Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Observations made at the end of the day.

Since I had to leave the house in a unconventional hour for me (7:30am), I hanged hurriedly and without much natural sunlight. (Hubby was asleep and I didn't want to open the blinds and wake him.)

Unfortunately, as I was changing out of my work clothes I just noticed (and it's 10pm, currently) that I had a nasty stain on the front of my skirt that was
whitish in color that some with dirty minds would assume to be of a biological nature.

And less noticeable for most is the fact that I spent the entire day with my underwear not only inside out but backwards. (Don't ask me how I didn't notice a
gigantic bunch of fabric on my front.)

If this doesn't say that I am not a morning person, I don't know what does.

My little thank you to my hubby.

I've tried to stop in a jot a little something daily but unfortunately the last two days have been quite hectic in the workfront.

First, my colleague is on vaca and my other colleague was pulled into an emergency conference on Monday leaving me to man the fort.

Then, I realized that my plans to have the software upgrade website up by the first week of June had to be pushed back to the second week on account of my brain not realizing this is the last week of May.

But anyhow, I just got in from another long day. Today started at an ungodly hour for me, 6am. I had a meeting all the way downtown and on the eastside no less. If you are not from NYC, you don't understand the pain this is. Getting crosstown in NYC via mass transit and car tacks on a good 20-30 mins to your commute during rush hour. Tack on that I had to get to First Ave which is one of the last blocks on this island called Manhattan and you can understand my unhappiness for this meeting. I bought a tall coffee and prepared for a boring, gouge your left eye out session. Unbeknownst to me, it turned out to be an energizing 4 hour training session that only an anally retentive person like me would enjoy.

I left energized and got to my office at 1:45 to find out that I was inadvertantly pulled into a 2pm meeting. I scarfed down what I could of my lunch, glanced my emails for an emergencies and ran to this meeting. Now to be pulled impromptu into a meeting is one thing. To sit there and listen to someone who has done little to no work on this project tell me that he plans to be on the beach the weekend we are scheduled to come in to test the upgrade was unnecessary. I left with a joke that their will be no hand holding here and that the daycare was one flight up. He chuckled but I secretly seethed.

I return to my desk to find my email has decided to blow up. When I say blow up, I mean explode like one of those dummy email accounts we all have to ward off junk email, blow up. I couldn't respond to an email fast enough. As soon as I cleared a set of email, another set arrived. The last straw was an email requesting that a data file.

ok. I have to stop here to tell you guys that my husband just came into the bedroom to tell me he had been eating raspberries straight from the carton and
just noticed there was mold on them. He had eaten at least 75% of them. I asked him why he didn't clean them. If he cleaned them, he would have seen that they weren't good. He said he thought I'd clean them. I told him, that if they were clean, they'd be in a nice tupperware container not some dirty supermarket package. He just left to look up side effects to mold consumption.

Going back to my email, I receive a request to process a data file by this evening. This file contains 13,000 data elements. The script to process on average completes 900/hour. I had received clearance to process this file at 3pm. I inadvertantly starting howling like a basset hound. My colleague, looked at me and asked if I was ok. [Making noises in my office is quite common. It a huge stress reliever. My boss recently screamed bloody hell out the window of a car driving through central park. My co-worker has the tendency to sing odd 80's tunes out of the blue. It's a strange environment, I know, but not any stranger than any other systems departments I know.]

So now I'm finally home and after a stressful day filled with highs and lows, my hubby gives me the best thing of all, a smile. I received a geniune smile. Why? Because he tried to make the bed. I know that sounds odd. See, I left early, so he took care of the dogs and house this morning. I wasn't expecting him to make the bed. I figured it was just one of those things that didn't matter. But when I got to my bedroom, I noticed that my hubby, pulled the covers up over the pillows. Ok, this isn't making the bed. And yes, the pillows are all eschew and the flat sheet is all rolled up in the middle. But my hubby, in his hustle in the morning made the attempt to somehow make a presentable bed. I smiled and laughed for 2 mins.

So Hubby, Thank You. Thank you for making my day with your thoughtful gesture. I'm sure you didn't think anything of it when you did it. But it really made my day.

Now, I'm off to make an extremely late supper.

Monday, May 24, 2004

On life, death and a hopefully kick ass breakfast.

We have an auditor here today. Although an audit is stressful, for the most part, we're all semi-calm.
Responses include "Well, she can stuff it." and "She wants what?!"
But all in all, everyone is giving her as much info as possible.

They've put me in charge of directing her to what she needs. Essentially, it entails me running around making sure that we have what she needs by getting a team to run around like on a treasure hunt for supporting documentation. All the while, looking calm and un-phased.

I guess I'm doing well. She's out to lunch and we've pretty much found everything she wants. I have a few stragglers but she locked her pc so I have to wait for he return to do more investigating.

All this auditing made me think about how I thought I wanted to work as a consultant. I still think it would be interesting to try. I'm still open but not as open as I was before. A year ago, if you told me to pack my bags and live my life as a consultant, I'd be all for it. Now, I'm slightly more comfortable at home. I look forward to walking in my neighborhood village shops and picking out what to make for dinner. It could also just be the weather is allowing me more outdoor time. When I was really gung ho about the idea of seeing new places and environments and helping them re-organize, it was the dead of winter.

Who knows. All I know is that more and more, I think about home and family and less about career goals. And this scares me a bit. Career is the one thing you really have a control over. Once you start a family, Lord knows what you might encounter. But it seems exciting as well.

My uncle came down this weekend. We were discussing my cousin's pregnancy. It's her first. It's the first for any granddaughter on my mom's side. It's the first for my uncle's family.

Apparently, she's ballooned and her ankles and calves are swollen. She's due Father's Day.
She wrote to me, "I never expected pregnancy to turn my entire body topsy-turvy."

Now, I know I shouldn’t do this but, I’ve got 1 other girl cousin above me so I think the heat is off me for now. I know it doesn’t always happen that way but I’m glad I have a buffer. I’m still contemplating this whole thing. I know that I’ve always thought of having kids. I’ve always imagined being a mom. But as I realize my thoughts are growing closer to that fact, I’m becoming more contemplative and reflective.

I know. It’s all about control. I’m afraid that I won’t have control. But it can’t be that hard. It’s not like babies aren’t born every day. I also think it’s a tiny bit of fear. Not so much of being a bad parent. More of loss. I lost my grandparent and father within a year and half span. I was very close to all three. I once told God that I knew that he would never test me with something I couldn’t handle but if I ever loss again I’d be beside myself. Now, yes, giving God a direct order was bold. I didn’t mean ever. I was realistic. I knew that life and death are part of the cycle of life. I guess I was requesting from God some sort of peace. I needed some time to heal. I knew he wasn’t going to stop life for me. I just wanted him to put that proverbial hand on my shoulder. And he did.

Now some people, bring life after death. Look at Gwenyth and her Apple. [I won’t even go into the stupidity of naming your child a fruit.] But for me, and yes, this is selfish, a little part of me fears the sense of loss again. I see it when I look at my pooches. When I see my older pooch limping because of his arthritis, I realize that P-man, is getting older. The idea of loss again hurts. If the thought of it leads me to tears, I can’t imagine the reality.
I know that this sounds ridiculous. I know it’s all in my head and when/if the time comes that I have a child, I’m sure my fears will subside.

Oh, not to change the subject but, I made those egg custards. Although the pastry wasn’t traditional, my uncle loved them. The custard was right on the money. The pastry wasn’t. I tried three different ways. Once with the directions. It was too hard. The second with puff pastry. It was too puffy. The third time, I used puff but rolled most of the puffiness out.

My mom was impressed I tried though. And my aunt asked for the recipe. My hubby was proud I even attempted this. I’m glad I tried. My stomach was killing me for days from all the test batches but it was worth it to see my Uncle’s reaction.

Oh and my MIL called to cancel this weekend’s visit. She’s rescheduling it to June. Her husband couldn’t get out of work. So I have some time. Hubby said since we finally get a weekend without company, he’s planning to make me a big Saturday breakfast. It will be his first foray in the new kitchen. Personally, I would prefer his yearly spaghetti and meatball fiesta. [He cooks for me once a year. Spaghetti and Meatballs. It was the only recipe his mother showed him how to make. It’s been tradition since.] But he promised me a breakfast worthy of mimosas. I can’t wait.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The mic amplifies your voice only if it's near your mouth.

To the lady who spoke at the building renovation initiative meeting:

If you don't know how to use a mic, then get off the stage.

A mic is not meant to be placed next to your papers. Nor is the mic head
supposed to be facing your shoes.

Perhaps you have never been on stage. Perhaps this is your first public
speaking forum. These are not excuses. Unless you’ve spent most of your life in
a cave, you have seen a microphone in action.

Thank you. I feel much better. :-)

Food on the brain.

I’m excited to see Shrek 2. I’m more excited about making my dan tots. I made
the first batch this morning. The custard is fabulous. The crust, not so much.
It’s just not light enough.

I would love these egg custards to have a super light, flaky crust. The only
way I know how is by using puff pastry. The crust is simply shortening, sugar
and flour. Should I use lard instead of shortening? I may just resign myself to
using puff pastry.

I'm glad I did a dry run this morning. I brought them in for advise from my
co-worker, aka the stomach. He needs to be a judge on Iron Chef. He also has an
incredible metabolism. I once saw him eat a Wendy's burger for lunch and an hour
later scarf down two Mac Jr's from McDonalds.

So tonight, I'm prepared to experiment and try this dan tot thing with puff
pastry. While I'm at it, I guess I'll make a stromboli for dinner.

I started asking myself why I’m obsessed with feeding people. Seriously, it’s
an obsession. If I'm not thinking about the next meal, I'm preparing it. My
brother thinks it’s nesting. My hubby thinks it’s me wanting him fat. [He
swears, we're going to have fat babies.] I used to think it was because my
mother wasn’t a cook. But now, I think there is something more to it. There has
to be something that I’m satisfying through cooking. Why else would I get such a
high cooking?

My only guess is that I am lacking a challenge at work. I’m unchallenged at
work so I try to find it elsewhere. Now with cooking, it’s a project but a small
scale project. It can be completed rather timely. Maybe I’m holding out for that
next big project at work that will stimulate me. But in the meantime, I pacify
my desire for stimulation by trying new things in the kitchen.

And by challenging myself to produce tasty meals for guests, I’m getting that
gratification and praise I’m alluded at work. Don’t get me wrong, I am
acknowledged for my work. But lately, I’ve felt my skills are being squandered.
Yes, accolades are nice. Everyone wants them. But my stagnation at this
organization is ridiculous. When I have past clients coming up to me asking me
how I’m doing and why haven’t I been promoted yet, I know something is not

Now I’ve always loved cooking but it’s just gotten more serious as of late.
Do I want to make it a career? No. I cook for family and friends. I cook for
those who I love.

I’m not going to question it anymore. It makes me happy and I’m going to
leave it at that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Why I don't complain about the empty milk carton anymore and just throw it out.

I just read this article about how

Sarah Jessica thinks her marriage works because she mommy's Matthew

Now at first I passed it off as insane. I kept thinking, good luck to her, cause her son will be the same.

But now that I think about it, I do the same for Hubby. I guess it can be thought of as enabling but my stress level is reduced considerably when I do
certain things for him. I put his wallet by his cell phone. I place his cell phone in his charger. I put his keys by the door. I put the orange juice away
after he's left it out on the table.

I guess it's not only part enabling but also part lowering expectations.

Instead of expecting him to clean the entire house, I'm happy with him doing his laundry and taking the trash out. (Note: The trash we mention is the kitchen
trash. It does not include the trash in the bathroom, bedroom or living room. Nor does it include the recyclables. Every morning, I rush to empty the
bathroom, bedroom and living room trash into the kitchen trash so he can take it out.)

Now, it's not that I think my hubby is inept. I'm sure when the trash becomes infested with creatures, my husband would decide it should be taken out. It's
more a matter of threshold. My threshold for things is much lower than my darling hubby.

Dishes are meant to reside in the sink, he once said. "Why else would I have installed the deep sink for you?"

As Wanda Sykes once said, "A man will use all his dishes and utensils and eat out of a napkin and a toothpick before doing dishes passes through his head."

It's not that we want to mommy our men. It's that our tolerance levels are significantly lower than men. And when our tolerance level is hit, it's not long
before we 1) let it fester in our head to explode later (and probably during an inappropriate time) or 2) we explode right then and there. Either case, our
husbands and significant others are left dumbstruck at why we are crying because the orange juice was left out on the table.

Now of course, this does lead to the occasional calls at work.

"Honey, have you seen my car keys?"

"Baby, where are my metrocards?"

Oh and my all time favorite:

"Honey, I know you are at the gynecologist but I need an extension cord.
Where is the box of extension cords?"

Now, I was in the midst of my visit during this phone call. New doctor. New nurse who mind you was holding back her laughter, quite terribly I might add.
New stirrups and a new ringtone (which happened to be the theme from Fawlty Towers). I have since switched to a more traditional ring.

But I am willing to deal with these occasional calls if that means less fights and more together time with my hubby. And he has been more thoughtful
lately. This morning, I saw that he did start the dishwasher for me. Sure I had to fill it and yes, it was supposed to be started last night but I now have
clean dishes for dinner tonight.

Don't call my husband a diva but his closet can make Cher envious.

My husband and I agreed to do our own laundry. This has been a standing agreement since we moved to an apartment that does not allow washers and dryers.

I do my laundry, the pet's laundry and any household laundry. He does his own. I'm quite happy with this arrangement. Why? My husband changes clothes more often than a supermodel changes clothes for a runway show. And his clothes are of the bulky variety, sweatpants, layers of shirts, etc.

On Monday, I ran downstairs to do my laundry. Hubby came home from getting his haircut as I was going downstairs to put my wash in the dryer. "Hey, I'll
come down to do my wash with you." Ok, I thought. "I'll get the elevator."

Hubby came to the elevator with 5 bags of clothes, 2 laundry bags and 3 king
size pillow cases. "That's your week's worth?" "Yes." he replied.

We get down to the laundry room and the dryers are still running. Since the timer on most was ending soon & there were 4 washers free, I decided to leave my clothes in the two washers until someone came down to pick up their clothes.

Hubby proceeds to my washers and pulls a cart out to empty my washers.

pg: "What are you doing?"

H: "Emptying out these washers so I can use it."

pg: "That's my clothes. There are 4 free."

H: "Yes, but two are the heavy duty washers. I need the standard washers."

pg: "Fine."

So I proceed to empty my clothes into a basket. As I'm emptying, Hubby asks if I need help and grabs a basket and starts dumping my clothes from the other washer.

pg: "Why don't you start filling the other two."

H: "I like to start them at the same time.

Eyes roll up into my head as I quickly empty my clothes into the basket. By the time I finish shaking them to avoid any laundry knots, a neighbor has come down and picked up her clothes from the dryer.

I stuff my clothes in the dryer and watch my husband turn beet red trying to reach 4 washers to start simulatenously. The lady folding her laundry looks at me and I smile sheepishly.

In the end he wound up using 5 washers. He was downstairs folding for an hour. He was so exhausted from folding he left the shopping cart (yes, he had to pull out our shopping cart to haul his load up) in our entranceway. Of course it's Wednesday and his clothes are still in my entranceway. I guess I should be glad it's at least folded.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

In the mathematics of character traits, who is positive and who is negative?

Well the last load of dishes from Saturday's dinner has been put away. I have a two week rest period before my mother-in-law arrives so, I've decided to lay low on the supper parties.

My uncle is coming into the city this week. If you recall, my mother wants us to drive to Queens to have dinner so that my cousin doesn't have to drive too far since he works there. I guess what I said to her sunk in because she told me during Mother's Day dinner that she's decided to have dinner at her house and have her brother visit his nephew on his own.

Dinner at my mom's is usually take-out. My mom isn't a domestic goddess. It's funny but I'm quite opposite of my mother. I'm not saying I'm a domestic diva but our views on home life are quite different. I make it a point to cook more days than not. I reserve take-out orders to once a week (twice at most). Every meal at my mother's includes some type of take-out.

I clean my house mechanically. I have a checklist of items for each room. My mother cleans if she sees a mess.

I guess our differences come from extremes. My cousin said during Saturday's dinner, "People usually go the extreme route of their parents. If they slant
left, you slant right. This only happens when a parent leans to the extreme."

He's right. My mother always loses things. She's extremely disorganized, although it's masked in a web of organization. What do I mean? She's got ten billion file folders but nothing is filed in them. She prefers to focus on her personal life. I prefer to focus on my home/family life.

I used to say it skips generations. My grandfather is the king of anal retentiveness. Now I know my mother went extreme left to his right. And I swerved right to her left. Now, my grandmum was also quite organized. My father and mother were disorganized. So my hopes are that Hubby's tendency to leave socks on the floor and my need to give every item a 'home' will produce a normal child. Otherwise, I'm going to have to stock up on bactine and band-aids. I was tormented by classmates because of my need to contact paper all my textbooks and color coordinate my notebooks to my subject. Lord knows what my poor child will have to endure.

Oh, I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt to make a ‘don-tat’, which is a Chinese egg custard dessert. Why? Because, I’m psychotic that’s why. I bought a dim sum cookbook two weeks ago, and it looks like one of the easier recipes. I’m sure you have seen one before. It’s got this flaky pastry surrounding a golden yellow custard center. I plan to bring them to my mom’s dinner for my uncle. I’ll tell you how it goes.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Mini-fires and a whole lotta fruit desserts equals a perfect family get together.

Now all I have to say is, thank God for my cousin-in-law. She came first and let me tell you, seeing her was such a calming effect. Ok, the wine and seeing her were equally soothing. She helped me put out the appetizers and we spent a half hour in the kitchen talking about our husbands and how they have this annoying trait called the M trait. The M trait is a trait found in all men in our hubby's father's side of the family. When the M men set their mind on something, they fixate on it until a) whatever they are thinking about comes to fruition and b) it drives the people around them insane.

For example, my hubby's desire to change light switches the day of the dinner.

Now this isn't such a bad trait. In fact, many would say it's an admirable trait. However, when this dedication causes one to drill holes at 3am, it's more of a detriment; a detriment to my sanity. [My husband felt that I had wanted a pantry for so long, that building one at 3am was justifiable. Losing a few hours sleep should be forgivable since the outcome is a new pantry.]

Back to dinner. My cousin-in-law really did help me. I thanked her profusely. She kept my sanity in check. Aunt Maria brought cheeses. So everyone snacked on the crudités and the cheeses. Babysis loved the apartment . Although our pooches were locked behind a baby gate for most of the night, towards the end she allowed them to be 'free'. For the most part, they ignored her. Like most little girls, she was screaming and chasing them. But P-man and Z-girl were calm as cucumbers. It must have been a relaxing day at the spa for the pooches. She never did open the ello set but that isn't a big deal. She did love that the dogs had their own trunk of toys and that they knew how to get their own toys. And she loved the farting Pumba doll that Hubby bought me after we saw Lion King 1 1/2 (which I highly recommend to kids and parents). It became our little secret. Whenever she wanted to, she could go to my desk and squeeze my farting Pumba. [If you ever wanted to bond with a kid, make rude noises. They love that stuff.]

Oh, I did start a mini fire. I was toasting the fennel and coriander seeds when I got distracted. The funny thing was, no one noticed. Judy was shredding cheese with her back towards the stove. I started noticing that smoke was coming from the broiler. I opened up the oven a crack and flames were shooting out of the tin foil. I smothered them with my oven mitt (which is now ashen in color) and prayed no one noticed. Then Judy said, "Mmmm. Something smells heavenly. It also kind of smells like pot. Or maybe that's why it's so heavenly." That's when I confessed to her and showed her the tin foil. As I did, some of the seeds burst into flames again and I accidentally dropped it . Burning seeds rolled into the oven floor. My poor oven mitt was smothering overtime when Hubby came in and said, "Wow that smells good." I told him what happened and he laughed his butt off and then offered to vacuum for me. Judy and I left the kitchen to drink some more wine and when we returned my Hubby said that it sort of smelt like pot. We both chuckled. That's why everyone is having a good time!

The highlight of the night was to be able to see pops, hubby and uncle sitting together and chatting about family. I could have cared less if they hated the food. To see them laughing and sharing stories made all the frustration and aggravation worth it. And God help me, I told Hubby, I'd do it again just to see his pops connect with the family more.

As for the dinner, baby sis and step mom only ate the pasta and salad. But baby sis ate all of the pasta and broccollini. I even packed away leftovers for everyone. Dessert was outrageous. Why is it that whenever someone comes to our place for dinner, they bring dessert? They ask us, "What should I bring?" We always reply, "Liquor." They come with dessert. For dessert, we had on the table:

A Fruit Torte

6 mini fruit custards

8 berries and sabayon with chocolate shavings

Oh, and yes, I was allowed to give baby sis a tablespoon of strawberry ice cream with fresh berries. I brought out a scoop but it was too much. But heck, a little is better than nothing. You should have seen my cousin's face when I was asked to bring it back. I did get her to pick raspberries off a tiny torte though. Why is that a big deal? Well, she really doesn't hang out with kids her age. So for her to do kids things, like make farting noises, wear fake jewelry and pick the good parts from a cake, makes me happy. Hubby even said he hopes that when she's around us, she can feel like she is allowed to do more kid things. Heck, she has plenty of years to do the grown-up thing.

At 7:30pm we had to put on her favorite program. Guess what it is. It's Wheel of Fortune. Apparently, when they go away to France, she gets all uppidity because they can't watch Wheel of Fortune. I guess it's the lights and the colorful wheel and the clapping that make it so entertaining to kids. Or it could be that she watches it with her grandparents. Either case, by 7:50, my cousin-in-law, was shouting out the puzzles while baby sis was clapping and dancing to the sound of letters lighting up.

I guess that was the best sign that the dinner was a success.

Now, it's 1pm on a Sunday and I better get back to the dishes before my euphoria dissipates.

BTW, After reading about this
poor woman's family dinner
, I'm glad I'm only walking away with flesh wound from a fingernail.

Fuses blowing, cream curdling and salmon in bathtub. Dinner preparation at it's craziest.

So it happened.

Dinner for my hubby's aunt, uncle, father, stepmom, stepsis, cousin and cousin-in-law happened last night. Well, yesterday afternoon.

11:45 1st beer: After I wrote last, I went back to my sabayon. Things in the kitchen didn't get any better. First my sabayon looked darker than I imagined. I
should have known the merlot would darken it.

Then as I was whipping the cream, the heat in the kitchen caused the cream to curdle. Plan B: Empty out freezer and place pan and whisk in the deep freeze.

At this point, I have frozen meats laying on my countertop and salmon in my bathtub, the only cool area I could think of.

12:00 2nd and 3rd beer: Hubby comes in for something and offers his help. I say, "Can you make some room on the countertop so I can put down my kitchenaid?"
He decides making room is brushing everything to the side and spills some tumeric seeds. The stuff on the counter is now a flat pile of mess. I guess he thinks he can put the mixer on top of the flat mess and tries to take the mixer out of my hand and put it on the counter. I'm silent as he leans the heaviest part back down on me but when his fingernail digs into my pinkie finger I tell him to move the pile and let me take care of the mixer. I drop the mixer and go to the bathroom to wash my pinkie. He looks at my finger dripping with blood and starts squelching. He decides he can help me by putting up the ac.

Good call.

As I wait for the mixer bowl to get nice and cold, I prepare the crudités and floral arrangements. [Yes, this is an informal meal, but my OCD gets the better
of me.]

I finish the arrangement and realize hubby hasn't even started mopping. So I start sweeping the foyer. "I can do that. Trust me. We have time." I can't do
anything until it cools considerably so I go to the bathroom and mop. I finished tidying up the bedroom, bathroom and sweep and mop the bathroom and hallways.

Hubby says that he is off to the hardware store. He needs some nuts or he is nuts. I wasn't really paying attention. While he was out, I tidied the living room and moved some of our boxes we haven't unpacked into the bedroom and a few closets.

1pm.: I finish up the sabayon and start the second load of dishes in the dishwasher. I put the meat back in the fridge and make the salad and chop up the broccollini. I boil the water for the pasta and realize I should begin preparing the salmon steaks. I'm no fish monger but I think a non-monger should not take nearly 2 hours to de-bone the bloody steaks. It took me an hour and 30 mins to de-bone. I don't know if it was my fear of leaving pin bones in and choking babysis or what, but by 2:00 I was only on my 5th steak.

Ok, I have a confession. First, since I had that little mishap with the mixer and my hubby's fingernail, I had a band-aid and a latex glove on. Call me crazy, but I figure an open wound should not be in contact with food. So that delayed the de-boning.

Second, an hour and a half passed without me knowing. See, the circuit kept blowing and my hubby had to reset it and move the ac to several outlets before it stopped overloading. Since half my kitchen is on the same line, half of my kitchen was without power intermittently. Unfortunately, that half contained the stove which has my timer and clock. So the time was slightly off. But I wasn't thinking and assumed when it said 1:30, it was 1:30 and not 2pm.

Anyway, By 2:30, I had finished de-boning and tying the ends in to avoid overcooking. My hubby starts panicking. He hasn't mopped yet. I tell him that the 'east wing' is done except for the vacuuming. He hugs me and runs off to take a shower as I wash off the fish guts from my hands.

2:30pm: I measure my spices for a quick toasting and empty the dishwasher and start the third load. Hubby asks if there is anything he could do so I can shower. I guess this was a subtle hint that I was a bit on the fishy side and needed to freshen up. I tell him to set the table. He asks where the napkins and tablecloths are. Ok, he asked, "Do you have a cover for the table?" I show him the cubby and he takes every tablecloth, napkin and runner out to the dining room. I don't question. I just go shower.

That's when I realized it was 2:45. I guess I won't have time to do my hair. A loose bun will have to do. I shower and hubby runs out to pick up the pooches from the groomers. Yes, my dogs got a day at the spa while I got a day in my hot kitchen marinating in salmon parts.

2:50pm: While in the shower, the circuit breaker goes out. Great. I decide showering in the dark will have to do. I decide running to the fuse box, naked and wet is not a good idea. I finish showering and putting on my make up in the dark.

3pm: Hubby returns and I ask him to allow me a few minutes with the hair dryer before the breaker goes out again. He gives me a frustrated "humph" and
walks away. I blow dry my hair and wrap it into a semi-decent bun. I look in the mirror and decide with my yoga pants, tank and short button down shirt; I give the air of relaxed casual not frazzled crazy lady.

3:15pm a glass of red wine: The guests arrive.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Why the gallopping gourmet drank...

My hubby told his family to arrive at 3pm.


The house is a mess. I just finished buying the groceries and my husband has turned all the power off so he can install a new light switch in all places, the

At the grocery store, my husband, who promised to help me shop for his family's dinner, leaves me for home depot. He conveniently returns just as I
make my way to checkout. As I desperately reach over the cart to unload the goods onto the conveyor, my darling hubby stands holding the cart handle and
smiles at me.

"You can help, you know."

"You have a system. I don't rock the system."

As I begin mascerating the strawberries, hubby turns all the power off and begins changing the light switch.

"You know that the dishwasher was on, right?"

"What did you want me to do? Wait for the dishwasher to finish?"

"Well, is changing the light switch before your dad gets here imperative?"


Hubby continues to change the switchplate while I continue to hull strawberries in the dark.

I begin making the spinach dip.

Hubby: "Where do you think this should go?"

Hubby pulls out our giant box of paintings and pictures and begins unpacking it.

pg: "I don't think we have time for that."

H: "Whenever I see that, I think, bathroom"

Obviously, my husband was unaware the noises coming from my mouth were directed at him. Perhaps, I was talking to the onion I was chopping. He
continues to rummage through our boxes.

After 10 minutes he comes in with a giant Yankees poster with souvenir pins for the World Series he and my brother went to.

H: "Where should this go?"

pg: "Nothing is in it's frames yet. And we still need to discuss arrangement on the wall. I really think this will take more than 2 hours."

H: "Why didn't you say so in the first place. Instead you had me going through these boxes and wasting time. Just tell me what you want me to do."

pg: "I did tell you. You promised me you would sweep, mop, vacuum and put up the air conditioner. You also promised to help me cook."

H: "Well, I can't put up the ac and you told me to clean the boxes up."

pg: "Yes, as in, hide away. Obviously this is ridiculous. I can't deal with this. I think I need to leave and let you take care of your dinner."

H: "Don't leave. Everytime I disagree you are going to leave? Just calm down."

pg: "I am calm." [for a person that was just told dinner should be ready by 3pm. for a person that hasn't showered, let alone ate breakfast. for a person that is
cooking in the dark.] Those were just thoughts in my head.

Seriously, I really contemplated and still am contemplating letting him cook the damn dinner. That's why I'm here instead of the kitchen preparing the
sabayon. His family is arriving in 4 hours and I have no desire to cook for them. I don't even want to be around them right now. I want to be out at the
park lying in the grass or playing with the dogs. The day is beautiful and I'm slaving in a kitchen for him and all I get from him is, "Tell me what you want
me to do." You're 34. Figure it out, Einstein.

Because of his laziness, I missed a friend's opera last night. He's oblivious to the work entailed in cooking for his finicky family. He thinks because I
enjoy cooking that cooking for them is something I'd love to.

He just came in to ask me why I'm chilling the bedroom. Less than 3 hours to go.

BTW, we bought his sister an ello city set to play with while she's here. And I bet $20 that they don't even crack that thing open. Since I've known her
(since she was 1, every toy and clothing item we've bought for her cannot be found in the house. My gut feeling is they return all the necklace kits and
friendship bracelets and toys we buy her. I also bet $10 that she's not allowed to go to the bathroom without her mother.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Why aside from being a kobe cow, I'd like to come back as a dog. Well a dog with an ac.

I left my poor pooches in the most humid state imaginable. I feel terrible. I left all the windows wide open, even though a threat of thundershowers was forecast. I even boosted the fan to medium. My pooches have been spoiled. In our previous apartments, electricity was included in our maintenance. We left the apartment at a cool 65 degrees all day. The server was happy. The fish were happy. The dogs were in the lap of luxury.

Now I imagine my two dogs sitting in our bathtub to keep cool. I called my hubby and told him we definitely need to put up our ac tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully with our climate control setting we can keep it cool while our electricity bill stays relatively low (or as low as a NYC bill can be). The problem, is our ac is gi-normous. It took 3 movers to take it out of our last apartment. We need to call in recruits to set this thing up. It has a kick stand thingie! I swear! It has this shell thing that you have to install in the window before putting the bloody unit up. The shell thing has two brackets that push against the outer wall to stabilize.

My hubby, like all men, believe this can be handled by one man. One man if you count Frankenstein's monster as one man. All I need is 34 year old man pulling his back or worse getting a hernia from this monstrosity.

I've asked him to ask his cousins to come early on Saturday to help install this thing so his stepmom doesn't cry high pollen count as an excuse for not coming to dinner. [Yes, dinner is still on and I'm still of the mindset to serve salmon.]

Here's the funny thing, I really think my dogs know that the ac provides a cool environment. Seriously. The night my hubby put up the ac in the bedroom, their tails were wagging double time watching him install it in the window. And at times, I catch them staring at the ac as if staring would lead it to turn on.

BTW, I bought the pooches dog ice cream. Yes, they make dog ice cream. You can get it at Stop N Shop. Hubby thinks I'm insane. "Why don't you just buy them
the bacon flavored water while your at it?"

"Because that sounds disgusting."

"And peanut butter ice cream doesn't"

"Not really."

"Well make sure you keep that away from the human food."

"You put bloodworms and brine shrimp in my fridge. And you're asking me to keep peanut butter ice cream away from your food?"

The dogs love this stuff. It's like crack for dogs. Every time we come home from the dog run, they run to the kitchen and wait for their treat. It comes in single serving cups, much like human ice cream. P-man wants me to hold his cup at a diagonal. Z-girl likes to hold the cup between her front paws and maneuver it. It's actually quite cute. I liken it to when little kids think they are big enough to hold their own fork or spoon. Z is so diligient. She concentrates hard and maneuvers the little cup so she can lick the ice cream.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Living off the light from my laptop

We put up an air conditioner last night. The behemoth model in the living room will have to wait until my hubby's buddies can assist.
We spent the night in the bedroom.
We may be spending more summer nights in the bedroom.

We haven't had an electric bill in over 5 years. At this new apartment, we almost had a heart attack looking at the electric bill for last month.
Everything in our place has a dimmer. I turn everything off and leave the hallway light on the lowest dim setting possible. Yet our bill is still over $100.
I am even thinking about putting tealights all over to provide added lighting. Forget the romantic aspect of candles. Thom from Queer Eye knows the price of electricity in the city. I swear, I may have to ban reading after nightfall to save on wattage.

Saturday Dinner menu:

Mesclun Salad with Vinagrette
Penne Pasta with Brocollini and Parm Cheese
Broiled Salmon Steaks
Strawberries and Sabayon (A scoop of strawberry ice cream for babysis)

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Stop multi-tasking and eat your food.

So my frog died.

I have a frog at work. He keeps me company. His name was Clyde. I received him during a time when I started feeling a bit bored at work. I'm still bored but that's another story.

I called in sick yesterday and apparently he didn't take to that too well. I'll clean him out in a while. For now, I'm just staring at his bloated carcass.

I wrote to my hubby to tell him the news. I also told him that one of his betta fish keeled over.

He responded, "One of my fish died?" Not even a, sorry for your frog. Eh. He wasn't close to him anyway. :-)

I'm back at work less than an hour and I'm already thinking about lunch. There was a brief period between 11am and 11:20am where I didn't think about it. I was in a meeting. But it is now, 11:30am and I'm wondering if Wendy's or a Deli sandwich will be served.

I love food. I seriously love my meals. I enjoy sitting at a table and leisurely enjoying my meals. Unfortunately, most of my lunches involve trying not to spill dressing on my keyboard. Even so, I have been diligent and have tried to stop working during lunch. I have stopped lunch mid-way to deal with system downtime but then I make sure I pick up where I left off without lifting a manual or checking my email.

My hubby is the complete opposite. He's constantly inhaling his food. When we entertain, he can't just sit and enjoy his food. He has to get up and get a dvd
or a drink or what not. Even at our wedding, he left the reception to pick up a ginger ale for his stepdad. My mother complained that he's not addressing his
bride's needs. I did feel a bit neglected but I chalked his running around as nervousness. [For gosh sakes, he ran up to the top of the staircase while I was
standing there because he forgot his battery for the camera.]

But my hubby cannot eat in portions. It's an all or nothing ride for him. A loaf of bread used to be devoured within a day from the grocery store. I swear, he could sit on the couch with a hallah under his arm like a football and be quite content with life. Since he's been trying to lose weight, he's toned down on the loaf eating. But he's just as ravenous with raisins, nuts and chocolate.

For mom's day, I made potatoes au gratin and a roast. At the end of the dinner, there was one serving of au gratin left. Lrudlrick took claim of that gratin as if he was Daffy Duck in that cave filled with treasures. "Mine. Mine. Mine. Down. Down. Down." While we were all enjoying a nice parfait for dessert, he was in the kitchen devouring the gratin.

If we have kids, I would like to be able to sit down and enjoy a meal. I'm a huge supporter of sit down meals, especially with children. There is too much multi-tasking in the world to multi-task meals. But the images I have frighten me. Imagine:

A husband who won't sit down or eat those tree trunks that accompany the broccoli tops. (Yes, he calls them broccoli tops.)

A child sitting with a gameboy in one hand and a fork in the other while another pulls the 'tree trunks' off the broccoli tops and puts them on my plate, just like dad.

And to end the night of family dining, me picking up peas from under the table while dad and kids are sitting on the couch watching the latest episode of extreme something with a hallah tucked under their arms. And all would be content.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I'm just not ready to give up 4" pumps for a breast pump.

Apparently the vegetarian/quadruple bypass/kid eats only carbs dinner is back on.

It's scheduled for this Saturday.

I'm not fretting over it. Very unlike me. I've decided it will be fish or meat. The vegetarian and carb eater can munch on the pasta with broccollini.

I'm probably going to make a cake just for simplicity sake.

This past weekend my mother came over for Mother's Day dinner.

My brother and I couldn't agree on a steakhouse (mom loves steak) and decided that meeting up at my place was the best solution.

I made beef tenderloin which was surprisingly easy. Ok. I have to admit. I didn't cook tenderloin. I cooked a round roast. See, I went to my butcher and the cost of 6 lb tenderloin was $135.00. I spit out my salami sample and quickly asked for a round roast instead. It was still tender and still moist and delicious. Our secret, ok? It was so easy; I may decide to cook this thing for this weekend's dinner.

We sent. Ok, I sent pink and white roses to my mother in law for Mother's day. She called and said that she's sending us over a $1000 because we shouldn't have. Hubby immediately went into a rant with his mom on a) why can't she call and say thank you, like a normal person and b) why is she sending us $1000 for flowers? She then went on about how she plans to come down on Memorial Day weekend to make sure we are living in a safe neighborhood. My MIL is a social worker for a correctional facility upstate. Think Rita Moreno from Oz but without the habit and the marriage to God. Because of such, she thinks 3:4 people on the street are murderers and/or rapists. She heard we live by a park and she immediately went on tirade about how they wait in the bushes in parks.

Anyway, I've been giving alot of thought about 'nesting'. Am I nesting? I guess I am. It's funny but I'm a city girl who always thought she would be better being a suburban wifey. Two years in a row I dress like a Stepford wife for Halloween. Maybe that's telling me something. But I find myself cooking and spending more time at home lately.

At church Sunday, the priest asked all the mother's to come to the altar for a special blessing. As I watched all these women go up to the altar (some carrying children, some dragging children), I started glancing around at the women who didn't go to the front. Most were older women. My first thought was, "way to go there father, singling out the old maids or the childless". Then I realized I'm in that lot and I felt odd that I was the only woman who wasn't over 55 or under 17 that wasn't at the altar.

"Look at the haggard look on these women. They all looked tired. Their bodies even look tired." said Hubby. As I looked at the altar, every woman there looked disheveled. One woman had a kid wrapped around her leg while holding a toddler in her arms. I had to take a double take because it really looked like she had a ball and chain on her leg before I realized it was a kid.

"If we have kids, am I going to look like that?" I asked.

"Of course not." replied Hubby. Although the answer seemed half-hearted and muffled as if lying in Church could somehow be a lessened sin if vaguely

I've spent my entire life thinking I'd be married, have children and a successful career. Now I find myself being selfish. I want children but don't want to give up my quiet lazy Sunday mornings. I want to hold a baby in my arms and show him off at the park. I don't want to hold a baby at 4am while it screams in terror as daddy is trying to put drops in his ears. And now, after Sunday, I don't want to even think about the toll motherhood does on my body. If I'm going to have dark circles under my eyes, it's not going to be because of a kid unless he's dj-ing at the club I was at. And I'm sorry; I cannot have my mother's hip expansion. It's like her hips exploded sideways and never went back to the original shape.

I never thought I'd be like this. I love kids. Always thought about them. Always wanted one. But now I've become one of those women I hate, a 'me' girl. As my good friend used to say, "Remember, It’s all about me." 7 years later, this girlfriend can alone speak to me about Barneys, The Wiggles and how she can't believe she wasted all those years before having a kid. Am I going to feel the same way? And why the hell am I thinking about this now? I've plenty of years to think about children.

I'll tell you why. We moved into a neighborhood surrounded by schools and parks. The women in our area are all toting Maclaren's. I'm toting a Coach bag. I feel like I'm the odd ball out. Eyes stare me down as I walk to the bus in my new spring dress with my favorite chocolate strappy heels. It's worse at the bus stop. It's directly in front of a children's park. All the mother's are sitting there and I can feel their eyes burning my skull as I sit there pretending to flip through my Marie Claire.

This leads me back to church. As I realize I'm with the childless crew, I search hopeful to find a few women my age. I was beginning to feel a bit like I was at the bus stop again. I finally found one woman with mousy brown hair and a very cute shift dress sitting next to a man who was the epitome of a Lacoste ad. Our eyes meet. She smiles at me and I smile back. Thank goodness! I'm not the only one. I wonder if she takes the bus.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Me against a city pigeon

I've been asked to recap my harrowing tale of a pigeon in my bedroom. I thought I'd share it with you. This happened this past winter in my old
apartment. Enjoy!


Here is a pic of the damn bird that took over my bed!

God Pigeon

I didn't get to tell you the details.

So I got home last night frozen stiff from the wind.

I went about my business: feeding the dogs, checking the mail, viewing the fish, watering the christmas tree etc.

I then went into the bedroom, exhausted. I didn't even turn on the lights.

I started changing out of my work clothes into comfy clothes when a noticed a dark greyish black lump on the corner of my bed. I thought that Hubby left his
clothes again strewn around and I took a mental note to mention to him his sweater looked like a bird on our bed and that it almost scared me half to
death. {Yes, women do take snapshots of things to nag you about.}

I kick off my shoes and skirt and waddle over to my armoire to get my sweatpants. As I walk towards the lump, the lump starts moving and flapping. It
is a bird! A gi-normous bird (see photo)! In the dark, I muffle a scream, trip over the dog and run towards the door, half naked. I scream for the dogs to come
out and shut the door.

I grab my phone and call you. You laugh your ass off and tell me to go crocodile hunter on it's ass and hang up.

I call Hubby who isn't supposed to be home until 11:30pm.

Hubby: "How'd it get in the house?"

pantrygirl: "You tell me. You were home all day. Did you not notice a bird perched on our bed?"

H: "It's a pigeon. Open the window and have the dogs shoo it out. Well, have P-man not Z-girl. She'll just jump out the window after it."

pg: "This isn't any normal sized pigeon! It's like a Marlon Brando sized pigeon! It's GodPigeon!"

I get off the phone thinking all I need is bird carnage all over my bedroom. I'll try my approach.

Plan 1: Open Window and pray GodPigeon is smart enough to fly out window

I open the bedroom door, turn the lights on and creep quietly over my bed towards the window closest to the GodPigeon.

I open said window and move blinds and curtains to allow for unobstructed exit for said GodPigeon.

I slowly creep to the door and shut it.

1/2 hour later, I checked in on the GP.

Still on my bed.

Now, he's asleep.

Plan 2: Creep up on GP and shoo it out window

Note how close I am to the GP in the photo.

GP doesn't move.

Now I'm feeling sorry for GP.

Maybe he's hurt.

Or maybe he's so frickin' huge he can't move.

pg: "Ok Mr. Pigeon, are you hurt?"

I assess the GP and he looks ok to me but I'm no vet. I try to check his feet and he's so huge I can't see them.

I continue my shooing of GP using the universal sign language for shoo and it doesn't budge.

I realize I need to bring in troops.

Plan 3: Get P-man to shoo GP out.

I bring in P-man and shut the door. He looks at me.

pg: "Ok P. You know what to do. Get the rodent out of the house."

P-man struts towards the bird.

He sniffs upward.

He stands on his back legs and sniffs at GP.

GP is statuesque.

P-man's right paw comes up towards GP.

I prepare for carnage.

P-man pats the GP!

pg: "Do something!"

P-man circles and sits next to the bird.


Remind myself to return P-man's christmas stocking stuffer.

Obviously, we need the big guns.

Enter Z-girl.

Plan 4: Get Z-girl to go apeshit and freak GP.

I bring in Z and shut the door.

By now, you realize that I've got a pigeon on my bed, P-man is sitting next to the pigeon, Z-girl is jumping up and done and circling on the bed and I'm half

Ok, back to GP.

So Z-girl looks at me tailwagging and tongue out all excited.

pg: "ok Z-girl. This is the one time I need you to work your skills. This time, I want you to chase the bird. Chase the bird out of the house. Go!"

Z-girl circles on the bed faces the window and proceeds to bark Cujo style.

pg: "No. Not out the window! Bark at the pigeon! Jump on the pigeon! It's right next to you, you idjit!"

Z-girl continues to bark full blast out the window while the pigeon, inches to her right stares at P-man.

Obviously, my dogs are not going to save me from any burning buildings.

I leave the room with the dogs to plan the next attack.

After three chicken wings, a box of cashews and a gallon of water, I realize what I must do.

I must do what you suggested and grab the bird and throw it out the window.


Plan 5: Croc Hunt GP

I grab a towel resigned to the fact I have to touch it.

As I walk towards GP, I notice he shat on my comforter! He shat on my comforter!

I throw the towel over it's head.

GP doesn't flinch.

I grab the side where his wings are and he begins flapping.

I freak out and point the towel towards the window.

I open it and GP flies up and perchs on Hubby's bike.

Now, I love Hubby. I really do. But the sense of relief I felt knowing the damn bird wasn't on my bed and comforter was so frickin' relieving that I resigned
myself to leaving GP alone until he gets home.

I grab my sheets, anti-bacterial wipe my bed frame and run out the door with dogs and sheets in tow.

I decided to clean my sheets and wait for the calvary.

12:30am Hubby gets home.

By this time, I'm so comfortable with GP, I completely forget he's in the room. Hubby grabs his snow shoveling gloves and a giant foam cooler. He opens the

H: "Holy Shit! That's a giant bird!"

He inverts the cooler, covers the bird and snaps the lid on underneath.


He took the GP outside while he walked the dogs.

Apparently, he put the lid down on the sidewalk and removed the top and GP looked dazed and confused.

When he returned from walking the dogs, he said GP was still sitting on the lid and only looked like he started to waddle out.

So that's my story of the bird.

Oh, and this morning as I was leaving the house, a lone pigeon was marching back and forth by the door.

I don't know if it was GP but I double taked and quietly crept around him.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

When your desk becomes your primary residence, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals.

Maybe it's because I'm turning 30. Or maybe I'm just tired. But lately, I've been wondering what my career plans are.

I never wanted to be a project manager. I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to write personal interests stories. Now, I work in the healthcare IS industry
and have steadily pushed for a senior status for the last two years. Now, I know my performance warrants the position. I know the company knows this but I've
been told budget constraints prohibit it.

Now, if I was in my early and mid 20's, I'd probably have moved on already. In fact, I've had several head hunters call me and offer me interesting jobs.
But I've turned several down. Why?

To be honest, I believe I'm afraid I'll be like my father. His life was so consumed by his career that his family took a back seat. Not that my dad was a
bad father. I love my dad and would never have changed our relationship. Ok, I would have been nicer during my pre-teen years. :-)

My dad was a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. An OMD or something like that. And he counseled and held symposiums on the use of Eastern medicine to combat the
side effects associated with the Western medical cocktails AIDS and HIV patients took. I am proud of my father's work.

But I also knew that work consumed him. On weekdays he would spend all night studying and researching and meeting with patients. He'd rarely sleep. To make
up for it, the weekends were devoted to us. He'd drive us up the eastern coast for holidays. He'd come home exhausted on Sunday and get right back into the
grind Monday.

I don't want my life to be like that. But I know my work ethics come from my dad. Whenever I'm put on a new assignment, I work above and beyond the call. On
my wedding day, I was on the phone with a vendor hashing out a data extraction. I will always be like this. In home life and work life. It makes me the anal
retentive, obsessive compulsive person that I am.

But lately, with the help of a lack of financial advancement, I've been wondering, is this worth it? My enthusiasm and adrenalin rush have lowered. The
sense of adventure and challenge are gone from my new projects. I am working. I am doing my job but not at that 120% that I usually give. My job has become a

Then why didn't I take those career advancement opportunities? I'm no longer thrilled at the possibility of becoming director. The idea seems less than

Maybe it's because I'm now married. Maybe it's as my brother has put it, I'm starting to nest.

Why should I bust my ass to get to a position that would require more time at work and less time at home? Now, I'm not saying this is the breaker, but
finances are a heavy part of this. Compensation would be nice. And it hurts me to say that because I've never thought of myself as a money type of person. Sure
I love my shoes and my Coach bag but that's not everything to me.

What's everything to me right now is to be able to live a full life. A full life is a balance of work and home. And I'm afraid if I move further up my
career path, I will sacrifice my home for work.

There were times when I had to work because of my OCD that I felt terrible calling my hubby and telling him to order dinner or what not. I've felt terrible
sitting at home working on my laptop while my husband is sick in bed and I can't give him the attention he craves. [Rub my chest. Massage my head.]

If I feel that way now, what will I feel like when I have children?

Women definitely get a heavier burden regarding work and home life. The choices we have to make are heavy. Either choice has guilt.

Some women are the superwomen who "have-it-all". They are supermom and superemployee. I'm sure I could be that. But right now, I don't think it's
attractive. Now, I'm not saying I want to be a stay at home mom. My OCD would not allow that. I still want to work. And I don't want a nanny raising my child.

This is the first time in my life, I've felt like I need to make a decision that will ultimately effect someone else. I know it's not a decision you make
lightly or in one day. In fact, I'm sure I will continue to question and change my answer to this decision. For now, I'm just going to wish that in my next
life, I'm a man.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A standard conversation with my mom comes standard with guilt trips and a lack of common sense.

Quote of the day: "Yeah, the worm is causing havoc but I keep telling myself it's job security." -- IT Help Desk at work

Mom called yesterday. She said that the original plans to have my Uncle from Chicago over for dinner in two weeks has to be changed. His flight leaves on
Saturday. Is it possible to have it during the week?

I told her that unfortunately, I'm covering for a colleague who is out on vaca and I will be swamped that week.

Mom: "Well, how about Friday?"

pantrygirl: "Mom, I really cannot overextend myself any further. Let's go out to dinner."

M: "Ok. Well, your Aunt will be out of town and wants to know if your cousin can come over too. It will only be one more person at the table. His wife won't be

pg: "What?" [There are so many questions that last sentence conjures up but I hold my tongue.] "No, I can't cook dinner for 8 people during that week."

M: "Oh. Ok. So let's go out to dinner."

pg: "Sure Mom. Just tell me time and place. And remember, I work late so start the dinner without me and I'll meet you as soon as I can."

M: "Ok. Well, Joe works late too so he won't be able to go until late anyway."

pg: "ok."

M: "Let's see. Well, on Wednesday we're going downtown and then finalizing some stuff with grandpa's estate. And on Thursday, we're going shopping. So let's
make dinner on Wednesday or Thursday."

pg: "Mom, don't you think that's a bit too much for everyone? We all work. How about Friday?"

M: "But we're out on Wednesday and Thursday."

pg: "ok, Mom. Where?"

M: "How about Flushing?"

pg: "Queens? That's out of the way for everyone."

M: "Well, your Aunt wants your cousin to come and he works in Flushing."

pg: "And your daughter works in Manhattan. And your son works in Westchester. And your husband works in the Bronx."

M: "But it's just a bridge away."

Why does my mom do this? Why does she try to please everyone at the expense of her family?

pg: "Mom, that doesn't make sense but whatever. Just tell me what when and where."

M: "Ok. What time are you free?"

pg: "Mom, by the time I get to Flushing, it will be 9pm. Just start without me."

M: "What day is good for hubby?"

pg: "Friday. But any day you choose is fine, Mom."

At this point, hubby mumbles about having to go to Flushing on a weeknight.

M: "Fine. I just want the family to get together. You know you have to see your Uncle."

pg: "Mom, I want to see my Uncle. It's just a bit inconvenient mid-week to travel to Queens. Just tell me when and where and I will be there."

M: "Ok. You know that it's just your cousin. Not his wife."

pg: "He said that?"

M: "No. I didn't ask him yet. But your Aunt said not to invite her because that means your cousin has to drive to Long Island to pick her up."

pg: "How are you going to ask him and not invite her? When you are married it's an unsaid said."

M: "I don't know. I'll just tell him that's what his mom wants."

pg: "Mom, that's in poor taste."

At which point Hubby says, "Your family doesn't want to invite me?"

I motion to him, no, and that I'd explain later.

pg: "All I'm saying Mom is invite him. It's his and his wife's decision whether they come or not."

M: "ok. I just want everyone to get together."

pg: "Yes, Mom. Just not his wife."

My mother does not understand that her children do not work 9-5 jobs. Nor does she understand the hassle it is to get cross town and into another borough.

Don't get me wrong. I love my mother immensely. These days I wonder if my mother was like this all along or if this is a recent occurence. Because if she
was like this when I was a child, it's a miracle I'm still alive and semi-normal. Thanks dad, for the common sense. :-)

I saw a new program where the in laws come in and decorate one room in the couple's home. I could only imagine what my kooky mom and my zany mother in law
would do.

I'm just hoping fate will be kind and I won't turn into my mother. My husband has told me he'd promise to put me out of my misery if I began showing symptoms
(guilt trips, discretionary loss of hearing, loss of common sense, etc). The odds are slim that I won't be like my mother. But for the sake my children and
my husband, I keep that glimmer of hope.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

How a mixture of odd jobs turned into a career

My cousin im'd me for advise on her first fulltime adult job.

I then recapped my career for her and suddenly realized how I fell into my job all out of circumstance.

I had always wanted to be a journalist. How the heck did I become a software system analyst?

I don't regret it. I like my job. I'd love it if I was sitting on my butt and getting fed wine and massaged frequently. [Yes, I know that's a Kobe Beef, I
just described. And yes, if I were to be reincarnated as an animal, I believe those 4 months as a cow would be worth it.]

How many people actual do what their degree "qualifies" them for? My guess is only a few. In this day in age of interrelated jobs and multi-industry
positions, does it really matter what degree you hold?

Ok, I just looked at the clock. My cousin has been im'g me for over three hours! I forgot how hyper out of college kids are. They are sooo hyped up and
excited about the workforce.

I don't think I'd ever relieve my early twenties. I'm too tired. :-P

After submitting this, my friends point out medical degrees should be a requirement for medical professionals. Ok. I agree. Any specialized degrees. I
would prefer a medical professional to hold a science related degree versus a degree in English. :-P

Monday, May 03, 2004

Dear Mr. Laundry Gnome, I want my two dollars.

So everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

But it wasn't anything to cry about. It was more of a cosmic, planets-not-aligned right thing.

First, I woke up early and decided to take a nice soothing bath, then a quick shower to start the day right. I got caught up on checking my work email that I
overflowed my bathroom.

My squeaky clean (just cleaned last night) bath rugs and towels were soaking wet. All I could think of was upsetting my neighbors with water damage and
quickly dryed the bathroom. Total damage: 6 towels and two bath mats, bright red. [My husband demanded a red bathroom and after several discussions, we
agreed upon red accessories instead of a red painted bathroom. Could you imagine being sick to the gills and having to stare at a bright red bathroom with navy
blue tiles!]

By this time, I'm not longer running early but running late. I quickly wring out the towels and rugs and throw them in a gigantic painter's bucket. Take a
shower and run to work.

That evening, Hubby calls me to tell me he's heading home. He's sick. He's not feeling good. I ask him what the symptoms are and he tells me, "My head
hurts." So I tell him I'll make his favorite chicken soup when I get home.

I come home arms filled with groceries for the chicken soup. I find my hubby red as a beet wrapped like a sausage in our comforter. "What are you doing all
wrapped up like that? You look like you have a fever. You do!" Since he only complains of a fever, I give him ibruprofen and wait to see what this develops
into. I spend the rest of the evening making as little noise as possible to allow him to rest. My plans to clean the house and prepare my menu for his
father's dinner are halted.

I however, do have a bucket full of wet towels from that morning's incident I need to put in the washer. So I haul this heavy cargo to the basement and fill
up two washers. Pour in the detergent and put the quarters in. First machine, starts perfectly. Second machine, eats up a quarter and then nothing. I'm bang
on the side a few times and decide it's not worth it.

So I now have to transfer this sopping, detergent filled pile of towels to the next washer. Set the quarters in and it works.

30 mins later, I head downstairs. Machine one is done. Machine two has eaten all my quarters but left my clothes soaking in a grey solution which I can only
surmise to be the first cycle. I put in another $1.50 and sit in the laundry froom for 20 mins just to make sure the laundry gnomes don't play with my washer

I put my clothes in the dryer and place my quarters in. The damn dryer ate my quarters. Unphased I pile my laundry into one massive lump in the last remaining
dryer and cycle it for an hour.

Those began my weekend of cosmic mis-alignment.

In total I count:

1 tub overflowing

1 washer eating my quarters

1 dryer eating my quarters

3 glasses of water spilling on my new rug

1 head running into a richoceting door (Long story involving our pantry and the front door)

6 trips to the pharmacy

4 band-aids

1 broken faucet knob

1 mishap with the dishwasher not fully closed during a cycle

1 112 year old cashier who charged my credit card $220.00 for some groceries (it was actually $22.00)

I did finally get that bath I had been meaning to take when this whole thing started. I finally took it Saturday evening. While I was being "taken away" [If
you don't know the reference, please don't make me feel old and ask.], the ceramic faucet knob broke into four pieces in my hand slicing my thumb, right at
the joint. Naked, bleeding and head full of shampoo. Life is good.

NOTE: After a friend read it, she reminded me that I indeed lost $2.00 and not $.75 since I had to re-do the first load after the first $.50 were eaten.
Hence the title change.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

A reminder to buy more TP or an object of sentimental value?

Just a quickie.

Why does my hubby keep the empty toilet paper roll on our towel holder?

Does he use them as periscopes when he's on the loo?

The trash is right under the sink. Why can't he dispose of them? Are they