Diary of a SubUrban Housewife

March 31, 2004

A Visit With My Mother

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 9:08 pm

En route to our cruise, we decided to spend 2 1/2 days at my mother’s in Orlando. It’s really the shortest amount of time one can go for a visit without looking like they’re only stopping by for dinner. Just stopping by for dinner would be fine, but we live 3,000 miles apart, and see each other only once a year. So yeah, 2 1/2 days is really the minimum amount of time.

Visiting my mother is stressful for me. Visiting my mother with my husband in tow is even more stressful. To say that the hub tolerates my mother would be a bit of an understatement.

In my defense, I told Chuck he didn’t have to come to my mother’s. He could have met us in Ft. Lauderdale. But being the husband of the century that he is, he said he’d come with us. And in my mind, by agreeing to come when I said he didn’t have to (and really really meant it) he has no license, whatsoever, to bitch. Not even a little bit.

At yesterday’s outing my mother dropped a little bombshell on me. She’s going to see a neurologist because she’s been forgetting things a lot lately. This has her very scared. When my grandmother died (her mother) she had advanced Alzheimer’s. My mother is certain she’s got the early stages of the disease. Lovely way to wind up an afternoon outing.

After my mother went to bed last night I had a bit of a heart-to-heart with my stepfather. I’m here to tell you it was probably the longest conversation I’ve had with the man in the 35 years I’ve known him.

According to my stepfather, yes, my mother has been a bit forgetful lately; but it seems to be selective forgetfulness. That is, she doesn’t remember things she doesn’t really seem to care about, or things that are of no interest to her. (Hmmmmm…..no more wondering where I get that from.)

He knows she’ll feel much better after she sees the doctor. My mother is a bit of a drama queen. She also fancies herself a doctor. So of course she’s diagnosed herself with the worst possible case scenario she could.

So here I am, bursting at the seams to get out of here and get on with my actual vacation, and torn about wanting to stay and make sure she’s really OK and help calm her nerves (which admittedly I am not very good at and would end up making us both crazy, but it’s the thought that counts, no?).

March 28, 2004

Where to Begin…..

Filed under: All About Me — Beth @ 11:06 pm

Much to report here, and alas, I’ve been more than slacking with the updates.

1. Got mad at my hairdresser and decided to switch, for probably one of the most important haircuts I’ve had in a long time. You see, we’re going on a cruise and a destination wedding, and now I have bad hair. I cried about it this morning.

2. Yeah, we’re going on a cruise. And to a destination wedding.

Here’s the short version:

My friend Jill was Vicki (Capt. Stubing’s daughter) on the Love Boat. The Love Boat was a Princess ship. Jill is getting married. Princess Cruises is “throwing” her wedding (in exchange for promotional considerations, I’m sure), on the maiden voyage of the Caribbean Princess.

As wedding guests we got offered a fabulous deal on a 7 day cruise. The deal was so great we couldn’t pass it up. So, we arrive in Ft. Lauderdale Thursday, April 1 for the rehersal dinner. Friday, the 2nd is the wedding, which is apparently at sea cuz our paperwork said something about “night at sea”. The regular guests board the ship (I have to remember not to call it a boat anymore) on Saturday, and we said. For the gorey details, follow Chuck‘s link.

Several of my friends are going, along with their kids. It’s going to be a fabulous time.

I know I had a much more eloquent post in my head about all of this but frankly, this is what you’re getting.

oh, and

3. Here’s the freakest part….

Friday night Chuck and I were at our regular sushi bar, having our usual Friday night sushi dinner. We were at the corner of the bar. I overheard a woman two seats away telling her girlfriend about this cruise she was going on. I further overheard her mention some names (OK, drop some names) of people I know are friends of the bride. So I tell Chuck. He listens and agrees.

As I pass the woman’s chair on the way to the restroom I stop and say, “You’re going to Jill’s wedding.” Much high-pitched screaming ensued (in that total girl kinda way).

Total coincidence and life lesson: be careful what you say and where you say it because you never know who is sitting right next to you.

OK, one of my worst entries ever is now coming to a close. There may be posts from the high seas, but I wouldn’t count on it. If not, we’ll be back April 10th.

March 24, 2004

I’m Not Complaining, It’s Just Weird

Filed under: Uncategorized — Beth @ 4:44 pm

As usual, I’ve been away from my desk for most of the day. Completely the opposite of usual, I have not had one single voicemail today.

March 22, 2004

A Birth or Death Situation

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 1:53 pm

In a few short days we Atkins’ are off on a sea cruise. And while the whole cruise thing is fodder for another entry, one of the things we need for this cruise is a birth certificate for each member of the family.

As my passport is long expired, about three weeks ago I dutifully went on the web and went to the Department of Health Services for the State of New York and ordered my birth certificate. I was so freakin efficient, I didn’t even need to pay for rush delivery. I had ordered it in ample time to receive it prior to our departure.

Chuck ordered a certified copy of his birth certificate prior to our honeymoon in 1995. I know we got Zoe’s shortly after she was born.

We’re good to go.

I mention the whole “need for birth certificates” thing to Chuck a few days ago as more of a reminder to dig them out. A vague look of panic crossed his face. Apparently I’d neglected to say anything to him before this and he hadn’t read about it in any of the myriad cruise documents and websites he’s been frequenting for the last week or so.

So last night he initiated his search. I was vaguely certain of where he’d put Zoe’s. But alas, it wasn’t there. I looked in the one place I would have put it if I had it. It wasn’t there either.

Well, we’re leaving for our trip a week from today and right now I’m the only one with any sort of documentation that I exist.

I spent the better part of an hour on hold this morning with the LA County Registrar/Recorders Office in beautiful downtown Norwalk. According to their website it takes approximately 20 working days to get a copy of your vital records. You can expedite this process for an exhorbitant fee, but that cuts it down to approximately five working days. We’re leaving town in five working days. Would it be possible for me to go to their office and get a copy of Zoe’s birth certificate the same day if I waited in line? I would hold for an eternity if whoever answered the phone would say yes to this question.

I’ve been to the Norwalk office once before. To get my marriage license. It took a full day of waiting in line. I was prepared to do this again if I had to.

Anyway, after waiting on hold for the aforementioned hour, I had to go to a meeting. I gave up and hung up the phone. Before running to my meeting I called my best friend to cry on her shoulder about my predicament. She informed me that I can get a copy of Zoe’s birth certificate at the County office about five minutes from my house, and she’d even go so far as to go with me and drive around while I run in and get the birth certificate. She got her kids’ last week. It took all of ten minutes.

As I finishing typing that last sentence Chuck called me. He was busily taking some kind of online quiz to prove his identity to the State of Illinois so he could get his birth certificate Federal Expressed to him in time for our trip.

All together now: a rousing rendition of The Love Boat.

March 21, 2004

New Diseases for the New Millenium

Filed under: Uncategorized — Beth @ 5:07 pm

I’ve noted a rash outbreak of the following two new diseases:

CDS: Carbohydrate Deprivation Syndrome. Characterized by an overwhelming urge to stick your entire face in a chocolate cake. Commonly suffered by those on the Atkins and South Beach Diet. Symptoms generally worse during times of PMS. Only known cure: gradual reintroduction of “bad carbs” back into your life.

Tanorexia Nervosa: Incurable addiction to Mystic Tanning. Worse case in recorded history:


Only known cure: step away from the tanning machine.

March 20, 2004

Nothing Small Time About It

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 1:20 pm

About a year ago my dad sold his house in the Hollywood Hills (to Barry Zito of the Oakland A’s if you really wanna know). He downsized from a 5000 square foot house to a smart 1200 square foot ocean-front apartment in Santa Monica.

While his old house seemed sort of sparsely furnished, when he attempted to move the contents to his new place–roughly 1/5 the size of his old place, he discovered (duhhhhhhhhhh) that he just simply couldn’t fit it all. Pretty fucking madcap.

So, he decided to use our house as a storage facility. Because we have a fairly large home, but we have is a really really big back driveway and garage.

Movers brought load upon load of stuff here. While we scored with a few things: a new dining room table and chairs (that I actually wanted), and some nice suede chairs for the living room (ok, they’re light brown and in hindsight not a good mix with large dogs and small children), most of the stuff he sent over here was utter and total crap.

So his crap has been sitting in our back driveway (and garage) for about a year. Add to his crap our crap and you’ve got a huge pile of crap taking up the entire back drive. It made me cranky every time I went out there. Chuck was not any happier about it. My dad was completely oblivious to it.

A few months ago I decided it was well past time to get rid of it all.

I made some calls and inquired into getting a dumpster delivered. I’m here to tell you, it’s not as cheap as you might think to get what amounts to a huge garbage can delivered to your house. Then there’s the issue of getting all the crap into said dumpster. You pay big bucks for the dumpster, and go down to the corner by the local rental yard and hire some day laborers to fill it for you (more money out) and you schlep and supervise and fight with your husband and it.

Hours of hard labor and marital discord. Now there’s a weekend to look forward to.

Or you go another way: You make some phone calls, have some people come over and look at your pile of crap and they tell you the pile of money it’s going to cost you to have them do it.

As you might have guessed, I opted for the latter.

So at 11:00 this morning Ru from Small Time Hauling arrived at our home. He had a huge truck, two day laborers (no doubt culled from legions of men hanging out in front of the local rental yard), and I stood outside and smoked and supervised the work.

Not only did they load up and haul away all the crap that needed to go, but when they were done loading, they swept up the leaves and whatnot and moved the crap I wanted to keep into the places where I wanted it to be.

It was a beautiful thing.

I have to go now and stand in my back driveway and admire the craplessness of it all.

March 18, 2004


Filed under: All About Me — Beth @ 1:29 pm

I’ve been a bit “weepy” these last few days. The high point (or perhaps low point?) had to be last night.

About 9:00 last night I wanted Quizno’s for dinner. I wasn’t sure they would still be open. I figured they’d either close at 9 or at 10.

Seconds after I decided this was what I wanted and was getting ready to go out and get it, Chuck told me he was going to the store to get some contact lens solution. I offered to get it for him as I needed to pick up a prescription and wanted Quizno’s.

I go to Rite Aid first, get his eye stuff and my Rx. I then drive over to Quizno’s. I get there at 9:20. I’m pleased to see their little neon sign in the window says OPEN. I get to the door. It’s locked. I know I saw someone behind the counter as I approached, but looked around inside and didn’t see a single soul.

I got back in my car, committed myself to a life-long boycott of Quizno’s, and started crying.

I started to drive home, having a real pity party on the way. I was hungry, and tired, and cranky and had nothing to eat.

So I decided on some comfort food. McDonalds. Some hot, salty french fries would do the trick.

I backtrack and make my way to McD’s. I get my order and start driving home. The tears had finally subsided.

I reach in the bag. I’ll have one fry just to whet my appetite.

The french fries are ice fucking cold.

I think about turning around and going back there but don’t even have the energy for that. So I start crying again.

I cried all the way home.

I pull in the driveway and give myself the big slapdown. It’s just some cold fries. Certainly nothing to cry about. I walk in the door. I start crying. Again. Chuck comes running out, vaguely frantic thinking I accidentally ran over one of the cats while pulling into the driveway.

I sob, “My fries are cold.”

I know he thinks I’ve completely gone off the deep end here.

And because this is all not bad enough, I’m recounting the story of the cold fries to my girlfriends at lunch today, laughing at myself for my own ridiculouness, and at the same time my eyes are welling up with tears again over the cold fries.

Have a hormone.

March 14, 2004

Re-Elect Bush–My Campaign Photo Suggestion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Beth @ 6:53 pm

The view from Santa Monica Pier…a memorial to all the soldiers who’ve lost their lives in the ego-trip in Iraq.


Interestingly, almost directly above it is one of those kiosks where you can take your picture in front of a cardboard cutout of various famous people. One of your choices was W.

It would have been worth the money if they could have promised to get the grave markers in the background.

(And, as always, the disclaimer that I took this pic with my phone so yes, I know, it’s not a great picture, but it was well worth capturing.)

March 13, 2004

Huge Sigh of Relief

Filed under: Work Stuff — Beth @ 12:18 am

I took yesterday as a vacation day because it was Zoe’s birthday.

I took today as a sick day because….well…..my husband did.

I remembered I had a repair person coming into the office at 10, so when I called in I asked my assistant to take care of that for me. What I completely forgot was that I was having the painters come this weekend.

I got a frantic call at 5:30 from the receptionist saying the painters were there and what should she do????? Well, I didn’t get her message until close to 6 and the painters had left by then and said they’d reschedule.

But then I started to get a nagging feeling.

You see, every year in March my building has their annual “power down”. It is when they turn off all the power to the building for about eight hours and do various and sundry tests and repairs.

I got a very sick feeling in my stomach that the power down was this weekend.

Now I would never be so clueless to schedule painters for the same weekend as the power down, but still, that nagging feeling persisted.

I spent the better part of an hour figuring out how I was going to manage getting to the office and taking care of all that needed to be done, and contacting all the people I needed to contact to take care of their things, and dreading the chewing out I was gonna get from my boss for not having my act together on this.

This thing that happens every year and is a big deal because we have to do a lot of preparations in the office prior to the building killing all the power. Not the least of the odious chores is emptying and defrosting all the mini-fridges all over the office (there are at least eight of them, and 6 full-sized refrigerator/freezers, which are thankfully frost-free).

And because that wasn’t enough, Zoe’s best friend is spending the weekend and I booked pedicures for both of them at 11:30 tomorrow morning, and then one of Zoe’s other dearest friends is coming over at 2:30 and Chuck and I are taking them all to see Agent Cody Banks 2 and to dinner at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Zoe’s birthday.

So now I was going to have to juggle everyone else’s schedule, spend the better part of Saturday in the office, and endure a chewing out from my boss, my daughter, and my husband, because I fucked things up royally.

And for what?

To exchange the black evening Manolo’s for the carmel kitten-heel slingback Manolo’s I’ve been dreaming about.

Yeah, I fucked this all up over a pair of shoes.

OK, the most perfect shoes that ever saw the face of this planet, but for shoes.

Yeah, so I’m working myself up into a fine tizzy when it occurs to me to check my work calendar. I know I would put the power-down dates in my calendar.

And I did.

It’s next weekend.

That gush of wind outside your window: that’s me heaving a huge sigh of relief.

March 12, 2004

A Piercing Moment

Filed under: Zoe — Beth @ 7:07 pm

It was tradition in my family that you got your ears pierced for your 10th birthday. Since that first pair of holes in my ears, I have added one more to hole each ear, and one to my belly button.

Chuck has two piercings in his left ear and one in his right.

The discussion of Zoe getting pierced ears has come up many times. Chuck has been adamant that no daughter of his was going to have pierced ears until she was 18. After some heart-felt discussions, he softened to 16.

Yesterday Chuck and I were at the mall picking up Zoe’s birthday presents. In a moment when brain function clearly stopped, Chuck suggested that he might be open to the idea of Zoe getting her ears pierced for her birthday.

Chuck barely made mention of the idea that he might be willing to consider entertaining the possiblity that maybe in the not-too-distant-future he would be open to perhaps letting Zoe, at eight, have her ears pierced. All I can say in my defense is that he cracked that door open. But leave it to me to push an 800 pound elephant right through it.

So this afternoon we picked Zoe up from school and took her to Claire’s at the mall, the only place any self-respecting eight year old would even think of having her ears pierced, and we did it.

I will say they’ve got it down to a science there at Claire’s. At the suggestion of the manager, they did both ears at once, and I will say, my baby was a trooper, barely flinching when they shot her little earlobes with those piercing guns.

She got some tiny little crystal studs that reflect the light and change color. They’re darling. (I’ll get Chuck to take a picture and post it later.)

She looks go grown up now it might almost break my heart, if it weren’t already bursting with my love for her.

Happy birthday peanut.