MP drew this portrait of Poppy the other night.
Then she told me she wanted to take ‘artist’ classes.
I dig it.
If I’d have been disciplined and posted during the Denver trip last week, I could of avoided this painfully looong recap. If I lose you halfway through, I completely understand. I feel the need to post details for posterity’s sake, however. It’s the little things I love remembering.
Saturday morning: News from my handyman.
Yes, I have a handyman. In Denver. Not the bow-chicka wow-wow “Oh my it IS hot please DO take your shirt off would you like some lemonade” kind of handyman. Not the 25-year-old porno pizza delivery guy variety. No, he’s a Vietnam Vet who’s logo is a giant red octopus. A giant red octopus with a tool in each tentacle and a face that looks eerily similar to his. A giant red octopus smokin’ a cigar, which is accurate. It’s actually pretty funny.
Anyhoo, the news. My house — the house I bought two months before MP was born; her first home; the tiny 1923 cottage I put so much work into; the place that’s now a rental — was left an absolute pigsty by the latest tenants. Two college guys. I am officially a WANKER for convincing myself they couldn’t do much damage in nine months. Which is comical, considering the gestational significance of the lease and their correlating level of maturity.
The mess wasn’t the worst part. Apparently, in the three weeks it had been sitting vacant, the washing machine was continuously filling and spilling … all over the mudroom floor and down into the basement. Not only did I need to have the washer repaired, the resulting moldy carpet needed to be ripped out; as did the warped wood floor beneath, and subsequently, MY HAIR.
Oh yeah, the boys broke the electric garage door, too. A nice little $750 parting gift.
I LOATHE being a landlord. (A long-distance landlord, no less.) Unfortunately, considering the current market’s sorry state, I can’t afford to sell. And truth be told, I have a strong emotional attachment to the place. When I finally DO sell it and say goodbye to all it’s ghosts, admitting that chapter is REALLY, TRULY closed is going to be more than impossibly tough.
Between dealing with carpet cleaners, numerous trips to Home Depot and lots and lots of sweaty yard work, I DID actually manage to do a few FUN things.
Saturday night: Sleepover and vodka lemonades at Tattoo Daddy and Corporate Mommy’s new house. When did my friends become the kind of people who live in 4,300 square foot homes? In the ‘burbs no less? It pains me somewhat to admit it was actually quite nice. So nice, in fact, I think it took them — consummate city dwellers — by surprise too.
As strangers living across the street from one another in one of Denver’s very urban neighborhoods, our infant children brought us together. Their son, FDR (logic behind this real life nickname is too politically incorrect to post, trust me), and MP are two months apart in age. Tattoo Daddy was MP’s first, if not unlikely, babysitter.
Together, they’re the coolest couple I know.
And just good people. Case in point: later that night, when MP’s eye swelled shut in violent protest to their cat’s dander, Tat Daddy happily ran to the store for Benadryl. Good peeps. I miss ’em.
Oh yeah, almost forgot about this.
For the first time, I have appliance envy. ‘Crushed ice machine’ has always been on my list of frivolous things I’d buy if I were fabulously wealthy.
Turns out, there are actually refrigerators on the market that DO THIS. What?!? Something on the Fabulously Wealthy List may actually be within my reach??
Ice is my vice. My dentist’s nightmare. I chew it ALL. DAY. LONG. Yes, I’m aware of the whole supposed sexual frustration connection, my fellow junior high friends, and trust me, that’s one explanation that wouldn’t be a stretch for this single mama. However, I don’t think that’s the case. It’s more of a full-blown addiction.
The monkey on my back.
Which brings me to …
Sunday morning: The Denver Zoo. Quote of the day: “Mommy, those monkey’s tushes are GROSS.”
Yeah, about that. Remember how you wanted a pet?
Have some cotton candy instead. A “food” first. Had it not been for Spongebob, this little undesirable would’ve gone virtually unnoticed.
As in, “Huh. That’s weird. A big ball of pink lint on a stick. Meh.”
Okay, it WAS mind-numbingly good.
The corndog was pretty tasty too. Another “food” first.
Sunday night: Grandpa Bobo wakes me up at 12:30 a.m. to tell me there’s an alarm going off. Clearly spooked, he makes me get up and investigate with him. Turns out to be my brother’s travel clock in the living room.
Bobo later admits he’s freaked out in my brother’s 100+ year-old house and confesses his temptation to tiptoe into the guest room while MP and I sleep, and camp out on the floor.
The next night my brother baits Bobo (who, as expected, buys every word) by telling him strange things have happened in the house — always at 1:20 a.m. — and then predictably sets the travel alarm to 1:20 a.m., leaving it by the couch as Bobo lay sleeping.
I had to intervene. I had to get some sleep.
Monday night: MP touches a light bulb. Says she wanted to see if it was hot. It was. Glad we cleared that up.
Tuesday night: Out to dinner with the fam. The drive downtown finds us stopped at a light behind some fancy-schmancy car. Bobo oogles and asks (like I’m an authority) what kind it is. I, of course, have no idea. I reply, “It ain’t no Pickle Car,” which he adopts as a catch-all phrase for the remainder of the trip.
For those unfamiliar with the genius of Richard Scarry, THIS is a Pickle Car.
Add it to the Fabulously Wealthy List. I’d SO enjoy driving to work each day in this.
Turns out the car was actually some kind of crazy Acura. That looked like a Kit Car. That looked like a hairy Italian.
Later, at the restaurant, all hell breaks loose. MP finally cracks under the continuous stream of excitement. Once home, I send her to bed with the iPod and her Princess tunes. Along with the cotton candy, the corndog, and the lightbulb-touching incident, the iPod is indeed another first.
After a busy five days, the best part of the trip, hands down, was watching MP interact with her younger cousins. I mentioned last week she insists on calling them her “brothers.” She wants siblings so badly. And I do wish I could give her a few. Maybe, with more visits, this will be a happy medium.
It’s early Friday morning, and MP, Bobo and I are hittin’ the road to Denver in eight hours, to meet the newest edition to the family — my brother’s second baby and second son, Greyson. MP INSISTS she’s a big SISTER, NOT a big COUSIN. Whatever works.
We’ll be away for a few days, which means I may or may not be taking a tiny break from Blogland — just depends. Lots of old friends to catch up with in D-Town in a short period of time.
Criminey, I haven’t even BEGUN to pack yet. I’m so tired right now I’m actually seriously contemplating just going to bed, getting up at 5 a.m. and packing then. A dangerous choice, given Bobo’s strict road trip rules: GET ON THE ROAD, STAY ON THE ROAD, AND DON’T BE LATE. It’ll be an interesting trip. Either we’ll arrive tomorrow night in Denver wanting to strangle each other or the long drive will prove a fantastic bonding experience.
I’ll be on Twitter all day, or as long as I have a signal. AND I’ll try and Tweet pics from the Crackberry, using TwitPic.
Mkay, gotta move mounds of wet clothes to the dryer and start another load before collapsing.
Watch for me on Twitter, Doogs!
Early one night last week, MP saw a man on a horse walking down the road. Grammy, MP and I went to say hello and after some conversation, learned he lived just a short distance away. Turns out he and his wife have two daughters — one four and one eight. They’re home-schooled and in his words, desperate for contact with other kids. We exchanged numbers and I extended an open invitation for them to come over any time.
I guess I thought they’d CALL first.
Friday afternoon I was totally ambushed. The house looked like a bomb went off — a mountain of clean laundry piled on the couch, spilling onto the floor, MP’s toys strewn EVERYWHERE and a pile of dishes in the sink. MP and I had just gotten back from a hot, sweaty bike ride and were home no more than 10 minutes before the Home-schoolers showed up at the door. I was HORRIFIED. From the looks on their faces, so were they.
The girls wore peasant skirts; Mom was fresh-faced with long brown hair pulled into a loose pony. A crunchy granola Ingalls family. Very nice, but … awkward. Like they didn’t have much contact with the outside world. I imagined them reading by gas lantern at night.
I invited them in. MP was ECSTATIC to have playmates over. She took them into her playroom. I asked Ma Ingalls if she’d like a seat, and she said she was fine sitting on the wooden bench by the door. Ho-kee. I checked on the girls. The older one, Ingrid — who MP kept calling “Penguin” — was busy cleaning the play kitchen, telling me (not without a slight note of disdain) she was “organizing it because it was SUCH a mess.” The glow of that gas lantern brightened just enough for me to now envision the impossibly tidy log cabin Ma Ingalls no doubt kept.
The younger girl ran out to her mother, one of MP’s baby dolls in her arms.
“Mother!” she said, “MP’s so KIND. She let me play with one of her babies!”
I was quickly falling under the impression these kids had NO playmates. Their speech was bookish and almost antiquated. It dredged up memories of third grade and Peter Costa, teasing dorky, bespectacled eight-year-old me in front of a group of classmates.
Not to worry. I had a comeback.
“Yeah? Well, it’s not like … I’m … FOND of you or anything.”
Good one. FOND. While I was reading Wuthering Heights and building my Victorian vocabulary, Peter Costa was busy being the Cute Boy. And while Peter and the group snickered at my prudish reply, I knew THAT choice comeback had effectively bumped me to the next level of nerd status.
So, I felt for the Ingalls girls.
After spending 45 minutes wrapped in small talk with Ma — all the while side-sweeping clutter into neat little piles — it was closing in on dinner time. Getting ready to leave, the little one said to MP, “You should give me some of your toys because you have SO many.” We all heard it. Ma just smiled. I let out an uncomfortable chuckle. MP stared. It was weird.
Eh, you can’t blame the kid for coveting Hungry Hungry Hippos, when all she has are wooden pull-toys. And sticks to whittle. In that cabin with the gas lantern.
As we walked them down the dirt driveway — MP clickity clacking in her pink plastic Cinderella heels; the Ingalls Family in their patchwork skirts atop their bikes — I told Ma we went to the public pool every Friday.
And she said they could rearrange their schedule so THEY could go to the pool every Friday too.
Apparently they’re FOND of us.
How I know it’s time to get my roots done.
Mommy, I know what color your hair is.
You do? What color?
Acorns are brown at the top.
The first time she’s noticed any difference.
(Watching the Bill Cosby cartoon featuring a black family)
Mommy, Little Bill and his mom forgot to put sunscreen on.
First, she asked for some tape.
Next, she asked how to spell ‘no.’
And then we hit another milestone.
The first KEEP OUT sign.
Not only did MP post one on HER door …
She posted one next door at the entrance to Grammy and Poppy’s room too.
Grammy and Poppy let her watch cartoons to her heart’s content in that room. And eat ice cream in their bed. So Mommy is not allowed in there either.
Because Mommy is a buzzkill.
My little girl, she’s growing up.