Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Will you marry me?

Recently my brother, his wife and their two kids came to visit. The Kid was over the moon excited because he loves his cousin Abby. They don’t see each other very often – about 3 times a year, but when they do, watch out! They are inseparable.

We decided to go to a place called Tom’s Farms for a day of playing, petting zoos, riding kiddie trains and good old-fashioned hometown fun. We had to take two separate cars because none of us has a car big enough to hold 4 adults and three kids. The Kid and his cousin HAD to ride together so my husband and I took them while my brother and his wife drove with cousin #2(no less loved, but younger).

While on the ride The Kid and cousin Abby were making up silly songs and giggling together when suddenly The Kid got very quiet and very serious. He took Abby by the hand and asked with all sincerity “Abby, will you be my wife?” Cousin Abby laughed thinking that he was joking and went back to singing. The Kid was not going to let it go that easily and said “I’m serious – will you marry me”. Cousin Abby pondered it for a minute and then responded “I have to think about it”. While the exchange is actually kind of funny coming from two 5 year olds, The Kid was absolutely crushed and began to cry. Once cousin Abby saw how sad The Kid was, she decided that she needed to explain. She said “I don’t know if I can be your wife – I told my Daddy that I was going to be HIS wife”. Stay tuned - the whole family may be moving to Arkansas…

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hey - United Airlines - are you trying to tell me something??

Dear United Airlines,

It has been a long year and I’ve spent a large portion of it sitting on your planes (84,000 miles to be exact).  Now, while I feel like we kind of know each other, I think things may be getting a little personal. You see, I KNOW that I’ve gained a few pounds over the last year - my tight pants prove it.  I definitely have “lose weight” at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list.  I know that you were trying to be subtle about it and not call too much attention to "Operation Help Stephanie Lose Weight" but I caught on. 

Some examples:

On one of my flights, you seated saw an opportunity and you took it!  Moving the tiny college girl next to me and putting a very very very large man in her place was genius!  He was so nice and honestly felt bad that we had to move the armrest up because he couldn’t fit in his seat and ended up pressed against me for the entire two hour flight.  Turning off all air conditioning on the plane and claiming that it was “malfunctioning” was also smart. I believe that, between the unavoidable body contact and heat of the plane, I must have lost at least two pounds. 

On another flight, you came around offering food. I asked for the cheese tray – you were all out. I asked for the antipasto tray – you were all out.  You did however, offer a healthy Spinach Salad, which unfortunately didn’t have enough cheese to satisfy my craving for fatty food.

On yet another flight, I asked for a Coke and the flight attendant very graciously poured me a Diet Coke. I think she even winked at me when she handed it over.

 I do appreciate the opportunity for exercise when you park my connecting flight on the complete opposite end of the airport.  Whether I’m running the length of Denver International Airport or through the tunnel with soothing music at Chicago O'Hare, I enjoy the chance to stretch my legs after a few hours of sitting. On some trips it’s the only exercise I get!

No offense, but I am hoping that I won’t be traveling as much next year. I have a family at home that has a hard time remembering my name.  If my wish comes true, then I will be exercising and eating right and will shed those pounds. If it doesn’t, feel free to continue Operation HSLW – just don’t make it too obvious, and let me have a cheese tray every once in a while…


The slightly larger Stephanie

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yes, I feed my kid

One night, about 6 months ago, my sweet husband planned a night away for just the two of us. Instead of getting a babysitter for The Kid, his best friend’s parents said that he could have a sleepover at their house and that they would take him to school in the morning. Apparently everything went just fine until breakfast. Their morning ritual is to eat cereal for breakfast. The Kid decided that he didn't like cereal and ate nothing.

Normally this wouldn’t be a giant problem except he was particularly weepy at school that day – the result of being so excited to have a sleepover that he didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Being 5, he would NEVER admit that he was tired. Instead, he told his teacher that he was sad because no one would make him breakfast in the morning. He forgot to mention that he was offered cereal or that he wasn’t at home. The teacher gave my poor neglected child a big hug and offered him a snack.

He was so excited about the fact that he got special treatment from the teacher that every day he told her that no one would make him breakfast and that he was SO hungry! After about a week of this, my husband and I got called into the school’s office. The director of the school was VERY concerned that we hadn’t been feeding our child in the mornings (it doesn’t help that he’s skinny as a rail). She told us how important it is for growing kids to eat a good breakfast every morning and that The Kid really needed to eat before coming to school.

Due to my never ending mom-guilt, I make him eggs, bacon, pancakes and milk pretty much every single day so we had no idea what she was talking about. Finally, after going back to the first day that he said he was hungry, we realized what happened and explained everything. Issue resolved.

Fast forward six months. We had our first conference with The Kid’s kindergarten teacher. After our discussion of his work, social skills, etc. we were ready to go when the teacher asked us about The Kid’s daily schedule. I went through his day starting from when he wakes up to when he goes to bed. She said it was great that he had such a consistent schedule and to keep it up. As we were walking out the door she left us with one final piece of advice – “you really should make sure that he has breakfast every day”.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Travel Follies

Working for a company on the other side of the US has its perks. Because they are three hours ahead of me, they have usually all gone home by 3:00 my time. This gives me a few hours to work uninterrupted by phone calls or meetings.  However, it does mean that I need to travel to the other side of the US fairly regularly. I also travel to conferences, meetings, and anywhere else they decide to send me - I've accrued over 83,000 miles this year alone with United. 

Of course, anyone who travels a lot has their road warrior stories of security lines, flight delays, uncomfortable seats, crying kids, etc.  For some reason, I’m fairly lucky as far as the actual logistics of travel goes (knock on wood).  However, I have a SchlepRock quality that almost always makes travel an adventure. 

Just recently, while going up an escalator, I knocked my suitcase over and watched it roll ass over teakettle all the way to the bottom. I watched people snicker while I waited for it to make its way back up to me.  Another time I tried to spear a piece of lettuce from my delicious airline salad using a bit too much force - as a result, I hit the side of the tray and launched said salad into the lap of the man on the other side of the aisle (would you like some dressing with my lettuce?).  I particularly enjoyed getting my hair so tangled around the airline headphones that I had to ask for help to get it out. And it was certainly fun to wake up before dawn to try to get ready for a customer meeting in the dark because the hotel was trying to conserve energy with 10 watt bulbs.  I think my customer enjoyed the fact that I penciled in my eyebrows with red lipliner instead of the usual brown brow liner – it definitely added some flair. 

There are many more stories just like this and I’m sure, plenty more to come. In fact I’m on a plane right now. So far everything has run smoothly but I’ve got 4 hours and a layover – anything can happen…

Working from home

When people hear that I work from home, they inevitably tell me how lucky I am. I mean, I’m HOME – I don’t have to get up, shower, get dressed and commute to an office. Working from home evokes a vision of waking up late, leisurely brewing a pot of coffee, walking into a well organized home office and working all day in pajamas.  I wish…  Here’s what it really looks like:

6:45 – alarm goes off.  Husband heads to the shower while I go to The Kid’s room to wake him up for Kindergarten.

7:00 – The Kid has been hustled out of bed and dressed. He wants “eggies, bacon, pancakes, chocolate milk and strawberries” for breakfast.

7:05 – Make requested breakfast. Mom-guilt prevents me from filling a bowl with cereal and milk and handing it to him.

7:15 – Breakfast made, The Kid eating. Run into office to check emails and see if there are any I can respond to quickly. Company is located on the East Coast and I’m on the West Coast so they’ve already been at work for a few hours. Invariably, there are three or four things that need my attention RIGHT NOW.

7:30 – First fires of the work day put out, check on The Kid. Look enviously at husband who is enjoying a leisurely breakfast while reading the paper.

7:45 – Hustle husband and The Kid out the door to school.

7:46 – Run back to office and begin “real” work day – no time for coffee, breakfast, or getting dressed. Grab a Diet Dr. Pepper instead.  Settle in for several hours of projects and conference calls.

Sometime between 7:46 and 4:00 – Find 30 minutes between meetings to shower, dress, and have something to eat. Rush through shower, forgetting to shave one leg.  Forage through the refrigerator for something quick to eat – bowl of cottage cheese will work - bring it into the office to eat during meeting (with towel on head to prevent wet hair from dripping down back).

4:00 – Carpool brings The Kid home from school. Park him in front of the television while finalizing work project.

5:00  – Clean up breakfast dishes, throw a load of laundry in, brush hair (finally!) and start dinner.

6:00 – Husband comes home and wonders why I didn’t do anything around the house while working from home. Try not to smack him.

6:30 – Clean dinner dishes, get The Kid to take a shower and then spend “quality time” with him playing Candyland, racing cars, and reading books.

8:00 – Put The Kid to bed.

8:01 – Cram exercise, laundry, cleaning, "quality time” with husband, and a glass of wine into 2.5 hours before bed

11:00 - Go to bed and start all over again.

Working from home is easy!