I'm Moved..to Make a Confession

This morning two very chipper guys in shirts and shorts waded into our worldly goods and wrapped each vase, each piece of pottery, each mother$%&*%g piece of mother($&%ng tiny, infinitesimal playmobile f%$#@kng pirate ship in premium quality shipping paper. Husband and I (kids at daycare) watched them intently, hoping to exude energy and a sense of being involved, even while we didn't lift a finger (because we weren't supposed to) and fervently whispered in the back kitchen over the guilt we both felt over the fact that we didn't lift a finger.

So now we sit watching the the crappy tv (the Big Fuck Off TV of 10 year wedding anniversary having been sold and happily carted off several weeks back now) rugless, coffee-table-less, dining-set-less. The garage sale last weekend proved very fruitful (and my husband nary shed a tear over whoring his various power tools, miter saws, and googynad watsit machines) but lord we still have so much more shit to unload.

But now, at least, there is no choice that it is nothing but shit to unload. Suddenly, when you are faced with the option of unloading or carting as precious cargo to England in your minimal luggage allowance, you become all the more mercenary (Let's just say I chucked out a lot of lumpy bras today) (I know I should handwash) (Deep sigh...)

Oh, and uh, I have a confession to make.

we ended up not shipping the bed...

Don't leave! Let me explain! Let me present the evidence.
1. Miniature Worlde English "Master" (
Master! Hahaha) Bedrooms. Stress of finding a place for it to fit and/or pay storage fee
2. Many more thousands of dollars to include it in the shipping costs.
3. My husband declaring that a) he didn't want to be lumbered with a black bed for years to come,
because we shipped it, after all.. and b) I want to make another one. Better.

Whatever you say, dear.

The pitcher? Well, the good pitcher is wending its way to some dock, USA. The battered pitcher? Its fate is yet to be determined.


Mommy Guilt. It's The Drugs...

So, this whole MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THING (in case you didn't know, we're moving from Michigan USA to Manchester, England in just over 3 weeks) has found us both seriously lacking and seriously over-attentive as parents.

Seriously lacking, in that we are most definitely over-relaying on the boob tube to entertain Number 1 son as we drag stuff off shelves and out of cupboards out to the everlasting garage sale.

Seriously lacking in that we are not having those earnest conversations about every piece of cheap-ass dilapidated plastic we call "toys" that are not making it into the "ship to England for a million dollars" pile. (Hey! The stupid Burger King Shrek toy is making the cut. What d'you want from me???)

And yet. Yet, when we sit back from the dust bunnies and the carefully wiped 1996 funky tableware that we'll surely make a mint on, we ask ourselves how is he handling this? And bravado aside, we've really done our best to talk him through what this whole move might mean. Quite honestly he has been nothing but gung-ho about the whole concept, as much as a nearly 5 yr old can. But in the last week, he seemed to turn a corner.

Suddenly he was Acting Out, especially with Mommy. Flying off the handle when instructed it was time to have dinner, clean his teeth, go to bed. I mean flying off the handle more than usual, you know?

This was Our Fault. No Doubt. We are not Paying Enough Attention. We are not guiding him through the whole process as well as we should. We are relying on Noggin too much as we ransack the house for precious belongings. We totally deserved this, and we needed to do something now.

My husband and I proceeded to self-flagellate and plan lots of extra quality time one-on-one activities. Very pleasant, but still with The Behavior, you now? And so, in a flash of inspiration, Husband mentioned that the boy had been on a certain medication (Nasonex, for allergies) for about the same period of time as The Behavior had emerged.

Try googling "Nasonex and Behavioral Changes."


3 days off the drugs, and Number 1 son is back to his sweet-ass self. Yeah, he whines and pushes the limits, but he's back to his largely giggling, silly and mellow self. Thank God. Now at least I know that if I am going to fuck up my son, it's all my doing. I hate it when people blame the drugs.


In Which I Wax-Lyrical About the Kindness of "Virtual" Strangers/Friends...

I realize I have been doing a lot of pissing and moaning on this here blog lately. About bastard people, and "whaah!!! poor me. I can't decide what furniture to bring" (whah!!!!)

What these mini-rants and pity parties omit to mention is how much this whole experience is bringing me to a whole new level of appreciation for the innate goodness of most people. You've already heard about the neighbors/dear friends who offered to take the dog for us until the new year, so she would not have to endure several long months of prison doggie quarantine at an undisclosed location... Add to that a slew of offerings to watch the kids, help pack, "whatever we can do to help..."

And then there was Jenny, an American based in the UK, now returning to Wisconsin, who sold me all her electronic goods (including TV--ohthankGOD---DVD player, and Coffee Maker) . When I said "sold," she took it on faith that if she dropped off these items (Spongebob DVD included!) at the house of one of my relatives in the area (after a two hour drive across the North-West of England. Good LORD!) I would then be honest enough to deposit payment into her paypal account. (Which I did). (Honest!)

And then, most gobsmacking, there is this lady, who has been thoroughly, thoroughly exploited by me lately, despite protestations that she enjoys this sort of thing. This woman, who knows about as much about me as you do, has been an amazing source of help lately. She lives in my new neck of the woods, and has been my doppelganger (if you will). Scaling walls of rental properties to ascertain their security levels, sniffing bathrooms to divine for mould, and basically ensuring that we end up in an area where my son can truck around on his bike without me shitting a brick over his safety (because that pretty much sums up our needs right now).

Thank you Lindy. We owe you a shitload of cheezits and our 3rd born. (seriously..)

(consider yourself horribly stalked in about 5 weeks time)


Ship Or Get Off The Pot....

You know you have an indecision problem when you find yourself at 4am in the kitchen, mixing a bottle for your nine month old, and mulling over the sturdy but weathered pyrex pitcher in your hand.

Do I ship the pitcher?

If I ship the pitcher before we actually leave the house, will I
need the pitcher?

Is the pitcher valuable enough to warrant shipping?

How much does Tesco's charge for a pitcher (sorry,
jug...) in England?

Does the pitcher mean anything to me emotionally? Spiritually?
In England, when I use it to measure out a spot of gravy for my Yorkshires, will doing so immediately prompt a proust-like onslaught of sensory pasts? Of 4am feedings, and weening, and a time when, in my all-American kitchen, I mulled over what each and every object and whether its nostalgic resonance far outweighed its monetary value?

A time when I quite naturally called a jug a pitcher?

Four weeks and five days to go... Right now I am fretting almost constantly over what to ship to England. What parts of our life From Here do we pay oodles of money to transport Over There? Are we silly to even ship large items like our bed and our dining room table in the first place? How do we make this decision when we don't even have a clue where we will live yet, or if it will fit a gorgeous but gargantuan American King-Sized bed (made by my husband from scratch) that will likely take up every spare inch of a tiny British master bedroom?

Remember this? It became this:

How can we say bye bye to that?

My oldest and dearest friend Jill has been up to visit from St Louis this weekend, and her dogged rationality has helped me work through this paralyzing state. It's time to make a decision and just go with it. So in a couple of weeks, we will let the international movers come in and crate up those belongings that we would like to have on the other end. We will be rugless, table-less, and no doubt sore-backed from nights on blowup mattresses and days carting belongings out the house for the endless garage sale I am anticipating.

Let the culling begin.

(But tell me. Do I ship the pitcher?


Dear Bastard People... With Bloody Bugger Update

Dear Hoardes of People who have traipsed through our pristine, pristine, home and decided that it's "lovely but not what you are looking for." I am trying really hard not to hate or resent you right now, but you see I need a focus for all my pent up frustrations and hostilities and you, faceless people who nose in my cupboards and check to see if my toilets are clean, you, my friends, are complete fucking assholes who do not deserve to cross my threshold, let alone wander into my lovely boys' carefully staged bedrooms that literally scream "this is a happy happy home, and you can BUY this happy happy happiness. Please admire the carefully selected finger paintings as you breathe in the Happy."

I resent the shit that we have to transform our house into a showroom at least three times a week, and although I appreciate that it forces us to keep things tidy, I have never, never, felt the urge to cave to my inner filthy pig more acutely (and yes, Husband, I can hear you right now saying, "what do you mean, inner...?")

Updated to add:
Dear person who expressed such sincere and enthusiastic interest in our minivan. No it was not a pain in the least to photocopy and fax you every single piece of sodding paperwork related to the sodding minivan, piece by piece. And no it was not a pain in the least for my husband to drive out of his way all the way to effing Detroit to let you and your hyper children crawl all over the inside of its plush interior. And no, it was not a pain in the least to go back and forth with you over price and warrantees and all manner of shit, because, "hey. this is a big decision. We understand."

Thank you for your recent email in which you state "We still have not decided... Our style is to mull things over a bit, then we'll either quietly bow out, or we'll be in a hurry again to formalize everything.... 8 ) Please let us know if you get another offer...BLAH FUCKING BLAH"

Is there an emoticon for punching another person's emoticon in the stupid sodding face?

(God. This feels good. I need to slapdown-blog much more often).

for now please to enjoy this this picture of kittens:


More Notes from Limboland

Did I mention we're leaving the country in six weeks? In five weeks and four days to be precise. This here blog was meant to be a wondrous record of this massive life-changing-event; something we could look back on with the grandkids in a few decades time..."We used to call this a Bloooog."

The only problem about using the blog as a wondrous record during this wondrous wondrous time, is that there is no fucking time in which to write anything except random fragments. But fragments I will write, because I want to get this shit down if it kills me (and it just might...)

With astonishing speed and efficiency, both sets of passports have arrived for our boys, including the U.S. ones. This is a huge load off our minds, as we were picturing last minute mad-dashes to the British Consulate and/or Chicago Passport Office. At the same time, it's unsettling, seeing both boys described as "British Citizen" on their UK passports. No they're not. Actually, yes they are, thanks to Mummy's celebrated Canterbury birth.

Seeing those little passports that will afford my sons unlimited access to all the pleasures the EU has to offer really drives it home. We're not quite going to be American any more. Jack, nearly five, is our gorgeous, golden, all-American boy. When he put on a baseball helmet the other day and started swinging around a bat and I lost it.

What are we DOING??

And everything suddenly becomes so thick with meaning. Our last Fourth of July, our last walk with the red painted wagon, our last visit to a restaurant where our boys are catered to with such cheerful spirit with all manner of crayons, chocolate milk, and chicken finger dinners.

(and on our long trip home from gramma's this weekend, what I hope will be our first and last, ever, trip to a grimy-assed McDonald's playland...)

(Because, you know, in England, a rest stop involves pulling off at picturesque country village and enjoying tea and crumpets while the children amuse themselves with tales of Narnia or by prancing around a maypole...)

We are living in limbo. Too soon to say goodbye, but soon enough to feel this sense of steady and inevitable withdrawal. I hear plans for events that will take place after we are gone. I sit and eat lunch with a friend, or make get-together plans with our neighbors, and wonder "how many more of these? Is this the last time? Is this? Is this? How can I make sure this moment is meaningful?" I end up dancing around the enormity of it all, and moan about the endless (and largely fruitless) house-showings, and make small-talk, but each time a certain heaviness presses more deeply, and I wish I could say something that makes everything more memorable, that does justice to how much I am going to miss these people who have become my family.

But it's too soon for tears.


Withdrawing Symptoms. Notes from Limboland... (yes this is my BlogHer post)

A post-BlogHer-post is long overdue, and my reasons for not tackling it yet are manifold. The first is the practical one. Life is kicking my ass, what with The Move and only four weeks left at work and one million projects to tie up with a pretty bow before I leave. That and sell the house, sell the minivan, sell the other car, sell, give, sell, trash, sell, sell, sell our lives out from under us. (sobs...)

Yeah. It's that kind of post. I'm a tad melancholy. BlogHer was Awesome, Inspiring and completely Overwhelming. When I blithely (and a bit snottily) left a post last week about how I am not shy and I am woman hear me roar I was not fully prepared for how a situation like BlogHer can make the most extrovert among us get a severe disorder of the socially anxious variety. HBM has written at her place about how she feels a sense of regret and guilt about not being able to touch base meaningfully with people she knew. I have only a fraction of Her Bad community, and I still came away with some pangs over people I had not had a chance to really have a juicy talk with. Women who write so brilliantly, and who make me laugh and think, and who I am likely to never, ever meet again (because BlogHer from the UK is likely to be rather dear and not entirely easy to justify)--it felt like there they all stood among a sea of brilliants. And the sea of brilliants was busy yak yak yaking to one another. Noisy. (insert linky love here...)

(If you were not there, you should know that the blogher "speed dating" ice-breaker exercise just about put me over the edge, and I actually had to leave the room before my head promptly exploded off my neck).

By the time Friday night rolled around, the idea of chatting in a quiet room and eating pizza while the babies slept was extremely appealing. These were the gals who had started blogging at the same time as me, and we had all cheered each other on in those early months when you don't think anyone is reading and just about shit a brick when you get a comment. Meeting them in person was so fucking affirming. (Yes. I said "affirming." Piss Awf). Anyway, we were all quite giddy with it. Some of us to the extent of passing out. Well. You all know how that went.

But I feel I should point out in regards to that incident (and perhaps I should be ashamed to say this) I was not even drunken. I was actually quite sober, after determining that I would *not* overdo it like I did the night before, when I boozed so badly I ended up buying a pack of smokes [don't tell my husband] and puffing away enough to feel absolutely dreadful the next morning.

(Just so you know, I don't smoke, but apparently being completely ass-faced on an empty stomach around a bunch of newly discovered BFFs triggers me to regress to a teenage state of rebellion where I binged on all life's evils. There's nothing quite so sobering as a 7am hangover while you "pump and dump" as discretely as possible while your (similarly hungover) roomates lope around the room looking for painkillers. But what delightful roomates they were).

Anyway. Apart from a certain person (who was wasted, wasted tired, bless her) we were all quite clear-headed. It was the food of love, you see, that made us all turn into such idiots. And yes, we were idiots, giggling, crying, peeing our pants silly people. And it was quite wonderful. When Catherine said her only regret was that she was not actually "there" to be part of it, I sensed a real pang. She totally meant it.

Because, how often do we really get to be that silly? Not often enough. I love silly so so much. I want to be that kind of silly when I am a grandmommyblogger. Please.

So now I am suffering from what SlackerMamma calls it BlogHer Lag. So much talking talking talking about blogging blogging blogging, and the idea of coming back and trying to synthesize something in words feels just impossibly exhausting. (sidenote. I now know why people don't write a lot about blogher. Blogher itself sucks the very blogging lifeblood out of you in this regard...)

But I do want to make a few comments about the panels. I was both a speaker and moderator, and on Thursday afternoon there was a training session for all of us in that boat. (There I met my co-panelists, who were so very nice, and so very smart). During the training, a great deal of emphasis was put on interactivity. That the audience should have opportunity to contribute as much as possible. That each person in the room should come away with something, a sense that they were part of it all. As a teacher, I fully concur, and as an academic I can quite honestly say that there is nothing quite worse than being talked at by four consecutive panelists, but Karrie summed up the problem with the approach much better than I could:

"While many interesting positions were expressed in other sessions, the sheer number of bloggers present made it difficult to participate, and the discussions were (understandably)somewhat limited, since so many voices were clamoring to be heard. In my personal experience with larger groups, many people will sit waiting to pose a question or share a comment, and by the time their turn to speak comes around the discussion may have veered in a completely different direction, or the participant loses their train of thought."

If I had any complaint (let's call it constructive criticism, shall we?) it was that in the interests of including everyone, a lot of extremely interesting issues that were raised ended up getting lost in the chorus of opinions. As a moderator, I myself attempted to reach every hand that was raised in the room, eager not to leave anyone out. Though it was an excellent discussion, and the time flew by, I came away feeling that we only scratched at the surface, that we flitted about various topics but did not get our teeth into any one of them. Which is probably fine. I suppose that's what blogging is for.

But an exemplary incident of this was at the State of the Mommasphere panel, which was by far the most interesting to me. Mocha Momma raised a crucial question about diversity in the mommasphere, challenging the marketers present in the room to explain why women of color were not targeted for advertising dollars. Her comment was both bad ass and incendiary (God, I love that woman) and promptly lost as the next person got to voice an opinion--on something completely unrelated (though I should say that CityMama managed to pick it up again, if fleetingly).

This is no criticism of the moderator, Jory, who was working that room and creating a fabulous energy in the process, but an observation that as the community grows and passions escalate, at a certain point it's not necessarily possible or even desirable to allow everyone to have their soundbite, you know? [Aside--Mocha and Glennia from Kimchi Mamas have both agreed to write on this topic for BlogRhet.... so, I guess the conversation will continue. Stay tuned.. ]

So. A lot more to say. But I need to click on publish before this gets hopelessly out of date.