A public service announcement

I have bad eyes. Really bad eyes. Drop my glasses on the floor and I need someone to help me find them eyes.

So when I started having headaches and squinting to watch the TV from across the room, I knew it was time to go see the eye doctor. My prescription had changed and it was time for new glasses. Couldn’t I just get new lenses and throw them into my old frames? No, I could not do that because my frames were So Old that they might explode and everyone on earth would die. Or something like that.

I looked at the glasses at the optometrist’s office. There were no prices. I tried to tell myself that was because they were so super cheap that they didn’t even need to list the prices. Sadly, that was not the case. The cheapest of those motherfuckers was $250. JUST FOR THE FRAMES. When the lady calculated in the coke bottle lenses I would need and the special ones to make them not coke bottley and the anti-reflective coating, I was looking at $500 AT LEAST. I told the lady I would come back with my husband and I ran away.

I texted my cousin Sofie (who lives in our basement) and asked her the name of the glasses she was just telling me about. Warby Parker, she said. Her sister Pip had bought some and they were trying to get our grandmother to buy them too.

What the hell, I thought, and I went to the website. The frames were $95. Sweet action! And not only were the frames $95, but they offer a plan that allows you to choose five frames online and have them sent to you to try on, order, and ship back, all with free shipping! I checked out this option, but as I am Incredibly Indecisive, I couldn’t narrow it down to just five. Sofie and I were going to have to go to the store on Newbury St.

The place was a mob scene, but not so busy that I couldn’t try on the glasses. I narrowed it down to about five pairs, had Sof take pictures of me, and sent them to Bucket, who very rudely ignored me. So I narrowed it down to two and made Sofie choose. It was between a pair that was exactly like the ones I have now in a different color, and ones that were slightly bigger (though not so big that they looked like my father’s glasses from the 70’s–for real, America!?).

1000x480I waited in line for about 10 minutes to have an optometrist check my prescription, and another five to order the glasses from an adorable little hipster with big round glasses. She asked if I wanted the polycarbonate lenses because they would be an extra $30. Yes, I said, thinking that only $30 for polycarbonate lenses was a great deal.

So then she looked at me and asked for $125. I looked back at her and told her I needed lenses too. Yes, she said, that’s including the lenses. I stared at her, thinking, no, lenses cost at least $200. Really? I asked. Yes. REALLY? Yes. (At this point, she’s thinking it’s not only my eyes that need help.) I handed over my credit card and looked at Sofie, dumbstruck. Adorable hipster told me they would be mailed to me in 7-10 days, and we were on our way.

The whole way home, I kept looking at Sofie and yelling, “$125!” And she kept saying, “Yes, I KNOW. That’s why I told you to go there.” And we went home and I said to Bucket, “Guess how much my glasses were?” And he said, “$300.” And I said, “NO! $125!” And he stared at me, just as confused and disoriented as I was when I heard the price.

And I haven’t even gotten to the best part. For every pair of glasses, Warby Parker makes a donation to VisionSpring, a nonprofit that trains people in low income countries to sell glasses at very low prices so that jobs are created and people can see. Everybody wins! They have provided people with A MILLION pairs of glasses so far. If you don’t believe me, look here.

$125 for a new set of glasses. $125!!! If I was going to have any more kids, I would name the next one Warby Parker.*

I might not have to get Lasik after all.

*(And they do sunglasses!)

I have no affiliation with Warby Parker, but man do I wish I did.

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So much for the love

Noodle and I are driving in the car and she pipes up from the back seat: Mama, I have a secret.

Me: You do? What is it?

Noodle: I love you SO much!

Me: Oh, Noodle. That is such a nice secret. Thank you so much.

Noodle: Mama, I have another secret.

Me: Hit me.

Noodle: I love you to the farthest star and all the way back.

Me: Hooray! Thank you, baby!

Noodle: Mama, I have ANOTHER secret.

Me: No way! What is it?

Noodle: We need a new car.

A good day

A beautiful Saturday starts when you hear your children creeping down the stairs at 7:15, but instead of crashing into your room yelling, “WAKE UP! COME DOWNSTAIRS! WE WANT TOAST!” they walk right by. A few minutes later, you hear them splashing around. When you go to check on them, they are washing dishes in a 53-degree kitchen. (Don’t get me started on why our kitchen is 53 degrees in the morning. Ask my cheepy-cheep husband.)

Later, when you’re all cleaning the house, you ask your son to go clean his room. He tells you he already did, and when you check, you find that the kids cleaned his room before doing the dishes.

And at the end of the day, when you thank your wonderful, wonderful son for doing all that hard work, he says, “What about Noodle? She helped too!”

Say what you want; I have the best kids in the world. Most of the time.

36

A few weeks ago, I turned 36 (oh Gawd, it’s so painful to write). For whatever reason, 36 seemed far, FAR older than 35. As a kid, I thought 36 was practically dead. By the time I was 36, I was going to have three kids, two dogs, be married to some dude with a job that paid him a lot of money, and be a writer living in Maine, Paris or Ireland. As we know, that’s not how it ended up. Instead, I have two kids, one dog, a husband with a job that pays him something, and I live in Massachusetts, where I am a blogger who does not get paid, and I run a nonprofit that also pays nothing.

You can’t win them all.

What I realized on my birthday is that I wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe the money and the Paris or Ireland part). And while I have a rad family, I also have some kickass friends. Kick Ass.

The day after my birthday, I had knee surgery. Not anything spectacular, just a little arthroscopic job to clean out my decrepit 36-year-old knee. And dude, did my friends represent. My friend Romie came over on my birthday with flowers, chicken soup, presents for the kids, birthday cake, and a gift for me. My friend Lisa brought me a chicken pot pie, a bottle of wine, and nursed me back to health for a week. My cousin Sarah came over after work one day when I was wrecked from the Vicodin and built a fort with my kids so I could take a nap. I had local friends checking in all the time, offering help, and faraway friends sending me all kinds of encouragement (and abuse, which I sometimes prefer) online.

It was also not lost on me how lucky I am that I live in a country (and a city) where I can barely walk in August, I can get a doctor’s appointment with one of the best surgeons in the country and have him fix it a month later for a $200 deductible. And that even without the childhood dream husband’s money, I can swing a $200 deductible. I can stay at home for a week and not worry about losing my job. My husband could go back to his job, safe in the knowledge that people were going to take care of me while he was working.

I would never have dreamt it, but having surgery was pretty frigging awesome. Not only is my knee better, but the experience reminded me how lucky I am to live in a country where I have access to medicine and don’t have to spend the rest of my days limping, unable to kneel or pick up my kids. And perhaps more importantly, to have so many people who love me. And man, do you suckers love me!

It must also be said that two days before my birthday, I was at dinner with Bucket, and the waitress only carded me, even though Bucket looks 14. I won’t lie: I liked that a little bit too.

I think 36 is going to be a good year. Thanks, people.

Disturbing behavior

We just drove home from dinner and “Call Me Maybe” came on the radio. As Bucket and the kids were rocking out in the car, Peeta mentioned the winky guy at the end of this video, whom both my children love.

And then we discovered that not only do the children love Winky Guy, but Bucket and I have crushes on him too. We discovered this when I mentioned that Winky Guy lives the next town over, at which point I was informed by my husband that he is the team’s catcher. Thank you, Google.

We stopped short of looking up his address and hiding in his bushes. Really. We did.

And this, people, is why the Internet is a dangerous thing.

Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day today, which means I got to sleep in late and take the dog for a walk and do some gardening and get lunch and ice cream with the kids and go for a bike ride this afternoon and have Ethiopian food for dinner.

Mother’s Day, while wonderful, is a painful one for most adoptive parents. I am Peeta’s mother only because another woman couldn’t be. Her tragedy became my good fortune, and while I would love to be able to celebrate that, I can’t do it without acknowledging her loss.

In many ways, we are lucky. We know Peeta’s whole story. We know that his mother died sometime before he turned two. We know her name and we even have a picture of her holding him when he was a tiny boy. We know that he looks just like her, and that those big brown eyes and thick, thick lashes come from her.

Many families I know don’t know their child’s history. They don’t know how their child became orphaned, where they were born, or anything about their family. If the child is lucky, they have a vague memory of life before coming to America, and maybe they can remember their parents. If not, there is nothing.

Peeta has no memory of life before going to the orphanage, as far as I know. To him, life began when he came to live with us. I don’t know if that’s because he was just too young to remember, or if it’s because it was so traumatic he blocked it out. I would love for him to have some recollection of his mother and the love she gave him. On the other hand, I’m glad he’s blocked out all that pain, because it breaks my heart to think of him suffering through all that again.

I think of his mother often, since Noodle turned one. When she snuggles up into me and hooks her head into me, I wonder if Peeta did that with his mother. When she cries and throws her arms around my neck, I wonder who did that for him when she died. When she climbs into my lap and says, “Beautiful Mama,” I wonder if his mother lived long enough to hear him say the same thing to her. I am always looking at Noodle and wondering, “Is this how old he was when she died?”

I can’t imagine the terror and sadness of it all. I can’t imagine his poor mother, blessed with this beautiful child and cursed with impending death. I can’t imagine how terrified she must have been, knowing she was going to die and leave her child behind. I can’t imagine how lost he must have felt with her gone, not knowing where his beloved mother went.

I am a mother because she isn’t. For the rest of my life, I will carry that burden. One of the greatest blessings of my life came from another woman’s tragedy. I hope she’s out there somewhere and she knows how much he is loved, and how grateful I am to be his mother. I hope she knows how much we treasure her memory, and how we will remember her.

We have Ethiopian food every Mother’s Day. We do it in part because Ethiopia made me a mother, and in part because I feel it’s the one small gift I can give Peeta’s mother. I may never have met her, but I will never forget that she gave me the greatest gift of all.

28 hours, 2 minutes later

In case you were wondering what is happening with my Blowe’s/Home Depot saga (and why wouldn’t you?), check this out:

 

 

That, my friends, is the shipping confirmation notice from UPS saying that the package I ordered from Home Depot 19 hours before WAS OUT FOR DELIVERY. Not processing, not sending a notice to the vendor via Pony Express, not hoping that the tilemakers in China (or wherever) somehow get the order via ESP. DELIVERY.

I predict it will be delivered any minute now, when the UPS guy does his late afternoon sweep of our neighborhood. About 29 hours after I ordered the tile. THAT is what I call customer service. (In case you’re keeping track [and why wouldn’t you?], it took Lowe’s 14 days to tell me that it would be another month for delivery, due only to the fact that I CALLED TO ASK THEM WHERE THE FRIGGING TILE WAS.) Home Depot, I heart you, even if Peeta thinks you’re hell.

I would make the promise that this is the end of my ranting about how Lowe’s is vile, evil and must be destroyed, but I know myself too well. We’ll see if all the tile actually arrives, if my refund from Lowe’s actually comes through, and if we ever get this MFing bathroom finished. Until then, stay tuned. Mama loves to bitch.

Gots to go. The UPS man is here.

Oh, the irony

So the children got really ratty after I TOOK THEM TO THE MOVIES and BOUGHT THEM POPCORN AND CANDY today (Who’s the fairest mother of them all? I AM THE FAIREST MOTHER OF THEM ALL!) and they were starting to make me twitch with their whining.

I looked longingly at the bottle of wine with one glass left. No, I thought. Don’t drink the last glass of wine before Bucket even comes home. That would be selfish and mean, and besides, you can make it until 6:30 when he gets home, you pathetic lush.

Bucket comes home, goes into the kitchen to finish up dinner, and I go hide from the children in my office. About 10 minutes later, Bucket yells that dinner’s ready. I walk into the kitchen, and GUESS WHO IS DRINKING THE LAST GLASS OF WINE?!!

And guess who is going to the liquor store to buy some more so that he doesn’t get a revenge pillow over his face as he sleeps tonight?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: better to be mean, happy and drunk than nice, sad and sober. (Actually, I’ve never said that, but I stand by it regardless.)

Know what? Warthogs.

Out of all the amazing, beautiful, wondrous animals in Africa, my daughter fell in love with the warthog.

In the field behind our Botswana hotel, there was a warthog family who would wander around, digging holes and rolling in mud, rooting around for food, and generally being kind of unappealing. And Noodle loved it. She and Peeta would sit in the restaurant, waiting for them to come, and if they didn’t, she would yell, “WARTHOGS!” If they did come, she would blow kisses.

I kid you not.

And now we’ve been home a month and they’re still all she can talk about.

If you ask her what animals we saw in Africa, she will tell you warthogs.

If you ask her what she wants to drink for dinner, she will tell you warthog milk.

During conversations, she will yell out, “WARTHOGS!” for no reason whatsoever.

At toddler time, when we’re singing Old MacDonald and they ask for animals, she shrieks, “WARTHOGS!!”

And, she has a new joke she’s telling all the time. It goes like this:

“Know what? Warthogs. Just joking.”

It started out cute and endearing, but now I’m starting to wonder what this obsession says about her future mate. Hairy, toothy and dirty do not sound attractive.

I heart my elitist liberal neighbors

So I live in a town near Boston that is regularly referred to as the “People’s Republic.” There are a few major universities here, and a disproportionate number of the locals are unusually well-educated and very, very liberal. (I just gave the game away. If you didn’t already know, it shouldn’t be too hard to guess where I am.)

I love it here. Partly because I am sort of a dirty hippie and partly because I am sort of a liberal, elitist snob (that’s right, Sarah Palin!). We have playgrounds with all kinds of cars for the kids to ride on, and no one steals them, because they are communal. My neighbor (whom I actually do not like) waits for her daughter to get off the bus as she reads the New Yorker (this might be the one thing that endears her to me. Bucket would say the opposite). The only instance of racism we’ve seen here is when Peeta and I went to vote a few years ago and we stopped to buy him a cookie at the bake sale outside the auditorium, and the woman selling them gave the change to Peeta and said, “Here. Give this to your….caretaker.”

And so, the other day I took the kids to the biggest, fanciest playground in town. We played with Peeta’s friend E., whom Noodle adores and regularly screams out for. “E!!!!!!” all through the day. They rode scooters, they rode bikes, they played in the sand. It was a good time.

We left and met our friends for burritos at a local restaurant and when I was taking Noodle out of the car, I noticed she had only one shoe. I asked her where the other one was, and she gave me a shrug. Needless to say, it was one of the brown shoes.

So we had dinner and went back to the playground to look for the shoe. No luck. Finding a brown shoe in the dark is tricky business. We went home, and I realized I had lost her water bottle (the metal kind dirty hippies carry around, so as not to create too much waste).

I told my neighbor, and she told me to join our local parents’ Yahoo group and ask them if they’d seen it or the shoe. About 12 hours later, I got this email:

Strangely I think I might have seen the water bottle in the playground. We were there for sometime yesterday late afternoon and I noticed a lone water bottle sitting on a bench (I think the one by the entrance?) for some time. I didn’t pick it up, it might be worth going back and seeing if it’s still there.

And then I got this one:

Losing a shoe is a bummer. May be you could post around the playground with a photo? Usually people put found kids items in visible places. The other day I put a kid’s hat on a bench.

Solidarity, brother. I like it. We went back to the playground and started looking on all the benches. We looked behind the one where we had been sitting, and there it was, on the ground. I don’t know if it had fallen or someone put it there, but the point is, NO ONE STOLE IT. It’s easily a $20 water bottle that anyone could have swiped and taken home.

Thank you, dirty hippie elitist liberal neighbors! I emailed the water bottle woman back to thank her, and I told her good karma was coming her way. She loved it, as I knew she would.

I still have no idea where that goddamn shoe is, though.