Posts Tagged ‘ heat ’

Why Do I Have Bad Barf Karma?

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

I must have really pissed off the vomit gods in my past life. I was a child puker because, like my daughter, I battled carsickness. I also threw up a decent amount in my college drinking days. But apparently that–and the many times Fia has barfed during the worst possible scenarios–are still not enough to give me a free pass. The gods continue to punish me.

We are still in our rental house while our new home is being renovated. The whole first floor here has no air-conditioning. It is 100+ degrees today. I have no sitter and a 3 1/2 year old and an 18-month old to entertain.

I decided to take them to the Natural History Museum, here in Los Angeles. It’s not too far, it’s a straight shot on the highway, and it has two super huge, dark, cold rooms. In this heat I have dreamt about these rooms. Specifically, I’ve dreamt about re-creating myself as a giant stuffed elephant.

We left early because I wanted to make sure I got them back in time to nap. The upstairs, where all the bedrooms are, is air-conditioned. At that time of day, it’s about the only place you can be in the sweltering heat.

We were cruising down the highway when Fia started complaining that her throat hurt. You know where this is going…. But, hear me out. Lately this has been her tactic to get a lollipop. She knows I usually have some on me. They are my crutch when I really do think she needs to barf. As we were leaving, she saw me put two in my pocket and wouldn’t stop talking about them. So I figured it was a ploy. I ignored.

Just as we exited off the highway and into the museum parking lot, the barf began to pour out. Copious amounts. It was awful. Especially because it stank so badly, I was forced to roll down the windows. It was that awful that I needed smog filled, 102-degree air to keep me from barfing too.

My hyper-but-laid-back-Emmett didn’t seem fazed. And honestly, at this point, I wasn’t really either. Except…except… I needed a Laundromat. I had no change of clothes for her and she was sitting in a bowl of barf. Problem was, we were in a neighborhood where crime rates are high.  In fact, there was an armed robbery a week ago at the Lavenderia that Yelp guided me to.  But doing a quick risk/benefit analysis, I decided that I’d rather be robbed than drive around smelling like vomit. 

I actually carried Fia in her huge car seat. (Thank god I do bootcamp.) I wanted to contain the barf as much as possible.  I stripped her down and threw my sweatshirt on her.  An hour later, dripping in sweat and exhausted from entertaining two kids by watching machines spin, and sucking on the lollipops I should have used in the first place, (at 103 degrees the vacant lot didn’t seem like a suitable play space anyway) I lugged my now-clean car seat back to the car. I really wanted to go home. It was nearly nap time at this point. I was a mess. You can trick an 18-month into thinking the Laundromat was the day’s adventure. It’s not so easy with a 3 1/2 year old. As I started the engine, Fia says:

“Mommy, are we going to the museum now?”

So you can guess how I spent the rest of my afternoon…

 

 

 

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Death (Valley) on the Day of my Birth

Friday, January 4th, 2013

I turned forty-whexianoehna (that’s a giant sneeze sound for “something”) over the holiday. Phil and I have a tradition of going to a museum on my birthday. One year, to gain perspective on how little I mattered in the scheme of the universe, we went to the Natural History Museum. We were living in New York and it was a time that I was questioning my purpose in life (pre-kids, clearly).  Just walking through all those exhibits documenting civilizations past really did help pound home the idea that I’m just a blip. We all are. Depressing? Maybe. Or just a good way to stop taking yourself so seriously.

This year we were immensely enjoying our first “staycation.” We kept toying with the idea of going to San Diego for a night with the kids, or to Palm Desert. We couldn’t make a decision/commitment, so we just left everything loose (which resulted in the best week we’ve had in years).

Phil kept asking what I wanted to do for my birthday, but I remained noncommittal. I was having too much fun just “winging” it. On my birthday it was raining. Here’s how the day shaped up:

Me: “Hmm…what should we do today? It’s raining.”

Phil: “It’s not raining in Death Valley.”

An hour later we had packed up the kids and were heading off on a 5-hour road trip to one of the most extreme places on earth. We had booked the last hotel room at basically the only hotel in Death Valley: Furnace Creek.  (They have a sister property down the road as well).

In case you didn’t know, Death Valley holds the record for the hottest place on earth (134-degrees back in July 1913). This time of year though, it’s chilly. As in 54-degrees or so. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is also their busiest. But by busy, that only means one hotel in a huge swath of desert.  The hotel isn’t even that big. We didn’t fight RV’s for road space or gobs of tourists at the 3 restaurants. It was the perfect time to go.

A friend of mine asked, “How did you entertain kids in that place?”

For us, it was easy. We told Fia we were going on an adventure. We’ve done it before to other stranger places, like the Saltan Sea. Someday when she’s a teenager, she’ll probably roll her eyes and beg to stay home. But at this age, she is totally game and gets as excited as we do (though she doesn’t know over what). And Emmett, well, he is the easiest, most chill baby in the world. So we were golden.

 

On the way up we stopped in two ghost towns and explored.

By the time we arrived at the hotel it was dark and their restaurant was sold out. So we just plopped down at a table near the lobby-bar and enjoyed a lovely birthday dinner. With wine of course. (I know this is starting to sound like a book report, but I am a bit rusty from taking so much time off.)

The next morning we began our adventure. We started off at the Sand Dunes (where George Lucas shot some of the scenes from Star Wars…remember when C3PO and R2D2 crash in the escape pod?). We said to Fia, “Look at this!! This is like the biggest sandbox ever!”

 She screamed in delight and took off running. We played hide and seek. We played chase. Emmett giggled on my back as I ran after her and Phil. It was a blast.

 

An hour later, we headed to the lowest point in the U.S.: Badwater Basin. It’s basically a lake of hardened salt, 282 feet below sea level. There, we played catch with rocks of salt. We even licked some. We ran all over, feeling it crunch under our feet.

From there, we pulled over spontaneously at what’s called Devil’s Cornfield. It was an even more extreme feel of crunching land. I honestly could have stayed in that field and crunched all day.

On the way back home, we stopped at the famous Amargosa Opera House in the ghost town of Amargosa. By famous I mean you probably have never heard of it. Fia and Emmett were both sleeping, so Phil and I took turns getting out of the car and checking things out.

We got home at 9 pm, thus concluding our 2-day, 1-night, whirlwind tour of Death Valley. And another year where I got tremendous perspective on the day of my birth: I am the luckiest woman in the world.

More Pics:

Above: Em standing on sand. Below: Fia being tossed (I was more gentle than it looks) down a hill of sand. By choice.

 

 

 

 

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Milestone Monday: What I Said I’d Never Do

Monday, September 17th, 2012

If there was one thing I swore I’d never do as a parent it was to go to a Chuck E. Cheese.

So it is with great sadness, mixed with a feeling of failure and deep depression, that I find myself confessing. Yes, I’ve been to hell and back. I’m not proud.

The day started out so promising. Fia, Teddy, Courtney, and I were going to a waterpark.  Yes, one of those places, as Courtney pointed out, we could get a flesh-eating disease. Luckily none of us had any open wounds (though it probably wouldn’t have stopped me).  Fia and I had gone a few times to this place and had a blast. Plus, I was so excited about the chicken nuggets I had dreamt of them the night before.

Being silly non-California girls, we made the mistake of not checking to see if a waterpark would still be open in, oh, 100+ degree heat. I mean September is the hottest month out here. Why would one NOT be open?

We got stuck on the freeway with a tractor-trailer turned on its side, but remained optimistic. What should have taken 30 minutes took more than an hour. But the refreshing urine-filled water awaited.

We pulled up to the parking lot and not a soul was in sight. A big sign told the awful news. “Raging Waters Closed.” Huh?? We had our swimsuits on. Towels and snacks packed. And two toddlers waiting to get wet.

Well, apparently it’s only open on the weekends once the thermometer hits 100 (or when school starts again, which happens simultaneously). Makes a whole lot of f–king sense. I panicked. Courtney–ever the level headed one–went into action. Google. Google more.

“There’s a Chuck E. Cheese nearby!” she exclaimed. I looked at her in horror. Then she confessed that in New Jersey she had reached desperate measures (who doesn’t when you move there from Brooklyn?) and had taken Teddy to one.

Teddy started shouting with glee, “Chuck E. Cheese!” Fia joined in even though she had no idea what she was cheering about. My body began to fill with dread.

Ten minutes later I found myself in a parking lot in Covina, California in 110-degrees. Friends, this is what it means to hit rock bottom in motherhood. If you’ve been to one of these places, then you know what I am talking about. Bad pizza, tickets that get you crappy toys (made by children in China), a giant mouse walking around, and dare I say, on all the rides there must be staph. At least a waterpark has chlorine. The one upside was the central air. The bottom of our house has no a/c, so I tried to bask in it. If there’s such a thing as basking at a Chuck E. Cheese.

I felt dirty. I still do.

These are the sacrifices we make as parents. This is why being a mom is truly the hardest job in the world.

 

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Moving Mid-Pregnancy: Freezing in LA

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.

Cold=Misery

So far here is the major difference between LA and NY: I’m FREEZING. In California. This makes no sense.

And as a person who hates the cold (and has a hormone or two raging in my pregnant body), I swear it is making me miserable.

I have bought 7 space heaters so far. S-E-V-E-N. Granted, I’m not keeping them all, as I keep experimenting with which one I think is the best. But this has practically become a full time job for my pregnant self.

Here’s what no one told me when moving here: yes, the weather is great, meaning when there is a snowstorm in NYC and 10 below, we have 60-degree weather and sunshine out here. However, in our Brooklyn apartment, we had heat. In fact, it got so hot in our place, we frequently opened the windows (I know, a complete waste of money and energy, but in our building we have no control over the thermostat).

Out in LA, most homes aren’t insulated. People learn to layer in the winter. The house we rented takes it a step further. There was never heating ducts put in the kitchen or in two of the upstairs bedrooms, which happens to be Fia’s room and the new baby’s. Luckily our landlord was gracious enough to install heat (after I called her nearly in tears) in those. There is no way I could have a newborn in a room without heat. But the kitchen is a more complicated job. Thus, my continued quest for the perfect space heater.

I think maybe the oil-filled radiators are best if I want to keep them on all the time. Our kitchen is large and has lots of windows, so I think I need two of them. I’ve bought the ceramic ones too, but they use a lot of electricity and you wouldn’t want to keep them running through the night (any experts out there care to weigh in?).

In the meantime, I went to Target yesterday and bought (fake) fur-lined slippers and a big puffy robe thing.  I am going to walk around like I’m in a blizzard out here.

Okay, there are more differences between NYC and LA than this, and I’ll write about them in future posts (like how I love the traffic out here. I’m serious). But I just had to get this off my cold chest—and belly. Thanks for listening.

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