Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Library. Chapter One.

“I hate libraries,” I state plainly.
“Why? How could you hate a library?”
“One, I can’t be bothered with returning books. Two, who knows what kind of people are touching the book before me? They could be wiping boogers on the pages. Spreading their spores. I do NOT want to get botchulism or some hemorrhagic fever from just reading some direly unhealthy person’s book. No way. I will not EVER go to the library.”
“We could save like $603.”
“Save money or death? No thank you. I choose life.”
“Fine,” he storms off with the maxed-out credit card bill with all of his hopes of ever getting out of debt.

Present Day

“Hey, know where I went with the kids today?”
“The library.”
“Ah, the library.”
“Did you know that they have all the books I have ever wanted to read and if they don’t, then they can order it for me?”
“And, I can I can reserve a book online. And, do you know the best part?”
“I can’t imagine.”
“They call me when it is in.”
“No way.”
“I can’t believe that I didn’t discover the library sooner.”
“What? Aren’t you happy? I don’t have to buy books anymore.”
“No reason. I am just astonished that you are still alive.”
“Shut up.”
He walks away smiling his smug grin of satisfaction.

This is the one argument I will give to my husband a resounding victory (though I may never tell him). Our town’s public library. The world’s greatest gift to an out-of-work, stay-at-home-not-by-choice mom desperately trying to balance the tedium of never-ending house work while entertaining her older-than-his-years kindergartner son, the devious, yet endlessly charming two-year-old daughter, and most importantly, herself.

It was on a whim and last ditch effort to entertain the kids on a rainy day, that I found myself securing library cards for my son and I and asking, “Where is the children’s section?” Off we headed to the lower level. The moment we passed through the doors, we were transported to wonderland equivalent the Great Library at Alexandria. There was no stuffiness of just stacks of books, but dozens of low, child-friendly shelves loaded with hours of entertainment waiting to be discovered.

Without a particular book in mind, we wandered down the aisles. When my son and daughter finally settled on a book, we headed over to the reading area. Again, not just tables and chairs, my friend.

Smooshy, poofy couches straight out of Too Many Frogs surrounded a play area stocked with a Lego table, puzzles, a toy house, stuffed animals and more. Hours passed. No one cried. No one wrestled the other to floor. It was perfect. An oasis of peace. An opportunity for the kids to explore letting their imaginations flow like a river and all the while learning.

You can find us there nearly every day. Reading, laughing, learning and remaining free from germs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Must Love Dogs?

Apparently, there is some fineprint in the "Marriage Contract" that I have regrettfully missed. Not only must I accept my in-laws in "as is" condition, but I must also accept their dogs into my family. If I had only known...

Dogs are fabulous. I love dogs. I have three. They hang out, eat food, hang out, and generally worship every member of my family to a cultish degree. I love my dogs. They rock. And, I don't have a problem letting friend's and family's dogs into my home. My only condition. They are good citizens. They musn't use my house as an indoor toilet. They must not maul any family member -- human or canine. There will be no hanging about on the furniture. They must not walk upon my counters chewing anything they can get their mouths on. I don't think I am asking much.

Let's start with Biner (rest his poor neurotic soul). Biner was my in-law's dog before Lacey (the Anti-Christ of Canines). Now Biner was actually a pretty stand-up fellow. With the exception of being a borderline institutionalized neurotic. And I feel bad because all his numerous mental issues stem from my in-laws treating him like a person. For instance, upon moving into our first home, my father-in-law walks in and up on the couch jumps Biner. I shoo him off and my father-in-law quips, "Where is Biner going to sit?" To which I reply, "On the floor." I am met with derision and horror.

Then there was the time I had to dog sit while my husband went with his parents to Florida. I went out to dinner and gated the dogs downstairs as usual. I came home to a mess that looked like a scene straight out Aliens. Biner had not only chewed through our baby gate leaving smears of blood all over, but had ripped the carpet from the top of the stairs down three steps and chewed all the wood. "I will not kill the dog because he is not mine. I will not kill the dog because he is not mine." I repeated this over and over as I speed dialed my husband in Florida.

The best part? His parents got mad at me! Ugh. And, no, my in-laws never paid for the damage. (Or offered.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How DARE They!

So another perk, about working with the spouse. He can go to conferences and take the one laptop that controls all the printing functions. You want a receipt? NO. How about an invoice? NO. Maybe I can print you a statement? Absolutely NOT.

Note that not being able to print customer receipts means that I have to produce handwritten receipts for those who demand a receipt for a yellow craft fluff that costs all of 39 cents. This also means that for a brief, yet intensely painful few seconds, my hands will have to come out of my pockets. Imagine being in a meat locker warmly bundled in a minus 30 degree sleeping bag. Now imagine having to leap naked out of the aforementioned sleeping bag and prance about naked around the meat locker. Brings new meaning to Frosty the Snowman, doesn't it?

So now the anger originally directed at my husband for taking the wrong computer has turned its hateful gaze up Customer Craft Fluff. Now, I am ENRAGED because this obviously insane person is risking the circulation in my fingers for a craft fluff. A cotton ball in pale yellow for those unfamiliar with fluffs.

"You really need a receipt for that?" I remark caustically and point with my elbow (remember, my hands are in my pockets.
"Of course I do. I need to get reimbursed." For a 39 cent fluff? Who needs reimbursement for a fluff? If I could remove my hands and summon up the strength, I would wrestle her to the ground and hang her from the ceiling with crepe paper streamers (the warehouse is chock full of arts and crafts bits), but for now I must swallow the rage and write out a receipt, hands shivering from the cold, all for the good of the "Family Business."

Needless to say, if you notice the type going out of whack, it is merely the frostbite setting in.

Working with Your Spouse -- Choose Your Path Carefully, My Friend

You have a great job. A fabulous kid. A house. A husband. And most importantly, a life outside of the "Family Business" (Note: names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals). Now, as I sit here, nearly frozen to my chair wondering if I will end up like one of those Mount Everest mountaineers, perfectly preserved and left to remain on the mountain for all of eternity with the occasional climber haplessly stumbling upon me left to ponder, "I wonder what happened to her?", I am forced to question my own sanity. Why, why did I choose this path in life?

The whole premise of it seemed like a win-win situation. With one child in day care and another on the way, I'd be able to spend more time with the kids. Be more flexible in my schedule when one got sick and not have to scramble for a last minute babysitter. I'd get to spend more time with my husband. It would be great. It would be paradise.

Now that I think it about it, in reality this whole thing is paradise lost.

People turn to me all the time, "Gee," they really say 'gee'. "You are married to the nicest guy in the world." And truth be told, he really is. There is no one else I could be imagine myself married. But should I or any one for that matter spend 24 hours a day with their spouse? I digress.

We'll start with The Warehouse. It is big, scary, freezing in the winter, malaria hot in the summer and only reaches a livable temperature for about a day and half every year. As I type this, I am wearing about sixty layers, a hat, parka and thinking of learning about seal or whale hunting from an Eskimo because I know that I read somewhere that blubber in some way, helps keep you from freezing to death.

This is not nearly the half of it. The office is set in the furthermost, light less corner of this cavernous expanse. With no windows, we are force to rely on the migraine, depression-inducing light thrown from fluorescent bulbs. You don't want to try on clothes in a dressing room with these lights. Why would you want to sit all day in it?

My next thought is bringing in heat lamps. Right now, I envy those reptiles basking on a hunk of dried wood in a tiny aquarium. Please, fence me in under a heat lamp!

We have a water cooler. It has spouts for both hot and cold water. Close to hypothermia several months ago, I went to make hot chocolate. No hot water. When asked why, the husband/dictator (which is what your spouse will turn into when you become his "underling"), I was met with the reply that it would drive up the electric bill.

Don't we have an oil burner? Why yes, we do. Doesn't it work? Well, it sounds like it works. For all the catastrophic, "it is going to blow" noises it makes, I don't think I've ever felt a degree warmer because of it.

I have to go outside and lay in a patch of sun to get some warmth back into my extremities. I will be back...