I love bags. By bags I don’t mean purses, I mean bags, tote bags. Sometimes I love the free ones, sometimes I love the ones I force myself to buy at the grocery store when I forget mine at home (it’s a way of both punishing myself for forgetting and rewarding myself for shopping in the first place.) In short, I have many.
M does not love my bags. He especially does not like traveling with them. I have lost count of the number of times the entire contents of some adorable little open-top tote have spilled out on the floor of an airport, or under seat of the passenger in front of us on the airplane, causing him to holler: NO MORE OPEN BAGS ARE ALLOWED ON OUR TRIPS.
I always manage to sneak one or two in. And now Frances is in on it too. At eight, she now brings along her own adorable but impractical open-top bags.
But this week the open top bags rose to utility. This week we are moving to a new house here in NY. This is our fifth move with kids and each time the move grows in scope and difficulty. I wanted to move as much over to the new house as I could before the movers came and threw things into boxes with things with which they do not belong (oven gloves and toothbrushes anyone?). So I made bags: bags of toothbrushes (Stanford bookstore), bags of underwear (Goats on the Roof, British Columbia), bags of things required by children to sleep (JCrew tote, circa 2004), bags of face soap (Whole Foods, circa last week). You get the idea.
Here are the bags at work:
(Yes those shelves are completely wonky. You can’t always get what you want.)
I told M these bags brought to mind the plucky little fishing boats that helped evacuate the beaches at Dunkirk. He did not roll his eyes. I believe he has come to appreciate my flair for the dramatic and my constant WWII references.
The bags may not have saved the day, but I was proud of them nonetheless, and because they are all currently in use, I think I have to buy some more.
I don’t know what to say about all the mock Tudor architecture in Westchester County. I suspect Henry the VIII must have had a wife from Scarsdale.
Our house (in the Bronx) formerly belonged to Mike and Carol Brady. Here is the stairway to prove it.
Sorry about the glaring light. If you don’t believe me about the house, have a look at the front door.
All I need is one more child.
I’d been intending on chronicling the move, if only in pictures. But that plan derailed itself when Fiona dropped my phone into a toilet. (In a moment of weakness, I told her she could play for 15 minutes if she let me nap. I was so, so very tired and would have traded just about anything for a power rest.. maybe even her. Note to self: Do not plug your phone in next to a toilet. I will probably get this right at the same time I learn NEVER to smell underwear (or pull-ups, I did that this very morning) to see if they are clean.)
We are now in the thick of the unpack, the part of the process which has me wandering from room to room in a haze of panic and confusion. It doesn’t help matters that the tiny blue notebook I’d been using in lieu of the iPhone went and got itself lost this afternoon. (It seems the folks at ATT thought we were trying to defraud them when we changed our address and then promptly ordered a new phone, and so they have kept me just about technology free for several long days now.)
Without the phone you cannot see a picture of the dining room table that went and got itself cracked in two during the move – the very same table that did the same thing en route from LA to Seattle.
But I don’t need a phone to tell you that yesterday Sidney asked me what I was doing.
Me: I’m unpacking china.
Sidney: You know, china is an inappropriate word.
Enter Fiona (as if on cue): That’s Va-china Sidney.
Sidney: Oh. Va-china.
Speaking of the nether regions, in a giant karmic last laugh, it seems that while M has moved us with 5,632 rolls of paper towel, we have come here with nary a roll of toilet paper. In a panic I used some tissues I found in the bathroom.
Some menthol scented tissues I bought in France last summer.
Note to self: If you want a spring in your step, there are probably better ways of going about it than wiping with a minty tissue.
We left Seattle almost two weeks ago and tooled around on the east coast, getting the kids on local time, and getting our heads in the game. It turns out that jet lag isn’t just a matter of time, but also a matter of head space. We headed to Hilton Head, South Carolina where the kids (and we) spent several days with our minds in Seattle. Days rolled on and the white sand beaches worked their magic and eventually we began to look forward. We’re spending a weekend with friends in Massachusetts and tomorrow we drive to New York.
Here is a list of improbable things I’d envisioned M saying before I imagined him saying, “You know, we really ought to pick the kids and up and move to New York City.”
1. “I’m full. Not another bite, please.”
2. “Didn’t you carry that purse last season?”
3. “Throw that out.”
4. “Everyone has dropped her phone in the toilet once or twice. Don’t sweat it.”
5. “I think it’s time for another baby.”
And here we are, hours away from being New Yorkers.
And it wasn’t even my idea.
There are somethings I am happy to be leaving behind in Seattle.
Sidney just got herself out of diapers, thanks to a healthy amount of milk chocolate and a couple of nasty accidents (Once or twice I had to pull a hard little turd out of her underwear.) We have had this thing for bloody ever, and I never really liked it. It always screamed Romanian orphanage to me, but this may have had something to do with the fact that I had it in a room with a couple of cribs and a bunk bed, or two. I think at some point I used that belt to keep infants from rolling off, but at some point I left babies on there completely unattended. Sometimes, if I was feeling especially cautious, I’d leave a pillow on the floor next to it. Just in case.
And now it’s at the thrift shop that Macklemore made famous.
We also had to say goodbye to Bun-bun:
She, on the other hand, will be missed. I didn’t mind picking up her hard little turds. She was far easier to toilet train than any of my children, and far more compliant.
I didn’t plan on leaving Efram’s retainer behind, but two weeks after getting it, he seems to have lost it at a friend’s house. So now I get to tack on, at the very top of an already long to-do list: FIND ORTHODONTIST IN RIVERDALE, NY.
I threatened to leave Efram behind if he didn’t find it, but his eyes lit up, and I realized that this might not work out as I’d planned.
When you make a decision to move primarily for your kids, and they’re all teary and annoyed about the whole thing, you sometimes wonder if you’re making a huge mistake,and maybe you should bag the whole thing and not have to deal with borrowing a truck so you can move a bunny and finding a new orthodontist.
I’ll let you know what I decide in the morning.
Once a year I take a giant spill while on my morning run. It is always in the same spot. This is the spot as viewed by me while sitting on my ass on the concrete:
The spot is about half a mile south of my house. I only run south if I’m feeling too tired for the hills of the park, if I feel like a change of scenery, or if it’s too early to be out on the loop alone. Normally, I trip over a tree root, or a raised bit of pavement, but last week I fell TWICE. Once over that damn root; the second time I was dragging so badly I tripped over the bloody curb. So now I’m sporting bloody knuckles (first fall) and banged up knees (second). I fell flat onto my face and was even showing off a rather attractive swollen lip. Really, I’m quite the sight for sore eyes. I just have to be thankful I didn’t knock out my tooth (it did hurt)… then I’d have fit in really well at Lake Chelan, where we spent this past weekend, our final one here in Washington State.
Clearly I need to get myself some more sleep. I tried explaining this to Sidney at five am while she was yelling me about the placement of her blanket, or to M as he was leaving for NY for a couple of days. I even tried having a conversation with the “to-d0” list that I typed into my phone. I consult this list obsessively, but do not seem to be shortening it at all.
So far, nothing has worked. The list grows and I look more and more like Rocky Balboa.
I did knock off one item on the list: Today I took the boys to the pediatrician for their (somewhat belated) 9 and 11 year checkups.
These are not the feet you want to show to the pediatrician:
Sadly, they actually look cleaner in this picture that they do in real life.
After a several year hiatus, it was time for Bennett to get some shots. Three of them. So he hid:
At least his feet were clean.
On the way home, we talked about the move to NYC and one of them said: “I want to go to Madison Square Garden and pee on the grass. Just so I can say I’ve done it.” I explained that the Garden isn’t really a garden.
But I just want to get there.. in one piece.