Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Begin Internet withdraw: NOW

My experience without a car will be featured on this weekend's edition of Weekend America. My computer is on the fritz so I'll be offline for a few days, providing a bit of a Labor Day break.

Carolyn and Penelope will finally have their mommy back.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The trouble with Normal

That's what they called it. Although I'm pretty sure I e-mailed the three or four people who read this blog on a regular basis, I thought I'd link to my Grist story.

I've been a bundle of nerves since it came out. Steve said I'm suffering from PPD (Post Publishing Depression).

I might have more to come. Another national outlet has taken notice.

Agh... I think I'm going to throw up.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We've got a jumper

Steve and I took the girls to Tulsa for a little trip. Grandparents have a pool. Carolyn loves said pool.

But... Sometimes love just isn't enough. Sometimes, you also need swimming lessons.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Check out this Web site

Check out The Whole Mom, "a web publication and a community that supports mothers in all aspects of their identities," and a place to read a fabulous column by yours truly.

It rocks!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mini and Me

This is really hard for me to write.

I, Chris Gardner, rented a minivan.

Yes, I know I complain a lot (OK, a lot, a lot) about the minivan culture and how this particular vehicle has caused our downward slide as a society. And yes, I know I often condemn housewives for being chained to this most evil of transportation modes (excluding, of course, SUVs).

But the family and I, including Fife, are driving to Tulsa and there just wasn't enough room. We'd fly, but it's too expensive (not to mention I am NOT tasting my own breast milk to get on a plane). We'd take Amtrak, but you all know how that ends.

Here's what I learned today about the minivan.

1. I have never been inside a minivan, ever, at least not that I ever remember. They are very spacious.

2. Today's world is designed for this vehicle. I went to the drive-up ATM and to a fast food restaurant for dinner (yes, I'm aware I'm headed to hypocrite hell) and it was a ton easier at both places to complete my transaction. These conveniences are made for minivan owners, as if they don't already have it all.

3. I feel like a complete jackass driving around town. I imagine others looking up at my throne on high, thinking, "That lady is a total jackass." Well, that's what I do when I see minivan drivers.

So off to Tulsa we go and I have to wonder, what would be better for the environment — two really gas-efficient cars or one minivan?

Really, which do you think?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My yoga teacher is back

I so totally love her. She's been at some yoga conference where she reflected on her purpose in life for like 19 days. She told someone, "By the end I had so much to think about and so little to say."

She says things like that all the time, without pretense. Going to yoga is like going to therepy, getting a massage and having a super-hard workout, all at the same time.

And, knock on wood, Carolyn has been much better about running full speed to a busy street before stopping on the curb. And Penelope likes pizza. And Steve is going to a conference in Montana.

Oh, and Scrubs is coming to syndication.

Life is good.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Time to get a kid leash

That's right. Carolyn's getting a leash. I'm sure it will be very nice, and not at all frowned upon by the mothering community. After all, it's a caring, compassionate group of people.

You see, Carolyn has been "off" the stroller now for like a year. As a very judgemental person, I find most parents push their children around in strollers for far too long. And I get real judgey when I see a 4-year-old getting pushed around in a stroller, especially a fat kid. Take the time to teach them walking rules and let em walk, I say.

Well, that was until about three days ago when Carolyn learned running away from us is really, really fun. She has been stopping at corners and holding hands to cross streets for almost a year, but no more.

Today at farmer's market, she took off and came inches, and I do mean inches, from running in front of a car driving at least 30 miles per hour. Even writing this now puts me on the verge of tears and gives me a sick feeling in the stomach. Just inches.

So I'm swinging, in various degrees, between feeling like the worst parent in the world and feeling like being a pedestrian in a car-centric world is sadly impossible. Probably both, in varying degrees, is true.

This is why I need a kid leash. I can't expect Carolyn at 2 and a half to go back to using a stroller, and she totally can't be trusted, even though she sat quietly next to me at the bus stop for about 20 minutes after giving some poor woman just driving down the street a freakin' heart attack, sensing something really awful just happened. But it doesn't matter because my whole life can't come down to a few inches.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

While you were not sleeping

Carolyn, who has been sleeping through the night since she was like three months, decided the last couple of days that she no longer cares for her nap. This is one vestige of toddlerhood I refuse to let her abandon.

For one, she sleeps between two and three hours in the afternoon, always through One Life to Live and sometimes all the way through Passions. I can see her cutting back, but giving it up outright. Uh, NO.

And secondly, she loves her nap. Even now, as I hear her clawing at her bedroom door in a half-hearted effort to garner attention from her mind-wandering mommy, it's really nothing new. Just a kid fighting bedtime.

But naps were different for Carolyn. She'd ask to take them. She'd say, "Brush your teeth" as signal for "I'm ready for bed, airhead mom."

The other day, when she refused to nap, I took every single toy out of her room. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I said, "If you don't go to sleep, no juice. No video. No toys. No playground. Is that what you want?"


"Won't you ple-e-e-ease take a nap," I pleaded.


"How about a little sip of tequila? Maybe just a half glass. Here, I'll put a lime in it."

"Mommy's drink. No nap. Watch Frosty?"

Sure. Watch Frosty. Have some juice. Run in traffic. I'll just sip on this tequila drink until you're 4. Surely Penelope will be a much better 2-year-old.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Two tiny little things

Actually, four things. Teeth. Penny has her four top teeth all coming in at once. Please send nice thoughts her way, and mine if you can spare it. She's coping nicely.

And, the Washington Post has dedicated an entire section for Sunday about being green. Although, it seems a little too trendy, something Grist recently debated blogger style, I still like to see it on the radar.

Friday, August 04, 2006

You win this round Semco Energy

I realize I'm heading down a dangerous, crazy-old-person-marking-the-newspaper-up-with-a-red-pen path here, but I feel very strongly that I am in the right and I never, ever feel that way.

But today, when I was so sure I was right, I sent a letter to the editor (please stop shaking your head) to the paper I used to work for. They can't publish it, citing a policy of not running letters about disputes between customers and companies. I say it's not a dispute. Semco Energy and I agree on two key points — I'll pay them the $11 they want, and I'm not happy about it.

Well, rules are rules. Here's the letter. I knew I created this blog for a reason.

I sold my Battle Creek home at the end of June and tied up all my utility bills, or so I thought. I was charged $11 from Semco for a “customer service” fee for three days of service, June 27 to 29. It seems that even though they didn’t check my meter, and even though I didn’t use any gas, everybody gets this charge.(note* If I had cancelled service on the 26th, which, for whatever reason, is the last day of my cycle, I would not have received this charge.) I called to say I thought this was unreasonable and the very polite lady said there was nothing she could do. Oh course there is, Semco. You could do the right thing. I realize this company is blamed for many problems beyond its control, but throwing its giant corporate arms into the air in an “Oh well” gesture might be part of its public image problem. Semco can have the $11, but I have a good memory and one day might come across a choice between Semco and another company and there will be nothing I can do.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I just don't think it's right, when...

you've been without a car for a month and unable to get to the gym because the buses don't run out that far, especially for an 8:30 a.m. yoga class,

because you would have had to catch the 6:45 a.m. bus with the girls, transfer, all while pushing the everybody-on-this-bus-hates-you stroller, and then walk two miles in temperatures the weather people have deemed, "dangerous heat"

that when you return with the sole purpose of listening to the melodic insights of this one particular yoga teacher, because you're pretty sure she's the only person on the planet who can sweep the clutter from upstairs so you can begin writing a massive story for a national online mag, which is probably read by Al Gore's people,

there's some other, decidedly less cerebral, workout-girl yoga teacher instead.

This girl didn't care about my clutter. She didn't let me decide my goal for the morning. She didn't have any lessons for me.

All she cared about was my stupid core. I don't need to work on my core, lady, I need to work on cleaning up a little clutter.

And with a 30-second "deep relaxation" ending, all I learned today is that life is disappoointing.