Weekends since the dawn of 2016 have been some what filled with activity and mildly stressful around here. Friday evenings used to be relaxed and meant eating out , TV time and more general tp, but the husband now has a weekly Friday evening meeting that is often extended and the Bandar and I find ourselves alone and are often in bed before he comes home.Saturday itself is mostly fully family day with some activity centered around Bandar , at the very least a park visit. Bandar is not in a ton of classes but she is in one each on both days and that takes a little while. Saturday goes by in whirl – I try to squeeze in laundry and stuff somewhere in between all this. Soon as Saturday night is upon us, the stress levels increase a tad for atleast me. The H seems to not show stress like I do. Both of us bring work home and have our minds usually buzzing with work related things by Saturday evening and a good part of Sunday usually goes in taking turns and actually getting to the work. I also do some cooking for the week on Sundays .Sunday is not an enjoyable day at all for me in short, in fact it is more stressful than a regular working day.
Anyway,I read somewhere recently that your children are usually out of the house in about 936 precious weekends over 18 years and that statement somehow made me start appreciating all the stress and activity that is our weekend, and really enjoy the smaller moments.So here are a handful from some recent weekends:
- Sitting on the bleechers, watching Bandar run around her for her little soccer class. Both the H and I are trying to do take her to this class together and we both put this one hour down as our favorite of the day.
- Promenade walks and carousal rides. She is going to outgrow wanting to ride on the carousal in a short few years and on one particular weekend she actually got 3 rides on 2 different ones .
- The sight of an empty laundry bin for maybe just a few hours and knowing that the clean laundry putting away activity is done for a week!Sheer bliss.
- Finally having one or two friends we can now hang out with as a family. I missed this in New York and think we are actually building a few good friendships here.
- Picking the weekend’s one meal outside restaurant/cuisine. Nowadays I try and limit this to one meal outside per week only for the health factor and wish it is something I had implemented in my 20s. It usually is Saturday lunch or dinner and I sometimes rethink if I want to use my meal outside on Saturday lunch itself or drag out to Sunday and savor it more. Ahh the joy of trivial decisions!
- Catching up on a sitcom or two. We have really limited our TV watching together as a couple not intentionally, but it just happened. Now the ones we watch together over a weekend meal at hope are another favorite part of my weekend.
- Driving Bandar alone to ballet. I love the chatter and especially love a relaxed drive to class on most Saturdays when we leave well on time.
- Playing Tag with Bandar on a vast expanse of green grass at the park.
- Family grocery shopping together. Something so fun about this though I know I can usually get this done faster on my own on a weekday evening. Yet, the joy of seeing Bandar take the husbadoo around the store trying to spot the stuffed monkey(thank you wonderful Trader Joes – you are the reason my child loves grocery shopping) is unparalleled.
- Standing with outstretched arms to catch Bandar as she comes down a “big girl” slide.
- A tasty meal that comes together in 30 minutes.
- Watching Bandar splashing around in the bathtub after the park.
- A weekend with no chores . No pressing bills to write checks for, no Target trips for random stuff(Seriously, what do I NOT buy at Target?) ,no post office trips,no last minute birthday party gifts to wrap, groceries done early on Saturdays – true happiness.
- A tired out napping toddler, and well fed ,napping parents – Saturday afternoon slumber
One of my biggest fears for Bandar as she grows up is she will not be a “doer”. I want her to have aims and dreams and take serious steps to achieve them and I will stand by her in every way if she falls short. But I am going to be more than a little irritated if she makes no attempt to get of her butt and start trying to get there. I guess I will be totally okay with her not having very specific dreams and aims either. I just am not okay with her making not working towards aims that she has. I strongly believe in working hard to get to your goal and really have no sympathies for laziness or excuses.
One of my mentors told me very early in my career that I would make an awful manager if I did not change this vision – “You will have to manage people of every kind”, he said. “Some may not be as motivated employees as you and you might struggle with motivating them” . Looking back at this, I do believe I have grown to accept that everyone has different goals. I can now appreciate an employee who just wants a paycheck and a stable job and no growth or other aspirations. But what would undoubtedly irritate me would be an employee constantly saying he has goals to get to say the next vertical level, but make zero attempt to get there despite a strong support system.
There is the exam in my line of work that one should probably take if they are fairly serious about the role. The exam is notoriously known as one that is hard to pass in the first attempt, though I would argue that one really cannot fail it if they study. Anyway, I learnt about the exam in 2010 Jan, and by 2010 Nov I had passed it. This involved figuring out how to apply to take it, finding resources in the company to support me, finding and attending a prep class, getting my organization to pay for it and of course studying and not procrastinating and taking it. I remember not cooking at all for a good 1 week as I prepped for it – I really gave this exam my all, like I do most things in life. My best friend has been “wanting” to take this exam since 2008. So she has borrowed my prep material atleast 3 times in the last 7 years, but she is yet to even fill the forms or prep seriously. I have offered to help multiple times with all of it, including form filling work but it is always put on the back burner in her life. I have another friend in NYC, who is going the exact same way with regards to this exam. I have had to take the material from non-committal friend A to give to friend B and have ultimately lost my amazing material in the process and with the many moves in my life recently. And neither of these two girls have appeared for the exam. It irks me every time I lament my lost material.
Setting aside the career stuff, I really think this applies to every aspect of your life. The friend who keeps saying he wants to get married – either go the arranged marriage route or actively pursue this yourself. Making no attempt in either regard for the last 4 years I have known you is not the way forward. The friend who constantly says she wants a baby – I am super, duper happy that they are finally trying and she did whatever was necessary to get to this point , be it convincing the husband ,starting prenatals or anything else. The friend who is always saying she wants to lose 20 lbs – I am your strongest supporter once you get off the couch.
Its okay if you are not really very clear about how to achieve your dream – say, setting up a small business. You can always do the research and understand the steps to get there and work towards them.Or not – some aims, just die once you do go and research the life out of them and that is okay too. You atleast tried and went down the path.
So in short, I am absolutely a person of action, and really hope my child is one as well.
I recently discovered one of my favorite shirts had some holes on it. Holes that were surely not on it a few days prior.I knew this as I had taken the shirt on a business trip and put it in the washer on arrival . When the shirt made it out of the laundry and to my closet, I spotted holes a few days later. So the two scenarios were 1)the holes could have appeared in the washer 2) we had a rat in our house or attic that you accessed from the closet. I ruled out option 1 because of the series of holes – not just one , but around 4-5 small ones all near each other. But of course, I could be wrong and it could be the washer.In fact, I hope it is the washer.
The other prospect upsets me no end. For unlike some of you, I have lived with rats before. Thrice in my life in fact. All different countries too!
The first rat incident was when I was seven and living in Hong Kong in a really nice apartment. But yes, nice apartments also get rats apparently and we went through about one terrible year in that apartment getting rid of the rats . We had rat traps with roti and cheese in every room. We had rat bait set up around the house. We did have success almost each week and an increasing rat death toll but there probably were tons of them to begin with. I remember we had two rats die one week of each other in the exact same spot in my playroom and me being spooked out by the similarity of the incidents. I also remember the rats having a fondness for getting stuck in floor fans and meeting their untimely end that way, and so I insisted on having the fan on around me where ever I was. Oh and despite my parents numerous warning to not mention the word rat to prospective tenants who would take over our lease, I did exactly that – I cried rat but only after the paperwork had been signed!So my parents swooped in for the damage control and downplayed the whole rat situation and we finally got out of that apartment!
The second rat living situation I faced was when I was 11 years old and we were living in Bombay. We never really saw a rat in this case, but we had loads of signs. Visible rat poop in recently cleaned areas and nibbled upon bars of soap were two that I remember. Oh and the squeaks.I slept on the floor of my parents room at that point – I had simply refused to go to another room with the birth of my sister two years prior , and we slept with the bedroom door shut but we could hear the squeaks at the other end all night long. I felt most vulnerable being on the floor and all, so of course, I made it on their bed and my dad was found sleeping on the mattress on the floor on most nights.These smart Bombay rats however did not care for the roti in the trap trick and I don’t think we caught a single one for as long as we lived there.
My final encounter with rats was in the US as a grad student. We were probably living with a colony of rats in our town house. They got into everything – cereal, fruit, hidden treats that one roommate hid from the other. I remember three of us being a little happy when the selfish roommate with the hidden goodies had her little treat corner invaded by rats.Karma for not sharing and all that! And they ruined clothes as well.The safest place for clothes was in a suitcase and for food was the fridge.After a few incidents, the fridge was always loaded with 4 girls dumping every edible morsel they had into it and initialing everything too to prevent roommate theft. Well, I left that apartment after two semesters thinking I was finally out of the rat haven and safe, only to sign a lease with a host of bed bugs !But that’s another story.
Back to our current situation, we live fairly close to a greenbelt, so a rat problem will not be surprising, but at the same time exterminators have not really found a visible sign of an existing rodent problem.So we are on the fence about starting an expensive rodent treatment for rodents we might not even have. We do have traps around the property with bait as preventive measures though and hopefully that will stop any new ones from coming in. I have my eye on my clothes in the closet though.
Every few days the husband will start his push for a puppy. He will send me adorable pictures of pups (he knows I am partial to anything that is spaniel mix ) and we will start the why-can’t-we-have- a pet-conversation. This conversation seems to be happening too frequently nowadays, maybe after we have moved to SD and have put down some sort or roots here. My reasons for not getting a puppy remain the same each time we talk and I know they are all banal excuses. They are too much work which honestly I do not think I can put in, they are an expense which I rather we don’t spend on right now, they are a hindrance to travel, both our extended families are not keen on the idea and I dread dealing with their visits and a pet, and I am a wuss when it comes to dealing with pet deaths. This doesn’t mean we will never have a pet –it just means that I am not ready for one right now at this phase in my life. While the H and I love dogs in general and will pet most (me –strictly not the strays, him – strays too), Bandar clearly dislikes them or is scared of them. Her fear and reluctance is mainly because she hasn’t been around them much and I dare say she will be fine if we get one a couple of weeks old. Anyway, I have told the H and B to go and volunteer in an animal rescue as a father-daughter thingee and once Bandar warms up to puppies in general, we can discuss if this is what we want for our family. I feel fairly safe with this premise as I know the husband will not initiate this kind of activity on his own and I am clearly not going to, so we probably don’t have to deal with the decision ever.
Anyway, we found ourselves at the mall this Saturday after we had dropped one of the cars at a service appointment. After hogging on burgers and fries(another story – good bye diet!), we wandered into a pet store. I actually have never been to a pet store before or even a pet rescue center or anything. But what I saw here was downright cruel. There were the cutest pups and kittens in the tiniest of cages – some jumping around excitedly, trying to get out and the majority just lying there.I mainly looked at the dogs and most of them didn’t even have the whole cage , small as it was to themselves. All seemed to be well known breeds and were priced from the $900s to 3000s range. I really am not even sure if they were all healthy as a few of them just didn’t seem like it, they probably were okay but just fed up of the tiny space.
One particularly adorable terrier, a little older than the others – 5 months old, seemed to be incredibly playful and friendly. He bounced all around his cage and he was the picture of fun. I nearly almost visualized taking him home for a few minutes. Then he seemed to get into a frenzy and for a good one minute tried to frantically get out , before plonking down for a good poop. And then he sniffed around it and I shut my eyes as I didn’t want to see him eat it. The H told me he didn’t. Anyway, this was perhaps the most pitiful sight of them all. He clearly needed space , to run free and had finally given up and pooped on his bed. Ughh. I immediately told the shop girl about the poop but she seemed to not care and did not show any sign of cleaning the cage in our presence. Bandar kept questioning why I felt sorry for the pup and I asked her how she would like it if I boxed her up in half her crib and made her poop and pee in it. I left with a heavy heart and just saddened by what I had seen.
This does not end with us getting the terrier home, though the H was ready to on the spot. I just walked away thinking about whether this was really the right source if I ever did get a dog. I wanted to atleast rescue one animal from the horrible little cage, but maybe a humane society or rescue organization was a better source. I am fairly sure that I do not want to go to a breeder. It also made me wonder, why I am okay with zoos but hated this pet shop. Maybe because of the distinction of wild and pet animals in my head. I wish life was simple and that I was brave enough to make a hasty decision and get a puppy home without thinking too much but it isn’t and I am simply not that person.
So Jan went by in some sort of blogging, working, traveling, recovery from the holidays haze. The Blogging Marathon though I completed it successfully, was not super enjoyable – especially weekends and especially some hectic weekdays too. If I ever attempt this again, I swear I will take some time to come up with 31 writing prompts for myself, rather than summarizing my day as I had to a few times. I also found myself in several social events at 11 pm and not being able to enjoy them as I was worried about blogging. And the quality of posts reflected this stress too as they were poorly written and not very well thought of. Anyway, we live and learn.
Onwards to Feb!
Stuff that I am looking forward to this month:
- Getting into an exercise and eating clean regime. I was very up and down in Jan, but Feb shows promise. I started my favorite Jillian Michaels videos yesterday and can feel the burn in just one day. But I am one of those people, who loves the pain post workout – makes me feel I have done something worthwhile and I want to keep at this. Of course, I went and ate some chips today , but now it looks like all junk food from our short weekend trip is finally done and inside my system. So I can get along with no distractions.
- I am aiming at not touching work after Bandar comes home from school, and this has again been a little tough. A few nights , I have had to ask her to lie in bed while I wrap up a call or emails and though she complies, her call out for me makes me vow to work only after she is asleep. But that means I have to drag myself away from cozy cuddly baby and bed and that’s so hard. But I enjoy those moments with her so much each night that I am trying to implement this.
- Having some new books to read. I am reading chicklit (the new shopaholic book) and a Jeffrey Archer right now. So I am fairly occupied and happy. I have also ordered some new Enid Blytons for Bandar and I can’t wait for them to arrive.
- Park time with Bandar. The weather seems to be getting better and I know this means the husband will start cricket over the weekends. Bandar and I will be left to our own devices but I am hoping I can fill these in with some playdates and park time.
- Connecting more with family – parents, in laws, sister . I was awful at this in Jan but all three parties really await our call and as I am the only one amongst the H, Bandar and I who actually talks, this ones on me.
- Blogging regularly – atleast thrice a week is what I am aiming at. I feel that is a good pace around here and something I can strive for.
What do you have planned for Feb? Go on, share!
A 2.5 hour drive that turned into an eight hour journey through a snow storm.What a fine way to end the weekend!
We used our common sense and started our journey home fairly early at 9:30 AM, knowing fully well that we were in for a fine snow storm. We had chains to go over our tires and stopped to install them about 30 minutes in. But after but the husband and I being soaked to the bone trying to get them on,we realized something was probably wrong with the chains. They were the incorrect size. Anyway, we drove back about 30 minutes to another store and bought a new pair, but again they were the wrong size. I finally went into the store again and asked for help which was available at a price of course. The guy finally got us the right chains and installed them and we were on our way at 20mph down the mountain, 2 hours after we had intended.By that time, both H and I were soaked to the bone – him more than me. I wish I could have helped more with the whole chains thing but apart from standing outside for moral support while he tried to get them on, I could do nothing much. Well, atleast I got the guy to help.
We finally made it down safely and stopped for lunch at 4 pm at the foothills. Olive Garden was the highlight of my day. After a 1200 calorie meal , we finished the last 1.5 hours of the journey in rain to return home safe and sound.
Hot baths, some small unpacking and a sorry little blogpost is all I can manage for the day.More at my own pace at the other side of this marathon!
– Every time we go skiing I crib about how long the whole process of getting your skis and getting on the slope actually takes. But then I conveniently forget about it before the next time we go.
– And this was the first time we did the whole thing with a child. It puts a whole new meaning to the term ‘ long day’
– Bandar was a sport all day. Putting up with long waits and public restrooms for 8 hours , all to attend a 2 hour boring ski lesson for toddlers.
– The husband had fun snow boarding but is pretty sore by now.
– I have eaten way too much junk food and have not regrets not skiing.
– Blogging on vacation with others is awfully boring and socially rude and I am totally blogged out at this point