Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Control Center



I just have to rib my dear husband for a minute. Forgive me.

As you may recall, Kevin bought me the MacBook that I am typing on right now for Christmas.  Supposedly, in theory, it was a gift. For ME.  This was so that he and I would each have our own computer, and "disagreements" over who could use our hitherto lonely laptop would be prevented (I usually lost those "disagreements," incidentally, because while he needed the computer to work, I needed it to shop, which is somehow not as vital? I know, I don't get it either).  

Now, I had no delusions going in that this computer would be my exclusive possession.  Our firstborn laptop, a Dell, has grown prematurely decrepit.  Although he is only about 4 years old, Dell is quite a bit less spry than my nearly 90 year old grandmother.  Heck, she could kick Dell's butt (and beat him at bridge).  Dell years must be like dog years multiplied by 10.  It takes poor Dell about 15 minutes just to wake up from a nap.  Ask Dell to open a page of photos, and you had better go run some errands and check back later.  Dell definitely tries one's patience.  

Enter the Mac. So slick, so cool, so FAST.  Nothing is too much for Mac to handle.  You say you want to watch a 4 hour clip of clowns ice skating on YouTube? No problem, Mac has you covered.  Zip zip zip.  So--if you are Kevin and you have some work to do, which laptop do you reach for?  Dell, who will likely take half an hour just to open your spreadsheet, or Mac, who can not only open it, he can probably just read your mind and enter in the figures telepathically.  
So big deal, you say, Kevin gets Mac, Holly can still shop with Dell. Maybe with Dell, she won't spend as much, since it will take the rest of her life for Dell to locate and display the sought-after items.  

Yes, in theory this would work rather well.  In practice, Kevin uses BOTH the computers.  Yes.  Don't ask me how or why. I don't understand.  When pressed he mumbled something about documents he needed not being on the computer he was using, to which I replied you can easily email yourself documents or put them on a flashdrive.  Or just use the computer that houses them.  Hey, I'm no technological genius but I have at least figured that out.  All I know is that he is invariably sprawled out on the bed with TWO laptops in front on him.  That's what I call the Control Center.  The variation of that is what I call Shuttle Diplomacy. This is when he has one computer upstairs with him, and he leaves the second computer downstairs but comes down every so often and does stuff on that computer as well.  

Either way, I have no computer.  Except now, when he is working at his office.  So actually I now have two computers.  Maybe I should try the Control Center, maybe my eyes will be opened.  Maybe he is secretly launching crap into space from our bedroom, and I am missing out on the fun.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Room of One's Own


We are now homeowners of the above house, I say with not a small amount of trepidation. We are also now officially broke, meaning that I am going to have to stop buying shoes. It has been a long journey...Our housing saga dates back to 2004, when, as newlyweds, we ventured out into a bubble-inflated market and tried very very hard to buy a condo in a fashionable area of DC for an obscene amount of money so that we could walk to Whole Foods and generally feel "hip." Fortunately, we were thwarted time and again by other wannabe hipsters with either higher offers, more cash, more stratospheric escalating clauses, and, I like to think, less sense. We had enough sense to walk away from the madness when properties started selling for $100K more than the list price and settled for renting the hipster lifestyle. We did indeed walk to Whole Foods, which I will report is highly overrated because then you have to lug your groceries home again as it turns out. Then I got pregnant, and we decided that since parenthood is never cool, even for those who try very hard to make it cool and do crazy things like taking their babies to movies and parties to prove to themselves that the child had not changed them, we would be uncool in a larger space in the burbs. A rented space.




But renting has its downside, namely you do not own your home. The person who does own your home may opt to sell it, in which case you are not only rendered homeless, before you are so rendered, you get to have jillions of people tromp through "your" house for months on end. Worse, you get to deal with real estate agents for months on end. I am sure there are well-intentioned real estate agents in the world, and I'm sure that if you are reading this blog and you are a real estate agent, you are very nice and therefore should take no offense. But you are also about as common as a pacifist Al Qaeda member. Anyway. And of course you have to MOVE, something I hate more than almost anything else on the planet, more than the common cold, more than African dictators, more than Kay jewelry commercials, more than sushi (yes, I am a sophisticated, over educated urbanite who hates sushi so deal with it), more than daylight savings time. Moving makes me want to become a hippie and live in a field somewhere. HATE. IT.




This is a situation we have found ourselves in twice now in the last few years. So when our landlady told us she was putting our house on the market, we decided to buy, even though my economist husband declares the bottom is still to come (fyi), and we would be better off, financially speaking, waiting until November 2010, when, he predicts, the economy will officially go from being in the crapper to being flushed into a sewage system before it begins its glorious re-ascent only this time without a trade imbalance with China because Americans have finally learned to save. At least that is what I have picked up from his frequent economic lectures. But I told him that while it might be good, financially speaking, to wait until November 2010, it would be much better, personally speaking, for him, to buy me a house in order to prevent the extra move, which could very easily be the move that finally sends me over the edge. Since motherhood has me already teetering on the edge as it is, he, being a smart man, decided this was an even greater risk than buying a house on the downward slope into a major economic collapse. So we headed out.




We looked at dozens of houses. We debated kitchens vs. yards, vs. location vs. size vs. shape. We "got a sense of the market." And finally, FINALLY! we took the plunge and put in an offer. We have no idea, really, if we got a good deal or we got screwed. But we did get a nice place to live that no one can sell out from under us and that we can live in for many, many years. I may even throw away my nice collection of boxes.



Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Charlotte!


One year ago right now I was about to be wheeled into surgery so a baby could be extracted from my poor body after 24 hours of labor, only 8 of which were agonizing enough to be used as a guilt mechanism on my husband and eventually my child, then I got my epidural and all was right with the world (on the other hand, I could no longer whine and complain, which is my very favorite thing).   In fact, I wish epidurals were more widely available.  Sometimes it is pretty handy not to feel half your body. But I digress.  

That baby was one Charlotte Ruth.  On Saturday, we gathered to celebrate her one year of existence.  More importantly, I gathered what is left of myself to celebrate my one year of maintaining a thin grasp on sanity.  A grasp is a grasp, people.  

I made a cake from a Duncan Hines mix because I forgot to order one from a bakery and because I am not the kind of mom who makes cakes from scratch.  I am not the kind of mom who makes dinner about 75% of the time but rather sends Daddy to Taco Bell so there is something for us to eat.  The cake was not shaped like a fairy princess or a magic pony. It was shaped like a cake pan, a 9x13 one to be precise.  It was not iced to look like Charlotte or her favorite teddy bear. It was iced with chocolate and the "Happy Birthday Charlotte" written on it in red was barely legible.  But it smeared all over her face and encrusted her entire head of hair just like a fairy princess cake, or even better.   

I figure I can slide by with such poor mom performance for another few years, then she is going to realize her mom is a huge loser.  But I do have a Ph.D. so there's that.