I always wanted to win the Triple Crown. Do I get a blanket of roses?
"Caroline," Warren pointed out to me recently, "it's almost the end of summer, and India still isn't toilet trained, she still sleeps with a binky, and she still drinks out of a sippy cup."
"Woohoo!" I cheered, "We've hit the Trifecta!"
I suppose I should be happy that she behaves well for someone.
Lately, getting India to sleep has become a long-drawn-out ordeal around the SP household, replete with sobbing refusals to stay in bed, incessant requests for drinks/songs/stories/backrubs, and frequent excursions out of the room. So I warned my unflappable babysitter that India was on a nap strike, and that if she refused to nap, it was no big deal. Also, she and I were having tussles over her staying in her big-girl bed, so even if she did nap, she might fight being put in her bed. I went out to run errands and came back to find Jen relaxing by herself, no terror tyke in sight. "She's napping?" I asked, incredulous. "Oh yeah," she responded, nonchalantly. "In fact, she told me she was going to eat lunch, read two stories, and take a nap in her big-girl bed. She went down at twelve o'clock."
Yeah. It's enough to make you crazy.
Listen, you, I was a Coffee Achiever when YOU were still drinking chocolate milk!
I live in a city with a relatively high HQ (hipster quotient), so as you can imagine, we are chockablock with coffee emporia of various kinds. Among the coffee cognoscenti, the motto seems to be "bitter is better" - in other words, the darker the roast, the higher the coffee-hipster cred. My personal taste in coffee tends more toward the blue collar. I would happily start each day with a nice cup o' Dunkin reg'l'r, two sugars only; Green Mountain hazelnut or some equally froofy flavored blend runs a close second. I've learned to look for medium roast whenever I set foot in a highfalutin coffee-teria, because I usually can't stomach the dark-roasted house specialties. So when we ran out of the gourmet coffee from the coffee galleria Warren likes, I asked for whatever they had available in medium roast and was directed to something called "Haitian Bleu Voodoo."
Medium roast, my hiney. This stuff was as dark and acrid as an oil slick. Cream dropped into its depths disappeared, leaving behind only a faint greenish haze. Sugar barely dented the harsh aftertaste on the palate, unless I added so much it became cloying. I stopped drinking it altogether except when I was in extremis, and even then I added some decaf I had sitting around to try to cut the taste. I thought Warren liked it, and at $13.99 the pound ($13.99! For coffee!) I figured I'd just wait til it was gone. "Don't make any for me," I told him one day at breakfast, having dumped out extra coffee for several days running, "I don't like it."
"I don't like it either," he said. "Are you kidding? I'd never get Haitian Bleu Voodoo! I always get the Ethopian or Costa Rican. That Haitian stuff is way too strong."
That did it. At $13.99 the pound ($13.99! For coffee!), I grabbed the remainder of the bag and took it back. "Excuse me," I said in my most polite, sorry-to-bother-you, I-know-this-is-a-stupid-question voice to the counter girl, "I bought this coffee because I thought it was a medium roast, but it's really a dark roast, and my husband and I don't like it. Could I exchange this for the Ethopian or the Costa Rican?"
The barista, in her all-black, artfully shabby hipster duds, was pretty good about it, but in the end, she couldn't help herself. "Um?" she said, in her 20-something drawl, "The Haitian Bleu Voodoo? That is a medium roast. The Ethopian? That's a light roast." And in the veeeeeeeeeeery back of her tone was the subtle but unmistakable hint of "duh".
Sister, Friend, Lifesaver
As a number of East Coast bloggers have noted, including Finslippy, it's been hot around these parts lately. On Wednesday, facing the prospect of another day sweltering in stifling heat and humidity with a restless toddler, I nearly had a meltdown myself. Warren was off to his meatlocker-cold office for ten to twelve hours of climate-controlled bliss. My parents' house an hour away had no AC either. Going to the mall with someone who can't keep her hands off shiny, expensive things was a non-starter. What to do?
Every modern gal needs a Sarah in her life (I suppose guys need a Sarah too, but they will have to look out for their own gender). Sarah is my older sister. In a lot of ways, she's my lifeline to a time when I was an actual grownup person whose perspective was considerably broader than it is now. She buys me nail polish from Hard Candy and Urban Decay because she knows I won't get it for myself. She lends me the latest hot reads (most recently Alison Bechtel's book Fun House) so I don't fall hopelessly out of touch. When she called to say she'd be stopping by in a few hours, and I called her back and asked her to come over immediately because I was on the verge of toddler-induced insanity, she arrived within 15 minutes. And when the National Weather Service announces a Heat Advisory with a heat index possible of 114 degrees, well, who you gonna call?
Being the kind soul that she is, Sarah had no problem with my inviting myself and child over to sit in the draft of her AC while she went to work. I parked India in front of PBS cartoons, grabbed an Ian Rankin mystery from the bookshelf, and we sat in a CFC-induced stupor for hours. It was bliss. To paraphrase Seuss, Sarahs are helpful. Sarahs are good. Have you a Sarah for emergencies? You should. (But I ain't sharing mine.)
Even the grass around here is crabby.
Being the groundskeeper of note chez Pig, when the temperatures rocketed upward, I declared a moratorium on lawnmowing (or any other related activities) for the duration. And the crabgrass promptly went berserk. Our lawn looks, well, to put it politely, derelict. Even after I mowed the lawn, tufts of thick weeds still hung over the curb and sprouted up in any available crack in the pavement. All we need are some cee-ment blocks and a rusted El Camino to put on them and the picture would be complete. By contrast, my neighbors all have uniformly trim, neat lawns, with nary a stray blade in sight.
I was feeling hugely inadequate about this when I observed our neighbor's weekly visit from their lawn care service. Then I took India for a stroll around the neighorhood and looked more carefully at the various lawns we passed. You know what the difference is between their lawns and ours? Nothing. They all have the same proportion of crab grass to real grass that we have (excepting the lawn-obsessed neighbor, of course), but they have something we don't - a service that keeps everything whacked down to the ground, while they sit inside sipping lemonade in the AC. So, fine. I'll weed - come September, when the temperatures cool off. What, we're Fenway Park, we gotta be all neat and trim 24/7? No way.
We have a name!
The first name is Celeste. The middle name is probably going to be Cecile (for my father's mother). It's a lot of "C"s, but Warren wants to have the option of using Ceci as a nickname. This isn't cast in stone yet, so hold off on the engraved announcements, folks, but at least we have a leading candidate. And I can give back the 100,000 Baby Names book to my friend. Whew! On the other hand, I understand you are no longer allowed to leave the hospital with Baby Girl Jones or Baby Boy Brown - so maybe I shouldn't let on we have this name, and I can squeeze an extra day or two out of my hospital stay while we ponder.