Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This Just In: Llama Mayhem!

One of my favorite things about living in a small town is the local newspaper. It is filled with a lot of feel-good stories and hilarious Letters to the Editor.

But even better than that...police reports! Like this one:

April 10. At 7:03 a.m. responded to report of llama on the road.

Friday, June 25, 2010

How The Other Half Lives

People, I have seen how the other half live, and not only is the grass over there greener, it sprouts martinis and chocolate trees. I am sitting here sipping wine after a day of embarrassing luxury. Scott, referred to as TGTIMH (The God That Is My Husband) for the rest of this post, hired me a housekeeper for a day before a party we are hosting. This was not only the sweetest birthday present EVER, it also serves as a guarantee that we will be happily married for another year. No matter how prepared we are, we ALWAYS end up in an argument or with a major case of the grumpies after cleaning and cooking all day for a party.

So this time, TGTIMH drew the line and said no cleaning or cooking! We’re doing mostly potluck, making only sangria, some burgers and dogs, and some chips and dip for our guests. And I got to make my grocery list while lifting my feet for my new best friend to happily clean around.

You guys, I need to have a full-time housekeeper. When I win the lottery or that elusive rich relative dies, I am going to hire this lovely woman full-time. Possibly as a live-in. Possibly move to Utah so TGTIMH and I can marry her in a lovely commitment ceremony and we can live as sister wives, where she works and cleans and I cook and, you know, tend to the husband.

But seriously, this woman cleaned spots I didn’t know my house even had! Did you know this whole time my cabinets were not meant to have food splotches and grime on them? I know, the shocks keep coming! Did you know that the natural color of my carpet is not beige with spots of kid spit-up or dog pawprints?

I should be horrified at how we’ve been living, but I’m too relaxed to be horrified.

Because in addition to having my own little Hazel Helper today, courtesy of TGTIMH, I got an amaaaazing hour-long massage from MPWWASPM (My Parents Who Will Always Spoil Me). I found this masseuse when I was pregnant and fell in love with her immediately. She was gentle, but managed to get every kink out, and it was the first time I had ever fallen asleep during a massage.

Usually I get an intense deep-tissue massage, so I wasn’t sure about this woman because she’d only really touched me when she needed to treat me fragilely. But she was one of the first to listen to me when I said, “seriously, you can NOT hurt me.” I know this will kill tomorrow, but I so do not care. Every touch was a magical release of months of tension. She even mother henned me to come in more often and take care of myself now that I’m a mommy. I’ll have to find other people besides MPWWASPM to sponsor these sessions, I’m afraid.

The only break between that and my magical glass of wine was a trip to pick Cous Cous up at doggie daycare. Yup, you read that right! I once thought people who took their dogs to doggie daycare probably shouldn’t have puppies if they couldn’t take care of them. But I relented in the winter when we had a sleepless baby and an incredibly alienated dog. When the choice was between her eating or peeing on everything in my house or putting up some dough to send her to daycare, off she went! When she came home totally exhausted and didn’t so much as move a whisker for 24 hours, I was sold. But I wasn’t sold on the price and as soon as the weather turned nice, I intended to keep my $17 to myself, thank you. But today, such a special day, I sent TGTIMH to bring her in and he came home, shaking his head. Apparently he’d parked between to Infinitis and passed a Lexus on the way out. What? Our Saturns aren’t the epitome of bourgeoisie? The things I thought I knew.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Mint Julep

No, not to drink, sillies. Well, actually, maybe I would, can't say as I ever have had a mint julep, but when I was pregnant and watching Mad Men, all the preggos were drinking them and they looked lovely and refreshing. Oh, to have lived in the '60s. But I digress.

You all know by now that my hygiene has suffered a tad since working at home. However, I am very meticulous about my skin. I’ve had, let’s say, “problem skin” since I was 13. I practically lived in the Dermatologist’s office.

I’ve tried a bunch of masques, both homemade and over-the-counter. But I came across this gem randomly in a drugstore. I have to say I’ve never really paid much attention to Queen Helene. Typically I see her stuff in the Ethnic Haircare aisle. My Irish side hit me hard with the hair. It’s straight as a board. So I’ve never needed that particular aisle.

I had no idea Queen Helene had broken into skincare, and I am glad I saw this Mint Julep Masque peeking out at me from all the other expensive creams and spot treatments and whatnot. According to the Web site:

“Mint Julep Masque is the original natural home treatment to help dry up pimples, rinse away blackheads and shrink enlarged pores. Simply apply Mint Julep Masque to your clean face and neck. As it firms and hardens within minutes, it draws out impurities from your pores. After the masque is removed, your skin will feel clean, refreshed and smooth. Even for individuals who are fortunate to be free of skin problems, Mint Julep Masque is a refreshing facial treatment that helps relax tired muscles and ease tension lines on the face and neck.”

I have no arguments with any of this. It’s one of the few masques I can use without making my skin feel dry, tight and flaky. I can’t say for sure the pores are shrinking because I’ve not used one of those magnified mirrors since high school, I don’t need that kind of daily view of disfigurement. However, I do notice my makeup goes on better after I use the masque, so there must be something to the claim.

What Queen Helene’s site is, apparently, too modest to say is that this Mint Julep smells AWESOME! I use it twice a week and I look forward to each application. As far as I can tell, there are no ingredients in there that would make sensitive skin go bananas and while it hasn't cured me forever, it has certainly helped some problem areas.

What skin products do you swear by? Have you been surprised by an odd brand before? And if you try this, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Which I Confess, It Must be Embarassing to be Married to Me

I always make attempts to be glamorous. I would start a new job, and vow to refresh my lip gloss and makeup every two hours. I would set out jewelry to match every outfit. I would carefully put product in my hair and style it just so.

About a month in, I barely remembered to swipe my dry lips with chapstick, I would keep the same pair of earrings in for weeks at a time, and my hair never saw daylight from underneath the ponytail or bun.

It was the same with working at home. When I started working at home, I created a routine. By golly, I would get up, make my bed, brush my teeth, exercise, and make a glorious pot of coffee to start each day. About a month in, my routine looked something like this: snooze on the alarm until exactly 5 minutes before I had to clock in (the time it took to start up my ancient computer and get on the exhaustingly slow VPN). No time to exercise, and what’s the point of brushing my teeth if I am just going to have Folgers coffee? Showering? Meh, optional. Very, very optional.

When I moved in with Scott, I tried very hard to cover up this slovenly exterior, made a good show of at least being showered by the time he got home, hiding the remnants of my cheap coffee in the freshly emptied dishwasher. Well, you can see where this is going. But he married me anyway. A fact which, possibly, he regretted last week when he brought one of his new co-workers for a visit.

I hear “are you decent?” and him walking through the door with company. I look down. Red Sox t-shirt, pajama bottoms. “Yup! I sure am!” I went down to greet them with no shame.

This is not going to endear me to the Suburban Working Moms, but I have invented the concept of Work Pajamas. Maybe invented is a strong word, although they do say necessity is the mother of invention, and my Work Pajamas are a necessity. This is my last vestige of hygiene when I am working at home…I do not work in the PJs I slept in. Yes, they are pajama pants. Yes, it’s an oversized t-shirt. But…and this is VERY important…I did not sleep in them.

I forget the outside world may not consider this the height of hygiene. Not that I think men expect to come home to Donna Reed in heels and lipstick, holding a cocktail while fretting over a roast. But maybe they have the right to expect the little woman to be slightly put together.

Or the right not to have this conversation with their co-worker: “I’d really love you to meet my wife and baby, I just…well, I should warn you, I don’t know what she’ll look like.” I’m imagining a horrified look on the co-worker’s face, thinking he’s already dogging his wife. Is he going to smack her around in public?

Scott quickly backtracks: “No, I just mean…well, she has these work pajamas…”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crazy Cat Lady

We have a real live cat lady living in our neighborhood! I mean classic insane cat lady like the one on the Simpsons. Know how we know? Because she WALKS HER CATS every day!!

Scott brought her to my attention awhile ago while Wee ‘Burb and I were still recovering from her rather chaotic entry into this world. He had gone out on a particularly chilly day to encourage Cous Cous to spend her energy on eating grass rather than my comforter and new toys we’d just purchased for Wee ‘Burb.

So he’s halfway through the path behind our house and this insane lady stops him and says he and Cous Cous can’t go any further. Scott’s so nice because I would so be in her face like “lady, I pay $200 a year to this association, and they barely plow half of these paths. This is the ONLY route in which my dog will go and I can still walk without needing snowshoes, so BACK OFF.” But, you know, that’s me.

So he, instead, kindly asks her what’s going on and she starts screeching “kitty, kitty!” and then instead of a kitty, a big black mangy dog comes running out. So Scott’s thinking perhaps this woman, ironically or insanely, has named her dog “Kitty”. But, in fact, in addition to letting her dog off his leash, she has let her cats off their leashes and now they’re missing.

Cats… leashes.

So now that Wee ‘Burb and I are back to walking, I convince a friend of mine to walk with us and we run into this frantic looking woman with crazy red-streaked black and grey hair and this weird pilled flannel fleece shirt. She’s followed by a soaking wet mangy black dog. I nudge my friend and whisper “Do you think she’s the one Scott was talking about?”

And then we both see she’s holding several leashes in her hand and creepily yelling “kitty?? KITTY?” and my friend and I are about to pass out from holding in our giggles.

I didn’t realize I thought Scott was exaggerating or embellishing until right when I saw her and went “Oh my GOD, she IS real!”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Prosecco

This is just a quick one because the week of birthday festivities has left me with a to-do list a mile long. If you are a champagne lover, you MUST try Prosecco! It's less bubbly and less likely to cause a hangover than champagne. I tried this the first time at a wine tasting at our local wine shop (if you live in the Western 'burbs, you should TOTALLY try Dolce Vita Wine Shop, they have amazing service and they keep a record of what wines you buy so you never have to do the whole "I tried that one...awhile ago? It had a label with a house on it or something?").

Anyway, it's a dryer taste, like a dry asti champagne. I've had many, and none have been bad. But the Astoria Lounge one pictured here has been, by far, the best one of all. My father-in-law brought two bottles to our dinner and even gave me an extra bottle to savor later. The two bottles were gone before we passed the fruit salad, everyone loved it!

Enjoy, and feel free to comment and share your favorite beverage!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: These Boots are Made for Walking

I should confess, I don’t have these boots yet. I just love what they represent to me right now.

I have been coveting these for months, ever since I saw them in a magazine. I was taken back to my childhood when I wore “galoshes” and splashing in a puddle was the greatest thing EVER.

I saw them and thought two things: 1) these are the cutest boots ever and 2) these are the least practical boots ever. I mean, I barely leave my house.

So, I put them aside and thought of them no more, until I began to start focusing on losing the baby weight. Like many women, I’ve gained and lost ad nauseam. I have a broader range of clothing sizes than The Gap. This time, I was hell-bent on taking my time and doing it slowly so it would last. This approach goes against my very soul, as I am the queen of Instant Gratification. But as I figured out, if you lose it fast, you gain it fast.

To maintain my sensible weight loss plan, I had to play some head games with myself. Embarrassing, but true. So I began to set little weight loss goals. At 15 pounds, I bought myself a massage. At 20 pounds, a manicure.

And, folks, you are seeing what I am getting for 30 pounds, a milestone I reached last week. It’s taken me since January to get here, it’s been a long journey, but here I am. And here are my boots, which shall arrive here in 3-5 days, just after the rain is going to stop. Great.

And now I need your help, Internet! My big goal is actually close, too. I want to hit 32 pounds by my 32nd birthday, which is this coming Tuesday. I’m close to reaching the goal, and I was going to treat myself to a housekeeper for a day to clean my house from top to bottom, but my awesome husband is getting that for my birthday.

And so, I need something to treat myself. Something bigger than boots but smaller than a trip to Napa (that’s my 50 lb prize, if I ever get there). Ideas??

What have you done to treat yourself? Some great things I’ve heard along the way include one woman who logged how many miles she ran in a year and then treated herself to a vacation that was the same mileage away! Do you have to do these little mind tricks or is the number on the scale enough motivation?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's All For the Wolves!

When Scott and I first started dating, we played a game of Scrabble. Ever the gambler, Scott wanted to bet on the outcome. Even though I am damn good at Scrabble, I don’t like to chance losing money and so I came up with an idea: the loser would have to plan a Super Date for the winner. A Super Date had to consist of the following three things (which I pulled out of my butt after a few beers): 1) it had to be at least 2 events, 2) one of the events had to be something neither of us had done before, and 3) one event had to involve food. I won that one, and got an awesome Super Date that led to even more.

Side Note: Scott told me that was the best bet he’d ever made because it was early in our dating life and he knew either way he’d be guaranteed another date with me. Diabolical!

Anyway, although my life’s work is editing, occasionally I have an off day (or a tray full of frigging consonants with no vowel in sight) and lose. So after one such loss, I set about planning our Super Date.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me: I have a folder full of events and ideas for Super Dates. So I consulted the folder and in it found what I thought was PERFECT for Scott.

It’s the beginning of winter so I advise him to dress warmly and be prepared for a long car ride. And long it was! So long, in fact, that at one point as we turned on to a road populated by only a dairy farm and some menacing looking gravel roads to nowhere, he actually turned to me and asked: “Is this an intervention?” Hmmm, neither of us HAD been to an intervention before, that would have been a good one!

But no, in fact, it wasn’t (though if that was his first suspicion, perhaps it should be). The Super Date involved going to a wolf and raptor center where they were having a dog sledding demonstration. Scott had taken a weekend to actually drive…push…mush a sled? I don’t know what the terminology is and he’s in bed, so we’ll go with drive. He drove a dog sled and decided he had missed his life calling to be a dog musher. I thought it would be interesting to learn about something he’s so passionate about, and come on, cute doggies!

Anyway, we had a fantastic time. We stayed there for hours talking to people and meeting the dogs and even got to ride on a somewhat larger-scale dogsled. We had a great dinner and kept talking about how we should go there again.

So I got an e-mail from them that they were having a wine tasting and before looking at the details, I signed us up. I probably should have looked at the details. I was just thinking wine…wolves…helping the animals, what more could I want? Um, more than slimy cold cuts and rubbery cheese at the VFW, thanks.

In a surprise move that wouldn’t have been a surprise had I bothered to research it, the wine tasting was not held at the wolf and raptor center, but rather at the local VFW, which meant we drove for over an hour to taste wines we could get down the street, and food we wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

There were two highlights, though. The first was the couple who came in before us. Representative of a good chunk of the folks in attendance, they were wearing flannel and sported tanned and leathered skin that could mean they were 30 or 50. Either way, the wife was taking it verrrry seriously. Each wine they went to, she would sip and say one of two things to the mute husband: “can’t you taste the oakiness?” or “isn’t this really smooth?” She said it with SUCH conviction, and all I could think about was being out with a girl once who was coached by her guy friends to use three or four key phrases to make guys believe she was into sports. It worked largely because she had large knockers, but she credited it for many a date. Anyway, clearly this woman wanted to seem the worldly wine connoisseur rather than what we all were: people who wanted to booze under the auspices of a good cause. After the fourth super smooth wine, I was over it and finally made my way to the silent auction table.

Oh, the auction table. I should confess here that two things made me particularly sassy that night: one was the extraordinary amount of wine I tried to pack in to make the trip worthwhile, and two was the fact that I had finally fit in a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans. It made me drunker than the wine to walk around in something without an elastic waistband.

At first, I found a cute little set of Spanish books I wanted for Wee ‘Burb. Yes, yes, I had purchased some previously from a rather talented door-to-door salesman, but these were board books and I loved them. And had to have them. Unfortunately, a woman named Carrie had to have them, too. And she looked very smug while she put her name and a higher bid after mine. I went down the line and found a cute owl pillow, a CD of world music, and a stuffed Marmot, which was Scott’s nickname in college. I think that horrified him the most, that I was willing to spend $20 of my hard-earned money (seriously, I do work hard!) on a frigging stuffed Marmot. But I had to have it! HAD TO!

The drunker I got, the more competitive I got. And also, possibly paranoid. As I was noticing a disturbing trend: Carrie was outbidding me on everything! Everywhere I turned, she was there, smug smile on her face as she signed her name with a flourish.

The minutes ticked down. At one point I actually cursed Carrie’s name and told Scott there was a special place in hell for any bizzo that would DARE steal my Marmot! Scott finally managed to get through my booze haze to convince me to pick ONE ITEM that I had to have. Marmot was up to $30 now and I wasn’t so drunk as to realize that was a fairly silly purchase. So I focused on the books.

I stared Carrie down. Carrie, I said in my head, you are whiter than White-Out. Your last name is so Scandinavian I can hear yodeling (do Scandinavians yodel? Well they do in my drunken head).You do NOT need Spanish books. You probably want the one stupid French book they stuck in there to make it live up to the name of “World Language Books for Children.” But you will not have it. I will win it, Frog language books and all.

Cue duel music as the clock wound down to a minute left and Carrie went for my books again! I looked at Scott earnestly, only now he was slowly moving away from me, pretending not to know me. I think he may have gone home with the Wine Connoisseur rather than me. And finally just as it was about to close, I dashed over and signed my name JUST as Carrie looked over at me. She pretended to be all casual and classy about it, but I saw that smug smirk turn to a brief frown and I just know I ruined her night! Sorry, Carrie, Wee ‘Burb will be falling asleep to the sweet sounds of me reading “How Big is a Pig” in Spanish while yours will have to suffer in English like the rest of the losers out there.

I actually skipped over to Scott (no mean feat considering I was also wearing pre-pregnancy shoes) and told him I needed a celebratory drink. I skipped over to one of the better tasting tables and who should I run into but Wine Connoisseur herself! She actually almost tripped me as she cut in front of me to get yet another taste of that oaky deliciousness of whatever $8 bottle of wine they were serving, and as she did so she actually said to me “sorry, darling! Oh, it’s you! But we’re old friends!” and she waved her glass at me and took off. The dude pouring looked at me quizzically and I believe I grinned “I won some books!” and happily took off.

Wine tasting tickets: $30 a person. Gas to drive out to wine tasting that wasn’t at nice wolf and raptor center, but rather a dirty smelly VFW: $20. The satisfaction of snubbing a total stranger who probably only wanted to teach her kids to be good global citizens: PRICELESS!

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Open Letter to Suburban Working Moms

Dear Suburban Working Moms: I know you’re out there! I’ve seen you hurriedly dropping your kids off at daycare (I’m the one in the sweats and sneakers…nice heels, by the way). I see you frantically cramming groceries into your cart with your kids hanging on your nice blazer (seriously, nice heels, where’d you get them?). How you must hate me while I quietly go about my shopping with nary a care about wayward sugar cereals making their way into my purchases. How you must look down upon my own uniform of track pants and t-shirts.

But you see, in many ways, I am just like you! I’m the Work at Home Mom, and I’m not feeling the love. I’ve been trying since Wee ‘Burb was 3 months old to get into your circle somehow. I’ve signed up for Mommy and Me classes, tried fruitlessly to find later hour storytimes. I’ve scanned the paper for fun weekend things to do with babies under 1 and NOTHING! Yes, I know they’re little blobs with no attention spans, but how else does a mommy find new friends?

What I do get is constant ads for story hours that last from 10-11 a.m., calls apologizing that once again my Mommy and Me class has been dropped from 5-6 p.m., but hey, do you want to join the one from 1-2 on Wednesdays? Despite what you, and frankly some days my husband thinks, I work! I truly do. Yes, it’s in my jammies, and yes it’s a flexible lifestyle I know many moms would kill for, but I work pretty damn hard and I miss my kid as much as the next mom. In addition to the standard working mom guilt (I suck as a mom, I suck as a worker, my brain is fried, if I read one more children’s book I will hurl, if I read one more sales “messaging” piece that has the words “customer-centric” in it, I will hurl), I’m also filled with insane guilt every time I throw a load of laundry in before a conference call. And yet even worse guilt when I don’t.

Every mommyblog will tell you, it’s lonely out there! My single friends live in cooler places, my married friends with kids have married siblings with kids, or married friends with kids that live closer. So I’m looking for you, fellow working moms! Are you all gathering somewhere I don’t know about? Is that why my classes are constantly getting cancelled? Is that why my only options to bond with my kid and meet other people is going to a park? Cuz I tried that and apparently nobody else thinks it’s the greatest idea to stick a 6-month old in the swings. Plus, frankly, you all scare me! Do you think I’m a stay-at-home mom slumming it with you working folks to take a break from my playdates?

Wee ‘Burb and I are planning our swim classes starting in this week at 5:30 p.m. That’s evening time, mommies! After work, even for those of you with real jobs (seriously, wear your heels, I want the details!). Please don’t let me get another call saying it’s cancelled. And when I’m there, do your level best not to judge me for my bedhead and sneakers…the truth is, I clean up okay (I know a great place to get discount shoes, just ask me)! And I work just as hard as you even if I do go to work every day 50 feet from my bed.

Suburban Work at Home Mom with the Same Guilt as You!

Friday, June 4, 2010


My first guest post! Allow me to introduce Lola (name changed to protect the guilty), the cheap cookie lover and formerly a neighborino of mine before I made the big suburban move. While Lola does not, in fact, technically live in a suburb, she has quite the suburban tale. I was witness to the subject of her story and knew I couldn't do it justice. So here she is! Lola, Internet...Internet, Lola. Take it away!

I have a stalker. A bald, beady-eyed freak I spotted holed up in a tree overlooking my balcony. “Hope you’re getting a good look there, you creep!” I shouted. “Gobble, gobble, gobble!” said the creep. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have a turkey in my tree. And before you all think that that’s some new euphemism or hip new band name, let me assure you that this is an actual turkey. The kind I enjoy at the end of November.

Of course, I may be wrong on that one and this is no ordinary turkey – this one can scale trees. Because I never in my life thought turkeys could fly that high or perch, like this sucker is doing. It’s the Superman of all turkeys. I guess it picked my tree as its Fortress of Solitude. Or maybe the punk enjoys intimidating the residents of my building, most of whom are over 80. In fact, there was a sign posted in the lobby of my building the other day that said management was well aware of the invasive feathered visitor and advised us to shoo the turkey away if it approached. “Don’t let the turkey intimidate you!” the bulletin warned.

Easier said than done. I have to admit to a bit of cowardice on my own part here, robust young whippersnapper that I am. But in my defense, at least the old ladies are armed with walkers! I had nothing but a Swiffer broom to defend myself with when I ventured out on the porch to check up on the damn bird. The unwanted visitor, in the meantime, had no intention of leaving. From the looks of it, it was settling in for the night. We both stared at each other for a few minutes. There’s no way the broom was long enough to reach the tree, I realized. I tried slamming the balcony door a few times, thinking maybe the noise would scare it away. Nothing doing. Finally, I gave up and retreated.

Now, I have some splaining to do. While my friend Stephanie is kind enough to post this as a guest entry on her Suburbia blog, I do not live in the suburbs. Not really. My neighborhood is considered to be within city limits so really all I should see up in my emaciated urban trees are either ACTUAL stalkers or maybe some delinquent city squirrels. Perhaps a gimpy pigeon or two. Not nature in all its untamed glory. Certainly no evil little bald heads glaring at me with their beady eyes.

Maybe some of you will think I’m being too hard on the turkey. If the Turkey Defense Council or People for the Ethical Treatment of Turkeys are reading this, don’t e-mail me! In my defense, I didn’t go at it with a broom nor did I chuck any fruit at it, which, by the way, was readily available.

The next morning, I went up to the balcony window. I had to make sure the whole turkey experience wasn’t just a hallucination. The tree was empty. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when I noticed something much less savory than a fat turkey with no regard for zoning restrictions or personal property. That something was a dead squirrel. Lying on a tree branch. Smack-dab in front of my balcony. Did I mention it wasn’t moving?? Suddenly, I caught myself wishing for the return of the turkey – a big but live animal would still smell better than a small dead one.

My eyes were still glued to the little furry corpse when said corpse suddenly twitched and sat up. Before I could drop on my knees and shout “Hallelujah, it’s RESURRECTED!” the squirrel yawned, stretched and looked around. It looked grumpy and had a bad case of bed head. Or branch head, I guess. Then, just like a true night owl forced to rise early, it groggily started making its way down the tree. The little bugger’s morning ritual was so human, I was half expecting it to scratch its ass and then grab a donut and some coffee. For all I know, it was heading to Starbucks.

Before I could do anymore musing on nature and its weird ways of interacting with me, I realized I was going to be late for work. So I grabbed a donut and some coffee and groggily headed out the door. At least my hair wasn’t a mess. That squirrel needs to get its paws on some styling products.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Homie the Sound Machine

People, it’s been hot here. Like sauna hot. Sub-Saharan desert hot. And this has led to housing dilemma #142: whether and when to turn on the AC. I grew up with Central Air and so about died for the first few years I lived without it in Boston. Then I got so used to being without it that any time I spent in Central Air, I looked around the corner for a penguin guiding me to an igloo or something. But just as quickly when I moved back here and lived in an apartment with a window air conditioner older and louder than me, I grew to love it again.

What I do not love is the cost. So we are pretty conservative about when we turn it on. And how long it stays on. Mostly, we use it at night. So the other night everyone is asleep and I am doing my nightly organizing (it’s so sad how happy a quiet night of making to-do lists makes me, it truly is) and I hear the unmistakable sound of the outdoors.

First it’s crickets, then the sound of wind and I am like “CRAP! The AC is on and a window is open.” This is like a cheap girl’s biggest fear: paying for air that’s going outside.

I immediately guess it’s the bathroom window because we frequently open it to yell at Cous Cous to stop barking at our poor little neighbor girl in her wading pool. Nope, shut tight. I check our bedroom, but as I walk in, I am sure it’s coming from Wee ‘Burb’s room, only we never open her window because she’s sure to wake up at the first sign of sound.

Then I start laughing hysterically, alone in the hallway. It is in fact coming from Wee ‘Burb’s room, and it’s her sound machine! My new bestest friend in the whole wide world.

Allow me to tell you how this beautiful contraption came into my life. Before Wee ‘Burb started daycare, I was TORTURED with her catnapping. By 5:00 every evening I was pouring a glass of wine and tearfully telling Scott that while I love our daughter with every fiber of my being, if she does not nap for more than 20 minutes, I will have to spend my weekends in a sensory deprivation tank just to keep sane. I would put her down, start to do dishes, or check e-mail, or any little task and within minutes I would hear her cry.

I tried EVERYTHING. Every book, every helpful and not-so-helpful “suck it up” hint. Then she started daycare and for the first week, she slept for 3 hours at a clip.

Finally, bags under my eyes, I grabbed the teacher and said “I need to see where she sleeps.” So she shows me the mattress, the crib, the blankets and I’m like there is NOTHING here that is different. And then she showed me what I now lovingly refer to as Homie. My homie, the HoMedics SS-2000 Sound Spa Relaxation Sound Machine. Just writing those words makes me sigh with relief.

I went online and found it for $20. I was positive there was ZERO way this cheap thing was going to make any difference, but I was desperate. I waited the longest five days of my life for it to get to me (if only I had known then what I know now, I would have paid for rush shipping). And instant bliss!

Each nap and each night for the first week I tried a different sound. I had low expectations of the sounds in general, they sounded pretty generic and I had a vision of Homer Simpson offering to help Marge relax with his “woooo ooooo, aooooooga” foghorn sounds. I did nix the heartbeat one because frankly it was a little too Edgar Allen Poe for me. But otherwise, with each one, she slept for at least an hour. And the crazy thing is, it started to relax me! Her room is right next door to ours and we can hear the ocean waves, or as I previously alluded to a “summer night,” and it’s just so soothing!

Now if you disagree and don’t find it soothing, it has a great feature: automatic timer. I tried this a few times, but I swear when I set it for an hour, I got exactly 61 minutes of a break before she was up again. I don’t mess with the timer. It’s on all night, and let me tell you, even if it ate up as much energy as my AC did, I would have it on every second of the day.