Thursday, June 30, 2011


Though there is so much about the age of 4 that drives me crazy (the attitude, the absoluteness of, well, everything, the whining - ohmigod the whining) what I'm finding that I'm really enjoying is the ability to have actual conversations with Noelle beyond 'what did you do at school/camp today. (Answer:  played in centers.  I don't know why I bother to continue asking anymore.)

Last night we were reading the condensed Disney version of 'Beauty and the Beast' and happened upon this turn of phrase: "...dined together...".  She immediately stopped me and asked, "What's 'dined' mean?"  We were already later in getting her to bed than we liked but for once, I swallowed the flash of irritation and modulated my voice to answer her question.  "It means to eat dinner.  Belle and the Beast were eating dinner together now."  Satisfied, she fell silent taking it all in until we came to another part of the story where Gaston and LeFou set up Maurice to be taken to Mr. D'Arque's insane asylum.  (Yes, I was once able to recite this movie from memory complete with songs.  Your point?)

"Mommy, what's an 'insane aslyium'?"  Have you ever tried to explain the existence of psychiatric hospitals and the history of associated abuse to a preschooler?  I don't recommend it, not without heavily fortifying oneself with wine first.  But I digress.  So I explained that it was a hospital that people were taken to when they were judged to be not right in the head but how that didn't apply to Maurice because we was clearly not crazy since Belle had the magic mirror and could show the townspeople that Maurice wasn't lying or insane.  I resisted the urge to get into the chemistry of the brain so really, go me.  We finished up the story and rather than feeling frustrated that it had taken so much longer with the stoppages for explanation/discussion, I felt strangely elated.  I could really talk to her!  She could take in more information, ask questions, become immersed in the world of words as I do.  Such a heady feeling and when I leaned down to kiss her goodnight, I told her that I really enjoyed our story; that I loved her being involved and invested in the story.  She had the biggest smile on her face as we turned out the light.

A little bit later, she got up to go potty.  Again.  (For the sake of brevity, this was actually the third trip to the potty.)  She was a bit constipated and was finally able to 'get the poopies out.'  She heaved a huge sigh of relief, 'That feels so much better.'  Which of course led to why sometimes poopies are hard to get out, how they get into our bottoms and where they come from in the first place.  I also don't recommend discussing the finer points of elimination after 9 pm but I'm a biologist by education and a food scientist by training so there you go.)

A wonderful end to the day, a glimpse into the future.

Now go the f*ck to sleep.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And so we come to the end of an era

Friends, we gather together today to bid a fond adieu to the faithful, well-worn and much loved purple Jeep.  He's still limping along but the twilight is reaching ever closer to dark blues and smudged greys of nightfall.  This is most bittersweet as 2011 has been the year of loss: baby, grandmother, another faithful car and now my first truly adult purchase. 

Way back in 1999 I was dating a guy who had a Jeep.  And it was so cool that I really, desperately wanted one of my own.  I learned to drive stick as he scoffed at anyone who had an automatic Wrangler, an attitude I adopted as really, why bother?  I saved up $2500 from my first job after graduation, a feat indeed what with paying rent, utilities, food, insurance and the other various and sundry details of life on $12/hour.  My dragged my best friend to showrooms all over Cockeysville looking at Wranglers and one heady, hot May Saturday, gathered my title for the Cutlass Calais and took the plunge on a new Jeep Wrangler.

It was bare boned - nothing fancy as it is a convertible and I am not a complete idiot.  But still when the salesperson asked if I would be putting down half, I truly laughed in his face.  I was proud of my $2500 down payment and had a car to trade - for which they offered my exactly $200 or $50 per tire.  Having not developed any  business savvy, I naively agreed to the full asking price and took possession with a $450 monthly payment at 12% interest.  Not my finest hour looking back.  But I had my first new car!  And it was a purple Jeep! 

My best friend and I had a blast that summer, driving everywhere in it when in stroke of utmost brilliance, I had enrolled in graduate school.  In College Park.  Which is a good 50 minutes away with decent traffic.  I also had accepted a first shift position as I was unaware that the program I would be attending was a day time program and in the same move, lost my shift differential for moving off of second.  I think we can comfortably declare that as my year of Very Poor Decisions.

Anyway, he was mine.  And we made the thrice weekly round trip to College Park for 3 years, survived a spin out on an icy road and an up close and personal encounter with a deer the night of Dylan and mine's first anniversary.  Well over 130,000 miles we've covered together, from North Carolina to New Jersey, Penn State to Ocean City.  It's been a good ride and will be hard to say good bye the final time as I had harbored dreams of keeping him until Noelle and Noah are ready to drive.  But in the end it's time; the gauge cluster doesn't always work, the front suspension is forever loose making highway driving and pot holes exercises in bladder control; one window has been repaired with tape and there are holes in the roof making me cringe with every passing rain shower.  Similar to worrying about an elderly relative behind the wheel of their car, so I worry about whether he'll make it work another day; a worry compounded by the presence of the joys of my existence in the vehicle with me every day. 

I truly wish there was a home or a pasture for past their prime vehicles to go to; the most I can hope for is that I can donate him to a good charity where he'll help someone else out one last time.  So farewell my beloved purple Jeep, thanks for the past 12 years.  It's been an absolute blast and I've loved every minute of it.