Friday, September 26, 2008


At this very moment 11 years ago I was at my wedding rehearsal dinner (a cookout on my parents’ deck, exactly what I’d requested), enjoying great food, cheap beer, and the company of family and friends from as far away as California. Everything about the week leading up to the wedding was just like that – food, family, friends, laughing. The wedding day itself was, too, although it went too fast and I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I wanted to for nearly long enough.

So, here we are, 11 years later. How do you sum up 11 years? Bret and I have:
  • Lived in 4 houses (2 rented, 2 owned)
  • Driven 8 cars (7 owned, 1 leased; 4 used, 4 new; 1 totaled)
  • Visited the four “corners” of the continental U.S. (Seattle, San Diego, Bar Harbor, Key West)
  • Attended the funerals of two grandparents, the weddings of several friends and siblings, and WAY too many graduations
  • Raised a crazy German shepherd for nearly 11 years and cried buckets of tears when he was gone
  • Fought and won a 6-year battle to become parents

It seems like a lifetime. It seems like a week.

Ellen Goodman says this about marriage: "We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness."

I, for one, am grateful for all the forgiveness that has been shown to me. Thank you, dear husband, for these 11 years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Midwest Hurricane

The tail end of hurricane Ike moved through these parts on Sunday and no one was prepared for it. The wind was unbelievable -- 55 mph sustained winds with gusts around 74 mph -- truly hurricane-force, and it lasted from about 10 in the morning until 6 p.m. The weird thing is that the sky was blue and the sun was out the whole time. As I was still not feeling well, I was on the couch most of the morning and early afternoon, watching the trees in the backyard double over on themselves. One giant limb came down, and by the time it was all over, our backyard looked like a bomb had hit it. We'll have to have some trees removed and it's going to take a while to clean everything up. (I would love to post some pictures but our computer is dead and the new one is en route from the fine folks at Dell, so can't do any downloading for a while).

The house is fine; we just lost a few shingles (I was actually hoping the whole roof would blow off; I'd really like a new roof with shake-style, dark brown shingles, as opposed to the orange -- yes, orange -- shingles that are on there now). The power was out from around 3 p.m. Sunday until exactly 12:39 a.m. last night. I know this because I was sleeping on the couch to avoid waking everyone up with my coughing (bronchitis confirmed; got some meds; should be better soon) and the power kicks on and the answering machine starts talking very loudly: "TO SET THE TIME AND DATE, PRESS MENU," which just about made me fall off the couch.

Anyway, we survived just fine, despite losing nearly everything from our fridge and freezer, not being able to find ice anywhere to keep the few things we saved cold for very long, and not being able to find an open gas station that didn't have a line of 100 cars waiting. The weather cooled off considerably from Sunday's 91 degrees, and so reading in bed by candlelight while listening to the crickets through the open windows was actually kind of nice. I realized how less stressed out I was without the TV on all evening, even though I think I'm "relaxing" when I watch it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bite Me

Lauren got bit at school yesterday. I know it's really common for kids to bite at that age (my youngest brother regularly chomped on my other brother for a good year or so when they were 2 and 3), but this was completely unprovoked and not the first time this kid bit someone at school. They won't, of course, tell us who it is, but I’m referring to him as Marv Albert for reasons that will become clear in a moment. Lauren was sitting at the table eating her snack and he (let’s assume it's a boy) grabbed her by the arm, threw her down on the floor and bit her on the back. Since it was through her shirt it didn't break the skin but was still pretty bad. You can still see it today. The school said he's in the "final stages" of being dealt with for this so we know it's happened before, but it sounds like they won't kick him out unless it happens again. So, perhaps I have yet another phone call from the director to look forward to, telling me that my child’s been snacked on again by Marv. And if not me, some other parent’s going to get that call.

I just want to know what the policy/procedure is, what have they done so far and what are they doing to prevent it from happening again. And if it does happen again, what happens to the biter? Does he get thrown out of school? I know they can’t possibly kick every kid who bites out of school – at this age, you’d have to kick out half the class. They all do it eventually. Who knows? My kid could easily be the biter next time instead of the bitee. So maybe that’s why I’m not as upset about it as others might be. I see it as one of those things that happens – a lot – and certainly won’t be the last bad thing that happens to her at school or somewhere else when we’re not around. On the other hand, she must’ve been terrified when it happened, and I wasn’t there to make her feel better. And that is upsetting.

In a larger sense, though, I think this is about my parenting philosophy in general. And it’s at least partially a gender thing – if she were a boy, I’d probably be more freaked out (“oh, my poor little man!”). As her mom, I see it as my responsibility to teach her to be a strong woman. The world is a bad, scary, unpredictable place and she might as well learn sooner rather than later that a) shit’s going to happen, and, b) how to deal with it. I am not about coddling and sheltering. Protecting, yes, that’s my job as a parent, and why I want some answers about this biting thing. After all, I’m not going to keep sending her someplace where she’s going to get ambushed by the Marvs of the world. But in a larger sense, I think I do her a bigger disservice by sheltering her (in this case, pulling her out of school after one such incident). I want her to strike out on her own someday as a confident, capable person, not be living in my house when she’s 30 (actually, I might need her to help me to the bathroom by then, so maybe I do want her living at home when she’s 30). Regardless, I know this is another one of those things that I will look back on when she’s a teenager and laugh about how it was no big deal. It’s all about perspective, no?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I have nothing to say about Sarah Palin, except I know who will play her in the Lifetime movie.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Quick Update

  • The bug guy is coming over on Saturday to put those little bait thingies around the house. We'll see how long it takes to work. If it works.
  • Had a fantastic weekend with my brother, sister in law and nephews, despite Lauren being sick (two and a half months in daycare, third illness, in case you're counting).
  • Speaking of Lauren, she is now, in my mind, officially two. To wit: she threw a 25-minute tantrum this morning because I dared to change her diaper. Oh, adolescence, you can't come soon enough.
  • My latest escape is this blog ( and her first book.
  • My Buckeyes continue to dominate northeastern Ohio. O-H-I-O!