Thursday, July 07, 2011

7/7/11 too much to write

...whew. I am really tired. just a few notes before going to sleep. We got the kids up to bed early for once, and I ended up working late. But late tonight, a very strange stiffness all across my heck and back make me feel like I'm carrying a piece of plywood strapped to my back. This better not be a reminder of who's really in control of my mobility: my trick back. I don't think it's because I haven't stretched right after a run...?


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

7/6/11 The Helper

What a change -- it's actually a joy to pick the kids up now! The teachers are happy and have cute little stories, we chat a bit, the kid in question cooperates with getting ready to leave. This is great!

The CDC taking care of Katrina is adjusting a little to her though. "She doesn't really want to participate," one teacher reported, apparently expecting that I'd perceive this as a problem. Uh-huh. "She likes to play on her own for a long time. Uh-huh.

Another time, Katrina refused to answer a question and just stared ahead, so the teacher called Gabriel over to "translate." They went on a field trip today, and apparently Gabriel was by her side the whole day -- on the bus, at the pizza restaurant where they made their own lunch, back at the CDC. Gabriel commented, "I'm making sure nothing happens to her -- except good things."

The CDC teachers who are used to Gabriel are blown away by this side of him. I'd told them that he was very sweet with her, but they seem really surprised, and delighted. Indeed, Gabriel with Katrina is totally opposite from Gabriel with Julian.

I never worried about the boys when they started at the CDC, and I'm overall not worried at all about Katrina, but I do think about her a little more. She's just so young, so little. She was in preschool just a few weeks ago, and now has been thrust into the big-kid world. She doesn't even think to close the bathroom door yet, for instance. But she's fine. Anything she can't handle, Gabriel can. I just love how he loves her.

Ah, the magic of summer -- and fraternal separation!


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

7/5/2011 CDC!

Katrina's first day at CDC!!! She was very excited -- but no more so than I was.

(Gabriel is carrying his new favorite book, "The Winn Rosch Hardware Bible" about IBM PC hardware -- he's back on his electronics kick.)

So funny the difference between preschool and school-age care. I brought some extra shorts and underpants because of her "leaking" issue (which has been much better the past 2 weeks). At preschool, it's: "OK! Put it in her marked cubby!" At school-age care it's an apprehensive, "uhh....why don't you stash that in her brother's knapsack so it doesn't get lost," and a deserved 'oh brother' look. School-age camps are way past potty-training. Fair enough.

Julian went to a different CDC today!

He said it was "1/4 bad and 3/4 good," because kids were "tricking" him about computer games (~irritation~ about computer games at daycamp), but he ran into some friends he knew too. Julian is the only child we have out of the 3 who truly seems to care about these things. He had a good time though.

Most importantly, picking them up today was easy because of the lack of reports of behavior problems, spending playtime in the office reading, interventions, letters of apologies to teachers, lengthy discussions about how to keep troublesome boys apart...ahhhh. Everyone is loving the boys' separation so much that I'm actually starting to dread them being all together in August for 2 weeks before school starts (ick!).

Collins CDC has "culinary" and "performing arts" camp, and since I didn't cotton on to the different specialty camps this year, I didn't sign Katrina up for either camp. Somehow she got put into "performing arts" by default, which would be singing today, so I told the P.A. teacher, "Er, you might want to move her to Culinary...." -- which apparently happened quickly.

How is it that our nearest CDC ended up being Culinary and Performing Arts all summer?! Hello CDC, we working parents choose you based on location, not specialty camp! I wish they'd go back to their most excellent week-by-week themes. Our closest CDC happens to run the Culinary and Performing Arts specialty camps, neither of our top choices.

Next summer, I'll have to rethink daycamps. But next summer is a world away.

Right now, I'm keenly aware of how little and young Katrina seems, though she wasted no time this morning at CDC finding a bucket of dinosaurs and making up games with them. She's not a super-sensitive child, but I'm surprised at how aware I am that she's not even 5 yet and still a very very little girl. Emotionally it involves some letting-go that I didn't have to do with her 5-1/2yo brothers; objectively I know that if any 4-3/4yo can take being plopped into a new big-kid situation, it's Katrina.

Being back at work today should have been a fun catching-up with coworkers, plowing through hundreds of emails, and gradually transitioning back into Work Mode after 10 days away. But instead it was a stressful slam back into the dysfunctional world working under the Taliban mentality. I learned today that "respect" is an important quality for Silicon Valley engineers -- silly me, I thought things like resourcefulness, tenacity, thoroughness and problem-solving were the tops.

What would I say if I were asked if I "respect" my Director? I act respectful, I don't say or do anything unprofessional or inappropriate, that's just wrong and unnecessary and falls outside what I believe to be correct professional decorum. But if I were asked point-blank if I respect him in my heart, I would be compelled to state the truth: No.

Katrina said tonight, "Tomorrow is my SECOND day at CDC, then another day, then another, then I'll go to COLLEGE!!!" Reminds me of my all-time favorite academic geek cartoon with Step 2 saying "Then a miracle occurs...

I could use a miracle!


Monday, July 04, 2011

7/4/2011 The Americans

We went to see fireworks tonight, but that wasn't the most "American" thing that happened here today. Actually, it was something that is very common to most of the world except here, but still struck me as being so basically American anyway.

And that was Julian's friend from across the street coming over and asking, "Can Julian come out to play?" and Julian playing with his neighbor friend for the better part of the afternoon. Without the grandmother or father following them around!

Also American is the minor irritation that Julian went into the neighbor's house without telling me, then got cookies right before dinner and spent time inside watching a movie on a beautiful day. Alas, I hear that's all part of this thing about having kids on the block to play with -- overall a win.

More on my window shade project. This one room, I took a big leap with the color, since I'm usually very wimpy and chicken about color. But I love the sun coming through this "coral" color, and it matches the bedspread and pillows (all of which I sewed myself so I guess they're staying).

Best of all, when the sun is usually blaring through this window, the shades give the room a lovely warm pinky glow.

Now I really hate the wimpy white shades I put in the family room!

Back to work tomorrow, and two kids are starting at two new CDCs (to them) tomorrow as well. Julian will be going to Eaton CDC, attached to the next school over; and of course Katrina will start at Collins CDC, where Gabriel will go too. And I have to brace myself for the usual weirdness at work. A big adjustment for three of us!


Sunday, July 03, 2011

7/3/2011 Hot day

What IS this? Rain, humidity, and now heat? We live with high prices, traffic and crowding here in the SF Bay Area just to avoid all that with the world's best climate. It was almost 100 degrees today -- no FAIR!

The kids spent most of the day (mostly) quietly indoors.

My sense is that they truly miss their cousins. It was so fun having them here, that a day at home doing nothing just isn't the same. Plus it was really un-fun hot outside. So, lots of reading and music-listening (and some playing) happened inside.

But all was not lost -- thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of a good friend, we went to a neighborhood pool for nearly 3 hours this hot afternoon. For once, good timing occurred between the weather and our plans, because this was the day to spend hours in the water.

Photo first. Not as good as last year's!

My #1 Prime Objective this weekend has been installing window shades in most of the downstairs (minus the tilt-n-turn windows, the patio doors and the historic dining room window). I'd placed a huge order at Smith and Noble some weeks ago during a 40% off sale, and the boxes have been awaiting me on our porch to install. It took hours just to unpack everything and get rid of all the boxes, straps, bubble-wrap and other assorted packaging.

Then -- install. As usual, numerous problems abound: broken drill bit, shades that don't fit as I'd measured, the intended spot to drill a hole turns out to be on a seam, goofy instructions. My wrist is tired from all the screwing and drilling today, but I'm happy that this is finally getting done. Next time we remodel and design rooms, I'll start with the window treatments and work backward from there!

The biggest success is in the office, where we spend a lot of time, and that has a prominent street-facing window. I'm sure our neighbors are just as glad as we are not to have a view into our office at night anymore!

I'm barely halfway done with the installation. Tomorrow, more drilling, measuring, fitting, screwing...I mean, measuring, fitting, drilling and screwing tomorrow -- hmm, maybe that's my problem. Ready, fire, AIM!