Archive for the ‘The Nonsense’ Category
It’s the 4th year I’ve done this and I know probably everyone else is over this kind of thing already, but I’m not. So I’m doing it again. I find it kind of fun to go back and read previous years and see what has, and mostly what hasn’t, changed.
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Not a whole lot, it really wasn’t a hugely groundbreaking year. Aside from becoming a mother of two kids. And I don’t want to harp on this much because it’s the kind of thing that would make me roll my eyes hard if I was reading it instead of writing it, but I also successfully nursed a baby, which is something that I didn’t know if (or how) I’d be able to do.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Nope and nope.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Well, I did. But beyond that, not a whole lot of people close to me. My boss did and several friends, but no one I am extra close to, either in terms of relationships or proximity.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. In June I lost my beloved grandfather. It was the best outcome for the situation he was in at the time, but it continues to be extremely difficult to move on without him. I still often expect to see him at family functions and I know that especially during the holidays, his absence was very apparent and sad for not just me, but my whole family.
5. What countries did you visit?
None. I didn’t even visit anywhere outside like a 150 mile radius from our front door. I think it’s entirely possible that Bakersfield was our farthest trip, which is really sad.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Sleep. Like 10 straight hours of it. Financial security. Stability of location. We are moving in 2015 and then hopefully not again for a LONG time. 8 moves in 11 years is too many moves.
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 14th- the last day we were a family of 3.
August 15th- the day William was born and everything changed (in a great, great way).
November 27th- Thanksgiving and the 7th anniversary of my brain surgery.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being really, genuinely happy. There were some not so great parts of this year (so much morning sickness, so much stress), but I have just been really, really ridiculously happy the whole way through. I asked for help when I needed it, I have taken time to care for myself and I am really enjoying my life.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Losing my patience with Eli. He is the most incredibly gifted button pusher and I am so easy for him to frustrated. I wish I could be a more zen-like parent for him.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Morning sickness for months. It was awful. Like, William is the easiest baby and I want a million more just like him, but it’s going to take a few years to forget what it was like to pull over my car and vomit on the way to work.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The velcro swaddle sack William sleeps in. And his Zantac. And Disneyland year passes.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare and preschool ($1500 a month. OMG.) Student loans, rent, groceries (read: junk food), giving Eli things.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Eli growing up into this real person who says things and does things so far beyond what I realized he could do. Watching him grow up is just such a huge privilege. I am so, so lucky to be his mom and so excited for 2015 and all it holds for him (and for William, obviously). I was also really really excited to not be pregnant anymore.
14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Probably a tie between Let it Go and the theme songs to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Dinosaur Train.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? 10,000,000 times happier.
– thinner or fatter? Fatter, by about 8 pounds.
– richer or poorer? This one is interesting, because we are actually making more money, but our bills are higher, so we are actually poorer, sadly.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Staying awake when I could’ve been sleeping. It might be worth mentioning that William is in a bit of a sleep regression right now, so my answers might be a bit skewed.
18. How did you spend Chanukah/Christmas?
We did Chanukah at home every night, except for one night with my in laws. It was wonderful and though Eli repeatedly shouted “NO SINGING” when we did the Chanukah prayer, he was otherwise super excited to light the candles and pick out a gift. Christmas was in Bakersfield with my family and lovely as usual.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Gilmore Girls (Netflix!), Scandal, Orange is the New Black, New Girl, Bones.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Gone Girl, Divergent (those might be the only two I read)
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Umm, Frozen soundtrack? Truthfully, I listened to very little music. I did just finish the Serial podcast and I was hooked.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Gone Girl, Big Hero 6, Silver Linings Play Book (not new, but we saw it this year and it was great)
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31 and truthfully, I have no idea. I think we just finished unpacking our house. Beyond that I have absolutely no memory. I know I bought new pots and pans with my birthday gifts and that was awesome. Maybe we did that on my birthday? Truly I have no idea.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Money. Though I would hesitate to say it would make it immeasurably more satisfying. More like, less stressful.
25. What kept you sane?
My family, friends and kids. And anti-depressants, if we’re being honest.
26. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
To let go. My theme has been to let go and let God. I don’t mean this in a terribly religious way because it’s not as much religion based as it sounds, but I’ve just come to realize that there are a trillion things I can’t control in this life. And instead of spending my time and energy worrying and trying to fix unfixable things, I need to let those things, and their associated worries, go and let someone else handle them.
That’s it for 2014. Hope you and yours have a wonderful new year and that 2015 is the best year yet, for all of us.
Happy New Year!
You ever have one of those weeks where you just feel like a rookie at everything you do? Because yea, this was one of those. In no particular order, things I learned this week:
1. Just because a stuffed animal tag says to hand wash doesn’t mean that hand washing will actually get the smell of vomit out of it.
2. Stuffed animals that say they must be hand washed do just fine in a washing machine.
3. The gentle cycle was not made for items covered in vomit.
4. Sometimes, toddlers throw up in their bed for no reason and then sleep in it quietly all night.
5. Toddlers are disgusting.
6. Scentsy plug ins are the greatest invention of all time.
7. If you try to remove a Scentsy from an outlet while the wax is melted, no matter how carefully you pull, you will throw hot wax all over yourself and your surroundings.
8. Seriously, no matter how carefully you do it. Trust me.
9. The group B strep test is a horrific invasion of personal space and it turns out it’s something you might forget between pregnancies.
10. My 2 year old now has the cognitive and language abilities to have an actual argument with his father.
11. He also has the persistence to win the argument.
12. If you buy your toddler cute pajamas, they will never want to take them off and might wear them to preschool pretty much every day.
13. If you put your toddler in a normal shirt and pants, ones that would be acceptable to wear to preschool the next day, to sleep in, and feel like an evil genius for thinking of this, they will ask to change out of their jammies in the morning.
14. Eli thinks flip flops are called clip clops and that is now what they are called forever and ever.
15. Toddlers can live on air and water and bananas for days at a time.
16. Items tend to cook better in the oven when you turn it on.
17. They also cook better if you don’t accidentally turn it off halfway through.
18. The timer and the oven buttons are very close together.
19. Insurance companies can limit the number of generic Zofran you can get each month, even if your doctor prescribes a normal dosage and even if you’re pregnant with persistent nausea.
20. Because apparently insurance companies know more than physicians.
21. You can eat several pints of ice cream and all kinds of terrible things when you’re 35 weeks pregnant and not gain an ounce.
22. Somehow, pieces of tile can get into your Bisquick.
23. Bisquick takes these claims SUPER seriously and will call you at 8am the morning after you submit an email.
24. They will also tell you that it’s not tile, but hardened “product.”
25. Apparently, if the “product” is left in the equipment too long, one side lacquers itself. Or you know, IT’S A PIECE OF TILE.
26. There’s something kind of sad about your toddler switching from calling you mama to calling you mommy.
27. I have the cutest toddler on earth. Okay fine, I didn’t learn that this week.
This is going to be like a stream of consciousness only longer, probably, because it’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t had enough to say about any one thing, but too much to say about too many, and basically that’s why it’s been quiet.
First, we had Eli’s birthday party, which was delightful. We had it at the same park as last year and decorated with Sesame Street. Eli had an absolute blast, which was my biggest concern. He played on the slide for a solid hour, hung out with his cousins and only stopped briefly to eat. We had ladder golf and corn hole tournaments (with prizes) for the adults and goodies for the kids. I will never forget the expression on Eli’s face when everyone say happy birthday and he has pretty much been obsessed with singing it since then.
The next weekend, we moved. Well, first we packed. I cannot convey how much I hate packing and I always procrastinate and then stay up way too late the night before the move and it’s the dumbest thing, but I’ll never learn. It took hours to load the moving van and hours to unload. My poor husband did the lion’s share of unloading because most of our (lovely, very appreciated) family volunteers had to leave before we finished. When we move again next year, my husband said that we’re hiring movers, not because we need them, but because he’s willing to pay money to keep his parents away. The movers are apparently just a bonus. His words, not mine.
Then it was my birthday, which was relatively uneventful, not in a bad way. We took Eli to his 2 year check up where he was pronounced in good health, though we are keeping an eye on a few concerning behaviors (which are another post for another time). He even escaped without any shots, which was a fun surprise for all of us. Then we went to lunch at the hospital cafeteria (we fancy), took Eli home for a nap, checked out a preschool (also another post for another time) and then went to dinner. I also bought my very first set of brand new pots and pans, which I love so much I kind of want to sleep with them.
Other big news includes Eli transitioning from his crib mattress on the floor to a (hand-me-down) twin bed. I made my husband take the frame off because it’s SO tall and he’s SO little, but we’ll add that on eventually. The move combined with the new bed have essentially ruined Eli’s sleep, but he’s quietly sleep fighting, so I have zero complaints. And he loves his new bed and his “airpane” sheets.
In less positive news, my grandpa has had a recurrence of cancer. He had a tumor removed from his tongue about 3 years ago and was told that it was very slow growing and he’d probably be fine. We don’t know exactly when, but he had regrowth and started having trouble eating in January. Being the stubborn man he is, he didn’t tell anyone and has lost well over 15 pounds in the past several months from not being able to swallow food. He finally went to his doctor and it’s not good. He met with a surgeon and an oncologist this week and his options are just awful.
He can do radiation, but it probably won’t work (not a responsive type of tumor) and will be brutal on his mouth. There is a surgery, but it’s 16 hours long and involves unhinging his jaw and the surgeon said a lot of 40 year olds don’t survive it, so they won’t do it on an 88 year old. Or he can do nothing, and basically he wastes away and can’t eat and that’s the end of his life. I’m so angry about this because it is just miserably unfair. He is a good man, this isn’t how his life should end. I never imagined a scenario where there were no treatments that would make things better in some way (we’re not delusional enough to need remission, just comfort) and I am just angry. He couldn’t get his knees replaced 15 years ago because his heart wasn’t in good enough shape, yet he’s lived the past 15 years just so he can have this terrible end? I just can’t. I’m so mad.
And that’s pretty much it. Very abbreviated, but it’s the goings on. I will post pictures of the new apartment when everything is finished. We’ve unpacked all the boxes but hung (hanged?) very few pictures and Eli’s room needs some color. It’s a really, really nice place and we’re really happy here. Eli’s room is huge, the patio is huge and it feels very much like home already. The community is also great and the 15 minute work commute is just a heaping pile of awesome. Overall things here are going very well and someday I will write in more detail about just one or two things. Probably.
So, yesterday, a FB friend of mine posted a link to an article from the Onion, which for those who don’t know, is a satire website, it’s awesome. I didn’t read the piece, but I noticed that out of nowhere, someone made a relatively incoherent Obama rant. I made a snarky comment and went on my way. And then the woman came unraveled. I will admit that I probably should’ve stopped engaging her a long time ago, but my husband is out of town and I’m bored. I’m expecting to find out that I’ve been punked at any moment, but so far, nothing.
So here are the screen caps, unedited except for removing names and avatars. The woman is in red, everyone else is blacked out (there are 2-3 other people commenting). The only things not included are 2 graphics she posted that made zero sense (she really, really thinks she’s winning an argument) and added nothing to the conversation and one comment she deleted about my hair.
I feel like I’m having a David After the Dentist moment here. Is this real life? Also, let me warn you, before you start reading this, set aside a lot of time because not only is it lengthy, the grammar and spelling are also super awesome.
It’s probably wrong that I don’t want her to stop. I might need more hobbies, but watching people come unhinged is one of my favorites.
Since the last housing update things got easier, then tougher and then easier again.
On Wednesday? Thursday? I’m not even sure anymore, I finally came to a decision. I had spent hours talking and thinking about whether the apartment or condo was right for us, and ultimately I realized that I was picturing our family in the apartment every time. The difference in space is really significant and it just had several features that were really appealing (the washer/driers, the hard wood flooring in the dining room, the massive patio, etc). I was completely content with the decision and was excited to get home to tell my husband.
And better yet, my husband came to the same conclusion that same day. All was well in apartment/condo decision making land. So, naturally we got an email that evening letting us know that the condo price had dropped 50 bucks a month and was now 120 dollars less per month than the apartment. Cue drama.
I felt like someone took the wind out of my sails. We didn’t know what to do and the apartment had given us through the weekend to decide or we’d lose the deposit and the unit (which we had secured at a lower than normal cost for several fortuitous reasons).
We went back and looked over the floor plans and tried to figure out what was best. We realized that if we went with the condo, we would absolutely have to rent a storage unit because there just wasn’t room for all our furniture, which doesn’t entirely negate the cost difference, but it narrows it significantly.
We also briefly considered looking closer to my husband’s work and upping our budget a bit, basically, taking traffic/gas costs and storage unit costs from the apartment/condo that are further away and adding them to our rent budget. We looked at precisely 2 places and I was just done. I couldn’t imagine more weekends of ruining Eli’s nap to look at apartments that check some but not all boxes, or are too expensive. Or apartments that will leave me trying to get 2 kids and myself ready and out the door by 7am. It was just not happening.
So, we’re going with the apartment. We don’t need a storage unit and though my husband’s commute will suck, he will survive and we’ll find ways to make it more bearable for him. And also, we’re done. We’re done. We’re going to live somewhere. And it’s somewhere I really like, somewhere my kid(s) will really like and somewhere we’ll be comfortable for the next year.
And then we get to do this ALL OVER AGAIN OMG.
So, the latest installment of the housing hunt is at least promising in terms of progress. We have found two options that we really like and are completely stuck when it comes to choosing which one we want. I am not actually expecting you guys to choose where we’re going to live next, but I’m hoping that input from people who aren’t my husband and I might help us see some other perspectives.
Before I get into things, a little background. We cannot afford to live right near my husband’s new work because we’re not wealthy (and you have to be seriously wealthy to live around there). We limited our searches to a budget of X and required a minimum of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We looked in several neighborhoods and finally settled on this one. It is a pretty significant drive to my husband’s work, but there are several toll road/options that will get him there quicker (though for a cost) and there is a train that will get him there much more quickly that he can also get a monthly discount for through his job. It’s closer to my job and I’ll get into specifics with distances in a second.
So, the apartment is 1000 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It is a first floor unit (of a 2 story building) and the rent is X+20 dollars a month, which is because of the 30 dollar a month pet rent, and is not ideal cost-wise.
It has a HUGE kitchen (I mean HUGE. I could lay down on the counter and not touch anything.), separate dining and living rooms and a spacious patio (with a sliding glass door from the living room and another door from the master bedroom) that we are allowed to keep a BBQ on, not that we own one, but fun fact. There’s also a small storage closet on the patio.
The bedrooms are good sized, the master has a big closet with sliding doors, the kids room has a walk in closet. And the bedrooms are separated by the living room between them.
The bathrooms each have a tub/shower and a single sink, though the counter space is meh.
There are full size, side-by-side washer driers in the unit with a shelf above to store detergent stuff on.
There is plenty of grass and a nice sidewalk path for bike riding outside the unit and it is in a relatively quiet and secluded area of the complex, but also near enough to some nice BBQs and picnic benches.
It comes with one covered parking spot, the other car will have to park in first come, first serve guest parking.
It is 22 miles from my husband’s work, 3 miles from the train station and 7 miles from my work.
There is a huuuuuuuge park 3 blocks away (3 uphill blocks, but still) that Eli will love.
My favorite parts of this unit are the size- it feels big, the kitchen is ENORMOUS and it has new full sized washer and driers.
My least favorite parts are the cost and the fact that I’m tired of living in apartment complexes where people move in and out and don’t take care of stuff and the fact that it’s 20 dollars over our budget.
So, the condo is 915 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It is a first floor unit (of a 3 story building) and the rent is X-50 dollars a month.
It has a small kitchen with a super fancy enormous refrigerator, separate dining and living rooms and a small patio that overlooks great outdoor space and some gorgeous mountains. There’s also a decent sized storage closet on the patio.
The bedrooms are good sized, the master has a walk in closet, the kids room has small sliding door closet. The bedrooms share a wall and the kids room is against the living room. The hallway is pretty narrow.
The bathrooms each have a tub/shower and a single sink with awesome counter space. The master has a separate dressing area/sink and toilet/shower room, which is nice.
There are stacked washer and driers, which they say are full sized, but I’m not completely sure.
There is a nice grass area and a big sand volleyball court that Eli can play in and it was very quiet while we were there. There are a few tables with benches nearby and the view is unreal.
It comes with one covered parking spot and one uncovered parking spot.
It is 20 miles from my husband’s work and close to the ideal freeway onramp that will spare him some traffic, and is 3 miles to the train station and 9 miles from my work.
There is a nice park about half a mile away, which Eli will love.
My favorite parts of the condo are the stability of the complex- people own and live here and so the turnover rate is small and people care for the space. There is an HOA we don’t have to pay for. The fridge is also pretty amazing and the price is within our budget.
My least favorite part is really the size. It feels small inside. The kitchen is more cramped than the one we already have and the patio is small, though the grassy spaces outside help make up for that.
So. There you have it. Two very comparable units with pros and cons that basically completely equal each other. If it was you, knowing only what’s above, what would you do?
There is a secret third option, because my husband got a job offer that will include a monthly stipend all year next year in the amount of exactly X, which would allow us to move closer to my husband’s work, however, it means more money on the place we live and significantly more money for daycare/preschool because it’s just a more costly area in general. Plus, it forces my husband to work at his current hospital for 3 years, which isn’t inherently bad, he’s just not sure he wants to commit to that yet.
So, I realized I have left several things hanging and others completely unmentioned. Things have been indescribably busy for us lately, but I finally have an evening without an agenda, so I’m going to do a little catch up.
First, the New York/So Cal thing finally got handled, but it took weeks. Weeks and ignored emails and a lot of stress. New York was able to get the other candidate to sign a contract and released my husband. Obnoxiously, they made him send an email requesting to be released from his contract (that didn’t exist) before they would formally let him off the hook. Like, they called him and said, we have our fellow, you’re good to go elsewhere, but you need to email us and ask to be released. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. But whatever, we get to stay in California, so the email was not a big deal. We are very happy.
After Thanksgiving, we came home from my hometown and had like 2.5 normal days before packing up and flying across the country to Washington D.C. It wasn’t Eli’s first flight, but it was his first since he was 4 months old and more than a little cuddle bug that I could put to sleep by stroking his eyebrows like a kitten. We intentionally did not get direct flights for 2 reasons: they’re way too expensive and we wanted Eli to have time between flights to get out of his car seat and burn some energy.
So, the way there, our first flight ended up having to circle the airport and then sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes of the 45 minute layover we had. So we had to run, with our carry-ons and Eli’s car seat, and Eli, who just wanted to pull his little penguin bag, to the next gate, bump someone out of their window seat, rapidly install the car seat and the child who didn’t want to get back in it so quickly, so that everyone else could get to DC on time. I ended up sitting between Eli and a 4 year old the whole way, while my husband sat 17 rows ahead. To his credit, Eli was an absolute champ and we made it to DC without any significant drama.
The hotel was lovely, and DC was everything I hoped it would be. I haven’t been since I was 7 and I only have very vague memories of the bureau of printing and engraving (I got a 2 dollar bill!) and of the national zoo (I got stung by a wasp!) and of it being really, really hot. So it was nice to go back as an adult, and an American history lover, and get to see all the things there are to offer. And it snowed, which was just icing on the cake. We went to all the Smithsonians (well, maybe not all, but a lot), the Zoo, the national mall, walked by the White House, saw the Christmas tree and had a great time. It was unbelievably cold for a big part of our trip and rained for another big part, but it didn’t dampen the fun.
The flight home was…less fun. We were flying into a headwind, so our nearly hour layover was cut to 15 minutes, the guy sitting in front of Eli kept slamming his back into his seat, which then jiggled Eli’s car seat and so instead of a good solid nap, Eli napped for like an hour and 45 minutes and then the second flight took us waaaaay past bedtime and he basically came unraveled at the end. It was ugly. But we’re home.
And sick. Again. Eli came down with a horrible ear infection (the pediatrician referred to it as “raging”) the day before Thanksgiving and was put on very, very strong antibiotics, which even a week after finishing are still wrecking his little insides. On Friday, he was suddenly all snotty again. And more so on Saturday. Sunday he woke up with his eyes glued shut. And today, when we went to the pediatrician, it was discovered that in addition pink eye, he also has a double ear infection. And since the antibiotics he was just on were the strongest oral ones available, the only treatment option for now is a shot in each thigh once a day for 3 days. And they are big honking needles and oh it was sad. I do not want to take him back tomorrow, but I know it’s what’s best.
So, that’s about everything. Eli took a nearly 5 hour nap today and seems on the mend. My husband and I have both come down with the cold and as I type this I have tissue stuffed up my nose because I can’t blow or wipe it anymore and I’ll be sleeping on the couch to prevent my face from exploding. I’m really hopeful that this is the end of our winter illness dog pile, mostly because I’m in denial, but also because we’re all running out of sick days pretty rapidly.
Also, we visited Santa. It was the best $15 anyone has ever spent.
I think we’re caught up now.
On Saturday morning I got a call from my sister that in the course of a few hours her dog, husband and baby had all thrown up. She didn’t just call to gross me out, but rather to say that suddenly their plans to attend the USC homecoming game were up in the air. She asked if we wanted their tickets since I also went to USC and though we had a nice quiet weekend planned, we jumped at the chance.
We piled in the car and drove across town, knowing that the place was going to be a mess since not only was it a night game (meaning there were hooooours of tailgating happening), but it was homecoming, so there would be a higher than average attendance level. And it was every bit as busy as we had expected.
We asked a security guard where the best place to park was and he said that all the lots were full and that unless we wanted to pay 80-100 dollars, we should drive a few blocks away and park in the neighborhood. It sounded kind of sketchy (the neighborhood around USC is…interesting), but we didn’t really have any other option. So we drove down and settled on parking at an apartment complex for 20 dollars. We were assured that we wouldn’t be blocked in (we double checked this since we were planning to leave the game a little early) and we were assured that was the case.
So we set off to the game. Which was really a lot of fun. Eli liked watching parts of the game, especially from his own seat (that the people next to us generously donated).
He did not care for the (Stanford) band very much.
And we all had a good time cheering on our Trojans.
At the start of the 4th quarter (around 7:45) we decided to head to our car. We got there and found that despite all the reassurances, there was a car blocking the driveway and that there was not a single light on in the apartment that was busy and bustling just a few hours earlier. So, we got in the car and pulled forward, hoping that the person who drove the car was inside and would take the hint. And then we waited. And waited. And waited.
After about 20 minutes, a guy came over and said he was a neighbor from across the street. He had seen the car park there not too long ago and the driver had appeared to be very drunk and headed off towards the sorority houses. Um. What?
So now we’re sitting in the car, trapped in a small alley with 2 cars parked behind us (so we can’t just abandon our car and take the metro home), listening to the football game that we left early (which got SO good after we left aaaaaarg) for the entire hour that we thought it would take us to get home. I seriously didn’t know what to do. A tow truck couldn’t help us since it was a private driveway. Parking enforcement couldn’t help us unless the building manager or owner was present. So we were just stuck in someone’s drive way, in downtown LA at 8:45pm. With a very tired baby and several drunk, rowdy, pissed off people who were stuck behind us.
I have to say, it was one of those moments where I really had no idea what to do. I actually almost called my dad because I felt that confused. Like I needed to consult a real adult because clearly I was not one. I didn’t want to leave our car, Eli was melting down and I just had no idea how to proceed.
Just as a group of 12 really drunk guys decided they would try to pick up the car and move it into the street, which truthfully I’m pretty sad I didn’t get to see because I can only imagine how entertaining it would’ve been, the jackasses who parked there (who did not even live there and just decided that a random driveway was a great place to park during the USC homecoming game) came back and moved out of the way.
And then, at 9:15 we finally got to leave and delightfully got to sit in aaaaaaaaall the traffic we were trying to avoid by leaving the game early.
We learned a really important lesson on Saturday. If we’re going to go to a USC game, we should never skip the tailgating. I mean, for the parking part only, obviously…
8 years ago today, Katrina roared into New Orleans. My husband had moved there just 3 weeks prior and had just finished building all his furniture and unpacking all his earthly possessions the day before. And in just a matter of hours, his home was underwater. His school, and his entire future was uncertain. Ultimately, he was lucky because what he lost was easily recovered, unlike the majority of those in New Orleans.
A year later, I moved to New Orleans and realized the magnitude of the loss on August 29, 2005. The school I later worked at had been flooded and on the brink of destruction from the storm. Many of the students I taught had lost everything- their homes, their possessions and even their family members in Katrina. Their losses were greater than I can even, to this day, begin to imagine.
August 29, 2005 changed our future. It changed my husband’s medical school career, it changed our hearts and it rerouted big parts of our future. I am who I am, in part because of that day.
2 years ago today, I found out that I was pregnant. I woke up before my husband and on a whim, took a pregnancy test. And the second line showed up almost immediately. Everything changed that day. I am now the mother of the most incredible little person I have ever met. We are now a family, a group of people who love each other more than I knew was even possible.
I have a fondness for August 29th, not because I don’t remember the terrible things that happened for many of my friends that day, but because I remember the good things also happened.
The city of New Orleans suffered a horrible blow that day, but seeing the city rise up, as I was privileged to do, and rebuild in the face of a tragedy that most would people never even try to recover from, was nothing short of amazing. I was proud to call myself a New Orleanian, even if only for a short while, and I am a better person for it. I will always have a fondness for that place, where I truly became an adult, where I got engaged and got my first real job. A city that never gave up and who rebuilt after losses I can barely imagine, even having seen some of the carnage with my own eyes.
August 29th, for me, is a day of change. It’s a day of new beginnings, of leaving the past and plans behind. This year there is no big announcement, no big change. Mostly, I feel that we are already on our way. That the events in our past, those August 29ths, have set us on this path and that we are in motion now.
Who knows what next August 29th might have in store. Or where we might spend it.
On Friday we leave for a week long vacation. We’re not going anywhere fancy, but we’re going somewhere special.
Every summer of my childhood, my mom’s whole family- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone, would drive the 2 hours to the beach. We stayed at my great-aunt and uncle’s house, sometimes cramming 20+ people in. We slept in bunk beds and on couches, we showered outside and sometimes in pairs (water restrictions during a long drought…), we went to the marina and ate at the same restaurants year after year. It was as much a part of my life as going to school was. Every summer, without fail, there was the beach.
Some of my clearest and fondest childhood memories reside there. Getting up early and going for walks with my grandma to find those sand dollars. And cleaning tar off my feet with baby oil afterwards. The time I accidentally put all my shells back in my aunt’s full glass of milk instead of in the identical, empty solo cup I had taken them out of. Major water fights with cousins. Boogy boarding until our eyes and skin were red.
When we were in junior high/high school, the beach house was no longer available to us because my great aunt and uncle moved into it full time, so we rented other houses in the same neighborhoods and continued our tradition for many more summers. The last time we went was 2 years ago, just a week or so before we found out that I was pregnant. It was one of the first times my youngest cousins (11, 9 and 4) had ever gone and while it’s not the same without my grandma, it’s still my favorite place.
This year it’ll be a slightly smaller scale than when I was a kid, but so many of us are grown and have jobs now that it’s hard to coordinate. Not to mention that with the next generation of kids, the amount of space we need is harder and harder to find and since we’re renting for real instead of from family, it’s harder to sneak extra family members in. There will still be bunches of cousins, siblings, grandparents and most importantly, love. That’s what I remember most about the weeks at the beach. It was time with my family, happiness, relaxation, and just feeling connected. Since moving away from home 10 years ago, that feeling has been slowly fading, but this is a week where I get to find it again, feel it and let my son get a taste of it as well.
Getting to carry this tradition on for Eli is something I have long dreamed about. I always hoped that someday my son would have cousins to play in the water with, to teach to boogy board. Even though the short cut to the donut shop is closed, I hope he’ll still get to take special walks with his grandma and maybe even find a sand dollar or two.
I think we all need this vacation and I can’t even begin to say how much I’m looking forward to it. It’s my happiest place, with all the people that I love. What could possibly be better?