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Archive for the ‘Frankie’ Category

I  just want you all to know that everything they say about being a Grandmother is true. Grandbabies are life’s reward for having their parents in the first place.  I wish I had the way with words that could convey the swelling in your heart and throat and the tears that creep up behind your eyeballs when one of those darlin’ grandchildren smile at you.  

Francesca is going to be the middle sister, in a family of three!   Oh I do hope baby number three is another girl – I’m sure that sounds really selfish since I think Tom is hoping for a boy, but that’s the glory of being a Grandma, you can say something like that and get away with it.

Due in October? Hey that's my birthday month, Mommy!

Due in October? Hey that’s my birthday month, Mommy!

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I know I have been amusing my readers with tales of trauma and drama in Florida, however we did have some good times too!  Of course we NEVER got to the beach and we DIDN’t go in the pool because somehow the days were filled with pre-planned activities as well as the daily chores of running a big household.  Not sure if the highlight of my trip was the fact that I did 3 loads of laundry in a washer and dryer that was right in the house! Yes I know that sounds silly to all of you who own homes but in NYC, washers/dryers in apartments is not all that common so it’s down to the laundry room trying to figure out when all the cleaning ladies won’t be there taking up all the machines.  I’ve become a late night washer lol.

We made cookies; Finley mixed all the dry ingredients and she blended the butter and brown sugar in a bowl and she cooked the caramel.  Francesca broke up the pretzels and eventually it came together to make Caramel Pretzel Bars.  BUT…somehow I had the wrong temperature on in the oven so the crust burnt, Chiara didn’t have a candy thermometer so I don’t think I ever cooked the caramel long enough or hot enough because it was soupy.  Frankie didn’t break up the pretzel rods small enough and we were supposed to use small twists which are significantly thinner and would break into odd size pieces – instead we had thick sticks that lined up like Lincoln Logs on the crust.

Look Mommy, Gigi lets me sit near the open flame!

Look Mommy, Gigi lets me sit near the open flame!

I'm cooking the caramel

I’m cooking the caramel

And we had quiet time too…

Quiet time in the kitchen

Quiet time in the kitchen

I got stickers!

I got stickers!

And we went to a great Easter Egg Hunt and event at the Delray Beach Historical Society. It was a gorgeous day and the ladies had done a spectacular job creating and coordinating the events. There were T-shirts you could design, sticker puzzles, carrot baseball and carrot golf (don’t ask) the egg hunt and a big pinata for the kids to try to break open. A table was set with tiers of mouth-watering shortcake cookies and mini-cupcakes and they served Arnold Palmer‘s (iced tea and lemonade). Chiara told me to dress the girls in their elephant dresses;  She had bought them matching dresses in Thailand last year and they were the HIT of the event. I don’t think there was one person there who didn’t come up to me and remark about how cute the girls looked in their dresses and how adorable the dresses were and where did they come from.

Finley Ray (4 years old) knocked the pinata off the tree! She also got the most eggs in her age group but the prize only went to the girl who found the Golden Egg!  No matter, when we got home and emptied out the two bags of plastic eggs, each one contained candy! Wow just what we needed!

Batter up

Batter up

Francesca and the Hula Hoop

Francesca and the Hula Hoop

Whack that egg!

Whack that egg!

They do look adorable don’t they?

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English: A milk chocolate Easter Bunny.

Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny

Well, if you thought my Not So Good Friday story was something, let me tell you how we spent Easter Sunday…  The fact of the matter is that in a way it was more traumatic but of significantly shorter duration and it ended with a funny episode. 

Finley was up before 7am and I think she went downstairs even though I had told her not to do that, the night before.  She came into my room and I gathered her up and put her in bed beside me foolishly thinking  just maybe she would rest a bit and I could catch another 15 minutes or so – NOT.  She began to weave a long tale about how she had seen the Easter bunny and he had told her she was special.  Then she told me that she knew the bunny had put one of the baskets in the office (and he had!).  That had me a bit worried  so I asked her where did he put the other and she said the closet – Whew! The other was hidden in the kitchen.  We got Frankie up and down we went in search of the Easter loot.  Sure enough Finley made a bee line to the office and snatched the pink pail off the shelf.  We got Francesca to look in a couple of rooms but basically she just kept asking Finley for some of the candy, so I guided her into the kitchen and pointed to the pail.  Happy smiles all around.

They each bit the head off their chocolate peanut butter rabbits and Finley ate at least half of her solid chocolate bunny I had brought from NYC – it was a gift from my friend, Alice.  Frankie was still chomping down the Reese’s rabbit. Well I guess breakfast is out of the question now!

We were going to take the girls to the playground in downtown Delray Beach and then to lunch at Crepes By The Sea.  Things didn’t exactly go down that way.  We almost got out the door and into the car but …..If you follow this blog you know that I made a pact with the family that my blog would not be a platform for letting the world in behind closed doors.  So having said that, here’s the upshot of what happened.  We ended up taking Francesca to the ER. YES SHE’S FINE!  It was just a situation where we thought it best to make sure all was ok. AND all is ok.  

However, making my way to Bethesda East on Easter Sunday was somewhat disconcerting, considering how we spent Good Friday!  I carried her in and stood there at the reception area while I watched one of the two nurses laughing and playing on her computer.  The other one looks up and says, “May I help you?”  Let’s see now, I’m holding a small child in my arms wrapped up and  even though it was Easter we didn’t come to trick or treat!!!  “I have an emergency with the baby”, I say.  OH! So I was ushered in and given a wheelchair to sit in because I couldn’t keep holding her.  

Francesca was such a good girl;  The nurse put a bracelet on her wrist which we all admired and told her it was her special bracelet.   She (Frankie) wasn’t keen on having her shoe removed and something wrapped around her toe so they could check her heart rate.  Then Finley announced that the machine in the room was a blood pressure machine and that she once had to have her blood pressure taken and it squeezed her arm so tightly that it hurt.  Thank you Finley for announcing that to Frankie.

The best part (for the kids) was that each little curtained-off room had its own TV screen and we all got to watch Tom & Jerry cartoons.  Things move slowly even in an ER, so I would say we were there close to two hours.  Because Francesca had been such a good girl, we were going for ice cream.  She wanted strawberry which was probably because Finley wanted strawberry.  I had to convince them both that we should have some lunch first and didn’t everybody want to go to Crepes By The Sea?  

After lunch, we headed to Orange Leaf which is one of those places where you can fill a cup with your own choices of frozen yogurt and toppings.  The entire room was filled with double pump stations with flavors ranging from chocolate to banana to coconut and red velvet BUT NO STRAWBERRY. You coulda guessed it, right?

Gen X You WIN!   Everything in Chiara and Tom’s house is highly technological and complicated. Did I ever tell you how the night that Finley Ray was born and all the grandparents (that would be 5 of us) were staying at the condo, NONE of us could get the TV on!!  Well, the night I stepped on the glass,  Peter was out;  He had taken Tom’s new BMW to go visit a friend.  He almost didn’t get there because he couldn’t get the car started. The key didn’t turn it on!  He thought the dashboard looked like a rocket ship and no matter what he did, he could not turn the car on.  I’m not sure if it was Peter or Theresa the cleaning lady, who finally discovered the button that actually turned the car on!  Coming home the gas light went on and Peter stopped to get some gas. BUT how to open the gas cap?  Can you believe he couldn’t find out how to open it and the guys in the gas station couldn’t figure it out either.  He drove to a second station and again the attendants didn’t know how to access the gas tank.  Really now! He just drove home, parked it in the garage and threw up his hands in amazement. Gen X You WIN!

On Sunday, we thought it would be a good idea to put some gas in the Truro for the morning run to the airport.  Peter is not a fan of self-service gas stations to say the least.  In fact, he downright dislikes the whole idea of them but hey here we are in Florida and this Shell gas station has only self-service.  He pulls up to a pump and turns to me and says I have no idea how you open this gas tank.  In our car, a RAV 4, there is a lever on the floor clearly marked with a gas pump symbol.  No such lever here, no symbol on the dashboard or the console.  Mmmm well the car is still running and I suggest we look at the manual.  The fact that two adults who have over a 100 years of driving experience between them can’t open the gas cap is ludicrous.  I looked in the index and there was nothing about where the cap was or how to access it. We looked at the page that identified all the things on the dashboard and there was NOTHING about the gas tank there.   We started going through the manual page by page – still nothing.  Meantime,  we are sitting in the car with it running on Easter Sunday.  I thought just maybe the guy in the building might know because after all it was a fairly common car.  Peter looked at me like I had two heads and said, “You mean the guy who is selling cigarettes and gum?” Ok maybe it was a dumb idea. Five more minutes and fidgeting in the car, I suggest Peter go out and locate the gas tank. Now he looks at me like I have 3 heads and says, “Oh and you think it opens manually?”  One minute later, Peter opens the car door and says, “I have the gas cap, it opened manually”.  I burst out laughing, uncontrollably.  I couldn’t stop and neither could he – it was one of those crazy times when ALL the stress and tension you’ve had about a complicated problem(s) is resolved in the simplest silliest way.  We just laughed and laughed, tears rolling down our faces.  It was then that I thought perhaps the guy selling gum and cigarettes was sitting in his booth saying to himself, “those two guys can sit out there with the car running all day, I’m still not going out there.  Can’t they read the sign that says Self-Service”?  And that brought more gales of laughter.

Gen X you win!!!!

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I’m writing this as fast as I can BEFORE the pain-killing lidocaine numbing effect on my left foot wears off!!!!  Sometimes I like to give you the climax of the story right up front…to get your attention kind of like baiting the hook.

And of course there’s more to the story.

This day actually started last night when I called Chiara’s neighbor, Christina to confirm what time she was going to pick up Finley to go to gymnastics camp. OHhhhh didn’t I mention that I was in Florida?  Well, if you’ve been following this blog, you know that no trip to Florida goes unscathed, so to speak.  So…back to the phone call.  Before Ms Organization left for a mini-vacation on a friend’s 4 bedroom yacht in Barbados (oh yes she lives well), Chiara wrote out the kids daily schedule.  The calendar said, camp was from 9am-12pm, and if I wanted  she could stay for the afternoon session, 2pm-3pm.  Christina said camp began at 8:30am and Matte was driving. So then I called Matte to ask her at what time should I have Finley ready.  Matte said 8:45am and she would bring Finley back at 12:30.

I was picking up stray puzzle pieces and random markers in the kitchen when all of sudden I felt this stab in my foot. Damn, I had stepped on something. It felt sharp but then almost anything you step on feels sharper and larger than what it turn out to be.  I tried to look at my foot but a)they were dirty from walking barefoot all day inside and out, and I didn’t have my glasses on.  Peering closer, I could discern as spot and what looked like a tiny piece of skin.  I thought it was like one of those cuts you can sometime get on the sole of your foot where the part that hurts is the little flap of tissue so I yanked it off.  Now my foot hurt because it had a little tiny opening in it, so I put some neosporin on it and a Dora the Explorer band-aid.  Two hours later it still really hurt when I walked on it.

When we got into bed, I told Peter about the incident (he had been out at the time) and said the damn thing hurt much more than it should given what I thought it was.  He looked closely (and yes I did wash my feet before getting into bed) and said, “You have a piece of glass in your foot”.  Forty-five minutes later I called off Peter’s intense mission to remove the sliver.  He denies it, but part of him was loving the task of trying to figure out how to extricate the shard.  Tomorrow is another day, maybe in the morning it will be easier. Oh WRONGGG!

It hurt a lot going down the stairs and I was hobbling in the kitchen trying to get Finley fed, Francesca fed and Finny out the door.  I asked Peter to get me a ponytail rubber band for Finley’s hair -it was upstairs in the top drawer in the kids bathroom.  He returned with a length of orange ribbon. Muttering several four letter words and poly-syllabic names at him, I went upstairs, opened the drawer, saw two little sating top boxes, opened one, took out the colored band and limped down the stairs, cursing all the way.

After Finley left for camp, Peter thought we should try again to get the glass out of my foot and to do so we should be in the bright sunshine. Francesca, Pete and I went in the backyard and sat down.  During the night, a brainstorm came to him, he would use a razor to slice the skin and sort of release the sliver so it could be easily  pulled out. I wasn’t exactly enamored with this idea and for the last half hour kept saying that I was going to go to a Walk-in Docs and see if they could do it.  Well I let him make several attempts to grab the piece but I know that tweezers cant’t really hold the grasp on a piece of glass. After a couple of OMG’s and Owwwwwws, I  knew this wasn’t going to work at all and went in the house where I immediately opened up my computer and went online to find a Walk-In Urgent Care facility.  I called, checked if they took Medicare (who am I kidding, this IS Florida) and said I would be in shortly.

Leaving the house with Frankie requires several things; she has to get dressed, she has to wear shoes, we have to pick out at least 3 books and we have to pack a snack to take along.  We are headed to Dr.G’s Urgent Care;  Peter is convinced we will spend hours there waiting to be taken I’m convinced I’ll be in and out because after all it is only a sliver. Turns out we were both right.

After filling out 5 pages of forms and signing my name at least 7 times and giving them my Medicare card and my Master card, because apparently this is a pay first before you get treatment place.  I thought that was a little strange, I mean after all, even doctors in New York City don’t make you pay before they treat you. But then again, this IS Florida and just maybe do you think they’re afraid the patient might expire before the bill was paid if it was sent in the mail?

In I go to Room #4 where soon a person comes in to ask me what medications I take – the fact that he asked me how to spell two of them was a little disconcerting.  Then he takes my blood pressure, my temperature and my pulse rate AND then he says I need to have an X-Ray. “An X-Ray”!?, I say, “I have a sliver, I can see it on my foot”. With that he walks out.  I sit and wait (we have been here at least 45 minutes). In walks a woman (not quite dressed like a doctor). She asks me some redundant questions and announces I MUST have an X-Ray pre and post because there is a foreign body in my body, and she leaves.  I sit and wait.  Along comes Ben who brings me a wheelchair and takes me to X-Ray.  Three pictures of my foot and I am back in Room #4.  Ben returns with a basin filled with brown liquid which I believe to be part Benzocaine, because I need to soak my foot and soften it up. Then he realizes that Room #4 is too small so back into the wheelchair and he deposits me in Room #2 and I soak my foot.

Tracey (the non-doctor, she is a PA) arrives shortly thereafter and wants to know how did I get the glass in my foot, how long has it been in and she’s seen the X-Ray and the sliver is really in there!!!!  I tell her how my husband wanted to try to slice open my foot and release the sliver and I shudder – She says, “How do you think I’m going to do it? I have a scalpel”.  After swallowing hard, I say, “But at least you’re going to make sure it doesn’t hurt”.  And then Tracey, aka Nurse Rachet, produces a hypodermic syringe  and says,”You’ll feel a little pinch” and proceeds to stab my foot.  I SCREAMED! Yes, I SCREAMED,” OWWWWwwww, oh my God”! Tears sprang to my eyes and I jerked my foot away.  This totally annoyed Tracey who asked me if I wanted her to slice open my foot without anesthetic?  I hesitated because there was no way I could imagine allowing her to jab me again and push in some burning liquid which I think was pure lidocaine.  She sat, needle in hand, awaiting my answer.  I said OK but and before I got any other words out the needle was in but this time it was only a pinch.  My interruption of the procedure had allowed some numbing take place so the second jab was only a pinch. Thank God!!!

She has an array of tools beside her; scalpel, several tweezer and other pointy things. She asks me if I feel that and I say no. The next thing I know she is yelling for Brian to come in and bring her an Eppi – an Eppi? That sounds familiar, thank you Grey’s Anatomy.  She can’t believe how much blood is coming out of my foot and wants to know if I’m on blood thinners or aspirin. NO, I’m not. She can’t see the glass because of the blood and the Eppi will stop it and sure enough it does.   More probing and finally a tiny piece of glass comes out.  Time for a post X-Ray.  She bandages my foot and I’m back in the wheelchair with Ben and off for two more pictures.

BAD NEWS! Tracey says there is still a good size piece in my foot. She asks for another lidocaine/eppi syringe.  Brian questions the combination but she says she thinks it works better that way.  I am sitting in this chair worrying about the time because by now it is 12:30 and Finley was going to be dropped off at home.  Luckily with some measure of aforethought, I called Christina (because Matte didn’t pick up her phone) earlier and asked her if she could get a hold of Matte and ask her to keep Finley if I wasn’t back from the clinic.  By now, Tracey is calling for help to hold open the incision (OMG!) so she can see better into the tunnel where she believes the rest of the glass is. Now she’s asking for saline and a syringe because she thinks she can flush it out.  After a while and  she is convinced she got another piece, she calls for Ben to take another set of X-Rays of the foot to make sure she got it all. Back in the chair and same old, same old all over again. It’s now after 1pm and I’m very concerned about both Finny who is with Matte who might have had plans for her own family and Francesca who has been out in the waiting room for over an hour. I ask one of the nurses to go ask my husband for my cell phone and glasses. What comes back to me is my cell phone and my sun glasses! OY VEY. I thought I might have Matte’s telephone number on my cell but I don’t so I did what I had to do and called Chiara in Barbados on the 4 BR yacht – did I mention she lives well? I explain to her where I am and why and she should call Matte and hope Finley can stay there till I return. Things are getting worse…

I’ve been wheeled back to Room #2 to await the development of the X-Rays number 6 and 7.  I can hear them talking in the hallway and as I hear Tracey say to Ben, “How can that be? Well at least it’s less than it was”.  My heart sank, I knew what was coming.  Sure enough, she’s back and giving me a song and dance about how she was sure she got another piece out, BUT the X-Ray showed that there was still a piece in my foot. Oh dear Lord…

At this point since she is now saying what she really needs is yet another pair of hands to hold open the incision and she is going in again, I ask her if the numbing is still in effect and just to make sure, she calls for another lidocaine/eppi cocktail.  Now there is serious flushing going on and another person with tweezers says she doesn’t feel anything (and thank God I’m not feeling anything either). Perhaps the tiny piece is in the third bloody basin. Encouragingly, Tracey announces that it looks like someone committed Hari-Cari in here! Geez did that ever make me feel good!!!! She calls for another set of X-Rays. Ben and I make our trip to the X-Ray room again where I put my foot on the table for numbers 8 and 9.  Really I will probably glow in the dark tonight. It’s pushing 3:00 and now that I have my phone I call Peter in the waiting room and suggest he take Frankie to MacDonald’s.  He’s resistant and I’m not sure why he is suggesting home but after about a minute of back and forth I give my usual blessing which goes like this: “Do whatever the f__k you want to do” and hang up.

I sit in Room #2 and wait and wait but I have lost all hope of ever leaving this place alive or at least in one piece.  Again I hear voices in the hallway and what I’m hearing only confirms that things are getting worse.  Tracey returns with a cadre of helpers and with the determination of General Custer decides to make another charge at the foot. Although she’s convinced she actually got  a piece and it is floating in the kidney-shaped basin, her two cohorts feel otherwise.  I thought it a good idea to remind her that glass doesn’t float and when one of them said that what she saw was tissue, I began to think about making out a will.

Nothing convinces Tracey like an X-Ray so she tells Ben to take another just to confirm that she got the piece.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Meantime Chiara calls me while I’m in the torture chamber and tells me not to worry about Finley, she’s fine and can stay as long as it takes.  X-Ray number 10 is taken, this time only one because Ben the technician has decided to defy the boss because he thinks I’ve probably had enough radiation for one day, ya think???

Number 10 like all the other preceding it confirmed  that STILL the sliver of glass remained intact and inside.  Tracey came in and threw up her hands and said,”I’m done”.  Mmmmmm here I am with an open bleeding incision, a piece of glass in my heel still, a 4 yr old in the care of others, a 2yr old and a husband wandering around Boynton Beach looking for a MacDonald’s and it’s after 3pm and SHE’s giving up??!!!  They left the room and left me sitting there wondering if someone would come back to bandage up my foot so I could…what? leave?

And then, she came back.  Tracey had decided to call in the big guns to do battle with the glass sliver.  She informed me that the “Doctor” was on the way, be here in 5 minutes.  Of course the 5 minutes was actually about 15 minutes before the “doctor” walked in.  She was given a briefing on the various procedures that failed to remove the splinter, she looked at the X-Rays and turned to Tracey and said, “You never cut deep enough”.  OMG not deep enough? She smiled at me and said I’m going to numb your foot and see what I can see. Oh and she also handed me the big lie, “you’ll feel a pinch”.  Of course I felt nothing because my foot had already been shot up a few times. She noticed that I didn’t scream or anything and since she knew the “pinch” was a BIG lie, she asked me if I felt the needle and I smiled and said “No” and added words to the effect that had this foot not been numb I would have been hitting my head on the ceiling about now.  Tracey concurred that the original “pinch” had produced a howling OWwww.

Doctor orders her instruments of torture, a syringe, saline, tweezers, and mercifully no scalpel because she did think perhaps the cutting was deep enough after all.  She squeezed enough saline in that hole in my foot that I began to wonder where does that all go? Some comes out of course and blood-red but…….?  Doctor made an executive decision and said that the sliver was too small to feel in there so best solution would be to see a podiatrist who could use a fluoroscope  to see where he should probe while he was actually probing.  Of course I was NEVER again going to allow a syringe of lidocaine to be jabbed into my foot, but they didn’t know that. I said I was going home on Monday and had my own podiatrist.  BUT just to make sure the sliver really was still there, I should have another X-Ray! Can you believe this? Even Ben was getting anxious about the number of X-Rays he had administered to me that day.  When I was in the room with him (and by the way I’m still wheelchair bound) he told me to wait and he would develop it right away and I could see for myself – and sure enough there it was, lodged into my heel and holding on for dear life.

Doctor said to give me the first and last X-Rays to take and strongly insisted that I take antibiotics and  anti-inflammatory/pain killers.  OK I agreed, anything to get out of there as it was now 4pm! And it’s possible that the body will reject the foreign body in due time, I was told. Umm I wonder what due time really means?  I made some remark about the 4+ hours I had been there and Doctor, who turned out to be Dr. G’s daughter was clearly disturbed and annoyed.  She had already chastised Tracey for using too much of the special tape, for wasting a needle, and she told Brian he had wasted a syringe by opening it up to contamination before giving it to her and also said something about the number of basins that had been used!  Clearly business and not medicine was the first priority here.

By the time I got the prescriptions – You HAD to know that Dr. G also ran a pharmacy? You’re not surprised, are you? I wasn’t but oh well the prices didn’t seem to out of line but what do I know, I’m hobbling again and have an Ace bandage wrapped around my foot and a piece of glass in my heel.  I was so shaken at this point that as soon as I got in the car, I started to cry and don’t you know within 30 seconds Chiara called (from the yacht in Barbados in case you forgot).  She already knew about the glass but didn’t know why I was crying! Really?? Seriously??

Now while all this was happening  to me, Francesca and Papa Pete spent 4 hours of quality time together! She never cried, she was happy to have him all to herself and she amused herself to no end. 

This was one strange day and NOT so Good Friday!

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

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Well it’s finally here; Tuesday the 15th and I’m going home today.  Back to New York City, back to my husband who I have missed and  back to my two cats who I hope have missed me.

Finley goes off to school and Francesca and I have breakfast and  I decide to give this blasted kitchen floor one more washing to see if I can get it really clean. I did and it didn’t.  I think Chiara is right, she has to get the floor steam-cleaned or try a scrub brush because the swifter dry-wet combo hasn’t worked and neither has a sponge mop.

Chiara returned and said, let’s get ready to go to the store;  We have to return the lamp for the toy room which was broken and  I’m sure as we stroll through the aisles of Target, any number of things will jump in the cart.  I’m looking forward to Target’s because Starbucks is there and this seems like a Venti morning for sure.  I have been packing up my stuff since yesterday and now I’m just about done.  It’s been a lugubrious task 😦

It’s really lovely and sunny today as it has been for the last week and I’m sure I will miss the weather.  Target was a bit empty but then again how can you really have any idea how many people are in a store the size of a football field?  Today it was less than 20 minutes before Frankie moved from buckled to un-buckled and in the basket to out of the basket.  She’s getting really good at this!  She enjoyed the Bath an dBedding department  because we saw Mickey Mouse towels and a Spider Man drinking cup and toothbrush holder.  Chiara is a feminist, there are three females and only one male in the house, well two if you count Pasha but he is neutered after all.  So what is the first thing Francesca says when she sees the Spider Man stuff? “That’s boy’s”? Yes she did and she often ends her phrases and sentences with a questioning rise in her tone.  Very cute!

She managed to try on at least 5 pairs of shoes on her own in the shoe department and pointed out the gender of a lot of toys while she and I waited for Mommy to make a decision about a lamp and a rug.  Eventually we filled two carts…oh didn’t I mention that we had two carts today?

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It’s time to pack up and head for the airport.  Feeling blue is an understatement but I try to make small talk along the way with Chiara and Finley.  Timing was perfect because when they dropped me off at the Delta departure terminal, all they had to do was drive over to the Jet Blue arrival terminal and pick up Tia who will stay with them for 2 weeks.  Help is never far away…and I learned later that evening that Tia wept tears of joy at seeing Finley and Frankie (and we all know Frankie is her favorite).

I got my suitcases, gathered up my blazer, swung my computer and handbag on my shoulder and kissed Francesca goodbye, hugged and kissed Chiara and went around to the other side of the car to kiss Finley goodbye and tried VERY hard to control my voice which was quivering and say goodbye and I love you very much to her.  She looked at me and saw my eyes were brimming so I just kissed her again and closed the door.  I decided to go into the airport to check my bag and there were no lines.  There was a reservations clerk and another Delta employee alongside of her who seemed to be a greeter. She was all smiles and cheery and asked me how I was.  AND that’s when I began to cry.  I couldn’t stop myself even though I knew I was making a scene. Thank God the area was almost completely empty.  I told her I had to leave the grandchildren and she immediately extended empathy and said she understood as we all love our grandchildren so much.  Asked me where I was going and assured me I would be back soon.  Valiantly I pulled myself together to get checked in and PAY for the suitcase which I find really ridiculous that you cannot have even ONE piece of luggage stowed!  When I got to the gate and sat down I called Peter and of course started crying tears of sorrow again.  This was going to be a rough ride home…  

Before boarding the attendants asked passengers to surrender their carry-on bags and allow them to go into cargo because the flight was full and overhead space as always limited.  Considering that Delta charges to put bags in cargo, gee what a surprise that everyone had a suitcase with them.  They also repeated company policy dictating only two pieces per person allowed and your handbag was one and my computer the other one.  I did have a bulging carry-on bag with me too.  I debated about what to do because I did not want to be embarrassed at the entrance to the jetway so I went up to the desk and asked if they were charging for the bags that they were now storing. “No” – well okay then, here’s my bag.  How nice to go down the narrow aisle carrying nothing more than my handbag and my laptop!!

And guess what? It was! NOT because I was teary but because there were two children in the row in front of me. One with her mother and grandfather and the other with the grandmother.  At least the one with the grandmother in front of me was well-behaved BUT OMG the one across the aisle was wild.  I think she was around two and she would NOT stop screaming.  You know that awful loud shriek and make-believe tears because there are no real tears just a long whining whimper and it went on and on.  The couple behind them were beside themselves.  They tried to change seats, they asked for earplugs.  I’m telling you she would not stop and the mother remained calm and did try several things to placate her but nothing worked.  I mean REALLY what did she want?  If it was to sit with Grandma, couldn’t they have switched seats?  Well actually they did pass both kids twice back and forth OVER THE HEAD of the man sitting on the aisle seat in front of me!!!  At one point the mother took the crying kid to the back of the plane and managed to get caught behind the food service which meant although I could still hear the crying (we all could), can you imagine what it was like for the people in the rows behind me who now had this kid right next to them?

The best part of the trip was yet to come.  Tom had a car service waiting for me at LGA. The nice young man took my luggage which came out almost immediately and had me home in record time.  

It’s always nice to come home!

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SUNDAY – This could be one of the grossest things I have ever written about but I am going to try to keep my PG rating!  Actually I probably don’t have to get too graphic because I’m pretty sure most of my readers will get the story line real quick.

It’s sunny Sunday morning and the family is going out for breakfast!  I mean what could be more fun than sitting in a public restaurant with two kids under the age of  5 ?  And while you are still waiting for your Eggs Benedict, they have already eaten their scrambled eggs with cheese and now want to get up from the table and although permission denied, they do…  I thought about that familial scenario and  then thought better of it after all. “See y’all later”.

About 2 hours later, I received a phone call from Chiara and she told me there was an art show in town that she and Tom were going to and did I want to come along?  It is sunny and not too hot so sounds like a plan to me. As soon as we debark from the vehicle and take a few steps towards the art exhibits, Chiara notices that there’s a playground and I held my breath – surely they didn’t come back and pick me up so I could watch the kids at the playground while they walked  around the Art Show! NO, of course not, had you going there for a minute, huh?

Tom took the girls to the playground and Chiara and I moved through the tents of rather uninspiring paintings and mediocre pottery.  There were shockingly bright acrylic flowers, pastel beach with palm trees and flamingoes, dark abstracts done in oils, and some jewelry.  Out of nowhere this woman jumps in front of us and screams, “I LOVE that bag!  Where did you get it”?  Chiara was carrying NOT one of her designer bags but rather a gold-studded handbag, hobo style.  This exchange brought us into her jewelry booth.  Very unusual pieces;  I liked two of the original-design bracelets and Chiara was taken with some stacking rings.

And then the text came dinging in….She pooped!!  Everybody poops or so the book says.  There are so many books out now for toddlers all about pooping and peeing and the potty.  Whatever happened to The Saggy Baggy Puppy?  Anyway, Frankie has a habit of NOT pooping for days on end.  This time she was out to set a record fighting against all odds to hold onto her poop.  Chiara has been pumping her full of Miralax everyday and yet Frankie prevailed.  That was, until today.  Chiara raced out of the booth with me on her heels.  There stood Frankie with a big smile on her face and greeted us with “I poop”.  GREAT, WONDERFUL BUT no diaper, no wipes, no public bathroom.  What’s a mom to do? What all mothers do, she pulled down the pamper, wiped her with as many tissues as I had and when it was apparent that we could not put this child in the car (yet), Chiara walked over to the boardwalk, cupped her hand in the water and splashed Frankie’s tooshie with some water.  Not exactly the circumstances one would hope for in this situation but you do what you gotta do.

Everyone Poops

Everyone Poops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Frankie was happy, Mommy would be happy when she could wash her hands and so with the windows open we drove home.

The End

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THURSDAY – A new day dawns and around here it has been dawning at about 6:30am when Francesca calls out “Mom may” “Mom may”.  There  are 3 sound machines going and  I can hear her clear as a bell. And I’m not the only one;  Finley heard her, Mommy heard her, Daddy heard her, even Pasha heard her.  You can try to ignore the sound of pleading baby for only so long, you can try to will yourself back to sleep but it doesn’t work and besides within minutes the sound of pattering feet in the hallway is evident.

 

Chiara has to go to an auxiliary meeting this morning at Finley’s school which means Francesca and I are on our own.  Breakfast went ok, waffles and some fruit.  Then we went upstairs so I could make beds, and get her dressed.  Well while I’m picking up and mopping up (we still can’t seem to get these floors clean) (still too many boxes around I guess), I left Frankie in the toy room.  It wasn’t long before I heard voices!  The high-pitched sound of TV kid character voices so I raced back across the hallway to see what she was doing.  And there she sat…Little Francesca in the middle of Mommy and Daddy’s king size bed and there she sat with one of their iPads and SHE had turned it on and was watching some downloaded show!!!! She’s only 27 months old!!!  Needless to say, Gigi is persona non grata because I have to take the iPad away and insist she play with her own toys.

 

Sometimes the attention span of a two-year old works in your favor.  She quickly dispatched herself to the toy room and began the routine of removing 80% of the toys either off the shelves or from the bins.  Oh well, at least I know where she is.

 

All week Chiara and I have been planning an “outing”-an adult one that is. We are supposed to meet Elaine, their real estate broker, for a glass of wine in the late afternoon today.  Chiara has arranged to have a baby sitter come over about 3pm.  She will interview her and see how she interacts with the girls and if all goes well we will go out for our drink.  What do you think happened?

 

Things started out sort of okay because both Finley and Francesca were out on the driveway with me, driving their various vehicles. This is always a good way to expend some energy.  Mimi came out and I went in and for awhile there was relative peace while Frankie and Mimi explored the yard.  One can never be sure what the hair trigger is but soon there was the usual “no, that’s mine”, “I want that”.  Mimi was very calm and didn’t get ruffled as the meltdown began.  When it a fever pitch, Chiara and I stepped outside and Finley was dispatched to a Time Out.  She would not calm down and was sent to sit on the lawn.  The histrionics increased several decibels when Finley determined their were bugs and they were going to get her!  They may be sisters but they are surely different. Francesca likes to go with me looking for lizards and Finley won’t go into the pool if there is a bug in it or even a flower petal.  Having somewhat the same aversion to several kinds of bugs, I interceded for her with Mommy and she was allowed to have a time out inside.   Things were not looking good for the drink….

 

Playtime moved upstairs and as Chiara and I continued to put things away and clean up.  Not long after, there was a lot of crying and screaming coming from Frankie’s room where both girls were in her crib and having a territorial dispute over a pink blanket. These things are hard to resolve.  I mentioned to Chiara that it was doubtful Mimi would return.  Dusk set in, Mimi made the girls supper and the idea of going out with Elaine was officially put to death.

 

FRIDAY – Finley left for school especially happy today since on Fridays the girls at her school can wear their jumpers.  She left for school and Frankie and i hustled to get dressed and ready to go shopping.  Today we were going to find a Bed, Bath and Beyond Or as Chiara likes to refer to it, Bed, Bath and Bend Over.  At any rate we are headed there because she needs an ironing board and believe it or not, Target and Walmart  did not have any!  Two carts and one kid going in.  We found the ironing board and checked out rugs, containers and other assorted necessities.  Frankie, although almost completely toilet-trained, wears a diaper when we go on long excursions.  Chiara noticed she was leaking and took her to the ladies room.  That worked out well except upon return she had no underwear on!  Then it’s on to Home Goods. Both Chiara and I LOVE this store!  Chiara made a very funny remark, however, it was one you don’t necessarily want your two-year old to repeat.  She said as soon as we walked in and stopped at the first beautiful display of dinnerware, “This store is like crack to me”.  Don’t you know for the next 5 minutes, Francesca kept repeating like crack, like crack.  It was hysterical and hopefully none of the other shoppers heard her!

 

Friday is supposed to be reward day for Finley Ray.  For every good morning she has (there are several factors) she gets a star and 5 stars gets you to Barnes and Noble to pick out a new book.  Unfortunately this morning was not terrific.  Once she was home from school, Chiara decided they could at least go to the MacDonald’s in town because they had both seen it from the car several times and growing up in the city, there were no MacDonald’s with a super playground!  

 

As soon as we entered we knew something was amiss because the playground was empty and the door to it was locked.  Turns out it needs some repair.  OK, Chiara will find another playground and we can go through the drive-thru and get ice cream.  She orders 2 cups of vanilla and 1 cone. When a day starts out badly, it often just keeps on compounding itself.  First Finley threw a crying, whining scene because she ONLY wanted to to this playground,  Then when she saw the cone, she wanted that instead of a cup.  Being told she wasn’t old enough for a cone didn’t help either so more whining and whimpering.  I know she can handle a cone and she knows she can because when she’s with Gigi, we always get ice cream cones!  So on this point, Chiara conceded and gave her the cone. Not a word from Francesca as she shoveled in big spoonfuls of ice cream 🙂

 

Finally we are at a playground which is by the shore and even though Finley’s first comment was, “There’s not very much stuff here” , the girls ran around, climbed, rocked, swung and slid for quite sometime. Fearless Frankie swung from the top of the huge slide before she slid down and almost gave me a heart attack!  Then she got onto one of those big coil rocking things, this one was a sea horse.  She was rocking like she was on a bucking bronco and soon she was tossing her head back and forth – I think she was trying to keep the hair off her face BUT by doing so I knew she was going to eventually bang her face on the sea horse’s head.  Warning her fell on deaf ears and soon she was really crying-at least she didn’t end up with  fat lip!

 

English: Bed Bath & Beyond

English: Bed Bath & Beyond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Friday was Tom’s birthday, so we needed to get home and make cupcakes.  This was going to be a joint project with Mommy and the way the day had been going, I opted out and had some wonderful alone time with my computer.  Tomorrow my friends are coming to visit me and we are going out to lunch, I can’t wait.

 

 

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English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The store that is!  There’s just something about  the allure of big box stores.  Give a woman with a new house to set up and a car to get around and sure enough the GPS has found Target, Walmart, Home Goods, Pet Supermarket and Lowes

By midweek, the house is really shaping up and the only problem is each room that we tackle ends up needing something she doesn’t have or needs to be replaced.  So we set off for Target pronounced Tar-zhay when you want to pretend you’re shopping on Madison Avenue in Manhattan instead of a strip mall in Florida!  And this was no ordinary run-of-the-mill Target store.  NO, this was a SUPER TARGET.  Really it was like a Mall unto itself. And one of the best things about it was that there was a Starhucks cafe inside it.  Nothing like that extra shot to get you moving down those aisles.  Fortified finally with a Grande Americano I’m ready to roll.  I say finally because unlike my home in New York City where I can walk across the street and get my morning fix, here you have to really be dressed and get in the car and drive into the commercial district of Delray Beach to get to a Starbucks.  AH, but who knew that
Target was on target when it came to keeping the shoppers in the store and fueled to buy nonetheless.

Of course we have two carts because one of them is for bouncy bouncy child and one for the loot.  This store is SO BIG that Chiara gives me some of the items to locate and she goes off in another direction. She needs an ironing board, they don’t have any! Really!  She needs a small dish drying rack, like my sleek stainless steel one.  They don’t have any. She needs a few good knives, they only carry one line and they weren’t very good.  I have to continually return to her and report in what I have found that might replace what she really wanted, which of course she doesn’t so I have to return it to its appropriate aisle.  Mind you the store is ginormous and I’m not saying Francesca was crying…but let’s just say I dnn’t have any problem locating them – I have a good ear!!

Frankie always starts out in the carriage, even buckled in, but sometime between the “I hold it”  and “I’m cold” she is out of the buckled seat and into the basket itself.  This neccessitates cargo transference as 4 boxes of padded hangers and a toaster oven go into my basket which heretofore held only a small bottle of eye makeup remover and tinted moisturizer.  Now I’m hauling Vitamin water, Pampers Pull-Ups, and other assorted sundries.

The sun was extremely intense that day and believe it or not, with all the things I did pack to go to Florida, I forgot my sunglasses.  I knew I had to buy a pair today because I could hardly keep my eyes open in the car.  I ask a store clerk where they are and by the time she finished giving me directions, I knew the last sentence was going to be “….Turn right at the second star and straight on till morning”.  The sun glasses were truly at the opposite end of the store and it so happens that children’s shoes were there  too.  As I met up with Chiara I note that Frankie is no longer is the basket, she is now on the loose.  Francesca is a climber, a runner and a mischief with a mind of her own.  In other words she is TWO.  Chiara wants to go get something so couldn’t I just keep an eye on her for a minute? Well I could if I could spin my neck around 360 degrees!  She is moving at the speed of sound between the aisles and trying to keep her in one place while maneuvering my cargo barge on wheels and carrying a handbag is not an easy feat. For a while I had her amusing herself with the brightly-colored wristwatches but she was able to grasp them and soon she was trying to buckle a lime green Swatch-like watch to her arm all the while repeating, “Frankie’s watch”.

After the watches we moved on to Jewelry and the rows of dangling beaded necklaces were soon the source of a color-identifying lesson. Some she would lightly touch and say the color, otherls like silver and gold she looked to me for an answer.  She is so funny because of course she wants (and often does) touch everything but when you say to her, “Don’t touch”, she looks at you and holds both hands up in front of her with palms facing outward and says, “Just see”.  It is so cute, I can’t stand it.

By this time I am really wishing Chiara would return.  Frankie ran off so fast and into a main aisle, that in order to catch her, I had to abandon the cart with my handbag in it, so I could catch her and bring her back. Just as Chiara returned, Francesca removed her shoes and proceeded to walk around barefoot.  She was cruising down the center aisle with no shoes and Chiara and I were following her.  I turned to my daughter and said something to the effect that I found it rather interesting that she yelled at Tom and me for walking into the playroom with our shoes and here her daughter was walking barefoot in a public store, for God’s sake and let’s not forget that while the other one is in nursery school eating an organic  lunch, Frankie wolfed down a box of 4 chocolate truffles and wouldn’t even give me a bite. Oh how much easier life is for child number

two.   I reminded her that it was I who bought the lollipops about an hour ago but regardless she wasn’t sharing.  

Sticky fingers and all we headed for the check out counter.  We still had time to hit Walmart before Finley got home from school!

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Tuesday – Or in this case waffles as that seems to be Francesca’s breakfast favorite. Well as you know, Pedro did not show up today so the only TV working is the one leaning up against the bookcases in the family room.  Of course the kids don’t mind because Bubble Guppies (Seriously?) is in full view for them. Tuesday was a day filled with empty boxes which we broke down out of deference to the recycle rules and the sun was out and it was hot!  Chiara wants Francesca to play outside but wants me to watch her.  Watching her meant actually pushing her around in her pink taxi, that’s how she refers to the  bubble- top plastic ride-around car that is powered  by her feet. No battery-operated vehicle for her.  But don’t feel sorry for Frankie because she also seems to own or have access to a pedal car in the shape of a pink vintage convertible as well as another ride around toy with her name emblazoned across the back and then there’s the Radio Flyer red wagon and Finley’s scooter! The ONLY one of these that she really operates on her own is the ride-around  toy.  Everything else was, “Push me Gigi”.  The highlight of our outside playtime was finding lizards which scoot across the sidewalk regularly and up the bushes.

Then Peter called me and asked me if I had a moment to talk; If ever there was a sentence full of foreboding, this is it for me.  On Monday morning Peter had to move the car at 7:30am and when he got to the car he noticed a dent in the front passenger side fender.  How the hell did that happen? The passenger side in on the sidewalk side!  He got into the car to move it when the street cleaner came through and it wouldn’t start. Oy! So he called Triple A and they came out and tried to start it with jumpers and even a new battery but no good. So up on a flatbed truck it was hauled away to a garage to have a new alternator installed to the tune of $800.  With the $250 deductible for the fender, Monday turned out to be a pretty pricey day!  All I can say is thank God I’m here and not there because I would be making my husband’s life a living hell at this point, screaming we should sell the car.  I’m not a New Yorker at heart when it comes to cars.  I hate what happens to the car while parked on the street.

Finley arrived home, the AT+T guy finally left and since there was still no food in this house, we made off to the grocery store. with 2 kids in tow (one of which has NOT had a nap in 4 days) and oh what a treat it was!!!! Two kids, two carts – who wants to hold this, no, who wants to hold that? Mommy has to buy two cellophane packages of brightly colored straws and two aisles later there is a downpour of straws as Frankie has managed to rip open her package. Like a rainbow waterfall the straws drop through the slots in the carriage and bounce around the floor.  If that wasn’t enough the little napless-one threw a fit as we sailed through the candy aisle1 “Down, down, down” she wailed , only to be placated with Monkey Smoothies, Dora the Explorer yogurt and a humungous box of rainbow-colored gold fish, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Do you think Francesca is working the cause?

Check-out was as much fun as only another mother of two kids two years apart knows! There was a minor skirmish over who is helping to put the food on the counter but before it could escalate, Mommy yelled loud enough to put the fear of God in them for a couple of minutes.

Pretty NOT Practical

Pretty NOT Practical

I was to give the girls a bath and Chiara would put them to bed. Sounds simple right? Sounds not too difficult, right? WRONG!  Finley is crying because she doesn’t want her hair washed, Francesca wants to control the water flow and I’m trying to figure out how to keep the water in the tub.  The drain has some weird  mechanism that I’ve never seen before, as its stopper. BUT that’s minor compared to actually trying to bathe them because the bathtub has been designed with one of those fixed glass panels that shield one half of the tub area, the area where the faucets and shower head are located.  It was NOT a pretty sight of me trying to lean around the glass and grab onto a soapy slippery wiggle-worm of a kid.  On top of which I was in a fairly smallish bathroom with two entrances, two step-stoos and well two of just about everything,  Finally they are out of the tub and while trying to drape Finley in a towel, Frankie takes off wet and naked running down the hallway.  You see this is really why my generation knew you should have all your kids before you’re thirty!

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Champagne Went MIA

Champagne Went MIA

Monday – I don’t remember my kids  getting up so early, so I’m either too old to remember or as my daughter would like to say, “My brother made my breakfast”.  You have no idea what a horrible mother I was! OMG!  Well, little Finny was up before 7am and getting dressed in her new school uniform, which is navy blue shorts, a white polo shirt with the school logo, white sneakers and a school bag bigger than her!  First day of school and she is saying, “But I don’t want to wear shorts, I want to wear a dress”.  If you’ve ever read the blog before and seen photos of Finley Ray, you note that she is always beautifully dressed in the most gorgeous outfits and she LOVES to dress up.

Once we have established that a dress (really a jumper) can only be worn on Fridays, we’re headed downstairs for breakfast, which I tell her she has to eat because lunch time is long time from now and you’re not home where you can snack at will.  And here’s another first for me;  Chiara has pre-ordered Finley’s lunches to be delivered to school every day! Naturally organic, of course.  I guess the school has contracted with some service to provide these nutritious balanced lunches – I didn’t ask what it cost!!  Poor Chiara and Joel suffered with PB&J sandwiches (at least not on white bread), a piece of fruit, some cookies or better yet, one of Debbie’s Little Cakes or a Devil Dog! Can you imagine the horror of sucha lunch?

Once Finley was off to school and Francesca was literally tearing apart the toy room, Chiara was hell-bent on stuffing her enormous wardrobe, a carload of shoes and we won’t mention how many designer handbags into her closet.  It was an amazing feat but she did it.  AND as she is unpacking boxes and her suitcases, oh my look what was inside – Yup you guessed it, THE  MISSING MAYBE STOLEN EXPENSIVE CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE!  Chiara is holding up the beautiful  bottle of Tattinger’s Comtes du Champagne. Now who is going to call The Breakers and apologize?  Not Me! Tom tells Chiara to do it and by Tuesday we both tell Tom he better do it since he was the one who went to the Security Station and made the fuss.  And one does wonder exactly what champagne bottle was Rachel referring to!

By the end of the day, the living room floor had been washed, at least 5 loads of laundry washed and folded, Francesca tried to ride her car down the stairs – it’s a good thing Chiara heard it moving.  I shrieked when I found a lizard under a suitcase in the front hall and it ran into Tom’s office and hid between some stacked paintings – I never told him about it!

The day has vanished, the electronics guy, Pedro never showed so we never got to the grocery store!  No TV, No internet, No food!  Delivery Dudes to the rescue  again! This time Chiara ordered so there was chicken and salmon and veggies.  It wasn’t too long into the meal before one of Frankie’s favorite phrases came out, “I don’t like it”.  “Isn’t  it time for them to go to bed”?

The dueling toothbrushes is a scene not to be missed.  Different toothpastes, individual stools to stand on and yet there must be something here to whine about.  Ah hah, Frankie’s stool has more decoration on the name than Finley’s.

Twenty-five pages into Eloise, I call it quits.  Silly me never checked the number of pages in the book before giving it to my own little Eloise, Finley.  Good Night!

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