that neighborhood. Teenagers tp’d the house and lots of them hung out with us for pizza parties and movie nights. We spent countless hours there with great neighbors. We played basketball with the neighbor kids who too quickly grew up. We celebrated the 4th of July with barbecues and legal fireworks – at least that’s what Geoff said.

We fixed up that house from head to toe: laminate flooring, interior paint, carpet, baby rooms, a “Dora” room, new faucets, and a porch swing. And of course the masterpiece – the back patio: a shade structure and gorgeous slate tile thanks to Dad and Uncle Ed. We even had those misters to cool us down in the hot summers while we ate Jana’s famous tri-tip and ribs.

There were many Christmases we put up lights there and the one when we came home to find lights already up. Finally there were the two times we moved away. The first, never knowing if we were coming back. The second, knowing we wouldn’t.

There are people who live in the same home most of their lives. I envy them somewhat. They won’t have stories of adventure in exotic suburbs like me, but they can trace the height of their kids from birth on the kitchen’s door jamb. Soon we’ll be off, spending a small fortune on an unfamiliar house in our new town to accommodate our growing family. I hope the memories are just as good. Goodbye, old house.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dining Disaster

A Memorial Day to remember - for the wrong reasons. You've probably had one of these. One of my first posts last year relayed a shopping disaster at Costco.
Jana had to work last night so I decided to drive the kids in to Seattle - about 35 minutes away. The website told me, "The best Chicago-style pizza in Seattle." How could I turn that down?
After the long drive, we found a parking space (a miracle in itself) and walked across to pizza perfection. What happened next? You guessed it - CLOSED ON MONDAYS. Of Course it was. So we walked a couple of blocks and found a cool looking Greek restaurant. Mmmmmmmm. The three little people and I were seated at the centrally located table with about 30 other people within food-throwing distance. So we sat and I hoped for the best. You know when a restaurant is deadly silent that you can be in trouble. Even at conversational levels, we're at 50-60 decibels. We ordered quickly and the water arrived in an unbreakable coffee cup. Disaster avoided so far. Soon, though, menus were being thrown to the ground - just because they could be. Seven or eight near drink dropping episodes were thwarted - I felt on top of my defensive game. But then it happened.
Dad got his food first. Soup. Kids hardly even like soup. But the near two year old, expressing his full "two-ness," wanted it. I kindly offered a bite with his own fork. Scream. I put the fork down enabling him to be in control by putting it in his own mouth. Scream. I put a few scoops on his own plate. Scream. Nothing short of handing over my soup cup with my spoon would satisfy. The screming continued. I put my hand over his mouth to muffle the exhaling yells. Lifting at the appropriate time for oxygen intake.
I tried the distraction move: walking to another part of the resaurant. Scream. Hit. Actually snotty, drooling face screams. My hand was moistly filled with said mucus, yet I still covered the screams. We returned to the table. The rest of our food arrived. The two year old got his own plate. Scream. Hit. At this point I had worked up a good sweat. We had walked quite a bit and I was wearing a sweatshirt. The restaurant was not greatly ventilated, but why would you need an infusion of cold air in Seattle?
I admitted least to my idea of dining out without a second adult to help. I asked for our freshly presented food to go. Scream. Our waitress was awesome. She had helped the girls cut their food when I was walking with the toddler. She later rushed from the kitchen with "to go" containers and we were whisked out of the restaurant quickly. End screams. The two older sibling were great as well. They were patient, obedient, and flexible.
As we walked towards the car. He was silent. And I was deflated. I only had 3 sips of my $2.50 diet coke. I hadn't been able to sit and enjoy a cool ethnic hangout in a cool urban neighborhood. My almost two year old seemed momentarily possessed and quickly returned to normal. Within seconds of getting strapped into the car seat he was chirping for joy, laughing at his sisters, enjoying the ride back home. I did the silent parent thing for about 20 minutes. The "what the heck just happened" introspection. I consoled myself with a $1.00 McDonald's drive-thru (of course) diet coke and reminded myself - it's just a phase. And promised myself never to go to a restaurant with my children until 2025!