Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My dream kitchen (but apparently not everyone's)

Six months ago a 25 year old plumber put a snake down our 95 year old pipes (as I hovered nearby saying, "I'm not sure you should do that...."). Not too long afterwards I hear him calling, "Lady! There's water coming out of your kitchen ceiling fan!" And so great are my powers of perception, that I knew immediately that all was not as it should be. And once 1/4 of the kitchen ceiling was on the floor we decided it was time to remodel.

Today Barry and Tony, our contractor's A-team, came and put in the counter top and finished off the cabinets, etc. And I'm totally entranced. On just that one wall it looks like someone else's kitchen, some real, grown up type of person. (The rest of the kitchen looks shabby and like it belongs to me.) Anyway, after they left I got out our floor tiles to figure out what fabulously creative design I'm going to make out of them and spread them out over the floor. At which point my eight-year old daughter walks in and says, "Excuse me Mommy. I don't want to offend you, but I don't like this floor." Oh well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It can only be uphill from here?

Only 24 hours into the husband's two week absence and I've already:
-Let the twins have it with both (verbal) barrels for being snotty and unhelpful
-Wept openly in front of all four kids
-Not done housework that other women would consider basic to health and happiness
-Spent $40.00 on lunch (OK, it was for me and all four kids, but remember, this is Pittsburgh not SoHo. $40 on lunch here is a major wing ding).

The husband called and said he had a three hour stroll around Chapel Hill and ate dinner at a charming artsy Co-op hot bar. i'd be pissed, except I know my boy and he's already getting homesick.

Better get to bed. it's going to be a long one tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summer is here and a mother's thoughts turn

My fan has spoken! It's back to the blog for me. Summer has begun and the kids are all home. Every year we all have a hard time adjusting to the slow, unscheduled tempo of the days. Right now the kids are bored and I'm still trying to get stuff done.... By the time I stop trying to be productive and they all relax into Summer it will be time to go back to school.

School. We're facing some difficulties with schooling next year. We're placing Charlotte in a private school exclusively for autistic kids next fall and requesting that the school district cover the $50,000 (!!!!!!) tuition. They do have an autistic support class which is "taught" by a teacher with no training in autism and no curriculum. They most likely scenario is that the school district will reccommend that she be placed in their class (because it's so awful there are almost no students in it and it won't cost them a cent). If/when that happens, we pay the more-than-Harvard tuition, eat rice and beans all year, and sue their asses. Fun. I've never sued anyone, not even the idiot doctor who misdiagnosed my acute appendicitis as a UTI which caused the appendix to burst and rendered me infertile for years. Not even him. So I'm not looking forward to this, but you do what you have to for your kid, right?

And more school. My fey little Eliza - whose head is full of big dreams and whose mouth is full of big vocabulary (and has, like her dad, a charming little geek thing going on) - was bullied this year. It started as taunting, which we tried to use as a "learning opportunity" (don't you hate those?), but then moved on to physical bullying - the boy who had been harrassing her purposely stepped on her hand when she reached down to pick up a crayon. So we have to sort out what to do about her school situation as well. We believe, philosophically, socially, and financially, in public education. But there's our baby being her adorably clueless self which certain kids are clearly taking as a big "apply harrassment here" sign. So do we put her in private school too? Or do we ask her to tough it out? Honestly, I don't know.

If any of you have opinions on this, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finished the first draft of my first-ever novel!!!!! It's 275 pages - and how much of that is good and how much will have to be rewritten or completely tossed, I don't know. The husband likes it, but then, he kind of has to, doesn't he? Not that he's faking. He's just never very critical of my work. But I finished it, I finished it, I finished it! Yipeee!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


So here's a really embarrassing thing. Twenty +/- years ago a very dear friend of mine (Tanya W., are you there?) loaned me a book. It was a book of poetry, "Shadow Train," by John Ashbery, which was really thoughtful because I'd just done a long paper analyzing his poem, "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror" (fabulous poem, can't remember anything about it). And starting in Berkeley, it seems, I've carried "Shadow Train" with me, quite literally, all the way accross the country and the decades. Which is not the embarrassing part.

Two minutes ago I got an email message from "" telling me I'd sold "Shadow Train," by John Ashbery, and that I had two days to ship it. So I dug through my stack of books that I'd listed mindlessly on Amazon one night, found it, and - like Proust eating his madelaine - the cover illustration brought back Tanya, saying, "I thought you might want to borrow this...." Now in a truly ironic universe, it would be Tanya ordering it to replace the copy she mislaid (well, misloaned) years ago. Of course, it wasn't. But, in a nice tweak, if not quite a full 180 degree twist, of fate, it is being sold to a guy who lives in San Francisco, so at least it's flying back to the state it was loaned in.

Anyway, Tanya, if you're reading this, I owe you $7.50, which, given that you have three kids and a full-time job now, is probably worth more to you than a copy of John Ashbery's "Shadow Train." So, you know what they say, 'Tis better to have loaned and lost than never to have loaned at all. Oh, and the check's in the mail.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

223 pages and counting!!!!

At 1:30 AM, tonight, I stopped writing (by which I mean ran out of gas rather than finished) on page 223 of my Young Adult novel. It's my first book-length project and I am blowing my own mind by going and going and going. And I think it's good which, for those of you that know me, is not something I often say about my own work. About 50 more pages to go till I write "The End." And then the slog of rewriting begins.

All I can say is that if the publisher that's putting out my children's book also agrees to publish this one, I will have acheived Nirvana and will be transcendently happy for the rest of my life, or for two weeks, whichever comes first, and I will blog to you from Heaven about the joy of bounding from cloud to cloud in the always shining sunlight of my life. (And then the teens will do something REALLY annoying and I'll have to come down and do some bitching and smiting.)

So yippee, yippee, yippeee for me and wish me luck for the rest of the way.