Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is not really a solution

I just went into the bathroom to throw in a load of laundry and was confronted with a pair of Jack's shorts that I inadvertently washed with a red crayon in the pocket about three weeks ago. The rest of the load was miraculously unstained, but the interior of his pocket is kind of messed up. I have dealt with this by carefully turning the pocket inside out and leaving the shorts on top of the dryer in the hopes that the laundry fairies will take care of it. They have not.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The salt

Some of you noticed something… unusual about our spice cabinet.


What? Is three pounds of salt a lot? It’s just that we’re setting it aside in case salt ever returns to its roots as a salary base.

Thank you! I’ll be here all week!

No, the truth is that, while three pounds of salt suggests that Andrew and I have incredibly high blood pressure, we actually eat very little salt. You see, we both brought salt to the marriage. He had salt. I had salt. We got married and had two salts. Why throw away perfectly good salt? And then this summer, we bought a farm share and Andrew got all gung ho about making pickles which apparently require uniodized salt. So we’re pretty much set for salt is what I’m saying.

But you know how salt is one of those things you never buy because a pound of salt is basically an infinite supply? So the first time you move into your own apartment, you reach for the salt and it’s not there? When Andrew moved into his first solo apartment after grad school, he emailed me to complain about the outrageous price of salt. “What are you talking about?” I typed back. “It’s, like, fifty cents a pound!”

“Well at my store it’s six dollars a pound,” he replied, to my disbelieving eyes. When I finally made it up there to visit him, I found a tiny box of Kosher sea salt in his pantry. Uniodized.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Remember my spice storage problem?



Yes, those are boxes. Metal mesh CD storage boxes from Target, to be exact. Andrew has admitted that the alphabetized box system, and I quote, “does work pretty well.” So, HA. HA HA HA. HAAAAAAA. Admittedly, there have been a few kinks, like how it is remarkably difficult to find boxes that are the exact size and shape you want. And how I originally bought three boxes which turned out not to be enough, so I went back to Target to get more, but Target claimed never to have heard of these boxes. I went to two different Targets and even brought the SKU tag to scan at the price checker, and… nothing. Nothing online either. As far as anyone could tell, those boxes were not sold at Target – or anywhere else for that matter – and I had apparently manufactured them myself as an elaborate hoax.

But last Friday I was at yet another Target much closer to the Target* where I originally bought them and lo and behold, there were three metal mesh CD storage boxes sitting innocently on the shelf! I only needed one more, but I bought all three in case they vanished again. So now we’re good, except for the fact that the boxes don’t fit properly on the bottom shelf of the cabinet because of a ridge thing in the back, but WHATEVER.

And, now that I’ve talked for entirely too long about my spice storage, let’s talk about walnuts. Did you know that walnuts look like this?


Neither did I! We’ve been finding these in our backyard since we moved in three years ago. The first year, there were three or four of them. This year, they filled up half of a 30-gallon trash barrel. This suggests an increase in numbers. It should be noted that we do not actually HAVE a walnut tree on or near our property. The closest one is across the street, but the squirrels’ very favorite place to eat the walnuts is in the trees overhanging our backyard. They are also extremely fond at throwing the walnuts down into our yard. Two points if you hit the horseshoe pit!**

It was while cleaning up those 15 gallons of walnuts that I finally figured out they WERE walnuts. We had been wondering and wondering what the weird green fruits were, but it was not till I picked up my fifty-thousandth disintegrating green fruit thing that I noticed there was a hard, walnut-like pit inside. Then I further noticed a lot of what looked like walnut shells all over the place, and… wait… maybe THESE are walnuts. Is this how walnuts grow?

Turns out, yeah.

At any rate, about thirty seconds after I had picked up the last rotting walnut and dragged the barrel back to its place, I heard three thumps followed by a squirrely sounding shout of “Two points!” Muttering, I went back to the end of the yard to gather up the fresh walnuts. I had already taken put my gloves back in the shed, so I picked them up bare-handed.

You know something else about walnuts? In between the green skin and the familiar walnut shell is a layer of – if you'll forgive me for getting technical here – black smutsch.


And it was while holding one of the gnawed walnuts in my gloveless hands that I discovered why the squirrels throw so many of the walnuts to the ground, uneaten.

Worms. Worms in the black smutsch.

If you need me, I’ll be washing my hands.

*This brings the Target count to four, but it does not include the other Target I can also get to. This is a lot of Targets. Just thought I’d point that out.

**We do not have any horseshoes, just two pits with dangerous metal spikes sticking out of the ground. They came with the house.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photo cop out

No words today. Just pictures.

Nap Head
We call this "Nap Head."

Haircut and bathrobe
But now that he got his hair cut, "Nap Head" is no more. Sob. Still, he does wear a bathrobe.

Double fisting
One is chocolate, one is plain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He is looking for a wind-up ladybug at the end

I want to thank everyone for their encouraging comments on my last post. I’m midway through my second week of this new phase of life, and I’m more certain than ever that it was the right decision for us.

In other news, it has been brought to my attention that, apparently, Jack likes cream.

Jack likes cream from Maureen on Vimeo.

He’s eating a whoopee pie for the first time, but he didn’t eat the cake part. He also politely declined the use of any utensils.

Also, this is the second time I completely failed to get my video to upload in the correct aspect ratio. I'm using the software that came with the camera, and it makes NO SENSE. So the choice was to upload this tonight all wonky, or wait until I figure out this stupid software, or wait till tomorrow when I can use Andrew's computer. I chose to upload.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The big post

I quit my job. It was a fantastic job when it was two days a week, but now they want more than two days a week. I can’t blame them. When you work only two days a week, things that should only take three days take a week and a half. And if a project needs a week’s work, look for the results in a month. So over the past couple of weeks, my boss and I have had several discussions about my hours. Unfortunately, the only arrangement that would satisfy him was my working at least four days a week, six to seven hours a day. Factor in my hour-long commute both ways, longer if I have to drop Jack somewhere, and that’s essentially a full-time job. So I quit.

I’d like to say that this was a tough decision, but it just… wasn’t. Once Andrew and I figured out how our budget could work with one salary, I felt a palpable relief. Although I’ve liked being able to keep a professional hand in with a light work schedule, I far prefer my days at home with Jack to my days in the lab. I love pretty much everything about staying home. I love hanging out with Jack. I love having the time to keep the house reasonably clean. (Note the phrasing: I love having the time, not the cleaning itself. I haven’t completely lost my mind.) And much to my shock, I’ve started to love to cook. Over the past two years, I have progressed from a person who carefully buys the exact ingredients listed in a recipe to a person who scans her pantry for available ingredients, and then throws something together. Something that tastes good, even. For crying out loud, I’ve started making pies on a weekly basis. From scratch! I peel the peaches!

In fact, probably the biggest obstacle I faced in making the decision to quit my job was the very fact of how much I love the stay-at-home gig. Human nature being what it is, I appear to hold myself to a different standard than the rest of the universe and therefore felt like I am not supposed to enjoy being a stay-at-home. I’m supposed to want to work a “real” job! I’m supposed to love my “real” job! I mean, why go to all the trouble of getting a Ph.D. if not to work a “real” job that I love?

But I didn’t love it. In truth, I’d been trolling job postings for a while, searching for that magical, fascinating job that required ten hours a week, paid $400 per hour, and was located five minutes from my house. And it wouldn’t hurt if instead of bench science, it was writing- or people-oriented. I didn’t find that one exactly, but I did find a part-time teaching job for two days a month. Perfect in all ways but the uber-minimalist hours. Still, I accepted, and had actually just begun the process of hunting for a day care that would accommodate these additional days when my boss asked to meet with me to discuss my working arrangement, sparking a series of proposals and emails back and forth and ultimately leading to my resignation.

Which brings us to now. Last Friday was my last full day, but I will continue to consult for my company on an as-needed basis. Today, I attended my first teacher staff meeting, which is hopefully the start of a new phase in my career. And most importantly, I have made peace with the reality that I do have a real job. And I do love it.

And I am blessed.


Monday, September 8, 2008

In the meantime

I’m working on a big post, but I thought I’d tell you a quick Jack story. We have a copy of the “Guardian Angel Prayer” on a small card. For those unfamiliar, it goes, “Angel of God, my guardian dear/ To whom His love commits me here/ Ever this night be at my side/ To love and guard, to rule and guide.” I used the card when we instituted prayers as part of the bedtime routine, but I memorized it soon enough, and the card started migrating around the house. One recent Friday, Andrew said he caught Jack “reading” it, saying things like, “Blah bluh jibber jabber cat dog.”

But that’s not the best part. The best part is that the very next day, Jack emerged from the bathroom holding the card and saying, “Angel God, guard dear, love here, thanks!”