......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

30 July 2010

The NOT Not So Big House

By American standards our new house is probably slightly above average. By Southwest Minneapolis standards it would be like if a tornado picked up our house and simultaneously picked up our neighbor's house and then smacked them down in the middle of a golf course with our back doors perfectly aligned so you could go between the two houses without ever getting wet in the rain. And our garages would also get picked up and shaken upside down so that all the broken rollerblades and outdated carseats flew away in the wind so the garages were nice and empty (don't worry, the cars are parked on the street). Then the garages got smacked down side by side and close enough to the house to actually feel like its a part of the house (which people in this area think to be true - they use the garage like their front door). Liam describes our house as "mansion-y." And it meanders in a nonsensical way. Which I'm finding is typical of New England homes; you drive by these houses with offshoots and miniature houses and alcoves and garetts all connected by breezeways and bonus rooms and pass-throughs. I figure it must have agrarian roots......when people had outbuildings for their animals and equipment and one winter they just got tired of putting on their jacket every time they neede to feed the mule.

So our meanders which makes it hard to find people. At times, I've resorted to the cell phone to find Mike. Next time, leave a trail of bread crumbs, buddy. And for the first few days, Liam ran upstairs to use the bathroom because he didn't know we had one on the first floor.

The space was uncomfortable at first. The first night, we had Liam sleep in our room because we were afraid he wouldn't be able to find our room. But once he slept in his own room, he found the comfort of his morning ritual. From my warm bed each morning, I have always heard THUMP (feet hitting the floor)....pat pat pat pat pat.......(whispering) "Mom...can I get up?" I then groggily ask him what time it is. He tells me. I generally say yes. And then he says "Thanks, Mom" (seriously!) and runs away to watch TV. The first morning he slept in his own room, it sounded more like this: thump (very quiet, very far away).....pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat.........(pause).......pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat pat..........pat pat (as in "is this it?")........pat pat pat. I actually laughed out loud waiting for him to appear.

A big house is an adjustment. For example:

Cleaning: Who has time to clean a house of this size? Which leads to Who can I pay to clean a house of this size? Which leads to Who can afford to pay someone to clean a house of this size? Which leads back to Who has time to clean a house of this size?

Locking up at Night: For the first few nights, Mike and I did a walk-through together of all the doors to make sure we had properly sealed all the entry points. The many, many entry points. Does that make anyone else nervous?

Lightswitches: Hundreds of them. Everywhere. And the one you flip is never the light you need. And maybe that light is ALSO connected to another switch on the opposite side of the room which means the "up" switch might turn on and the "down" switch might turn off? But you're not going to try the "up" switch because you assume that's connected to a light that's already on? But then you get frustrated with the amount of time it's taking to TURN ON A FREAKING LIGHT and you start manically flipping flipping flipping anything just turn on the damn light. I've now decided to just leave all the lights on all the time.

Garbage Night: Collecting garbage from all the rooms feels like going on a hike (oh the meandering!). And that does NOT count hauling the can down the overly long driveway - which used to be Liam's job but will now be part of my exercise routine.

There are also bonuses to living in the NOT Not So Big House. They include:

Everything has a home! Without using "creative storage solutions" as seen on TV!

I now have two - count 'em TWO - nightstands in my bedroom.

OUTLETS! I can plug in anything I want anywhere I want! I can put a lamp where I need light! This house was not built in an age when people read by kerosene and wound their watches!

And although I'm still a fan of the "Not So Big House" concept, I recently realized that I can take a full breath in my new house. A full cleansing breath. I'm not holding it all in like Fred Flintstone's closet full of bowling balls. And Mike can walk through the house freely without banging his shoulders on corners or whacking his head on overhead pipes. So maybe it's just the space that's important and not the stuff that fills up the space. Show restraint. Have lots of comfortable seating in the places where you read and watch TV and play games. And a nice place to eat and a warm place to sleep. And then stop.

28 July 2010

Skateboard Camp

Liam has been the proverbial overscheduled child since relocating. I'm trying to immerse him in the local kid culture, hoping he'll make some friends and feel a certain level of confidence before startng his new school in the fall. I'm also trying to deprive him of any opportunity to be bored or beg for TV in the middle of the day - that's a parenting challenge I will slate for next summer. Yes, he should play in the woods and do puzzles and read books and ride his bike; but, remember, he sees no value in independent play and if you can't run next door and grab a buddy, then I become the targeted playmate. And as much as I love doing things with Liam, I have a grown-up life to live as well. One that involves oversize boxes full of EVERY. SINGLE. OBJECT. owned by 3 people.

Blah blah blah (or Bob Loblaw for those of you who are fans of Arrested Development). So last week Liam was double booked with the town's summer recreation program and skateboard camp. He loves being a dude. He loves talking about his sweet deck and his boarding skills and how I'm goofy-footed (all these years - I had no idea!). Every day, I ask him what he learned at camp and every day he answers by giving me a list of songs they played over the sound system in the skate park. "You know what they played today? GUESS! No - I'll tell you! Any Way You Want It, Don't Stop Believin', and that one that goes nee noo nee noo nee noo noo noo (it was Separate Ways). AND Rock and Roll is Not Noise Pollution! (which I recently found out is NOT Rock and Roll is Not For Losers - that's about 30 years of singing the wrong words).

So 5 days and $200 later, Liam can stand on a skate board without falling off. Which IS an improvement. But it appears that skateboarders don't so much "teach".........it's more like.......let's see.........."showing off." Skateboard camp involved a lot of watching the counselors practice their tricks and very little instruction. Like NO instruction.

And Liam loved it. Wants to go back next week. And he's a quitter not a re-enroller! So this gets my attention. Mike and I are thinking we should make him watch us unload the dishwasher. Crank the music. Show off our skills. "Sweet move, dude! How'd you get that spatula in there? I gotta try that."

24 July 2010

"......it's not as bad as it sounds."

Several nights ago, I had a dream that someone painted over the purple trim on the house we now call "4041." The trim I simultaneously loved and apologized for; when I gave people directions to our house I always said, "it's the gray house with purple trim.........it's not as bad as it sounds." Pulling the trigger on the purple trim was one of the bigger and riskier decisions Mike and I have ever made together. As I mentioned in the previous post, we have no tolerance for a home that makes no statement. This is the structure that houses your life. It shelters your family and provides an environment in which to grow, develop, remember, reflect. Its face sends a message to passersby telling them what you're like.

One Christmas, we gave each other the gift of a new face for our home. Its dirty white exterior was making us sad and telling stories about us that weren't true. We experimented with lots of colors and landed on blue. But when the facade was painted, it looked like a giant popsicle. Or something Liam had painted. We said "STOP!" Unfortunately, winter was arriving - so the painters could stop but they couldn't repaint until spring. So we lived with the blue front/white back house for an entire winter, constantly assuring people that it was not on purpose and that it wasn't permanent. When spring arrived, the blue facade debacle spooked us and we realized we needed help. From a professional. With lots of experience with color theory. So we called a designer and said we didn't have a big project we just needed help with one decision. We would need her for less than an hour. She said "75 bucks." I said "right on." Did you know you could do that? You can get help from a professional designer for $75 at a time? We've often said that the purple trim was the best $75 we've ever spent. Since then, I've hired designers one hour at a time for things as small as hanging pictures or accessorizing my dining room. My designer friends are like artistic handymen. And I love them.

So this particular $75 produced a house draped in a fairy tale; Twilight Chimes and Violet Vespers to be exact. A house that now says "Some really fun people live here."

In my dream, someone painted the purple trim a bright white. It was garish and trashy. It said "This house is messy inside." My dream self felt panic building in her throat - but also knew there was nothing she could do. It wasn't her house anymore.

21 July 2010

The Wishlist

Now that our stuff is in this house, it smells more like a home. Like we brought the smell with us from Minneapolis. The wallpaper and offensive paint colors don't bother me so much. And I'm thinking back to a day back in the fall of 2009 when we first started looking for this house. All 3 Nilnoo's sat around the dining room table and made a list of what we would like in a new house so our realtor could start the search. I've copied the list here so you can see where our priorities lay at the time.......and maybe compare it to where we landed. I think we did pretty well. But Liam's still waiting for that motorboat.

THE NILNOO PIE-IN-THE-SKY WISH LIST FOR THEIR NEW HOUSE
(in a perfect world)

THE HOUSE
Would prefer an older house with character but we don't have the time/energy/cash for much more than cosmetic changes. That being said, a new house with good design and modern finishes might sway us. Basically, the aesthetic of the home is supremely important to us; I don't want to spend gobs of money on a house that makes no statement.

  • 3+ bedrooms
  • 2 car garage
  • 2000+ square feet
  • 2+ bathrooms
  • updated kitchen
  • dedicated space for guests (would even consider duplex or in-law apt.)
  • dedicated space for office/work
  • separate family/media room
  • bsmt or garage space for multiple (!!!) bikes, lawn mower, etc.
  • outdoor living area (front porch, sun room, screen porch or deck)

THE AREA
  • lots of kids to play with
  • access to outdoor spaces for walking, running, biking (trails, waterfront, etc)
  • walkable neighborhood
  • walkable (or very short drive) to shops, restaurants, library, etc.

LIAM'S SPECIAL REQUESTS
  • an elevator.
  • a motorboat.
  • big hill in backyard for sledding.
  • extra room in the garage for Dad to workout.
  • extra big tv.
  • nice and peaceful.
  • nice boys all around.
  • nice shade in the summer for Mom to walk.
  • and in the fall, yellow leaves on trees that are still there OR yellow leaves on ground to give to mom.
  • nice living room that looks like it's from the future like weird looking awesome chairs.
  • nice view of the ocean for Mom.

*Regarding my request for an in-law apt., Liam asked if an in-law was the sheriff.
Because the outlaw is the robber.

20 July 2010

One Thing I Know.......

.......and that is that I do NOT want a career unloading moving vans. It's right up there with stay-at-home-mom-of-twins. At the end of the second day of unloading, I asked our movers if they were all going home to take hot baths. And they all answered some form of "(expletive) YES!" "How do you do it?" I asked. "Do your bodies slowly fall apart until you can't brush your own teeth or do you just get used to it?" And the dude in charge says it really really really sucks for the first year and you want to cry every day - but then you get used to it. Wait.......for the first YEAR???!!! You want to cry every day for the first YEAR???!!!! What, there were no openings at McDonald's? I would do just about anything else (except stay-at-home-mom-of-twins) if my job was that hard for a YEAR!

So we threw money and ice cold bottled water and cans of Pepsi and Sierra Mist at these guys who so willingly (and pleasantly, I might add) shoulder our burden so we can start a new life half way across the country. That being said, a sizable percentage of our stuff arrived broken, battered, irretrievably dirty or otherwise ruined. So unless you want some new furniture, I advise you stay put. Some ancient relative of mine wisely declared that 3 moves equals a fire; if we add up the things that are broken, destroyed or mysteriously vanished, it would probably equal the contents of our first house. We play this game called "Hey, where's the (fill in the blank)?" Every box is unpacked, literally everything we own is in plain sight, and we still can't find things. Where's my turntable??? That is not a small thing that could be easily hiding under a pair of pajamas! I found my Helen Reddy album and I really need me some "I Am Woman!" It's probably sitting in a ditch on some Pennsylvania highway. Or maybe there's some truck driver in a New Hampshire warehouse listening to Helen Reddy right now. If you really need to move, I say torch it and get an IKEA gift card.

15 July 2010

Farewell to the Residence Inn

Tonight will be our last night at the Residence Inn. Tomorrow morning, the moving van will arrive at #9 and we will officially live in New Hampshire. And although I'm anxious to get this party started, and although hotel life has been a form of purgatory, and although there's only space for one fastidious person in this room, it actually has not been that bad. And I might actually miss it????? It's an incredibly unique experience that has its perks. Here's a peek into what life has been like for the Nilnoo's at the "RI."


BREAKFAST: We start each day in the hotel lobby where they provide a self-serve breakfast area. At first, we ate box after tiny box of sugared cereal, sneaking extras upstairs for midnight snacks. We were like "Which one will it be today?! Sugar Smacks or Corn Pops? I'll have both! No - 2 of both! And I'll pack a few in my beach bag for the road!" Sometimes we ate our tiny boxes of happiness in bed. While we watched TV! We ate them like our mom would change her mind and take the forbidden cereal away........which she eventually did. Perhaps our greed was putting the hotel out of business. Or maybe they were making a statement about childhood obesity. Either way, now we get dispensers of Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Rice Krispies and generic Frute Lupes.

After breakfast, before we go back upstairs, I change the lobby TV from Fox News to MSNBC.



THE ELEVATOR SPEECH: Taking the elevator to your front door presents lots of social opportunities. You know how your gaze shifts from the LED floor indicator, to your watch, to the elevator door and back to the LED floor indicator? Liam doesn't do that. For him, every elevator rider is a potential friend, even Asian men with brief cases who don't speak English. He'll introduce himself and launch into his life story faster than you can say "speaking english no please." It goes something like this: "I'm Liam. Actually, I'm from Minnesota. We're moving. First we went to Duluth. Then Wisconsin. Then Michigan. Then Canada. Then New York. Then Massachussetts. And then here." (this is where I smile real big in hopes that the elevator mate doesn't say "I didn't ask.") Then there's the basic: "So......I'm in room 491. What room are you in?" And you know what? They always tell him!!! 100% of the time they give him their room number!!! But sometimes he elaborates: "So.....it looks like you're going to 3. We're going to 4. My family is me and this is my mom (I smile and wave) and this is my dad (Mike looks at his watch). I don't have any brothers and sisters. Which is lucky. Cause brothers and sisters are annoying."


THE FITNESS ROOM: The hotel fitness room has been a handy place to get away from the confines of our room (and the people in it). I've been known to go down for a workout as late as 10pm - when everyone is in bed and I need to erase their whining from my memory. It has treadmills, elliptical trainers, free weights, and a big TV blasting HGTV ("which house will our couple choose? Stay tuned to find out!"). If you're wondering why Liam is pictured on the elliptical instead of me, it's because no one will take a GD picture of me. God forbid someone else should pick up a camera. It's like I don't exist.



TV IN BED: Our hotel suite has two rooms: a sitting room with a giant flat screen TV, and a bedroom with a giant flat screen TV. The ratio of TV size to room size is such that the picture seems to be inside your brain instead of in front of your face. Turning off the TV would be like turning off your brain. So we watch a lot of TV. In bed. Cause we can. And once we leave this place, no one will ever ever ever have a TV in their bedroom. So I'm letting Liam bask in the fluffy, lazy comfort of it all. And I'm basking in the sweet freedom that comes from not-parenting.




HENRY & BEEZUS SAVED US: However.........one day I blew a gasket when I thought I saw Liam's brain dripping out of his ear. So I turned off the pictures in our brain, I mean the TV, and I declared it a TV-free day (I know, you're all saying "oooh! Rookie mistake!). At first we all stared at each other in silence like we'd lost all ability to use our hands or form sentences. And then I rifled through our carefully packed (by me, of course) activity bag (which was untouched. who needs activities when I can just watch these pictures in my brain?). I pulled out a copy of Henry & Beezus by Beverly Cleary and started to read. And each time I finished a chapter and put the book down, Liam asked me to read another chapter. And another and another. We read over 100 pages that day. Out loud pages, not reading silently to yourself pages. That's HOURS! And then he wanted to play cards. And then he wanted to paint. And then he wanted Mike to draw a barge. I felt like Henry & Beezus had transformed our room from a den of wickedness to a scene out of Little House on the Prairie.



And we swim. Everday we swim. And swim. And swim. And swim. But we still can't tread water (come ON!!).










THE MARKETPLACE: There's an area near the front desk known as "The Marketplace." You can choose snacks, candy, drinks, microwave meals and ice cream and then tell Bryan at the front desk to charge it to your room. That's free, right? This is where Liam discovered HOT POCKETS. If I could let him watch TV and eat Hot Pockets in bed every day he would be the happiest boy on the planet (and then maybe the whining would end?! oh the temptation!). Every day Liam asks if he can get a King Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. And every day I say, "But you don't like peanut butter." And every day he says "I know but it's King Size." Someone recently asked him what his favorite candy was and he answered King Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And I, of course, said "But you don't like peanut butter." And he said (come on, say it with me now) "I know but it's King Size."



THE HOTEL BAR: One of the perks of hotel living is that someone cleans your room every day. And it's best to get out of the way so they can do a thorough job. So we often go down to the bar for a ginger ale while we wait for our clean room to appear. Liam chats up the bartender. I read USA Today. Then we return to a room with no towels on the floor, no dishes in the sink and a freshly made bed.



LIAM'S NEST: This is where Liam sleeps. In a sleeping bag on the floor between the bed and the air conditioning unit. He doesn't complain. He doesn't know that children have been put into protective custody for lesser things. He happily snuggles into his nest with Lobsty, Pinchy, Tata, Dogfeet, Fuzzy, and New Fuzzy and drifts off to sleep singing the national anthem.

At which point, Mike and I go out into the sitting room to watch copious amounts of HGTV. And that, friends, is your peek into a day at the "RI." I know it sounds crazy, but we might just miss it.

13 July 2010

Such a Big Sense of Humor for Such a Small Child

Today is day #1 without our fully automated family truckster minivan. I'm happy to be back in my old Audi wagon. I think there should be a club for people who drive aging European cars; our bumper sticker could read "I value performance and style.......but I'm not willing to pay for it."

After reuniting with our fully-unautomated Biscuit Hauler, I got out and slammed the door shut. Liam got out and started poking his finger repeatedly at an imaginary button on the door frame. "What are you doing????" I asked. He looked at me, seemingly confused, and WITH A TOTALLY STRAIGHT FACE he said, "The door won't shut."

12 July 2010

Say Goodbye to that DVD Player, kid

Today we said goodbye to the Family Truckster; the Chrysler Town & Country Super Ultra Minivan that has been our home for the last 20 days. Everyone says you'll only make fun of a minivan until you drive one. After which you'll hear angels sing and convert. Hmmm.........both of these drivers are completely nonplussed. I don't dislike it - I just don't see what the big deal is. For us, it turned into a giant garbage can on wheels. We were like the Bumpuses flying down the highway throwing our Ritz Bitz wrappers over our shoulder. Just cause we can. It's the All-American Dream: having so much space that you're compelled to fill it up with stuff. Our stuff just happened to be garbage.

The Xterra and the Biscuit Hauler had their own cross-country roadtrip on a car transporter and finally arrived at Mike's office on Friday.........14 days late. While they were missing in action, I chose to be in complete denial. People lose cars all the time, right? I'm sure they'll turn up. I have bigger fish to fry.

After they arrived, I saw our cars sitting side by side in the parking lot and it felt like a happy reunion. It was like finding two orphans, playful Xterra and his older sister Audi, who persevered over miles and miles of questionable terrain, inclement weather, and handlers who didn't love them. Just to be reunited with their family; the man who puts the seat all the way back, the woman who puts her seat all the way forward, and the little boy who has grown up in the backseat.

By the way, I blame all this personification on Herbie the Love Bug. I know that LOGICALLY cars can't cry so why do I feel sorry for them?

So I got in and relaxed into the familiarity of my 12 year old wagon that has taken such good care of me for so long. It was freakishly identical to the day it was hauled away from our house in Minneapolis.......it even had the same garbage in the cupholders. (note to self: must be more diligent about garbage removal). And it felt strange to have this piece of home in a place that was not my home.

Nonetheless, this brings us One Step Closer. We are now one step closer to living here. In the next few days we'll get through the red tape of buying a house and we'll say goodbye to our Residence Inn family. And then the adventure really begins.

06 July 2010

Justin Bieber Made Me Cry


Guess what happened to me today? I stumbled across the song that will forever be associated with this move. You know how you have certain songs that evoke certain feelings based on the memories they trigger? ............no? ...........ok, I know SOME of you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you will just have to trust me - or start listening to the radio more often. I, on the other hand, could publish my life story with songs attached to each and every event. I could have one chapter called "Love Will Keep Us Together" - no, that would actually be TWO chapters because it appears in two different eras! And another called "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." I could have another chapter called "Come On, Eileen" and a whole volume called "Songs from Michael Jackson's Thriller." Then there would be a very sad chapter called "That's Just the Way it is, Baby" (and it was).
Today the iPod was on shuffle while Liam and I scurried about, trying to find places to hide our crap in our hotel room, and the first few notes of Justin Bieber's "U Smile" emerged from my tiny lego-shaped speaker. And it stopped me in my tracks. And I got so sad. This little ditty for the tween set took me down. JUSTIN BIEBER! Oh lordy how did this happen?
It takes me a moment to trace the sadness back to its source..............a tribe of 6 to 9 year old boys who traipsed through my house while I packed, planned, called, emailed and generally fretted all things relocation. The Justin Bieber cd was not just background music for them, it was an activity. They sang, danced, rapped, imitated (pausing to pose in the mirror), discussed, compared and contrasted, and just LUVVED all things Justin Bieber. "U Smile" is the mom song on the album - none of the boys like it because it's slow and sappy (the perfect pop song, right?). But I love it. It's pure pop confection. If it weren't illegal, I would happily walk hand in hand on the beach with that boy. Maybe frolic in the surf. Splash each other and run away laughing. And those boys loved to mock me for liking this silly song.
Coincidentally, (or not coincidentally at all) one of these Justin Bieber boys sent Liam an email today with a very spare but sweet/sad message ............and a link to a Justin Bieber video. It's Liam's very first email message from a friend in his entire life. And I'm feeling a twinge of "this is what we left behind."

04 July 2010

Happy Tooth of July


Recently, Liam has been losing teeth at important events. The last TWO teeth fell out at two different school concerts. I wish I had video of him spotting me in the audience and pointing first to his mouth and then to his pocket. TWICE this happens! And today, on the 4th of July, Liam pulled out his 6th tooth. I say "pulled" because all the blood in his smile leads me to believe it was a little premature.
We spent the holiday with Mike's boss at his country club........which sounds like an episode of "Bewitched" to me. But it was great for Liam who needed someone else to talk to besides his parents. You'll notice he's holdng a giant bottle of orange soda, compliments of Mike's boss (who I'll call "Mr. Tate" - which is probably only funny to those of you who watched TV after school in the 70's). So we have swimming at a fancy country club pool, other people to talk to including lots of pretty girls, conning "Mr. Tate" into buying him orange soda and losing a tooth. That's a good day for Liam. PLUS, he's thinking the tooth fairy might bring a little extra since we're staying in a hotel (whaaa?? Whatever, Liam.).

03 July 2010

Happy Homeless Anniversary

Yesterday, Mike and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Given our current homeless status and the fact that we've been traveling - or preparing to travel - for several weeks, any gift requiring forethought or TIME was not really in the cards. BUT.......I totally scored. I came across a mix tape (an actual TAPE) that Mike made for me in 1991. A period I like to call "the dark days;" when Mike decided he couldn't be the world's best Nordic skier and have a girlfriend at the same time. So he set me free. Despite my kicking and screaming.
Six months went by. I started dating someone else. And one day, Mike came to my door and handed me this tape. He asked me to listen to it and then call him. Then he turned on his heel and left, leaving me to decipher the mystery tape in private. From the first song, his intentions were clear: True Devotion by the Bodeans, Never Tear Us Apart by INXS, Weather With You by Crowded House, I Won't Run Anymore by Pete Townshend, Stupid Boy by the Gear Daddies, All IWant is You by U2, Save Me by the Rembrandts. I named the tape "Mike Makes a Comeback." ...........and three years later we were married.
Is that a scene from a John Hughes movie or what? In the movie, I listen to the tape as I watch him run to his car through my rain-spattered window.

So I recreated this oh-so-1991 tape for him on a cd and secretly placed it on his bike seat for him to find in the morning (where else would you look?).

02 July 2010

On the Road: Highlights and Reflections

1. The number one rule of roadtripping: Never ever ever ever let any one person in your party, including adults, get hungry. Keep everyone fat and happy. Even if it means eating cheese puffs and sprite, this is far better than having a whiny/contrary spouse.......uh - I mean, child.

2. By god, I will find that Spongebob happy meal toy that laughs at me every time we go over a bump.

3. Why rent the minivan for the roadtrip? There's so much judging and scrapping about the minivan and I have the final answer: our family really has no need for a minivan because we don't have 19 children and counting and we all have functional arms to open our own doors (when did we decide that opening doors was hard?). The once-a-year roadtrip, however, has different requirements that makes RENTING a minivan a good idea. Namely, the ability for the handler to easily go back and forth between the front seat and the backseat. You know, to look for the Hubba Bubba that flies out of child's mouth and into box of loose DVD's. Or if you need to have a heart to heart about child's pissy attitude, being face to face really has more impact - especially if you can point finger. Or so the handler can sit in the backseat and sing along to the karaoke lyrics during the overhead DVD presentation of Sound of Music.

4. Failed Experiment: singing along to the karaoke lyrics during the overhead DVD presentation of Sound of Music. I used birthday money to buy the special karaoke version for our trip and thought this could kill an easy 4 hours of drive time. The child, however, rained on my parade and kept asking question after question and making requests for other movies. Even on do a deer. Come on!!!! (as the first graders say). Mike (ever my protector) finally jumped into the arena and yelled "LIAM! Will you stop talking so mom can sing??!!"

5. Successful Experiments: a) ring pops (can't talk with a sucker in your mouth). b) identifying cloud formations. We saw cotton candy, a dragon, a baby bear, Florida, Lake Superior, and the lower peninsula of Michigan (someone is into maps right now). c) Mystery discs. A couple of friends made cd's for our drive but didn't include playlists. We play disc and try to "name that tune." If we can't get it, we use the Shazam app on my iphone to send soundbites to the great music library in the sky so they can send us the song, artist and album info.......quick as a wink!

6. When you travel to tourist destinations, you see lots of families. I love passing people on the street and quickly catching the resemblance between a parent and a child.

7. I wanted to stop at the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY. I'm pretty sure I saw Mike's foot hit the gas as we passed by the exit.

8. New York has amazing rest stops. They include Sbarro, Roy Rogers, Starbucks, travel stores, a sunglass hut kiosk and really really CLEAN bathrooms. But they all have the same architecture, layout, stores and restaurants so you feel like you're not making any progress.

9. Dear waitress at Canadian restaurant called Moxie's: You seem really nice, but the skirt you're wearing makes you seem skanky. Especially with the bruise on your thigh. Being sexy does not always rely on providing the show for free. In fact, to some, it's decidedly unsexy (did I mention the bruise?). But I do appreciate your offer to Moxie-size my cocktail for $1.50.

10. And finally, my favorite roadtrip moment: When a museum docent asks Liam where he lives, he replies "mostly in our car."

01 July 2010

Home Sweet Temporary Home

Our home until July 15th is the Residence Inn. We have a suite that includes a bedroom (with one king sized bed), bathroom, sitting room and what they call a kitchen but is really a wet bar. It's brand new and very beautiful and comfortable........for one person. One grown up person who has good control of his limbs, knows the difference between an inside voice and an outside voice, and has good toy clean-up skills so you don't step on small airplanes in the night as you stumble to the bathroom. Do you know what a 7 year old boy does when he sees a really loooong hotel hallway? He runs and yells like Tarzan. I theorize that this is an innate response. I would love to test my theory by bringing 100 7 year old boys to my Residence Inn hallway and count how many of them DO NOT run and yell like Tarzan. I'm guessing it would be 3........4 max.
Given the size of our room, we probably won't be hanging out here much during the day unless it involves watching TV or napping. I said to Liam today "we need to plan some fun excursions when Daddy goes back to work. What fun things could we do?" To which Liam replied "we could go back to the hotel and drink lots of water and play video games!" He was really excited. I don't know where the water thing came from - maybe he thought he'd make some points with me.
So this will be a challenge. This room is just too small for such a large personality. But we also have a pool, fitness room, laundry, free breakfast and an evening cocktail reception (I can make cheese and crackers into dinner.......you just watch me.). Pictured to the left are Brian and Kaitlin. So far, I have asked them to bring us towels, turn up the heat in the pool, retrieve my car, reprogram my key and even run to the bank to get change for me. I'm wondering if they'll watch Liam while I nap. Perhaps this won't be so bad. Tune in next week for more adventures of "The Nilnoo's at the Plaza"........uh, I mean.....The Residence Inn!