Archive for November, 2006

Date-Night Nanny

November 29, 2006

J0370996 Saw a listing recently from a mom offering her services as a date-night nanny. Wow, I thought, what the heck is a date-night nanny? I scrolled down to read the full posting. She’ll work 6-10 pm, she’ll bring her toddler with her, and she’ll do chores like cooking and folding laundry. And she’ll charge $18 to $24 an hour, depending on said chores. Hmm, I thought, isn’t watching someone’s kids in the evening called babysitting? And don’t teens usually do it? And charge, well, at least something down in the single digits? Though this must be some miracle mom, who can chase her toddler, feed my kids, and still fold laundry. Still….

    But I guess here in Silicon Valley we’re only supposed to have nannies, never babysitters. In which case I’ll never get a date night, because that’d mean a burger at In-N-Out and a movie with my husband would cost something on the order of $120, even without the laundry folding. Time to invest in Netflix.

Strange white crystals

November 29, 2006

My teen was running  little late for school today, and asked for a ride to the end of the street (it gets him more than halfway to school and makes up a critical seven minutes). I grabbed my purse and climbed into the car, still wearing slippers. I hit the wipers to clear what I thought was dew on the window. Scrruunnch! Wow, frost. Thick frost. East coast thick frost.

I got out my purse. "Mom, what are you doing?" He resisted saying, "I’m going to be late."

    "I’m getting a credit card."

    "Okay." (Resisting saying, "Now you’ve totally lost your mind.")

    I explained to my son that the credit card is the Silicon Valley frost-scraper, and cleaned the windows, making sure I could see in every direction so I wouldn’t run over the younger kids walking to the elementary school.

    Meanwhile, my husband walked my 8 year old to school; a teen driving herself to high school missed running them over by inches. My husband banged on her window and she stopped and rolled the frost-covered window down. She apologized, said she didn’t see him. He told her that she needed to pull over RIGHT NOW and scrape her windows. She nodded and said yes of course, then hit the gas and zipped off down the street. He’s thinking she’s simply being foolish.

    Yeah, foolish. But I’m also thinking there’s a very good chance nobody explained frost to her in driver’s ed, and demonstrated that a credit card can be used for something besides charging overpriced T-shirts at Abercrombie’s.


Parallel tracks

November 22, 2006

Joy and I had our first conversation when we were 20 or so; she was living in Pennsylvania; I was in New York. We’d seen each other around, had summer jobs in the same New Jersey beach town, had mutual friends. I don’t remember where we were when we first talked, a New Jersey party or bar, most likely. I do remember one subject, however. We had both recently spent romantic weekends in Maryland. A week apart. With the same guy.

    We briefly considered organizing another weekend trip to Maryland—together. But, while the look on the guy’s face would certainly have been entertaining, we quickly decided that he wasn’t worth the trouble, and really we had much more in common with each other than we ever did with him.

    For the next decade we were single gals in New York, Washington, Texas, California; sometimes living in the same city, but never at the same time. We visited back and forth a few times a year, weekends of speed-talking as we took out all our disasters and triumphs and worries and crises and spread them all out in front of us in a game of conversational go-fish. “You’re feeling this or that about your job? Wow, I’ve been feeling exactly the same way.” “You’re sick of the whole dating thing? Yeah, me too.” And then after all the cards had been dealt and turned over and talked at from every angle, we’d pack them all up again neatly and go back to our lives.

    We stayed on parallel tracks, occasionally colliding unexpectedly. She moved to L.A. and met the guy that she would end up marrying through someone at her law firm; it took a few weeks before she found out that this was one of the guys I’d been scuba diving with in Mexico a month or two earlier. We got pregnant the same year, and spent most of our 30s in babyland. We both stopped at three kids.

    Now we’re in our 40s; OK, our mid- to late 40s. We have teenagers and middle schoolers and elementary schoolers. Now I’m in Palo Alto and she’s in St. Petersburg, Florida. And we just had our first weekend talk-a-thon in more than a year; an uncharacteristically long gap.

    We talked about our kids briefly, our husbands some, and then, mostly, ourselves. About greying hair and the hormonal craziness of perimenopause that makes us screaming maniacs several days a month. About our recent high-tech breast biopsies (“You had one? Wow, I had one of those too”) and the panic of waiting for results. (Both negative, thankfully.) She said had her results not been negative, she would have called in a plastic surgeon to do her eye bags at the same time as the breast surgery because no way was she going under a knife without something positive to look forward to. I hadn’t thought about that one, but she had a point. Which got us pulling at our faces and talking about whether we’d ever consider getting “work” done and what kind.

    And we discussed our “ailments”, my neck, her knee, and realized that this is what old ladies do, talk about ailments, so we must seriously be getting old. But that since we’re still on those parallel tracks, going in the same direction, holding the same sets of cards (time to mix all my metaphors together for the big finish) I guess we’re both doing just fine.

Pertussis update

November 16, 2006

You may recall my rant about teens and pertussis a few weeks ago. The bad news is the local "outbreak" continues. The good news is that the high school brought in a truckload of vaccine. The outbreak was running through the school sports teams, and when a meet had to be forfeited, well, that got people’s attention.

So yesterday the school nurse lined up the kids who had turned in permission slips (my son reports that it was, like, everybody), and vaccinated those puppies! Said son says it felt as if he were in the army, or as best he could imagine that experience (hopefully, he’ll never find out for sure). Two long lines with one chair at each end, and a privacy divider just past the chair. You get to the front in the line, spend one turn sitting in the chair, the next behind the screen where one person is lining up the needles and another one sticking them in kids’ arms, and you’re done. My kid came home with a bandaid on his arm and, hopefully, the ending to my personal pertussis story.

But today I got an email from a friend in Boston; there’s a confirmed case of pertussis in her teen’s homeroom; now her son has early symptoms. And someone else’s pertussis story begins.

Do the Time Warp yeah

November 8, 2006

This weekend I sold the toddler toys. My favorites dated back to my son Alex’s childhood; I could still envision him standing at the tiny stove, busily cooking. Wasn’t that just a year or so ago that he liked making pretend mashed potatoes?


But it couldn’t have been, because this weekend I also helped Alex buy a corsage for a girl he was escorting to a school dance; a first date for him, another leap into the parenting unknown for me. I knew nothing about corsages and boutonnieres, and got a quick education from the florist. She reminded me of those reassuring women in the baby store who explained just what I would need for my new baby—and what I could live without—back when I didn’t have a clue.

    Today the painters arrived to start prepping the house. I think I found the same color blue we put on our San Francisco house some 15 years ago. The morning glories I planted in front of it were thriving last time I drove by. It seems like only a year or so ago that I planted them. I wonder if I should plant morning glories here in Palo Alto.

    On Saturday Alex takes the PSAT, and the crescendo to college begins. A few weeks ago I got a note from a college classmate, asking me if I remembered the time we got lost on a road trip because were thought we were supposed to turn at the “white pyramid”. (Turns out we misinterpreted the Southern accent and we were supposed to turn “right up here a bit.”) She dropped her child off at college; guess it got her thinking about road trips. Wasn’t it just a year or so ago that I was still in college?

    We replaced our refrigerator last month; frozen way in the back was one stray bag of breast milk; dated eight years ago. Can I really just throw it away? Shouldn’t I have some kind of ceremony? But wasn’t it just a year or so ago that I was still breastfeeding.

    And I wonder if why I’m always feeling so tired is that I’m jet lagged from all this time travel.

Listening to Bruce

November 6, 2006

Bruce Springsteen wants me to vote out the Republicans. Really, I got an email from him today. OK, me and a zillion other fans who subscribe to his mailing list. Still, he doesn’t email much, so I was happy to hear from him. After all, it’s the first time he’s written to me about anything other than upcoming concerts or albums.

    Now, if we had any Republicans from California in the Senate—or from my district in the House—I’d be happy to listen to Bruce and vote them out. Instead, I’ll be voting to keep our Democrats in, and glued to my TV election night wanting to see the outcome of the battles in the rest of the country.

       I’m wondering if Bruce’s call to action will make a difference to anyone. If I were undecided, as a loyal Bruce fan and a Jersey girl, would his email and its links to newspaper articles about the Iraq war have swayed me? If I were Republican, would Bruce loyalty take precedence over party loyalty? If I weren’t planning to vote, would Bruce asking me to go to the polls make a difference?

    I don’t know. But we Bruce fans are pretty rabid, so maybe, just maybe, Bruce’s email will change some minds, send a few more fans to vote. And, to quote the boss, I’m going to "show a little faith, there’s magic in the night" and hope for a magical Tuesday that turns this country blue.