Sunday, February 26, 2006


My computer is a dinosaur. Computer years are like dog years times 3 so that would make my computer 105. So we wined and dined (with pizza and beer and bourbon) and lured Tara's husband Dusty, the computer genius, over here to asses the situation and see what, if anything, could be done.

Apparently, the situation was more serious than we originally thought. The surgery went on for hours. I sat on the couch consuming Negro Modelo after Negro Modelo just sick with worry and anxiety while Dr. Dusty calmly pressed buttons and booted and worked his voodoo magic. I was an absolute mess and sadly, the problem proved so serious that he took the brain home with him.

I miss my computer--even if it is sick, old and never works very well even when it does work.

This laptop is too hard, too new and therefore too technologically advanced for me.

Please pray for my computer's speedy recovery.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blogging the Run (again): The Perfect 10

Disclaimer: I know it is boring to hear about my runs all the time but this is my place to relive them instead of torturing those I live with and love with dull tales from the run.

I had another great run last night so I feel that: I. Am. Back. I already feel that upward curve in my psyche; my mood rising.

Yesterday the weather was awesome--dry,breezy and mid 60's. I usually don't get to run on Friday's unless Ryan comes home early or my mom or Bubbles agrees to watch Things one and two. Ryan, lucky for me, came home early yesterday.

I was on the phone with my friend, absolutely green that she had gone to the gym for an hour and then played tennis for 2, so my motivation was set. Competitive, competitive-- I know, I know. I hung up and headed out the door.

I planned on only doing six but I was feeling good so I did ten. Ten miles is my perfect run. It is long enough that I lose myself in the run, you know, get to that place where the mind divorces the body, but short enough that it doesn't kill me. Most important though, for 10 and less I don't have to bring anything but my Ipod with me--meaning no water, no phone, no Powerade to carry.

It was a very hilly 10 and it felt fabulous. I do this route occasionally but reversed it so I was hitting more uphills than downhills. I am such a little masochist.

I ran every step and up every hill and it felt great and I felt fast. I finished in an hour and 21 minutes--just over 8 minutes per mile. Woo hoo!

I celebrated with nearly 3 margaritas (couldn't finish the 3rd) and enchiladas that I was almost too tossed to eat. I read a very slurred Fox in Socks to the kids and was asleep by 10 pm.

On Eating Salsa, by Beau


Please realize that when you choose to keep eating the hot salsa even though it burns your mouth and turns your lips bright red that the rule is: If it burns going in. . . then it will burn on the way out too.

On Being 5, by Carmella

Being 5 means:

You don't have to wear floaties and you can have sleepovers.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Russians Next Door

There is a new mystery on my parent's road. The road my parents live on is one with a rich history of myth, legend and rumor. I am often privy to all this conjecture as I once lived there and I am one of the few people my mother talks to and can spread the lore. The other persons would be my father, my sister and my aunt-- who lives next door and who, for the record, is usually the source of said lore.

Some past mythology includes, just to pique my readers' (aka Steph) interest: The Goat Massacre of 1997; the supposed ex-stripper who is married to the guy who makes the signs; exactly which house Paul Newman supposedly owns; the previously mentioned turkey;the secret room in the ginormous house and the rumors on how they got "all their money"; the indiscretion of a certain city councilman; the hoopla surrounding the threat on Kroger Man and his personal guards and much much more.

The latest incident involves "The Russians Next Door" (formally Kroger man's house) to my aunt. I have never seen these people so I don't know if they are actually Russian. The rumor is that he is a doctor, is married and that they have children of various ages-- probably middle and high school. The Russians, according to my sources, have "wild" parties, shootoff fireworks and jump in their pool in the dead of winter. They sound like fun people to me but, according to my sources, are not friendly. Now I must say that my source tends to view those who are even slightly less than socially gregarious unfriendly. Meaning, if you don't come over to chat, extend the small talk into gossip and be genuinely overtly over neighborly, you are unfriendly. I think most people I know, myself included, would be considered unfriendly by such exhausting social standards.

This past Tuesday Carmella was spending time at my mom's--vacationing, if you will, from the house of diarrhea. Apparently, on Tuesday the mail was late. And there was an argument between my mother and Carmella as to why. Carmella said it wasn't coming because it was President's Day and the post-office was closed (guess what they learned about at school that day!). My mom argued that the post-office observed President's Day on Monday and today was Tuesday so they were open and the mail was late because her mailperson is lazy.

Regardless, the mail didn't come til long after Carmella had come home. So my mom sent my dad out to fetch the mail. He came running back into the house telling her to call my aunt that there was an ambulance sitting outside her driveway. My mom called and all was fine at my aunt's. My aunt sent my cousin to investigate. My stealth cousin reported that the ruckus was at the Russians' house. She got her binoculars and said that there were 3 police cars, an ambulance, a "paddy wagon" and a big truck had just pulled up into drive. Out of the big truck got a man with what looked like to her a medical bag. (Draws in of breath)

My mom raced over there but the ruckus seemed to be over. The paddy wagon, the police cars, the ambulance, owners' cars, and the truck were all gone. My cousin maintained that one of the police cars was still parked in the garage and the police must be " conducting an investigation." They argued for awhile about the likihood of this and "what it could mean."

And then, of course, there was the discussion of "what happened." The theories range from murder to suicide to drowning in the pool from getting in it in the dead of winter. As to "the who" the theories are: one of the teenage children, a maid, an elderly visiting relative that no one knew about or some other random visitor.

And, of course, what is most disturbing about this to my aunt, besides not knowing, is that she "can't bring them anything to eat." It is absolutely maddening!

As of today I have conflicting reports that their house last night was "all lit up" thus receiving mourners: and conversly, that their house was as "dark as death"--meaning no one had yet returned to the scene of the possible crime. My Dad did say he saw Mrs. Russian pull out of her driveway this morning and wave to him. This makes me think all is not what it seems. Mmmmmmm. . .

I will report more as I learn more.

I have to say that so far this incident has proved much less interesting than the Goat Massacre of '97 and the craziness involving Kroger Man.

Some Where Over the Rainbow

Today has been a good day.

The past few days though, to say the least, have completely sucked. When you are caring for a sick child it seems like an eternity. Your days are filled with bodily fluids and laundry and cleaning. Not fun. At all. What usually keeps me going through the times of cholera is my running. It is my sanity, my savior, my happiness but lately I have been in a serious running funk.

Two weeks ago I missed the bottom step and rolled my ankle-right and then left. It took me down. I thought I had broken it but after a few minutes on the floor the pain subsided slightly and I hobbled upstairs and iced it. It felt better. I went to the gym that evening and thought all was okay. The next day I tried to do my Saturday 10 mile run and only made it 4. I had to hobble the last 2 miles home in agony. I avoided running on it the next few days but still cross trained on the elliptical at the gym. I did the 10k qualifier that week and it bothered me a little but I still thought it was getting better.

I run through a lot of injuries and illnesses. I didn't think this one was any different but as of last week it still wasn't getting better and had actually gotten worse. It was tender to the touch and hurt everytime I ran and even when I wasn't. It just plain hurt. After my 14 mile run last Thursday there was no denying that it was tendonitis and only rest was going to make it better. And here, I will admit, is the silver lining to Beau being sick: it forced me to rest. I took Saturday and Sunday completely off. I did try to run on Monday and it hurt like hell and I only made it 2 miles--half of which I walked, so I can't even count that. Tuesday I rested and became more and more depressed. Oh, how I missed my endorphins!

Yesterday I got to go to the gym and I tried to run a mile on the mill and it still hurt so I punished myself with extra weights. Last night I was convinced I have ankle cancer and would never run again. I dreamed horrible dreams all night. In one I was pregnant. Horrible, just awful.

Today I was hell bent on Beau going to school. I was determined to try to run. I had to. Mine and the kids survival depended on it.

It proved though not an easy morning. Seriously though, when are mornings with a 2 year old and 5 year old ever easy? It is like herding cats and negotiating with monkeys. Beau is not allowed to wear his cape to school anymore because we have determined that he assumes the Batman persona and that he further assumes his classmates are the villains and attacks them Batman style: POW!KICK! PUNCH! He tried to negotiate with me by asking to wear his lion costume but I wasn't going to risk a call to pick him up for mauling a classmate today so I told him he would have to go to school as just a plain ole little boy. He was quite unhappy about it.

Carmella had uniform day at school today. She wanted to be a gymnast and wear her leotard but the one she picked out has a skirt so technically it is for ballet. I made the mistake of saying she could be a ballerina too. This dissolved her to tears and she, of course, wanted to change. Things are very black or white with her. No duality what so ever. After much assurance that she was 100% gymnast she calmed down.

Then Ryan comes home as we are leaving and comments on my outfit. "You're wearing that to run in?" I would think all men would know by his age that YOU NEVER EVER SAY THAT TO A WOMAN NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE WEARING. I near bite his head off and explain to him that I have no choice but to run in my "Barbie sweats" since all my running tights are dirty since I haven't had time to wash them because of all the other laundry I have had to do! And yes, there were expletives involved.

Ask me if I gave a damn that I had to run in bright pink sweats and hoodie: I. Was. Going. Running. I could not have given a rat's ass how powderpuff I looked. I needed my dose of endorphinbutrim and I was getting it any way I could.

I was on the road by 9:45. And everything, for a change felt good. I even made it up the hill that I have struggled with the past few weeks. As I neared the cross road and had to decide if I should go left or right I told myself I shouldn't push it and that I should go right. Going right would still make my run about 8 miles but it would be less hilly, so easier. Just as I thought this a runner crossed the road ahead of me. He was going the left way, which was hillier. As soon as I saw him I thought: I can beat him.

So, of course, I went left and charged up the hill after him. On this corner is the elementary school I went to as a child. There were kids out on the playground playing. As I sprinted up the hill to catch my adversary two little girls saw me and started racing me. I smiled and waved at them as I beat them too. Yeah, they were only 9 but 9 year olds can be fast.

I know it is dumb but it really boosted my ego to pass the guy who had absolutely no idea that we were racing. And I know had he known that we were racing he definitely looked like he could have kicked my ass but so what. I won. I do wonder how it felt for him to be passed by powderpuff Barbie girl. I know, he probably didn't notice.

After leaving random jogger in the dust I turn into my old neighborhood that I grew up in. I was really happy; fresh off my recent victories and was reveling in all that post race glory. The sun was making its first debut in days and was beginning to break-up the looming gloom of the clouds. The streets, shiny and wet from the recent rain, reflected tree and sky. And in my head played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I am flooded by the memories of my childhood.

I almost step on her. It is Barbie. Barbie the Pauper to be exact, Annelise, and she is lying prone in the street. I pick her up and brush the dirt off her. She has not yet been run over and is no worse for her exposure. I jog a few feet, happy with my trophy; excited that I have finally rescued something on one of my runs other than a turtle. I hear of other joggers finding cool stuff: money, toys, hats, Barbie etc. But me? I never see anything but turtles, deer and cigarette butts.

I stop suddenly, ending my rescue reverie. Perhaps someone is missing Annelise. She can't have been out here long and they will realize her missing and come try to find her. Some child will be devastated. I search the street and see it: the green power box. I prop Annelise up and I leave her now, elegantly seated upon her electrical throne, and fall back into my pace.

I round the neighborhood as I did as a child. My foot falling where my foot has fallen a thousand times in my youth and the sounds of the old neighborhood fill my head. I press repeat and listen to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" again and jog past my old house and down to the cul du sac where my best friend lived. So much is the same and yet is very very different. Gone from the pool, I am sad to see, are the diving board and the slide and I wonder if the bulletin still holds my records for the butterfly and the freestyle. I doubt it. Kids are so much faster these days. Gotta be the hormones in the milk.

I leave the old hood and lope back to the school. It is still early so I try to meet up with my friend Tara for some shopping. We just miss each other at Target and so I head back towards the school. I am driving down the road my parent's street is off of and I suddenly see him: The Turkey. I nearly drive off the road because I have long thought this was just some other road legend my parents yammer on about but I see now that he does exist. It is true and he is magnificent, mytholgocial, and enormous--nearly 4 feet tall. He is just standing there on the side of the road like some totem. A turkey totem. . . .

See what endorphins can do for you! Go running! Get addicted! Get high and see turkey totems and save Barbie in suburbia. Ah, the bliss of a good run. Joseph Campbell was definitely talking about running when he advised to follow your bliss--run to it, run into it, run with it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Diarrhea, Cha Cha Cha

If you are of the faint of stomach do not read this post. It is about my day of cleaning up diarrhea.

I took Beau to the doctor yesterday because he has had a stomach virus but my greatest concern was that he hadn't urinated in at least a day. The nurse tried to dissuade me from coming in, and I probably should have listened, but it freaked me out that my kid who usually pees all over himself hadn't gone at all in the past 24 hours. Yes, he had diarrhea but no pee--at least that I could tell. Sure sign to me that something wasn't right. The advice nurse advised me to give him something to drink and I explained that he had had plenty of water and powerade to drink and she argued that obviously he had not.

Whatever, give me a freakin' appointment because I am not going to have DEFACS over here when he is on death's door saying "Why didn't you take him the doctor? You are a neglectful, unfit mother."

Of course, an hour before our scheduled appointment Beau did have a wet diaper and 2 really nasty diarrhea diapers. Nothing like the threat of the doctor to make my kids get better.

So off to the doctor we go. As soon as we get there Beau has a messy diaper--which he announces to the whole waiting area-- "Ew. Mommy. Poop. Yuck. Gross" pointing to his butt as if there is any question to what the sound and subsequent smell could be. (Note to self: must teach child the art of discretion. This is obviously not innate in boys as it seems to be in girls.)

I try to quietly take him back to the examine rooms and look for a nurse to ask for a plastic bag. You think knowing the situation I was in I would have packed more appropriately but I have 2 year old not a newborn--the diaper bag packed with the contents of my house is a thing of my past.

The nurse happened to be calling us back at this same moment so I explain to her the situation and she gives me a bag and tells me to change him on their giant baby scale. So I put down fresh paper and change the diaper which is foul thick yellow water that smells so awful I almost pass out. But I hold my breath and get the job done.

I dress him and we go across the hall to the older child triage room and wait. Beau asks me "What's this?" for every single thing in the room. This is his new stage. He asks "What's this?" and then repeats the word and files it away for later when he will surprise and wow me with his huge vocabulary. I think most kids go through this when they are around one but Beau was diagnosed with apraxia and recently has made huge progress in his speech so he is going through this now. I try to be patient with it but it does get annoying after awhile.

We wait and we wait and we wait. And I answer and answer and answer what that is. And then Beau has another episode. This time it is of the exploding kind. I am a bit panicked as I don't know whether to change him first or clean the floor or clean Blue (his blanket.) Thankfully, I was out of range so I am technically still clean. My nostrils, however, are in desperate need of bleach and a wire brush.

I decide to do the floor first, then Blue, the Beau. I usher him back across the hall and get him all set up. I rinse his jeans, along with Blue in the sink and fold them all and place in my now obviously too small purse. I put on a new diaper and begin to disinfect the table when the nurse (FINALLY!) comes back and asks incredulously "You're still not done?" Had I not been up to my elbows in diarrhea I would have smacked her-- or had there been something more solid, thrown it at her.

I explain that it happened again and tell her I need something stronger than baby wipes to clean the table. She gives me an industrial size container of disinfectant wipes and I briefly consider bathing myself and Beau with them but don't since Beau is now having a fit because he terrified of the giant woman and he wants his pants back.

She calls me to come across the hall and I have to drag Beau, who is suddenly struck by the modest gene, kicking and screaming into the room. I struggle him into my lap and try to appear patient and composed and pretend that I do not smell as disgusting as I know I must. The nurse cheerfully asks me "So what brings you here today?"

Seriously? I swallow my sarcastic remark figuring it won't help the situation and obediently explain about the 2 days of vomiting, complaints of sore throat, green runny nose, cough, fever, HORRIBLE diarrhea, and lack of urination. She records all this and then asks him to step on the scale. Well of course he doesn't want to, he isn't wearing pants and from our previous conversation he now knows the evil a scale can wreck on one's psyche. I tell the nurse he is 30 1/2 lbs explaining that he stood on the scale while we were waiting and remind her that I changed his diaper on the baby scale. Both said 30 1/2 lbs. Either she doesn't believe me or mistakenly thinks that I have no experience with scales and insists I get on the scale with Beau. Guess what he weighs? 30 1/2 lbs! Huh? Imagine that.

The rest of the appointment is uneventful and his pediatrician diagnosis Rotavirus.
On the one hand I am relieved that he isn't dying from some horrible strep infection or kidney failure but the other I am frustrated that I subjected myself to this fun experience to be told he has a stomach virus. Which, yeah, I knew! Even more, I am really excited, because the doctor informed me that sometime in the next 2 weeks I may get to experience all this for myself OR (goody goody, please) have the pleasure of caring for Carmella when she inevitably comes down with it. Definitely not what I was hoping to hear since I thought we were surely in the clear for not getting it by now. Oh and, then she said that the diarrhea can last for 5 or more days.

Yippy! ~doing a little dance~ diarrhea, cha cha cha; diarrhea, cha cha cha . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My kid is smarter than me

I don't think I can play with Carmella anymore. She is the little girl who I never liked because she was perfect and always right. I should also add that little girls like Carmella never wanted to play with me either. They thought I was crazy or weird.

I thought I had tried very hard to instill outside the box thinking in my kid. I pretend everything. The lie is huge in my house as it is a way more creative vehicle than the truth but somehow all this has done has sent my oldest scurrying for all things black and white. Order vs Chaos again.

Carmella got some new toys for her birthday that are crafty and non-Barbie oriented. Toys I was thinking I could have fun with. Beau was napping so I got out the Ello set. This stuff is cool. It is millions of little bright colored pieces and you can construct ANYTHING with it--people, houses, cars, flowers, pets, little universes. I just started making a series of town houses and told her to make some people. She was like " No. Mommy you are doing it wrong. Look at the box! Where are those directions. No! No! That doesn't go there. Here," she shoves directions in my face, "Look! This is how you do it." I tell her those are just guidelines that you can do whatever you want.

So she followed the directions and I did my thing and her stuff, of course, looked better. So much for creativity.

Then the other day she was doing a book of jigsaw puzzles and I went downstairs to do it with her. On each page of this book there is a different fairytale princess puzzle--Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella etc. She had dumped all the pieces into one big pile. I was like oh no! We are never going to get all those pieces straight. So I took the book from her and started trying to do the puzzles.
"No mommy, that doesn't go there. That one is Snow White. No, that is Rapunzel. Here let me do it." She took the book from me and she did them all. Quickly too, I might add.

How dumb am I that I can't put together puzzles a five year old can do?

Then yesterday we were riding in the car and she was listening to her Storybook Princess CD and following along in the book. I looked back and she wasn't turning the page and the lady was talking. I said "Honey, you need to turn the page."

"Mommy," she said "She hasn't said turn the page yet."
"She is reading. You better turn the page" I argued.
"No,she isn't. She will tell me when to turn the page" she countered patiently.

Then the lady said "Now turn your page to read along to the story of Cinderella."

Damn it, she even has better listening skills than me.

I don't think any of this bodes well for me in the teenage years.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Mistake

5 is the new 15.

A few posts back I worried that 5 would be the new 2. How silly of me. Carmella has only been five a week and already I have heard/seen:

"Whatever" accompanied by crossed arms and an eyeroll.

"I HATE______!" and tosses hair. Followed by HUGE sigh.

And the best by far-- stomping up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door. I giggle and go check on her and sure enough she is tossed face down across her bed, head buried in the pillows. "What's wrong?" I ask. A muffled "Nothing!" is my response.

I thought I'd post some past birthday pictures. I couldn't find one from her 4th birthday party--I think my digital was broken.

Her first birthday. She cried when she got cake on her hand. I was so hoping for a true cake fest but she just got mad about being dirty.

Her 2nd. Clifford came and she was terrified. I think the day after her birthday Clifford was out and Cinderella and Barbie in.

Carmella and her friend Max licked all the icing off this cake and then everyone at the party came down with a stomach bug. Word to the wise: Don't eat the cake at kid birthday parties.

Her 3rd. It was a princess tea party. She was so excited about that cake.

Her 4th birthday cake was the same but pink with Barbie. At least the party wasn't a princess party that year. She had a pottery painting party and wore a birthday visor and sunglasses all day. I wish I had a picture because she was hilarious looking.

This year a gymnastics party with a castle cake. She had another cake too with mermaids on it. It was pretty scary looking but she loved it.

I think we are starting to get away from all things princess. I think it is just some things princess now.

We have a new addition to our family

Introducing. . . .
Na na na na na na. . .. Batman!
Beau has officially moved into his big boy room. I thought he would be thrilled, as he has been climbing in and out of his crib since he was 15 months old. So we finally got it together and set his room up. After 2 rough nights with us fighting Beau to sleep in his bed Ryan decided he was probably scared and I should get him a night-light. Beau thought this was a great idea. "Me, ight. Me hared. Ight. Mommy, me want ight!" Okay, I get it. You want a light.

For the record, I didn't believe the light or being scared was the issue but rather the 2 year old testing his boundaries but permission to shop is permission to shop.

So off to Target we go. While I am perusing the very limited night-light selection Beau finds our friend Batman. I tell him no but he persists.I give him a choice: Batman or this really cool alligator night-light.
"Na na na na, " he insists.
"Are you sure?" I ask.
"Yes, Na na na na. Mine." he responds firmly.
"You promise you will sleep in your big boy bed with Batman and not cry and not get out?" I ask doubtfully.
"Yes. Me! My oom, eep. Na na na na." He tells me impatiently.
"Okay." and I put the light back.

And Beau has been good to his word:

Even Carmella has a crush:

Rules for the Circus:

Rule number 1: Take Marta

Okay, so I knew we were going to the circus but I didn't know it was going to be a FREAKIN' CIRCUS NIGHTMARE.

I know Atlanta wants to draw people into its city but is it really necessary to have the Aquarium, a hair show, a car convention, a cheerleading convention and the circus going on all at the same time in the same 1 mile square radius? This is one case where Marta might have proved smarta. Yet, this time we chose to drive and be in parking hell. That was fun. And we STILL had to walk a mile-- with children on our shoulders I might add. A mile isn't a big deal for me at all. Walking a mile in platform mary-janes with a 38lb 5 year old on my shoulders is. (Maybe rule number one should be choose your shoes carefully.)

Rule number 2: Plan ahead

Next up tickets. Our seats sucked. I couldn't buy them before we went because they closed ticket sales for Saturday online and over the phone on Friday. The lady at the box office assured me there were plenty of seats when I called Saturday morning. We got there an hour+ before the show and the only seats were nose bleeds. But I am suspicious because from my perch I could see plenty of empty seats in the section I wanted to be in. In retrospect, I am thankful we only paid $14 for the seats rather than $32. Small favors.

Rule number 3: Leave 2 year old at home

I am seriously beginning to wonder if I will EVER be able to take Beau anywhere. I could take Carmella to plays, puppet shows, movies, the ballet, the circus etc well before she was two and she would sit in her seat and not act like a animal. Looking back, I think Beau must have misunderstood and I thought I said "try-out for the circus" not "do you want to go to the circus?" I know Beau had fun but I don't know that it had much to do with "The Greatest Show On Earth."

I do think Carmella was the only one who enjoyed and actually watched the circus. I know Ryan did not have fun and nor did the other people around us that Beau kept whacking with his sword.

Which brings me to Rule number 4: Do not buy your 2 year old a sword: (no matter how cute he is when he asks.)

Damn the circus for selling swords.
Damn us for being weak and buying him one.
Yeah, I know, we are fucking idiots.

Rule number 5: Don't eat the popcorn off the floor.

Or you will get sick. Yes, yet another fun topper to our circus adventure. My brilliant child, Beau, ate popcorn off the floor at Phillips rather than the fresh stuff I bought for him in the bucket. Now he has the upsies and the downsies. Not that this seems to bother him in the least. Little vomiting and diarrhea isn't going to slow my maniac down. It was weird though that when I heard him heave I pushed him off the bed and said "bathroom!" he knew exactly what to do. He ran in there, lifted the lid and leaned over the toilet like an old pro. Funny thing is that this is his very first stomach bug.

Ah, milestones.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Race Report: Chattahoochee Challenge 10K

Today was a qualifier race for the 2006 Peachtree Road Race. This means that if you run under 55 minutes and get your application in early you get in time group 1-B and under 49 minutes you get in time group 1-A. And under 42 minutes you get subseeded and under 40 minutes you are the shit. Really all this means is that instead of just getting a random number that places you anywhere in a pack of 55,000 runners you get placed in front of about 50,000 runners.

Really the Peachtree isn't a great race. It is an Atlanta tradition though. And it can be fun for the camaraderie or just so you can go have beers (notice the plural) after the race in your Peachtree t-shirt. It is on the 4th of July, in the middle of the Hotlanta summer and it is a hilly course, so you got: heat, humidity and hills-- at least three of Dante's rings of Hell I am sure.

Now after doing the Atlanta marathon and half-marathon I personally see the Peachtree's only true challenge is the crowd and the heat. I can't do anything about the heat or humidity but I can try to get somewhere at the front of the pack rather way in the back where I have been in the past. That was what today was about.

This morning when I woke up it was cold and rainy. I am a fair weather runner. I don't mind the cold as that is about dressing right and I can manage that. But I don't like rain and I definitely don't like to be cold and wet. I figured it was only 6 miles and I could do it. I knew I would hate myself if I wussed out of it so I laced up my shoes and drove over to the Nature center.

I had to run a mile in the cold rain, dying to pee, to pick up my number. Then I had to jog another 1/4 mile to the start. So pretty much by the time the race started my shoes were soaking, my toes numb--which isn't really a bad thing, and I was cold. I really wasn't thinking this was going to be my day. I was out late the night before at a cocktail party and didn't get much sleep and did I mention that I don't like to run in the rain?

After the usual pre-race banter and typical discussion of the weather we are off. I tried to get pretty close to the start since the timing was from the gun start but I did stay back as I know I am not a 6 minute miler.

The first mile I went out too fast. At the split they called 7:20 so I pulled back some. At the 2 mile split I was 15 minutes flat. Still faster then I think I should have been. At 3 miles I was 22:40. At 4 I was 30:27 and that was about where I expected to be. At five I was 39 minutes but I may not have heard him right as he was a bit of a mumbler so could have been 38 and some change. I was feeling great and cheered on the winners as they passed me by on the return loop. I just carried my pace through and finished at 47 minutes and 35 seconds. Give or take a few seconds. I was pretty pleased since my goal was a sub 48 10K and I didn't have to kill myself to do it.

And no, I didn't run a negative split but I don't care because overall I am still getting faster and that is what counts.

After I crossed the finish line quite a few people came to congratulate me and say they tried to catch me but couldn't or that they used me as a their pacer. The girl who breezed past me at the end and beat me by a few seconds said "Wow! You were everyone's pacer." I am choosing take it as a compliment that I was the one to follow.

I'll have to keep that in mind during future races when my only desire is to stop and walk for a minute--I'll have to think that I will be letting down the people behind me who are chasing me and think I have some sort pace plan going on. If I stop I'll ruin their race too. Ah! The pressure!

So I got my sub 48 and I got my race shirt and then I ran the mile back to my car in the pouring rain, needing to pee, again.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On Being Four

This is Carmella's last day of being 4. Tomorrow she will be, sob, five. As far as kids ages and stages go I have adored the four year old. Three was good too but not AS good. And two, well I think we all know where I stand on two year olds--their survival is contigent on their cutness. And one and under is fun but whew, what a ride.

I have LOVED four. It is the best. Four year olds say funny things and have all sorts of advice. They can be surprisingly pragmatic. My favorite Carmellaisms are the ones that start with "Mommy, sometimes kids . . ." For example; "Mommy, sometimes kids eat too many snacks and have to go to the bathroom. I think tomorrow I will not eat so many snacks." And then there is the parenting advice: "Mommy, he is just two. You know that two year olds can't control themselves. Here, let me talk to him for you. You go take a minute."

She is so yummy and sweet and I am afraid five will turn her.

What if five is the new two?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Curse

It happened. I got the phone call. I have been expecting it: hoping it wouldn't come but this morning, my luck ran out.

On the days that both Beau and Carmella have school I do long runs. I leave my car at the school and run through the neighborhoods and streets near it-- or rather, near enough by car. I always take my cell phone with me but really if I need to be at their school in a hurry it isn't going to happen if I am 10 miles on foot from their school. This is where I would throw myself on the mercy of my mother-in-law or my mother. Both helpful people but not necessarily fast in an emergency either. So I have chosen to be optimistic and assume nothing is going to happen while I am out running and the kids are at school.

This is a fine theory when it comes to Carmella. Totally realistic to expect all will be fine the few hours she is at school. She is a polite and sweet child and just doesn't have issues with anyone. She is good. Beau on the otherhand. . .

Well, pretty much since he started school I knew a phone call to get him would come someday. I have other Mommy friends at the school with boys. This is how I knew it could happen. If I just had Carmella I would never know such a phone call existed. Lately though, I have begun to relax about it since Beau was no longer hitting or pushing or throttling his classmates. In fact, Beau has not been in time out since the end of October.

However, it seems as though Beau has gotten bored with being compliant and is back to his terrible-two ways. I have been suffering through this at home and counting my blessings that he was still being gold at school. I definitely pick my battles with him. The cape is one of them. I allow him to wear it everywhere except bath and bed. They are even fine with him wearing it at school. And for this I am grateful as it is one less battle I have to wage with him.

The cape, to be honest is not really an issue for me; that is until it comes time to go outside and put on a coat. At first I thought it was because the coat inhibited the free flowing of the cape. When he runs he likes it to wave behind him. Even at 2 he understands the theatrical effect of a flowing cape--it is just way more superhero than a limp, hanging one (and isn't that true of most things?)

I thought maybe if I pull the cape over the coat it would solve the problem. It still flows. Everyone can still the cape. His superheroness is in no way diminished by the coat. But this doesn't make him happy either. So then I thought maybe he thinks the cape is a coat and therefore another layer is just superfluous. But the cape is made of thin polyester felt. Not warm. Fine for 60 degree weather but not for 30 degree weather. My solution has been to dress him in multiple shirts and sweaters--which he fights me about but I am stronger. I win. As a result of his antics, I have adding dressing Beau as part of my daily workout regime because after wrestling him into clothes I am as exhausted and sweaty as I am after 20 minutes on the treadmill.

Now, I don't expect his teachers to fight this battle. I understood, and was not at all surprised, when they told me that they had to send Beau to the director's office last week while they went on the playground because he refused to wear his coat. Beau was not phased by this as he had a fabulous time chatting with Madam Director and he did not have to wear the coat: coat zero, Beau one. Beau and I had a talk about the coat and everyday I tell him he must wear coat and not to argue with his teacher. I also advised his teachers to use reverse psychology on him as it works fairly well at home for me: "Everyone gets to wear their coats today BUT Beau." I assured them that they would hear, "Me! Me! Please! Oat!." (Having Beau as a child has given me great insight as to how simple the male mind can be.)

Well, either the reverse psychology didn't work today-- and I will be the first to admit that after several weeks he is getting wise to it-- or they didn't try. He tried to explain to his teacher that he had not one but 2 shirts on and his cape and that was enough. They weren't having it and sent him to Madam Director's office.

About five miles into my run I get a call from Madam Director:

Beau wouldn't wear his coat again and they sent him to my office. But he is running from me and I just can't keep chasing him. I have him baricaded behind the counter. Do you think you could come talk to him?

I would have laughed-- had I not been partly out of breath-- at the ridiculous suggestion that my talking to Beau would do anything. I told her I was out for a run and would be there as quickly as could to pick him up.

I was at least 3 miles from the school but less than a 1/4 mile from my mother-in -law's house. But of course, today, she wasn't home. I thought of calling my Mom but figured I could run 3 miles faster than she could get dressed and drive the 8 miles to the school. So I sprinted to the school to get my son who, for only him andGod knows why, won't wear a coat. For me this is the absolute dumbest, most annoying reason for having to take him out of school.

By the time I got there he was back in the classroom and when he saw me he knew instantly it didn't look good for him. I could tell this as he waved suspiciously at me and remained behind the craft table. I apologized to his teachers, took his cape away and explained he could not go back to school or have his cape back until he could agree to wear his coat when he was told to. I really hope I embarrassed the hell out of him in front of his little friends.

He didn't really get that he was going home til I took him out of the classroom and started walking down the hall with him. Then the tantrum began and he managed to get away from me and almost made it back to his classroom. His teacher came out into the hall to witness the scene and I have to say I am really no longer embarrassed by it, just really over it.

When stuff like this happens with him, I feel like I am the one being punished: My run got cut short--and those last 3 miles were not fun(though I guess I could say I got my speedwork in.) Then I had to take one very pissed-off toddler on my errands. Again, not fun for me. Then I had to take him back into the school to pick up Carmella while he had yet another tantrum all the while screaming: "Me! Borry! I ant to owe to hool! Oat! Me wear Oat!" Everyone at that school may not know me or Carmella but they sure all know who Beau is.

Finally he passed out in the car on the way home and is still, thankfully, napping.

This is my mother's curse. You know the one: I hope someday you have a child just like you!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Babysitter

I am a kid magnet. I don't know if it is because I always have my kids with me and other kids think; Oh, here is person that just has lots of kids, let's chat with her. I don't know but they don't talk to Carmella or Beau but to me. It never fails and happens everywhere we go. Children just come up to me and start conversations with me: "Hi! I'm Jack. I am turning 5 and I'm having a Power Ranger party. You can come. I don't have the invitations because my mom mailed them all but you should come." Or, "I'm Lydia, do you like my dress? I'm 3 and 1/2." And then they linger and never go away.

Do people not teach their children not to talk to strangers anymore? I really don't know what the etiquette is here. How do you politely end a conversation with someone who has yet to figure out the social nuances of small talk and appropriate conversation. I don't want to seem rude by any means but seriously, I spend all day, everyday conversing with the sandbox set and honestly, it gets a bit tiresome.

On Mondays Carmella has gymnastics. It is only a 45 minute class and if it is nice I will run with Beau in the jogger or take him to the park but lately Mondays have been too cold or rainy so I have to wait in the lobby area with Beau while Carmella has her class. There are always lots of kids running around waiting for their class to start. There seems to be more kids than parents so I am beginning to suspect that this is just a place other moms drop their kids off to play and then go off and do errands-- regardless if the child has a class or not. Maybe they heard I was going to be there and figured I could hang with their kids too.

This past Monday it was raining so Beau and I had to wait inside. Beau is currently Beauman, the superhero, because he wears a cape everywhere. This garners him a lot of attention. He loves it but it draws lots of attention to me that I do not necessarily want. Don't get me wrong, I am as much of an attention whore as my 2 yr old but the cape thing is getting old.

This boy, David, he is 6 almost 7, came to inquire about Beau's superpowers. I told him Beau had the special power of bionic-tantrums and that he was a powerful combination of being terrible and being two. Not something to be messed with at all. David told me he was Blueman, his invention, and his special power was control over water. He showed me some of his moves. Beau showed David some of his moves. David then introduced me to his sister Pinkgirl. I asked her what her special power was and she said she didn't know. I told her she should have control over fashion trends and the princess twirl should be her move. She seemed unimpressed.

Pretty soon Beau and I were surrounded by about 10 kids all asking what their super powers should be and what their superhero name was and what their move should be. Never once did any of these kids parents come over and inquire who are you talking to and for God sakes leave this poor woman alone. No, I know what they were thinking, well the ones that were actually there-- Hooray! Little Johnny is entertained and I can have a moment to myself. Yeah, I'm a little bitter. Because, you see, I want to be one of those women who brings a book on rainy days and sits quietly and reads while every few pages I glance up when it has come Carmella's turn on the balance beam again. But no, with Beau being Beauman it is going to be quite awhile, if ever, that I am bookwoman.

Anyway, this goes on for what seems like to me, FOREVER. Somewhere along the way, trying to get my attention back to him, Beau says "Mommy! Mom-MEEEE!" And all the kids stop their chatter and look at me. David, the leader apparent of the group says to me, "You're the Mommy?" with shock and disdain written all over his little angelic face. And I openly admit to what I am and I say "Yes, I am Mommy," in my best superhero voice, striking the pose. He laughs at himself and says, "Oh, I thought you were The Babysitter." They all laugh and suddenly it is just me and Beauman.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Poodle Man

6 minutes and 59 seconds.

THAT, is how long it took me to sprint a mile today.

I AM a sub-seven minute mile. Barely, I know. But I have been in the seven-eight minute range for almost 2 years. My fastest time prior was 7 minutes 27 seconds last year.

Now to get the rest of the miles I run in the sub-seven range and I might have something here. What? I don't know.

I use to think once I could consistently run several miles at an 8 minute pace then I would be a runner. Then I thought once I run a marathon, I could definitely consider myself a runner. My current thinking is that if I am running 7 minute miles no one will call me a jogger.

You see, Poodle man is a jogger. Heck, really he is a walker that puts on a running stance. I do not want to look like Poodle man. For those of you who don't know who Poodle man is--and why would you?--Poodle Man is a man I often see on one of my regular running routes. He is an man of 60-something and not in the best of shape but he is out there and has been for many years. He is NOT getting better or faster.

Poodle Man runs with this giant black poodle (NOT ON A LEASH). The poodle ALWAYS charges me and it ALWAYS freaks me out. Poodle Man laughs at me and says "Honey, it is just a poodle." I say nothing back, but think yeah, just a poodle. . .just a poodle that is 120lbs. The thing is huge.

ANYWAY, even though I am scared of the poodle I still consider myself tougher and more of a runner than Poodle Man, who is, afterall, just a jogger.

Last week when I went for a long run I saw poodle but not Poodle Man. It was a strange meeting. I was coming down the sidewalk and poodle was turning from the street that my run deadends on and I was passing the street to the neighborhood poodle lives in. Poodle is faster than Poodle Man so I expected to see Poodle Man shortly and cringed inwardly and braced myself to be charged, determined not to stop this time.

But I did stop as poodle passed me. Poodle didn't charge me but looked at me as he turned the corner to his neighborhood and kept on jogging. I watched him for a minute but he didn't turn back, so I started running again and ran down the sidewalk to my street. I expected to see Poodle Man but never did. The only thing I can think is that poodle went for a jog without Poodle Man and followed the same route.

I am left wondering what has happened to Poodle Man and why poodle was out for a run without him. I also think that if I am just going to see poodle and not Poodle man on my runs, I may need to re-evaluate how I measure up as a runner if poodle is my new competition. I am pretty sure he can out run me. Damn it! Still not a runner!