Sometimes I Miss This Little Place

So, the subject of Great Wolf Lodge came up at lunch today and there was a question of when we were last there, so I logged in here as I recalled blogging about it and, sure enough, there it was. (And, for nickel knowledge, I totally was right and the hubs was completely wrong. Go me.) And I got a little nostalgic.

I think I know better, at this point, to say I'm going to make an effort to get back into a routine blogging habit here. But...perhaps I'll dust off the place for the few and varied opinions that I might otherwise keep to myself.

We shall see.

Anyway. It's worth logging in and saying hi now and again, yes?

As you were.


How to be an Adult in Two Easy Steps

So you may have seen the surge in people talking about "adulting" -- specifically how "adulting is hard." I'm going to skip over my thoughts on adding -ing to words in order to make them actions other than to say that I don't consider "adulting" a thing any more than I consider "Bething" a thing (though I guess one would consider that the act of being Beth, right?)

Regardless, having now been an adult for upwards of 23 years, I thought I'd share my easy two-step plan for adulting:

1. Recognize that not everything in life is about you.
2. Go about your business with step 1 firmly in place at the front of your thoughts.

So really, to summarize: adulting is not hard if you are not a narcissist. If you'd like to raise a future generation that has less trouble with being an adult than you are having, please raise them with a strong sense of personal responsibility and an understanding that there is more to the world than their own personal happiness.


They're Called HOT Lanes Because They Make Your Life Hell

So here in the good old DC Area, they've been transitioning lanes on both Interstates into HOT lanes. For those not in the know (you lucky creatures, you) that stands for High Occupancy/Toll. Which means that you either have to have a specified number of people in your car (the High Occupancy option - 2 or 3, depending on which road you're using) or you pay a Toll. How much toll? Well, that depends on how bad traffic is. The worse traffic gets, the higher the toll.

I'll admit, we didn't pay a whole lot of attention when 495 went this route because it didn't impact us. However, when 95 started implementing them, we paid attention. Our initial thought was that it might not be so bad.

Until recently, there have been HOV lanes on 95 (high occupancy of 3 people required) and the hubs has availed himself of these by slipping into them early in the morning (the HOV part turned on at 6am, so if you got on at 5:30, you could be past the last exit, and therefore able to continue to your destination, by the time HOV clicked on) and repeating the process coming home (they turned on at 3:30 - so again, if you got in by 3:10ish, you would be past the last exit before your destination when the penalties for not having 3 in the car started.) And while he didn't love the "early schedule," it meant that he spent only ~40 minutes on either trip to or from work and when you live 27 miles from your office, that's not a terrible commute time. There were alternatives - a "late" schedule (go in after HOV turns off at 9, come home after 6:30 when it turned off) and "slugging", wherein you pick up random strangers during prime commute time and drop them off at specified locations. The problem with slugging is the extra time added to your commute - it makes it a solid hour and fifteen by the time you've gone to the commuter lot, gotten people, dropped them, and then wiggled through the horrific off-Interstate traffic from the drop off point to your office. But still, in a pinch when you needed those prime hours, it worked.

Now? Now, you are well and truly f'd, no matter what you choose.

Slugging works basically the same way - and (bonus?) it's still free. But it's also still 75-80 minutes door to door.

The early and late options are gone. Poof. Because the toll is always on. Always. On. So while the price may be lower super early in the morning, you still pay a minimum of about $3, which will translate to a minimum of $30 a week. And that's if they don't decide that traffic is bad enough to hike up the price. Which they inevitably do. So realistically it's $50-$80 a week, and I don't know about you, but we don't happen to have that much extra dosh just lying around to throw into VDOT's coffers.

Throw in the bonus that the a-holes in Arlington didn't get on board with the HOT lane project and so half-way up, you're back in the main lanes with all the traffic unless you have three people in your car.

So, the new and current plan is for him to go in around 10:30 and leave for home around 7:45. Which, if you're keeping score, means he'll only see the kids in the morning, since they get up at 7a.m. But if you have a brain that you use, you'll piece together that when one gets home at 8:30 at night, you don't go to bed at 10 so that you can be up at 7. No, you stay up til midnight or one and then sleep 'til 8:30 or 9, at which point you have to throw on clothes and rush to work, so there's no quality time with your family in that circumstance.

And if the undercurrent of my post that you're picking up on is frustration, you'd be right. Is there a solution? Other than moving out of the area, I'm not sure what it'd be.


On Diversity

So I'm browsing headlines and stumble across this little gem: "Furious 7" has an unusually racially and ethnically inclusive cast including actors who are white, black, Asian, Hispanic, male and female."

Why is gender included in a sentence talking about racial and ethnic diversity? One would assume that the female actresses have a race/ethnicity in addition to being female. At least, last time I checked I was both female and Caucasian. Maybe being female, the other becomes less important?

Even more, one has to ask...why is this considered newsworthy? Even for the entertainment section of CNN?



Just Keeping You On Your Toes

I'd like to say there's a plan to posting and then disappearing and then posting again but, alas, there isn't. Really it all boils down to having very little of interest to say (honestly, you don't care about potty training. I know this. For what it's worth, the three year old doesn't seem to care all that much about it himself. Though we've made enough progress I'm calling him "trained", we just still have accidents when there's something more interesting to do than pay attention to such things.)

Beyond that, the grass is showing signs of wanting to green up. The maple trees are spewing forth their pollen making me miserable. And robins are hopping about on the lawn. All signs point to spring.

I've started watching Blue Bloods on Netflix - enjoying it quite a bit (for all I'm three episodes in) - though I found episode 3 rather jarring as the word "forthwith" reared its head not once, not twice, but three times. How many New York City cops actually use the word forthwith, I ask you? I'll forgive them and watch more because, well, Tom Selleck. But really. Forthwith? This isn't Downton Abbey.

Speaking of Downton, I never could get into that - tried for a bit. Decided it wasn't worth it. And really did a little happy dance to see their next season is their last. One less annoying thing to fill up my Facebook "news" feed. (Now if only we could get football to decide on a final season, all would be well.)

In other TV-like news, we've tried an episode of The Walking Dead (too creepy for me, though I suspect I'd enjoy it if I could get past that. Hubs will probably watch it at some point, though of the two of us, he rates TV watching somewhere around the same priority as lint rolling the carpet.) We've tried two episodes of Breaking Bad (not opposed to watching more, but as with TWD, so incredibly not child friendly that it could only happen after bedtime and, well, TV doesn't hit a lot of priority once that happens.)

Finally, I'd been enjoying the fact that House Hunters International had a "selected favorites season" on Netflix as it's a nice "mommy needs to relax for 30 minutes" show that I generally don't mind having on now and again. Except that the majority of the episodes that made the cut are gay couples and, while I'm happy for them to go off and buy houses internationally, those aren't the episodes I want to have showing when my impressionable kids are hanging out in the room. So instead it's been Man v Food and Good Eats. Nothing wrong with either, but they're starting to rank right up there with Mickey Mouse in terms of things I have watched too often.

And now I will resume radio silence until next time.


Living Life Fifteen Minutes at a Time

It's time. It's actually past time. But it's a day I've been dreading and procrastinating for the last year (after my first horrific failure at it). It's...potty training time.

If you cast your brain back with me four years, you might recall that I used the 3-Day Potty Training method with the eldest boy. He was 25 months old and he needed to be out of diapers for a cruise the family wanted to take and...though it was 3 days of literal hell, when all was said and done, he was potty trained.

So, when the youngest hit right around 25 months, I dug out my pdf, re-read it, geared myself up, spent 3 days in hell...and then 4...and then 5...and then realized that at some point I needed to be able to a) leave the house and b) say things other than "tell mommy when you need to go potty." So we bought a new box of diapers and decided to wait a bit longer.

We tried again about four months later. Same result.

We played around with pull-ups to no positive effect.

At the end of the day (well, really, last week at swimming lessons), I had an epiphany: this child is more stubborn than his brother.

See, at swimming, now that I don't have to be in the pool with him (and the angels burst forth into song), he wasn't doing any of the things that he knew how to do because the coaches are sweet girls who say things like, "Don't you want to blow bubbles with me?" He's three. If you ask an open ended question, he will say "No." He will also stoutly refuse to do whatever it is. I have asked him if he wants ice cream and he says "No" and honestly means it. Because, hello? The power of no is irrefutable. So, last week at swimming after watching them act as though he didn't know how to go underwater I finally said, "Just make him do it. He knows how. He loves it. You simply can't give him a choice." And hey, what do you know? He graduated two levels last week.

As Gru would say, "Light-bulb."

And so, I filed my gentle, give-your-child-ownership-of-the-process potty training method away, stuck the kid in underwear and set a timer for 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes, we went to the potty. If he did something, great, if not, great. Set the timer. Lather, rinse repeat. We had ZERO accidents of the "crap, now I have to scrub the carpet" variety (which is what we had tons of with the 3-day miserableness.) We had two wet pants that stopped before much wetting happened and he said, "Mommy, I go potty!" and we ran and he finished. And...I think we might make it. Tomorrow we'll do the same thing (I might live on the edge and move it to 20 minutes - we'll see.) But I begin to think there is a light at the end of the tunnel and he won't, in fact, be going to college in diapers.

So there you have it - my newsflash of the day: Every kid needs different things. (Yeah, I know. I said "duh" too.)


Radio Silence

So...apparently I dropped off the edge of the earth there for a minute. Sorry about that - there's been much family drama 'round these parts of late. None of which I can really discuss. But it's sufficient to say I'd appreciate your prayers (my immediate little world of four is fine).

And I'll do what I can to be back semi-regularly again.