November 2008


Today I went, for the fifth year, to the pre-school/kindergarten fall show at our boys school. BB is not in it this year, having graduated from the pre-school/kindergarten ‘wing’ to first grade.   LB had a bravura performance as a fly in his class’s production of “I Don’t Know Why She Swallowed a Fly”. He was very proud that, as a fly, he got to lead the spider,bird, cat, dog, and cow in a circle. Very, very cute. And the neon green swim goggles worn as fly eyeballs was a very creative costume effect.

Also for the fifth year, I heard the two kindergarten classes sing and sign the same song. You would think that after five years of seeing this particular song performed, I’d get tired of it. But I don’t. The two classes worth of kids all dress up in outfits to represent different countries all over the world.  They each introduce themselves & name the country they represent and then they sign along and sing to the Raffi song “One Light, One Sun”.*     I tear up every time, five years in a row.   I cannot wait to see LB do it next year.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

* scroll down to get to the link to listen to it.

We had our first snowfall of the season today and it was beautiful. Fat, fluffy flakes falling as if we were in a giant snow globe.

Waking up the kids on a snowy morning is easy. Most mornings go like this:
“BB/LB time to get up. Come on guys. Get up, lets go” [repeat ad nauseum until reminders of breakfast get them moving.]

This morning went like this:

“BB, time to get up. It’s snoooooo-wing!” Bing! BB bolts out of bed to the window then beats me to LB’s room shouting, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!”

This snowfall was so ridiculously lovely even everyone at work was beaming this morning, greeting each other on the way to the coffee pot, “It’s snowing,” with goofy grins on our faces.

One thing that always pisses me off about reading the NYT magazine every week is the completely obsequious ads that are marketed toward people with a HELL of a lot more money than me.  It pissed me off even when I was making big city money.  It pisses me off even more now that I’m making a lot less in suburbia.

As always, the Patek Phillip ads are irritating (love the watches, and the motto is cute, but could you please find ‘next generation boys’ that don’t look like total prats?)  See here, for examples (the ones on the left, with the “dad” and “asshole young man”).

But, what really set me off yesterday was an ad for First Republic Bank.  They’ve had this series of ads for its private banking and other services and it features smiling pictures of wealthy folk talking about how happy they are with FRB’s services.  Usually, its some wall street type and his wife holding their golden-haired toddler. Wev.

This week’s ad, however, was in some ways a refreshing change: an African-American couple.*  Great!  Glad to see banks seeing that it’s not just whites who get rich, or that get rich in the “work hard as major executive to big huge company and am now really into private banking services way” as opposed to sports/entertainment/see my bling way, which seems to be the main way ads/media tends to promote wealthy blacks.

BUT, here, as in every other FRB ad, underneath the smugly, smiling picture, they list the couple’s names and their occupations:

       “Lee [last name]**, telecom executive”
       “Laura [last name], attorney at law, wife and mother”

Notice anything?  Who the hell is Laura married to, if not Lee?  Who the hell is the father of her childen?  Lee? Doesn’t look like it because father is not listed as one of HIS occupations.  Now, to be fair to the bank, perhaps this really is the allocation, and ONLY Laura has responsibility for the kids and ONLY Laura has the responsibility to be a spouse to Lee and he has none to her? (assuming they are even married to each other, b/c he sure isn’t touting it – but it sure sounds as if he is free to do whatever the hell he wants, and she and the kids can go jump in a lake).  Really, Madison Avenue & Wall Street, get a FUCKING CLUE.

*I’m going on the picture, I have no idea, obviously, how they self-identify.
** Updated to redact last names because I blame the advertising company and because the couple may well be fictional. The point is the job description.

We love soccer; we just don’t love what it does to our schedules or attempts to have regular family meals.

But, it’s over now.  The awards ceremony was this afternoon, which is the official close to the season.  The first year BB had soccer, we didn’t go to the ceremony because I was like, whatever, BB was the kid staring at butterflies all game, he’s not getting an award.

But I’d forgotten about the egalitarian spirit of our recreational league (there is also a traveling league; at the moment, I don’t see either boy competing in that, not to mention it plays even more havoc with the schedule).  So when I found out that I had denied BB his opportunity to get a mini-trophy and some related league paraphenalia two years ago, I felt like a bad, bad mother.

Anyway, today was the first awards ceremony I’d been to (mr. jolt brought them last year, I had a conflict) and it was cute.  Each team marches on stage, kids who sold the most raffle tix or candy for the fundraisers got special recognition (and either $ or a 5lb candy bar-yeesh, cavities) then they read each kid’s name & handed them a mini trophy & this years’ item: a hoody and t-shirt with the league name.  It was hokey and cute (and somebody popped the lights off twice while we were there – the most dramatic event of the afternoon).

The best part, however, was looking at the expression on LB’s face (this is first year at soccer) after he got his trophy & shirt and was standing on the stage, looking out at the assembled crowd.  You could just see him thinking, “I got a trophy!” 

We spent the next half hour trying to keep him from accidentally breaking it while waiting for BB’s team to be called.  Fortunately, both trophies are in one piece (unlike BB’s from last year which broke about a month ago in a place that is impossible to crazy glue.

But now, for the quiet season.  Other than the holiday stuff, which will definitely keep us busy, weekends will be ours to create and enjoy.  Not that we don’t enjoy soccer, but soccer goes according to its own schedule, not ours.

About a month ago, I was complaining to a friend about how my dishwasher just died.  My friend mtm (not her real initials) is into all sorts of things, including astrology, and she explained my broken dishwasher as being the impact of mercury (I think she said mercury) being in retrograde and how it always messed up various technology & communications. 

Ten seconds after she relayed this explanation to me, my cell phone went off.  It was our sitter explaining that after arriving at the park, BB had opened her car door into the car next to them, which resulted in a nasty dent, that had (we later learned from its semi-reasonable owner) had been bought the week before.  New car, bad dent, my kid.  Agh!.   Sitter explained that she did not think her basic car insurance would cover it; seeing as how it was the act of my kid, I told her we’d work it out.

Hanging up, I paused in horror and while not a believer in astrology, nonetheless asked anxiously, “Wait, this won’t impact the election, will it?  When does Mercury leave retrograde?”  I was assured that the retrograde ended in late October. Phew!

Despite multiple appointments with the dishwasher repairman, it was almost two weeks before the dishwasher was fixed, although without the cost of the part that had been part of the wait – great!  In the meantime the first estimate for the car door repair came in at OVER 900 DOLLARS.  Needless to say, we were having conniptions, but mr. jolt, having been tipped by a colleague – and with further advice from the helpful dishwasher repairman, suggested to the car’s owner another place to get an estimate that would be more reasonable.

Less than two weeks later, we got another estimate, this time $500.  There’s nothing like seeing an estimate for over $900 to make a $500 estimate seem reasonable.  We drafted a release & sent it to the lady, she went off to get her car fixed.  In the meantime, our dishwasher broke AGAIN.  Apparently, it was not just a clog and really did need that part that they had waited to arrive and then thought they didn’t need the first time.  But of course, the part had been sent back to the warehouse so we had to wait another week for the part to come in.  

The first failed appointment for the second attempt to fix, which mr. jolt went home for b/c I have no vacation to spare if we want to travel at Christmas, failed.  The part hadn’t come in, but they didn’t find out in time to cancel.  This was the Monday before the election.  That same day the sitter’s car broke down while she was three hours away so she was not going to be available that afternoon.  She asked me on the phone, “Aren’t we supposed to be out of retrograde by now?” (I had shared mtm’s views with her).  I too was dismayed,  what if we were still in retrograde or whatever on election day!?!

The repair dude wanted to come Tuesday night.  I said, no friggin’ way am I dealing with this on election day!  So it was set up for Wednesday.  By  Wednesday, I was so happy about President Elect Obama that I didn’t even blink when the repair dude called early that afternoon to say that he was a single dad and his babysitter got sick so he would not be able to meet me at five.  I was magnanimous & said, “no worries!”  Thursday he came, the dishwasher is fixed; the car door dent has been settled, and clearly a BIG ‘OLE chunk of retrograde had been kicked to the curb because we have P.E.Obama.

However, California must be under a different star because, really WTF.  Of all states that should have been paying attention to astrology it was California and they should not have been passing retrograde constitutional stuff after mercury was no longer in its retrograde screwing everything up (What kind of fucked up system is it when you can change the constitution by majority vote?  No super-majority or 2/3 requirement?  No special procedures?)  Well, the ACLU is on the case & I hope they beat back this asinine retrograde fuckneckery.

LB’s word for cold:  “brrrry”  As in, “I don’t want to go out, it is too brrrry out.”

BB, remarking on mr. jolt’s bday, which was last week (mr. jolt was out of town so we had late cake on Sunday), “Daddy, when I’m ten, you’ll be 42.”  I added, “And when you’re twenty, daddy will be 52.”  BB’s eyes boggled at the thought of twenty.  I boggled at the thought of BB twenty; not to mention – 52!!  Deep breaths, moving on.

LB has this unfortunate anti-helpfulness streak he’s been exercising lately.  Such as, refusing to go down the basement to turn off the lights (when he just came up).  Today, after lunch, he retrieved a box of fudgsicles from the freezer.  BB took one & opened it.  LB took one, then handed the box to mr. jolt, asking him to put it back.  mr. jolt and I were still sitting at the table so he said no, you put the box back.  LB’s response, “The box is too heavy to put back!”  Um, yeah, it’s too heavy now that you’ve taken 2 fudgsicles out of it. 

In exchange for an offer of opening his fudgsicle wrapper, we talked him into putting the box back.  In the meantime, I typically spend five minutes arguing about BB going back down to shut off the basement light – every single time! –  by which time he could have been up and down at least ten times.  Sigh.  If anyone has any ideas about circumventing this semi-oppositional behavior, I’d love to hear it!

Obama’s first press conference (transcript here).  Seemed pretty good to me.  But the most refreshing thing is that, unlike the current occupant of the White House, President elect Obama can effectively communicate ideas and comes across as reasonable even when he’s obviously hedging.

It seems, somehow, absurd to point out that Obama is an effective communicator, but geez, its a huge reminder of how awful Bush is at saying simple sentences or conducting press conferences.  Perhaps some of this is due to the honeymoon stage Obama is in, but his clarity, and also, his addressing the press without sneers, is so refreshing.

I wish I were a more effective speaker and writer in part because I firmly believe that the ability to speak and write clearly is inevitably linked to the ability to think clearly.  Perhaps there are many exceptions to that view,  but the contrast between Bush and Obama reinforces that notion for me.

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