Blog Avoidance Syndrome

I’ve recently diagnosed myself with a mild case of Blog Avoidance Syndrome. The causes are many, the symptoms are simple, and the prognosis is unclear. Let me ‘splain. No there is too much. Let me sum up.

We just moved. We just had several birthday parties. For small people. Involving cupcakes with candy eyeballs. The unpacking is getting really old. I have pressing things to do, like finish an article to submit it a.freaking.sap to a journal before someone else writes it and publishes it and rides its genius all the way to fame and glory and a tenured position at a major University. And I have to rework the novel that is 98% there and has been submitted to decent responses from agents but that needs just a a couple of days of work. And I need to exercise for the first time since January. And I need to get a babysitter so I can go more than 10 minutes without losing my cool. And I really need to update my playlist. And make baby food. And get a parking permit. And overthink the kindergarten decision we’ve kind of sort of maybe made.And hang pictures and knit something and sew something else and find a cure for cancer and start baking my own bread.

So while ideas for blog posts flutter in and out of the corners of my mind, I can’t hold a thought ’til the end of the day, which is when I carve out time to blog. Nor can I seem to find the time to write and edit. Nor prioritize the lame-ass musings I offer herein for the 200+ awesome readers who visit semi-regularly. Because I have other things to do. And the longer I go without posting, the more I think that those other projects are better uses of my time.

So forgive me my blahs. I need to get my act in gear and put my energy where my priorities are. But I can’t until I find the box that has the stuff I need. You’d think it’d be labeled as such, but I’m down to “office stuff,” “hats and shoes,” and “wine glasses”. And we all know which of those gets priority.

What I don’t understand is how other people do this. A mom of five children who unschools with respect and creativity for all. A mom who is promoting her new book and managing a business and reading up a storm. Families move all the time and manage to hang on. Other moms have small children and projects put on hold for longer than they’d like. Other academics get swamped with work and don’t keep up in one field. They all catch up eventually. So why am I counting on not getting back to things, not fixing the imbalance, not ever finishing any of the dozens of things on my list?

How are you all working and exercising and parenting and reading and connecting and moisturizing and cooking and thinking and enjoying? How the hell do you do it? Because I’m not doing any of it, really. Please, do, tell me your secret.

Gee, I wonder where to live

Our dilemma:
Median Home Cost Seattle $422,190 Berkeley$660,500

Why?
Precipitation Days Seattle 155 Berkeley 64
Sunny Days Seattle 152 Berkeley 256
Graduate Degrees Seattle 17.19% Berkeley 34.02%

Oh.

Source: Sperling’s Best Places, which is good clean time wasting fun for the geographically ambivalent.

WTF?

We don’t get it, Naptime Writing.  Why do you claim to like moving, when we know you have a three year old child who is, shall we say, a bit needy, patience about three hours’ shy of his 15-16 hour days, and a laziness par excellence? why iis this your third cheerful move in nine months?

In a word, dear readers, accessories. We can’t justify frivolous expenses. Usually. But in a new place there are neighbors who need blocking via curtains and walls that seem shabby without a bit of color via low VOC paint and floors that seem naked without throw rugs and a doorstep that feels bare without a mat and a garden that can’t be left with its original flora.

So IKEA and Target and local retailers get a visit during naptime, while Spouse is sleeping off his superhuman feats of  moving a whole household over a weekend (our system is that I pack, for a week, while Peanut sleeps his paltry, oft interrupted 9 hours and spouse lifts and heaves and relocates like mad for a day or two until we’re done).

I’m off for a new lock for the garage, a dish rack for our new dishwasher-free life, and bigger pots for our fruit trees. ‘Cuz we aren’t dropping actual roots at this place. We’ll be here a year or two, tops. Not enough to hand over our four mass-producing pear, plum, apple, and peach trees forever.

Easy weekend

Two adults, one child, one 16-ft. truck, three days, and a house and garage full of stuff to move less than one mile.

I bet we’re done in  two and a half days.

Another rental, this time away from the noises and neighborhood we’re not crazy about for different noises and neighborhood until Mr. Mortgage (over at his new blog which is finally up at Field Check Group) suggests that, some time in 2011, that the bottom has finally arrived and it’s time to buy.

Get off thy ass and get to work

You know, I could continue to waste naptime blogging, reading other people’s blogs, and unpacking the eight-freaking-thousand boxes walling me into this new place. But I blog schlock read by an average of 50 people a day; I read awesome blogs that make me regret not doing more academic work, not writing, and not getting my life in perspective; and unpacking boxes just makes me mad that we have so much crap (for the normal triumvirate of wasteful capitalism, depleted savings, and un-zen clutter).

So I’m off to work on one paragraph of a novel, and to find the list of academic articles that showed enough promise to warrant someone to scrawl “work on this and have it published” in the margins.

See you when I have something decent to show for my life.

[are you f@ck*ng kidding me? I was spellchecking and The Tiny Tyrant awoke. So all I have to show for today’s naptime is a clean sink and a resolution to do something productive tomorrow. Godd@mn it.]

Peanut wants to go home.

The move went off reasonably well, and we’re hanging out in temporary digs until we either find a house we love, find a financial crisis that scares us out of the real estate market, or get tired of the utter bullsh*te of the Berkeley housing market, whichever comes first.

And we’ve been preparing Peanut for months: Daddy’s going to live with grandma in San Francisco while we find someone to pay for our house. Then we’ll live with Daddy, all the family together, in a temporary house, just for a while, until we find a new house. Then we’ll move to the new house all together and live there, all together. Yay, new house. Usual response: “Peanut SITED ’bout new house.”  I’m excited, too, buddy.

He’s been fine all along. He knows the script, he recites it along with me. He waved goodbye to the old house and made sure all his friends (stuffed animals) and his sister (doll who used to be his baby, and whom he nursed for a long time, and who he has now decided needs a brother, heaven help me because he loves babies and says he wants one–a real one) and his toys and his books were all in the truck so we could take them to the temporary house and the new house.

He knows all this intellectually. But he’s two and a half. He likes concrete nouns, not intangibles. He likes today and tomorrow, not two months from now. He likes things the way he likes them (“no mommy hold Sweetpea, Peanut hold Sweetpea; no mommy walk first, Peanut walk first; no Mommy eat hummus, Peanut no share hummus; no Peanut go escalator, go elevator first, then escalator”) and he doesn’t like that everything is different.

Today he said, “Peanut want go home.” Sure, I told him. We just need to get cat food and we can go home. “No want temporary house. Want go home.” Oh, thank goodnes you’re a quick-to-rebound kind of guy, Peanut. ‘Cuz this is gonna be rough.

“Um, well, you remember when we packed your toys and we said goodbye to the old house?”

“Yem.”

“Well, someone who paid for the house lives in that house now, and we live with Daddy. And we’re going to find a new house and move to a new house. Maybe that house near the playground that has a yard.”

“Hmmmm. No. Peanut no want new house. Peanut want go home.”

Guilt. Sadness. Buck thyself up, adult. You are the adult, you are in charge, you get to decide. This is a good move for good reasons and you want the whole family happy here, else you’ll wind up in Portland to finally give Spouse a shot at being happy. “Well, bug, for a little while, the temporary house is our home because a home is where the people you love are. And after we find a new house, that house will be home. Because home is wherever Mommy and Daddy and Peanut and the cats are.”

“Hmmmm. Peanut no like cats. Peanut no share toys with cats.”

“Ah, I don’t know what to say to that.”

“If baby comes to Peanut house, Peanut no share toys baby.”

“Um, okay.”

“Name Peanut going?”

“Temporary house.”

“Peanut want go home.”

“I know. But we aren’t going to that home. We’re going to the temporary house.”

I’m sorry, buddy, that we took you away from the only home you’ve ever known. We, the alleged grownups, always knew it was a temporary place, but I guess we never told you. I know the yard and the hiking and the creek for rock-throwing and the awesome community of yoga ladies and the nearby parks and the R family and the D family were all home to you. But I swear, now that Mommy is home, things are gonna get even better. Mommy wasn’t happy there, bug. Mommy likes San Francisco. And Daddy needs Mommy happy, because Mommy is simply beastly when she’s unhappy. Remember our thrush? Mommy was out of her head bestly. Remember the teething nights when you woke Mommy 12 and 15 times a night? Mommy was call-an-exorcist beastly. Remember how much fun Mommy can be? Well, I know this is hard because it’s all new to you, but I swear, we’re going to have fun here.

I haven’t said anything for a while, so he chimes in. “Peanut no like Berkeley. Peanut angry Mommy want new house in Berkeley. Peanut like Aaaameeeeda. Peanut like Sasso-siso.”

You and me both, buddy.

It’s good to be home. I just wish you knew it as home.

Moving recipes

So we’re leaving next week and I have to get rid of a lot of food. Not the bulk, dried, Lassen‘s stuff. That travels well. I’m talking half-eaten stuff in the fridge that I didn’t consider a liability when I bought it, but now fully intend to avoid in the future.

I’m mostly writing this post to mess with the foodies out there who tag surf recipes. Not that I don’t appreciate a good meal; I do. I’ll post a top ten later, but suffice it to say it’s 30% Boston and 70% SF/Berkeley.

Back to the overstock of sandwich fixin’s in my fridge and the realization that I’ve got to empty it and clean it asap. All canned goods go in the earthquake box and get stuffed in the POD, until we actually have a place to live. Yes, I included a can opener. (What is this—my first year in earthquake country?) So, planet and plates and seismic faults, please don’t shift too much before we can unpack the POD.

Here’s what’s on the menu for the rest of the week:

Pickles
That’s right. You will have a pickle with that meal. Having cereal? Fine. Have a pickle, too. Pesto for lunch (it’s much better these days, Lenni, because I went to a finer grate of parmesan. sorry for the schlock you had to eat). That looks like it needs a pickle, too.

Ravioli and hummus
Who needs sauce–there are a variety of goops in the fridge that need eating. So anything smearable goes on hot pasta. Funny thing is, Peanut LOVES this particular garbage disposal combination. I haven’t served up the week’s finale, pasta and jam, yet. I’ll bet he likes it. Hasn’t had jam more than once, but it’s sugar and fruit. How can that be wrong?

Overloaded pizza
Frozen organic pizza, with all the veggies from this week’s farmer’s market crammed on top. And a layer of braised tofu that nobody ate. And a sprinkling of sprouted flax seeds that were supposed to change our lives but never come out of the cupboard. Sure the heat of baking will kill them and make them pointless. Doesn’t stop all those people who buy flaxseed bread.

Veggie burgers a la sodium
Today’s special is double condiments. All veggie burgers will be served with extra mustard, organic ketchup, a full dose of Frank’s hot sauce, enough pickle relish to choke a horse, and some organic barbeque sauce. (I know we didn’t like it the first time, but we’re not throwing it away. There are starving children in the world, and Uncle John can’t mail them his leftovers anymore. Now eat.)

Party mix
Not a cracker and nut deal–this is leftover sodas from various parties with whatever liquor is left in the cabinet (which is a lot because I don’t usually drink). But I’m willing to take one for the team ‘cuz there’s no freaking way I’m throwing out even mediocre booze. So I’ve tried a few recipes…Whole Foods all-natural cola with rum is okay, even though that sorry can has been in the fridge for years because I can’t bear to try an alternative to my huge-brand cr*ck c*caine soda. Jones creme soda with Amaretto is not that good, but I managed to choke it down (I was finishing the caramel sauce, because who wants to pack that, with pretzels, and the Jonesaretto was just too sweet). Rice milk and Kahlua is worse than I expected. Maybe with protein powder next time? Margarita mix and club soda is just bad, probably because mixer-on-mixer actions wants for a certain je ne c’est quoi–of, wait, I do know. It is missing alcohol. Tonic water and vodka is quite yummy…hey, wait, that’s a real drink. I thought I was a genius mixologist for a while there.

All grains muffins
Just because a recipe calls for wheat flour doesn’t mean you can’t use the last of the quinoa flakes. Or that brown sugar can’t be almond simple syrup because that’s what you have. It’s not like baking is a science, or that toddlers are picky. I mean, come on.

We are gonna be HUNGRY when we get to the temporary digs…

Escrow

I’ve stopped cleaning now that we don’t have the wild beast known as the realtor-led-buyer wandering through our house every day.

It felt lovely for a day or so, but now the place looks like a hovel.

Thank you, lengthy sales process, for teaching that I actually like a tidy house.

Thanks, universe, for ensuring that we can’t afford someone to clean for us. Makes us feel all bootstrappy and pioneer-y. (Okay, not really, but I’m trying to look on the bright side this week.)

Groceries and building blocks

While we were at Trader Joe’s, Peanut dictated his grocery list. He usually draws it at home before we go, but we forgot. So he proclaimed, loudly, while ticking off on his fingers, and with a great sing-song rhythm:

“Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, soy, water, blender juice, bread, little bread, pizza.”

When we were building with blocks, he told me he was making a new house. I asked what he wanted his house to have.

P: “Garden. Flowers. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blueberries, pick, eat eat eat. ‘Matoes. No like ‘matoes. Pick throw.”

M: “Sounds like a nice garden, with flowers and lots of berries. Do you want to have a kitchen inside for cooking?”

P: “No. No kitchen no bathroom no dining room. Pick eat pee poop garden.”

Well. sounds like we’ll be a big hit once we move.

On another note about building blocks and toddlers, I’m kind of sick of the build-it-just-to-knock-it-down thing. I’ve tried casually suggesting he build his own stuff. That works until he sees what I’m compiling, and he knocks it down. I’ve tried getting him to collaborate with me. He just knocks down what little I’ve built. Seriously, dude, it would be nice to maybe get this thing more than two blocks high, or maybe get some structure to it. No offense or anything, but you’re not much fun when it comes to playing blocks. Sure, watching you have fun is pleasurable for a while and all that, but this gig is getting boring. Mommy used to have a job where people liked what she did and didn’t instantly knock it down. In fact, when mommy did work at a place like that, she quit. She prefers work environments where lots of people collaborate to build things, or work independently then show everyone the fruits of our labors. Mommy kind of wants a job like that again. Whadya say?