7.14.2006

Why I Am Writing This From the Hotel Across From The Hole

Another epiphany today: Four hours in a cheap hotel room is less expensive than a fancy dinner and drinks, and certainly as relaxing plus a better deal than a massage. And I can be home in five minutes! Glorious, glorious silence and isolation.

I needed it. I am wiped. So wiped that I keep forgetting important things. Like making sure Mali has shoes on before we leave for a day's worth of errands. Busyness, even happy busyness, eventually makes me very grumpy. But all I need is a few hours alone and all is well.

This morning's Bad Moms' Coffee was sparsely attended. Ep is in the UK, Jo is in CO, Badger is attending to the freshly de-appendixed and recovering Moomin, JP was working at Iz's camp (her kids Danielle and Elise get to go for free; JP is clever like that), and Liz is in Santa Barbara attending to things equestrian. So it was me, Godmother Stacy, and Mary T, the latter two of whom were very gracious in listening to me grump about stultifying domestic minutiae.

It was one of the better discussions I've participated in lately, possibly because with fewer brains and fewer explosive thoughts, there were fewer interruptions. Plus Mary and Stacy are both really fucking funny and smart. I felt like topics got properly plumbed. Not that I don't appreciate and enjoy the usual speed chess-style chatting. But it was a nice contrast.

The subject most appropriate to this space is that of public disclosure and cataloguing. I like my friends, therefore I like helping them. I don't expect reciprocation, but I do sometimes get too tired to volunteer as much as I'd like. Also I don't usually write about helping out other people because according to my upbringing, that means I want back-patting for actions of affection and community spirit. But I am conflicted, because not recording such adventures makes much of how I spend my time invisible. I am therefore considered--by some--a lesser being than those whose work provides income. I also find that people make assumptions about my time and availability because "I don't work."

(And oh my ears and whiskers, I am not writing about anyone who read this blog.)

(Please also note that my partner never, ever takes me for granted and that his only fault lies in his questionable mind-reading ability.)

Accordingly and in the interests of validation--even if I'm only rubber-stamping my own forehead--here is how my today went:

6:30 Alarm goes off. Hit it twice because I am still bleary from previous day of events approximating this day's upcoming events (Non-stop action that included a surprise visit from my baby brother plus taking Eliz and Sophie to a concert in the park).

6:45 Get up for real. Take Leelo to potty, then dress him and send him upstairs to Seymour and to breakfast--which includes a new adjusted Adderupp dosage.

6:50 My favorite part of the day: Sneak in ten minutes of bathtub reading (currently Sherlock Homes, so soothing). Pick out something to wear from critically low clean laundry holdings.

7:30 Go upstairs and help Iz and Leelo finish getting ready for their day while Seymour takes his shower. Check and restock backpack supplies for me and the kids.

8:00 Send Seymour off to take Iz to and pick up Violet for camp. Remind and thank Seymour about dropping off my camera to get its LCD screen repaired.

8:05 Hurriedly water all potted plants on front porch so they don't fall over from heat exhaustion.

8:10 Pluck sleeping Mali from our bed, haul her and Leelo out to the car and take off for Leelo's school in Deadwood Shores.

8:30 Arrive at school, drop off Leelo, who seems just fine. Run into acquaintance I haven't seen for three years in the parking lot, and whose adorable son I'd never even met. Attempt to reconnect but get honked back into my car by Escalade driver who cannot conceptualize driving her lumbering beast in anything other than a straight line.

8:45 Arrive at Ep's house to feed and inject cats and water plants. Freak out because the diabetic cat is nowhere to be seen. Search house for ten minutes assuming cat is in diabetic coma and will need to be taken to emergency vet. Then (duh) shake food tin and watch diabetic cat materialize instantly. Wipe sweat off brow, use it to water house plants. Extract Mali from under Merlin's bed and leave.

9:10 Go to the Hole to buy food staples that can safely sit in car all day as I won't be returning home until 5:00ish. Purchase goods, get into car, check receipt, hit self upon head for not observing that my favorite apples are currently $4.99 per pound.

9:30 Drive to Bad Moms' Coffee. Realize enroute that I did not return my credit card to my wallet while shopping at The Hole.

9:40 After a thorough search of the car, return to The Hole to inquire about leaving card with cashier (negatory) and to retrace steps. No credit card.

9:50 Sit in cafe parking lot and use cel phone to cancel credit card. Notice that new cel phone is running on very low batteries and that I still haven't acquired a car charger.

10:00 Bad Moms' Coffee! Discussed:

⁃ Attitudes towards Thank You Notes. My opinion: They are mandatory in theory, but realistically I can't always fit them in. I try to make sure there is always at least a verbal or email acknowledgement. General opinion: They are mandatory for people who have gone to a lot of trouble, or who live far away and do not have email or any other way to confirm the receipt of gifts.

⁃ How to help overwhelmed friends find babysitting help when community resources and stamina are running low. Straightforward, "I know a couple of good babysitters and here are their numbers" seems like a good approach.

⁃ The difficulty of finding acceptable get-well gifts for Moomin. Wagers were placed on Calvin & Hobbes and X-Men.

⁃ How to convince a JC-favoring teen relative that a four-year college is not only a realistic but a desirable and achievable option.

⁃ The ideal childcare and sleeping arrangements for visiting relatives. Hotels vs. sleeper bed, unrealistic expectations in general for hosting on top of tending small children plus the extra housekeeping and cooking that guests require.

Oh, and a lot, lot more.

11:10 Run out, late, to go get Leelo from ALSO preschool. Get waylaid by acquaintance concerned that I was talking about her behind her back when I don't actually know anyone else who knows her besides the Bad Moms crew. She was sad that a local Mommies club is not being emotionally supportive of her and her special needs child. I told her that many self-identified Mommies have very little empathy for unfortunate circumstances that they themselves have not experienced, and that she needs to hang out with people whose child-rearing concerns are more complex than whether to vacation in Hawaii or Mexico, or when the next Hanna Andersson sale will be.

11:16 Drive like Hell-escaping bat to pick up Leelo.

11:25 Arrive barely on time to find Leelo and Therapist Y sitting outside the lobby with Leelo still in tears from meltdown of thirty minutes earlier. While melting he made constant but incoherent demands and absolutely could not be soothed. Thank Therapist Y, give Leelo lots of hugs and kisses (and, okay, croissant bites) and take off for OT.

11:45 OT across town at Franklin school. Assume Leelo is doing okay and so take Mali into bathroom to change her out of her jammies and into her Star Trek: TNG outfit. Mali attempts to throw my keys into the toilet with a preemptive "Ooops!"

11:50 Go outside and read her a book, thrilled to have some down time with my baby.

11:53 Get called into OT room as Leelo is having another meltdown. Help therapist soothe him while trying to keep Mali off very attractive and engaging gym equipment.

12:15 Try to take Leelo to bathroom before getting to car, but Leelo takes off and runs at a top clip away from me and across the blacktop towards the parking lot. Thankfully it is a very large playground and, even with Mali on my hip, I catch him right before he reaches the curb. Get slightly tearful over thoughts of Leelo running out into traffic, then compose myself because for fuck's sake, it didn't happen. Plop his and Mali's little butts into the car for trip to Bezerkeley.

12:30: Call Dr. S regarding Leelo's new Adderupp dosage not working. She suggests another dosage approach (combo short-acting and extended-release) and asks if I can come by her office in Burlygame this afternoon. Fortunately her office hours coincide with my return from across the bay.

12:40 Call to confirm 2:00 appointment with Bezerkoid OT therapist.

1:15 Arrive in Bzkly early. Go to architects' office to drop off their scale left at my house on Tuesday. Find one of principal architects onsite, get directions for driving by local buildings using finishes that we have been discussing. Discuss Future of Solar Energy conference he had just returned from, Susie Bright's review of the Al Gore movie, how to talk my inlaws into using more renewable and ecologically sound energy options (suggestion: have Iz talk to them about it).

1:30. Lovely tour of Bzkly on a favored route: Solano --> Henry (tunnel!) --> Shattuck. The building in question is on the southwest corner of Shattuck and Hearst, and has siding with exposed fasteners and joints. I thought it was great for industrial but questionable for residential use.

1:50 Manny called during my Bzkly drive and cancelled on having me pick up and mind Eliz and Sophie for the evening. Which was okay; Iz was disappointed as we were supposed to go peruse the gag gifts at House of Humor, but we can go tomorrow night when they come for a sleepover.

2:00 Arrive at OT (occupational therapy) office. OT is not there, and in fact her name is not on the office listings. Freak about being in wrong place or at wrong time in an area with very difficult parking. Make Leelo and Mali sit down on curb with more croissant bribes, and call OT. She is walking towards me on sidewalk. Whew.

2:05 Fantastic OT session follows. OT mentions that she thinks Leelo is hella smart, but that there is some kind of sensory/stimulation barrier that is running interference between his brain and the outside world. There is a lot in his head, but processing it--getting his sensory needs settled enough to access it and then share it with the outside world--is very hard for him. He knows letters, phonics, colors, numbers, but can't tell how many fingers a person is holding up or the difference between a happy face :) and a sad face :(. She says he needs lots of cross-midline and hanging-by-hands activities. She was in tune with me in terms of not talking about Leelo in front of Leelo. She is going to come observe Leelo at home before writing up a report and recommendations.

She was also entranced by Mali even though our baby destroyed the gym, as Mali imitated almost everything Leelo did, answered many questions for him, correctly identified most objects in the room, and said "Bye, (Name!)" when we left even though she'd only been told the therapist's name once.

3:30 Head for Dr. S's office in Burlygame to pick up Rx and samples.

4:20 Arrive at Dr. S's, pick up goods, brief chat about how if this doesn't work we'll need to try another medication.

4:30 Leelo exclaims, "I need to use the potty, Mommy!" as we pull away from the curb. I panic and decide that the easiest place to go will be Druggers, five blocks away.

4:35 Park right in front of Druggers (!) and take two children upstairs to potty. Leelo is very excited about getting to ride the big escalator.

4:40 Try to go downstairs. Leelo has a fit because there is no down escalator. He bolts into the Most Expensive Housewares in the World department, and flops on the floor right under the sign reading Do Not Leave Your Children Unattended. I coax him downstairs by promising him a madeleine. Mali gets one, too. Mommy gets a raspberry linzer heart and a cup of very strong coffee.

5:00 Call Armada to find out where Iz is. Armada shits herself in realizing that she was the one who was supposed to pick up the girls at 4:30.

5:15 Armada delivers girls to house after getting her bottom chewed off by the Grand High Girl Scout. She fretted about the effects of overscheduling on her memory and I told her not to worry, that I totally understood (100% true).

5:20 Change Leelo and Mali's stench bomb diapers. Snacks for Iz and Violet. Prep house for babysitters (get jammies and beds ready, clothes out for tomorrow, put dishes away, yawn).

6:00 Babysitters Marroqui and K arrive! Hurrah!

6:10 Give Mali and Leelo kisses, put Iz and Violet in car just as Seymour pulls up, get sweet single kiss from partner. Ask him to be one to relieve Babysitters at 10:00. He is wonderful so he agrees.

6:30 Arrive with girls at downtown Deadwood Education fundraiser attended by almost every person I've ever seen at a Deadwood school. Eat dinner with girls and listen to endless variety of camp songs. Most of which have not changed since I went to camp in the '80s.

6:50 Armada and partner arrive to have dinner. Pass girls to Armada as planned.

7:15 Arrive at motel. Brief friendly chat with owner about why in the world I would want a hotel room for only a few hours.

I will be passing by Ep's on the way home to inject the cat once again.

Now...I am not complaining. I am recording. I consider myself to have a relatively charmed life. But at the moment it is an over-full life and I need to consider how to make it less so.

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