Diary of a SubUrban Housewife

August 2, 2008

Pinch Me

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 1:30 pm

Me:  I got this bacon for free.  I had a coupon.

Chuck:  That’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of.

June 25, 2008


Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 5:03 pm

If you’ve been to Chuck‘s today, you know it’s our wedding anniversary. Lucky #13. You also know that for a variety of reasons, we never got our wedding pictures.

Yes, periodically we’ll drag out the proofs, still in pristine condition, in the boxes they came from the photographer in. I’m going to estimate that no more than 20 people have ever seen our “official” wedding pictures.

In fact, two weeks ago we were at Chuck’s mom’s house and she brought the subject of our wedding pictures up. What ever happened with them. How much she’s love a picture from our wedding. Blah blah blah blah blah. Chuck and I both laughed and were emphatic that there would be no wedding pictures. Yes, we have them. Yes, they’re lovely. Yes, the photographer is still in business, in fact, we drive by his studio regularly. But NO, there will be no wedding pictures.

It’s a bit funny (and frankly not surprising to me at all) that Chuck decided to document our lack of wedding pictures today. Not surprising because I too had been thinking of talking about that today, in honor of our anniversary. So when Chuck told me he had a new entry up and I went over there I laughed at his topic of choice. Then I was secretly a little crestfallen because I wanted to talk about it too.

But then I read his entry. The whole entire entry, complete with clicking on his links and re-reading our history (very convenient this whole weblog thing for remembering your past). And when I got to the bottom of his entry I was relieved. Because he had not stolen my Ace In The Hole (click to enlarge):

I now pronounce you...

Aren't we young?

Happy anniversary woobie. I love you.

January 15, 2008

Parental Control

Filed under: Angel Music,Family Stuff,Zoe — Beth @ 7:32 pm

I come from a long line of holiday procrastinators.

If at any time during the mid-70′s/early 80′s you were strolling around the corner of Columbus Circle and Central Park West in July and looked up and wondered what kind of crazy person still had their Christmas lights up on their balcony, Hi, nice to meet you. I’m the daughter of that crazy person.

In fact, a few days after New Years my dad came by and was extremely impressed that all the decorations that had been out gracing our yard and eaves were put away.
My dad, however, proudly announced that his holiday decoration for this year (which will no doubt end up in our garage and on our lawn next holiday season) is a snowman. He insists that snowmen are not holiday specific and he put his up December 21, and it will grace his patio (which overlooks the Pacific) until March 21. Because, hey, it’s winter, so a snowman is appropriate all season long.

So while to our neighbors we are seemingly those people who are Jane and Johnny on the spot with cleaning up our holiday decorations, we cannot say the same for the in-the-house decorations.

You see, we have an environmentally correct (i.,e., fake) Christmas tree.

We moved into this house when Zoe was about 2. At the time her bedroom was on one side of the house and our bedroom was on the other side. Come Christmas I told Chuck I couldn’t possibly have a real tree because I kept having visions of a horrible fire caused by faulty wiring on a crispy dry tree. The tree would be in the living room which would be right smack in the middle of the two bedrooms and I wouldn’t be able to get my precious baby out of the house as it burned. So we have a fake tree. We’ve had the same fake tree for the last 9 Christmases.

And here it is January 15th and our fake tree was still standing in the corner of the living room, completely decorated. OK, we haven’t turned the lights on since a few days after Christmas but there stood our tree. Mocking me every time I walked in the front door.

Every day I say to myself, I really need to get that tree taken down. And every day I don’t do it.

And today I remembered what being a parent is all about and made Zoe (and Katie) take apart the tree.

They just finished. There is angel music coming from my living room.

March 23, 2007

Apparently I am that Kind of Mother

Filed under: Family Stuff,Zoe — Beth @ 12:29 am

It’s school acceptance letter season. It’s that special time of year when you find out if all the essay writing, test prep classes, recommendation letters, and money you threw at getting your child into the best possible middle school pays off.

Zoe goes to a lovely private school. Last year the school went from a k-6 to k-5 elementary and 6-8 middle school. Zoe transitioned right to the middle school for 6th grade. No muss. No fuss. No essays, test prep, letters, or extra money (besides the gut wrenching middle five-figure tuition). Zoe loves her school. Zoe loves her teachers. There’s a lot about Zoe’s school that Chuck and I love, but there are a lot of things we don’t love.

When she started at her school, the plan was always for her to leave after 6th grade. However, with the advent of the middle school taking her through the 8th grade there we reconsidered our options.

But there are times when it’s easier to transition to a new school. And there are times when it’s harder. Easier times are 6th, 7th, and 9th grades, when lots of other kids are making the transition. All the other times are harder.

So, since Zoe is going into 7th grade in the fall we revisited the new school discussion. There was a pretty short list, but since we are all very happy with the middle school curriculum at Zoe’s current school, we were pretty happy. But…there was one school Zoe *really* wanted to go to. It’s the school her best friend since kindergarten, Katie, goes to.

On the plus side the new school is an all girls school. A major plus. The girls all wear uniforms. Extra super duper plus. It’s still small, but bigger than where Zoe is now. Chalking another one up to the plus column. Excellent reputation. Plus plus. But the biggest plus of all…the tuition is less than half what we pay now. Ding Ding Ding. Folks, we have a winner.

So we did the dance. Zoe wrote, rewrote, and then rewrote again her application essays. We did intenstive one on one test prep tutoring. I solicited recommendations from all the right teachers. Then we crossed our fingers.

Every day the hot topic of discussion everywhere has been who got letters and to where? Yes, we’ve heard from A and B, but not C, and C is little Buster’s first choice. Yeah! We got into Sally’s first choice. Much faux lamenting what all this change is going to mean, which is just poorly disguised bragging. Talking to other mothers who have applied to the same schools as you have. Have you gotten your letter yet? The thing is, this is a discussion I don’t usually engage in. I’m not the braggy or faux lamenting type.

About a week ago I started stressing about Zoe’s application and when we were going to hear. On Monday I went through the application packet to get the number to call admissions and saw in their packet that they send out acceptances for 7th grade around March 30th. OK, I have a concrete date, I’m still anxious but I know when I’ll have an answer. Monday night one of the other mothers whose daughter has applied to the same school called to see if we’d heard anything yet. I told her what I’d read and not to expect anything until the end of the month.

Then yesterday afternoon this other mother phones and told me that acceptances were going out that afternoon. Eek. Apparently she could not be as Zen as I and called the admissions office.

All morning I not so patiently waited to hear the usual chorus of dog barking that means the mail had arrived. About 2:00 no cacophony yet, but I decided to check the mailbox. I went outside and what was that I heard? Yes, it was angel music coming from my mailbox. Laaaaaaaaaaa. We got the big fat envelope.

And we all know what the big fat envelope means. Yes, Zoe was accepted to her first choice school.

So what did I do? Yup, I immediately called the other mother that had applied to find out if she’d gotten a packet yet. No? Oh, I’m sooo sorry to hear that. Maybe tomorrow.

March 12, 2007

But of Course…

Filed under: Family Stuff,The Animals,Zoe — Beth @ 6:16 pm

Zoe on why there are four half-full open cans of cat food in the refrigerator:

Because the cats like variety.

October 22, 2006

Not a Bang Up Day

Filed under: All About Me,Celeb Central,Family Stuff — Beth @ 1:02 pm

Though I haven’t talked about it much, I have been riding my motorcycle. Not much, but I’ve been getting out there. And I’ve been falling. So has my bike.

It goes a little something like this: I pop the clutch. The bike stalls. The bike gets away from me. The bike falls down. I fall down. In the best possible world when that happens I miraculously manage to get out from under the bike before it comes crashing down on me.

Last Saturday when that happened I was out our corner. The bike went down on my right side. I called for Chuck between sobs. He made me pick the bike up.

Yesterday I was over at the local college, heading to the big empty parking lot to practice. This time the bike went down to the left. I miraculously managed to not end up underneath it, but bruised my entire left calf on the inside. Frankly, if it didn’t hurt so damned much I’d be amazed at the spectacular colors it has turned.

Chuck picked the bike up for me yesterday. And I hardly cried at all.

But yesterday instead of giving up in defeat, I spent the next hour (or so) practicing my right turns, doing slalom turns, and otherwise finally somewhat enjoying that whole wind in my hair (OK, helmet) feeling of motorcycle riding.

In fact, I had such a good time that I suggested that we go on a family motorcycle outing today. Clearly something got rattled loose in my brain in one of my many falls. But hell, I’m intrepid.

We agreed that the bagel place was the best destination. Far enough away to qualify as going more than around the block, but in a not overly traffic-y area. In an extremely unlike me manner, I woke up at 7:15 this morning, itching to go. Unfortunately, Zoe didn’t wake up until 9:45 and Chuck didn’t get out of bed until well after 10. So I’d been cooling my heels for 3+ hours and was afraid I was going to lose my nerve. But hell, I’m intrepid.

Off we went. Zoe rode with Chuck. I zoomed putt putted there under my own speed. But apparently, in finally figuring out how to make right turns I lost my ability to stop my bike. All the way to bagels I kept putting my feet down too early. But we got there. In one piece.

We dined al fresco sucking in the car fumes on Ventura Blvd. I made it there. Alive. Now all I had to do was make it home. As we were leaving we had our first star sighting of the day: Ace Young. His lovely photo has been added to my celeb gallery over there on the right. He was with his family. And the table of four little tweeners two over from us were positively aflutter. Yeah, he’s cute. The ubiquitous wallet chain was mysteriously absent.

Ace, where's your wallet chain?

Time to go home. Finally. A right then left out of the parking. A right turn up Fulton. A left onto our street, and a right into our driveway. I’d be home.

But noooooooooooooooooooo. Chuck had to stop at Rite Aid. Chuck wanted me to go with him to Rite Aid. I reluctantly agreed to go to Rite Aid. Add another left on Riverside and a right into the parking, then a left out of the parking, a left on our street, and a right into the driveway. I could do it.

I made it into the Rite Aid parking lot with only a minor incident of gear problems. And I even managed to get over my Fred Flinstone inclination to stop the damned motorcycle using my feet!

Star sighting number 2 of the day in the Rite Aid parking lot: Timothy Busfield. I’ve had a crush on Tim Busfield since back in the 30 Something days.


And with the exception of my last left turn into our street, for which the best thing I can say is that I recovered well, I would chalk today’s outing up as a successful one.

October 4, 2006

Catching Up

Filed under: Around the Neighborhood,Family Stuff — Beth @ 12:56 pm

So it’s been more than a month since I’ve posted an entry. It’s not that I haven’t sat down and starting writing one (or two or three or four), but they don’t seem to make it up here. And since I’m all about avoiding what’s on my laptop at the other end of this room, I thought I’d fill you in on the goings on here chez Atkins.

1. Middle School. Yup, the princess is in 6th grade and has officially started Middle School. The first week was a bit rocky, with 5+ hours of homework a night, but things have settled down and we’re in a groove now. This is her first year with actual letter and number grades (no more smiley face stickers in Middle School). And with the exception of math (the continued bane of our existence) the grades have been excellent. Even Latin (so those early years of reinforcing those neural pathways seem to have paid off, though right now I wish I’d focused on some math skills too).

2. Work continues to be excellent. Huge sigh of relief. We had a bit of a rough patch at the beginning of the summer but things have smoothed out and I’m once again a happy clam (except for now when I’m avoiding the drama on the laptop and writing this entry instead).

3. Chuck continues to travel to all the glamour spots of the world. This week: St. Louis.

4. I spent this past weekend in New York attending my 30 year high school reunion. Actually not my high school and not my year. Allow me to explain: I moved to Los Angeles to finish my senior year of high school out here. The reunion was from the high school I attended when I lived in Brooklyn. And technically it was the official reunion of the class of 76 (I was the class of 77) but then it turned into a multi-year reunion thing so I went. Most of the people I went to high school with I started going to school with in kindergarten, and many of them were there. And I have not seen these people in the 30 years it has been since I lived in Brookyn. But the odd thing is, I have not actually aged 30 years (although there’s a picture in my attic that is very very old.)

I anticipated a lot of really big hair, long fingernails, and sequins. I was disappointed on the hair issue, but there were enough sequins to choke a horse (which I don’t guess is many sequins actually cuz they’re likely to get stuck in your throat), and a lot of really long, really dark red, painted fingernails. Ladies of leisure I suppose. I did not wear sequins, thankyouverymuch, but instead chose a lovely black knit jersey wrap dress that packed really well.

I stayed on Long Island with the woman who was my best friend in high school. I saw her last about 19 years ago. We spent most of my time there (with the exception of the reunion) catching up, and that was nice. Her mom was staying with her for the Jewish holidays. Terri’s mom was old when we were in high school, so now, 30 years later, she’s positively ancient. But her mom looked exactly the same as she did back then. Go figure.

4. This summer I enrolled Zoe in Cotillion and she started last night. Party dresses, tights, appropriate shoes, white gloves and all. She is going with Katie and they’re both absolutely thrilled about this (as you can well imagine). Katie’s mom and I watched for the first half hour or so and then left. We were there long enough to see the girls do their first waltzes. When I returned to do pickup detail they were on to the foxtrot. Chuck left me the digital camera to immortilize the moment, but naturally when I went to take a pic last night it was out of batteries and he has the charger with him in St. Louis. I’ll get better pix at our next outing, but here’s one courtesy of my camera phone:


That’s all for now.

August 23, 2006

The Essence of Perfection

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 10:44 pm

Zoe is 10 now. She’s finally at an age where she can be useful as far as doing chores. She’s been responsible for feeding the animals for a couple of years now, and a while ago I added unloading the dishwasher to her meager list of responsibilities.

Because, I mean really…why bother having kids if you can’t put them to work? And what better things to make them do than the things you really hate doing. In my case that’s unloading the dishwasher. I can attribute this directly to the fact that when I was about Zoe’s age it was my responsibility to unload the dishwasher.

She recently informed me that she *really hates* unloading the dishwasher.

Thus the essence of the perfect chore.

August 18, 2006

Ahhhhh….but of course

Filed under: Family Stuff — Beth @ 8:28 pm

Because when you look through it you can see your peeps….

Zoe’s explanation as to why it’s called a peep hole.

June 25, 2006

Because It’s One More

Filed under: Family Stuff,My Old Man — Beth @ 5:44 pm

Today marks mine and Chuck’s 11th wedding anniversary.

Eleven years, one daughter, two houses, four jobs, and countless pets and pounds ago we pledged our love to each other in front of family and friends. And today, 11 years later, I love my husband more with each passing day.

Everyone gets hung up on the 5′s and 0′s as the markers for celebrations. But somehow 11 seems more special to us. Maybe because it’s one more than 10.

I’m listening to the mix CD that Chuck gave me for our anniversary, aptly titled 11 songs for 11 years. Naturally I cried when he gave it to me. Naturally I’m crying as I listen to it:

Have I Told You Lately, Van Morrison (this is our song)
Let’s Stay Together, Al Green (a classic)
Day of Reckoning (Burning for You), Robbie Robertson (this is one of the CD’s that was in constant rotation during our courtship)
That’s Her, She’s Mine, Little Feat (Chuck dedicated this song to me a while ago)
The World, Brad Paisley (because Chuck’s a big old country music geek and he loves these lyrics)
Bad Love, Eric Clapton (Clapton, nuff said)
By Her, Beth Hart (another one of Chuck’s faves)
She’s My Kind of Rain, Tim McGraw (see above re country music geek)
Secret World, Tears for Fears (TFF is one of “our bands”)
Valentine’s Day, Bruce Springsteen (need I say more?)
Mustang Sally, The Commitments Soundtrack (OK, this one is a little personal)

Happy Anniversary my love. Thank you for marrying me.