Sometimes, when the headlines are dominated by bad news, it is hard to come over here and blog. It seems so trivial in the grand scheme of things- the happenings in St. Louis, Iraq, Israel and Gaza, Robin Williams, missing planes, planes being shot down….but here, let me talk about my life/dog/baby!
Yesterday I saw a lot of snide comments on social media about how *of course* everyone cares about the rich white comedian that dies but no one cares about any of the other above situations. It isn’t that easy of course. Expressing sadness of a generally well-loved figure isn’t political, alienating, anger inducing, or any of the other things that can cause hesitation before typing out on a Facebook status or Tweet. I don’t have a nagging feeling that I’m not well informed as I opine that, oh man, I’ll really miss Robin Williams and what he brought this world. At least not the way I would if I tried to discuss the world political landscape or the unrest in St. Louis. I think some of the snide commentators would be best reminded that having sadness for one event isn’t mutually exclusive of having sadness for another….but I digress.
Amidst all of the bigger world troubles, Gracie has had a fever. Nothing else, just a fever, enough to make her cranky and keep her home from school. I don’t typically mind being a working parent- it is what I know, and with some organization and the ability to laugh at myself, it works for us. But when Gracie is sick the reality of being a working parent isn’t so rose-tinted and B and I struggle with who needs to stay home, what does your week look like, how can we make this work. All of that and the poor pumpkin doesn’t feel well, so as I rock her and I flash my calendar and to-do list in my head I am overwhelmed and want nothing more than to not be a working parent. Once she is feeling better and it settles back out, I’m reminded again why I like working, why it is what is right for our family, why I’m happy to do what I do…but in those fevery, fussy moments, I wish for anything but.
I’m continually reminded that fall is on the horizon, and a tiny part of me thinks “Fall is fun! I love fall!” and then the other part of me struggles with some sort of PTSD from the winter of 2013-2014. I’m making lists of freezer meals to be made, boots that need purchasing (I wore mine into the ground last winter), winter coats that need a quick trip to the cleaner, 10 passes to indoor playgrounds that I need to buy, hats that need finding, toddler snow pants that need procuring. I’m determined to be ready for the winter, to not be sucked into the misery that was last year, but in the meantime I keep reminding myself to focus on August not pumpkins.
Gracie’s daycare is working on improving communication with parents (we get a daily report but they are going more tech-savvy so we can see photos and get a little more info in real time) and part of me is thrilled, but it also makes me a tiny bit sad- more solid reminders that she spends a great part of her time with others, not with us. I know it is good for her, I know she enjoys “school” and her teachers and her friends, and again, I know working works for me….but somehow the photos of her happily painting her day away make me a little sad, a little “oh…” a little…I don’t know. Melancholy I suppose. Defensive that I’m a good Mom, I paint with her too! It isn’t rational, and I know that, but it doesn’t stopping the nagging thoughts from creeping up every now and again, making me wonder about every life choice that led me to here and would I do anything over….even when the reality is nope, not a thing.
Whew. Pen to paper is cathartic. Or…fingers to keyboard I suppose.
As I begin many a Monday morning post in the summer, B was out of town this weekend sailing. He sails lots of smaller Chicago area events over the course of the year, but July brings the big guns- the two races to Mackinac and a regatta in Harbor Springs, Michigan. As for the Mackinac races, one starts in Chicago, one starts in Port Huron and they both end up at the island. The Chicago one is the “oldest annual freshwater distance race” (I know you thought it must be The Other Race You Were Just Reading About). The one from Port Huron is one of the longest freshwater races in the world. Both are very storied in tradition and they are run back to back weekends, with the cities switching which one goes first and which one goes second every year.
This is my way of telling you this out of town weekend is old news for me. ‘Been doing it since dinosaur times. Most years the races are marked by all sorts of things going terribly wrong while B is gone, but this one was pretty good. And, bonus, my favorite part of the race is all the boats have transponders so you get to track them like a real
creepy creeper in love wife. Anyway. Gracie and I kicked off the weekend Friday with daycare pickup + dinner out. I found a restaurant that is convienently on the way home from daycare and is run by the same people as another restaurant I like and- here is the key information- kids eat free between 4:00 and 6:00 (Crosby’s Kitchen on Southport). Sold. I had a fancy salad and ice water, Gracie had chicken tenders and french fries (what? It is Friday!) and I paid 17 bones for the experience, including a nice tip. WORTH IT. Gracie had a good time coloring & eating but was dismayed when she accidentally (how? I do not know) dropped a ketchupy french fry down the back of her dress.
Saturday morning we got up and rather than the usual zoo-farmer’s market process we hung around, played, sent “good luck” photos to B in which the two of us were actually smiling and then knocked out the Costco run and grocery shopping. It was pouring cats and dogs and I harbored a (false) illusion that the deluge would mean thet traffic on Lake Shore Drive would be better (big food festival in Grant Park). I was wrong, womp womp. Regardless we hit up sample Saturday at “the club”, grabbed all of our groceries and made it home for naps and more rain. In the evening hours we went over to grill out with some friends, and had an awesome evening of kids playing and steak eating. Adult time is always nice but particularly when you’ve been solo parenting, no matter how short of a time. We had a break in weather for a little while and let the kids run around barefoot outside (summer!) and sat on the porch. More bad weather moved in so we put G to sleep in a pack n play and the adults waited for a lull in the storm with more adult conversation not interrupted by wee ones. Oh and I brought a key lime pie, which was made possible by this divine elixir:
Get yourself some and make the recipe on the back.
Sunday morning G and I met my two best girlfrinds from law school for brunch, where Gracie got her coloring on (again! she is a machine!) and politely helped me eat all of my chicken and biscuit (Carriage House in Wicker Park, SO GOOD) before we came home for playing, naps and a round of splashing in the neighbor’s wading pool. It turns out neither my dog nor my baby care much for wading pools. FINE. WHATEVER. I’M GLAD WE PUT SUNSCREEN ON FOR THAT FIVE MINUTE ENDEAVOR.
Anyway, thats about all she wrote, for the most part, not really, look, more words. I impressed myself Sunday by making Gracie and I a real dinner on the grill with a side of her new favorite, Annie’s mac & cheese and we read a lot of stories and played with all of the toys, including more than one joyful round of dumping all of the blocks out of the bag and spreading them around the living room. I did laundry but didn’t fold it (my usual nemisis) and we generally enjoyed ourselves despite the weather. Exccept the beagle, who protested the weather by spending much of the weekend under my side of the bed, coming out for walks and food.
Now we look forward to B coming home before the next round of sailing (with family vacation plans in the very near future, woohoo). Oh and at some point this week a blast of artic air that should drop our overnight temps into the 40′s and 50′s. GOOD TIMES.
Yesterday I rolled down my window to yell at a pedestrian who made a rude gesture towards me after I almost hit her while she jaywalked in front of me.* Normally I just get on with myself, but seriously? SERIOUSLY? I was pulling out of a parking garage where you are forced to turn right or left (you can’t go straight) and as I pulled out, turning, she stepped in front me. I swerved, she stepped back up on the curb and rolled her eyes and gestured rudely towards me. As I rolled down the window she yelled “Oh so you are going to yell at me now?”
“THERE IS A CROSSWALK ON THE CORNER FOR A REASON” is pretty much all I managed to get out, along with something about having a right of way.
If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, even when I havea green light, I wait. It is the law, and they have the right of way. But I am sick of people just walking into active roadways and expecting cars, sometimes traveling at a high rate of speed ,to just stop. That isn’t how the world works. Go use a crosswalk, I’ll stop for you every time. You know why there isn’t a crosswalk right where that lady decided to cross the street? Because there is A PARKING GARAGE OF EXITING CARS RIGHT THERE.
Oh and bicycles, I always treat you like a car and am respectful of your space and I check my mirrors before exiting so I don’t door you, but how about you live up to your end of the deal and follow the rules of the road? This means stopping at stop signs and red lights. You don’t get to complain about drivers not treating you like a car (which they are obliged to do) if you don’t follow the same principles of stop/go/right of way.
* I do not condone yelling at strangers.
* * *
Gracie loves the car carts at our local grocery store, and since they keep her happy and occupied (wheel spinning, beep-beeping) I oblige. The problem being the car carts are really hard to steer and wider at the base than a typical grocery cart which means I clip a lot of corners. I’m slowly getting better, but damn if I’m not apologizing for half of my trip. The car carts are also quite heavy so stopping when someone exits an aisle and there is a traffic jam isn’t always feasible. But who has the right of way in the grocery store? The people coming out of the aisles, or the people cruising the main, perpindicular thoroughfares? I always wonder. And try to halt as necessary to prevent cart crashing. And a side note: I love when we pass other kids in car carts and the kids do some sort of secrete handshake headnod thing, like “YEAAAHHHH CAR CART RIDING”. Oh to be a kid again.
(I have a really cute photo of Gracie in the car cart, but I can’t seem to locate it. Blog fail.)
Thus concludes my deep thoughts. As you were.
You know when you find yourself in the midst of your only break in the calendar for the foreseeable future and so you insist (perhaps overly so) you are just going to ENJOY IT DAMNIT? That is how we spent the long weekened. We scrapped plans to travel, we didn’t make plans with others and we just….marinated. In our house. One dog, one toddler, two adults. I don’t mean to imply we were hermits (and we did have friends over for dinner, but it was for taco night which is by law as relaxed as it gets) but we just…enjoyed each other. We made it to the zoo (twice!), the farmer’s market, the grocery store and the playground. The baby had her first ice cream cone, followed by a free cookie and a balloon, so the grocery store will forever be a let down after that special trip.
We grilled out and made sandwiches and rented movies On Demand and caught up on some Netflix offerings. We read books (of the grown up chapter variety as well as repeated renditions of Baby Beep Beep) and I tried my best not to look at my work email. We had Sonic milkshakes for lunch one day and I took two naps on the couch.
If you ask Gracie her name she points to herself and yells “ME!” which is pretty much awesome. She also learned the words “up” (please put her in your lap now) and “help” (please put the hat back on her Baby) and to “sssss” like a snake. She spent a good portion of a dinner at a local hamburger joint clutching her grilled cheese sandwich exclaiming “MINE CHEESE!” but not before coloring a masterpiece on the kiddie menu.
I think this qualifies as a dang good weekend.
PS, Rhett Butler still hates fireworks. Baby remains in the dark (literally!) as her mean parents decided fireworks happen way too late for her 7:30 bedtime. Next year my darling!