Archive | January, 2015

Day 30 : Close to the end here!

31 Jan

– Today didn’t feel like a Friday at all here.To start with I got back from book club at 11:30 pm last night. I love these evenings out so much. It isn’t just the wine, I swear! I enjoy meeting these other moms and discussing a book that is so outside my comfort zone to begin with. All the books so far have been challenging and I have enjoyed the fun discussions, seeing the books from another perspective , and the ideas that emerge here. Also the fact that it is such a multicultural group of women adds an interesting spin on things. Anyway, I have a friend who lives one street over and we walk the short 15 minutes back together. I thought I had the only slightly over concerned husband who once got really worried when my phone wasn’t charged for the walk, but apparently my friend too needs to text her husband before she starts the walk. Oh and her mother calls her from another state to also ensure she got home! Reminded me so much of my family. My parents have a vague idea that the bookclub is in the evenings and by no means are aware that it happens so late.And I am trying to keep it that way and them worry free!

– So I then cleaned the kitchen and went to bed at 1 am. Oh and Bandar was sitting up wide awake to see me at 11:30 pm. She has the husbadoo around her little finger, and had convinced him to tell her a dozen or so stories.So I first got her to sleep before said kitchen cleaning.

-Bandar went back to school today for the first time this week , so yeah! But I woke super late and had to cook something for her lunch box. She left the house at 10 am for school! Disgracefully late!

-Oh and she has passed on her viral to both the husbadoo and I and we are both nursing sore throats right now. Ugh!

– Work was super hectic and I was exhausted by the time evening came. I realized that I still had to take a hurried shower and go and pick up Bandar. Its super windy here in NYC today and despite the numerous layers, the tiny walk to pick her up was beastly.

– I played with Bandar for several hours today evening. Her illness has interrupted our schedule of snack , play, dinner, bed and instead its all play, hardly any food, fight for teeth brushing, fight for bed and so on. Waiting for things to get better healthwise for all of us before I change anything. Plus I don’t mind her sleeping a little late on Fridays which means its a late wake up on Saturday morning.

– The husbadoo is still at work at close to 9 pm and he is trying to get a lot done today to relax during the weekend. Chances are he has to go back to work tomorrow though. I have the morning planned out with Bandar though with some activities , so hopefully she will be okay. Separating this girl from her dad these days is so hard .

– My well stocked fridge is finally depleted and I have to cook some stuff this weekend but I am starved of ideas and imagination somehow. Maybe the cold I am fighting.Chances are we will eat out a good bit these two days if this strike mood of mine continues.

– That’s it for today! Hopefully I can finish strong with some sort of post tomorrow.Weekends – Fridays included have to be the hardest days to blog!

Day 29: In a perpetual hurry

30 Jan

My mom is an extremely fast worker in the kitchen or around the house for that matter. So the way my sister and I were raised was to do things fast, really fast. There was no question of taking your time with a task  I think that’s the reason all three of us women in the house don’t have any sort of artistic flair –  we are clumsy in any art work or project, our hurriedly cooked meals mostly turn out okay (maybe its acquired taste of the person eating it to) but we are not fantastic cooks at all , we hate any task that requires precision and time – we hand that task out to the men in our lives(!) and finally, slow people irritate us no end !  Surprisingly, we are excellent organizers , and excel at event planning, trip planning and getting people to execute . Let me elaborate – .When we moved from Texas to New York, we had no idea when our furniture and household would arrive and we had to pack winter clothing, a few utensils, Bandar’s necessities, toys,our important documents, jewelry (stuff that we could not absolutely have coming by truck) ,  gifts for cousins who we were taking ad detour to visit enroute and other things into two suitcases and I excelled at doing this. I researched , planned, shopped and even landed in NYC with the perfect stroller winter gear which astonished the husbadoo. These kind of things overwhelm him. I was terrible at was packing all this neatly and in an organized manner, which he did beautifully. So we were good! .

Similarly, my mom is great about planning how to decorate the house, buying the perfect knick knacks for every corner, planning how to organize everyone’s cupboards, jewelry etc, but it’s my dad who patiently does the actual clothes folding as per her instructions. Both me and my mom are terrible vegetable choppers – our cut pieces will never be uniform in size. We will surely be the ones to be eliminated in a  cooking show in the first few rounds for technique and knife skills, if you know what I mean. That’s where our husbands do an amazing job . But we are awesome at planning elaborate menus, dinner parties, birthday parties et al.

Regarding the bit about slow people irritating us, I remember this from fairly early on in life. When I was eight years old and I and a distant cousin were as at my grandmom’s place for the summer vacation and were assigned the task of hanging out clothes to dry. My mom came outside with my newborn little sister to get some fresh air and couldn’t bear the slow speed at which my cousin went about the task. She passed some sharp remarks and instructions to me and I went about the rest of the task at God speed and I saw her eyes fill with motherly pride. If we are at a restaurant together and God forbid the service is slow, we will joke that we should be running the show and the proceed to discuss at length how we would do it.So you get the picture.

To be fair,over the years, my mom has mellowed. She  is one of the most patient professors and is great with not so bright students but maybe that is the professional side of her. The social and domestic side of her still likes things done fast and wants her family to follow suit.

Maybe its being married to the husbadoo, who is as laid back as you can get, that I have changed a little bit. I actually stop, enjoy the moment, focus on tasks a little more than just getting them done.For instance, I have realized now that onions in food taste so much better when sauteed properly rather than hurriedly and is often worth the effort!The husbadoo I know prefers one well cooked dish , rather than a few average cooked ones and I am slowly learning to be precise in my cooking.

For me I have realized that once I make a conscious attempt not to be fast and in a hurry and to get it all done , my expectations form others around me decreases, it lets me control my temper and I am able to actually enjoy things around me. During our Disney world visit a few months ago, I realized the day before that the husbadoo and Bandar too would be unhappy and stressed if I pulled them through every single possible ride and attraction and tempers would flare. Rather, I made a great effort to control my temper and need for speed that day, came to terms with the fact that this was not a trip to get our money’s worth but rather a day to enjoy what we could in the given time.This seriously changed the way I viewed the day and I ended up having a great time.

Children automatically change you too , I think. They really make you stop and smell the roses, or sea breeze in this instance below.During our recent vacation in Bombay, Bandar loved Marine Drive on her first visit and wanted to spend more time there. My mom though wanted to touch Marine Drive more like a tourist spot that day  and take us to a specific park that she had been talking about for months. I told her that we should just let Bandar enjoy Marine Drive to her heart’s content first and we spent quite some time there, far longer than mom intended. So we were already late when we got the park. Unfortuantely it wasnt the right park that my miom had set her heart on and she wanted us to leave as soon as we got there and get to the other park across the street before the daylight faded. However Bandar was having such a fabulous time running around this unknown park that I convinced mom to calm down, smell the roses and enjoy her grandchild playing in this random park. We obviously did not make it to another park that day as nightfall came but Bandar and my mom had a great time that evening. And of course, there were more visits to Marine Drive – Bandar’s favorite spot in Bombay and the other park that my mom wanted to take us to as well.

So the husbadoo has changed me a tad and Bandar has too in her own way. And I take these little changes and gently try to rub some of it off on my mom in turn. Left to ourselves we will do things the way we are used to – a sometimes shoddy, fast job, rather than a slow,precise, perfectly done one, but we do need the laid back folks in our life to keep us balanced!

P.S. Quick Bandar update for those who have been following this week’s fever bulletin in this space – she does have a ear infection that was diagnosed today morning and has started a course of antibiotics. Hopefully they do their thing fast!

Day 28: Wednesday in random bullets

29 Jan

Today it is just going to be a quick, bulleted post.

  • To start with, Bandar is still sick. We had the fourth full day of fever here. The only thing that is keeping the husbadoo and I from panicking is the fact that she has had viral fevers last this long before and it is not the first time. Nevertheless , we are going back to the doctor tomorrow. Warm thanks to all of you who have commented and emailed asking about her. I am really touched.
  • So she is weak, cranky and clingy till the medicine is administered and for a short while after the medicine takes effect we have a different child- happy, cheerful one, walking around the house. And then it peaks again and she is back to being weak and sad. I almost think this came now from the play date, maybe Bandar was used to her own school germs and almost immune to them but not so much to the fresh ones her little friend brought along? Who know! Maybe I should cancel our playdate this weekend, even if she recovers.
  • I had an annual physical today and put my mind at ease about one or two nagging health worries I had. It’s surprising that having a child and feeling you are responsible for someone makes you fear for your own mortality. I honestly was not very scared about my life span or anything before I had a kid. Sure, the husbadoo and my family would be devastated but no one really depended on me for everything. They would survive and be fine eventually. Nowadays any small health scare just freaks me out as I think about poor Bandar, God forbid and I never hesitate in getting it checked out. I almost felt like a hypochondriac at the doctor today and asked a few questions starting with – “I know this sounds silly but….” Anyways, all fine for now, or atleast the doctor thinks so and I trust her.
  • I had arranged a nanny today as both I (to my doctor) and the husbadoo ( to work) had to be out for a while. I was surprised to call up after my appointment only to find the hsubadoo still at home with Bandar and the nanny. I was quite irritated with him as we were paying for a nanny so that he could go and work. Apparently he couldn’t tear himself away from the clingy, sick Bandar. Usually I would retort with –“ Oh and I could do the same thing effortlessly when I went out? Are you trying to say I am a bad, heartless mother and you are the only concerned parent here?” and it would have escalated into a fight. But instead I calmed myself, tried to see it from his overly sensitive daddy eyes and instantly felt my anger disappear. I helped calm Bandar down when I finally coaxed him to leave .
  • My fridge is full of fun food options for the rest of the week and it helps immensely on busy work days like this. I should really do this bulk cooking ,prepping, planning more often.
  • I am down to my countdown for bookclub tomorrow evening and I still have a 120 pages to read on my book. Apparently none of the other moms have finished the book either yet, so might not be a great discussion but a fun evening out anyway. I do want to finish though. I feel like I am school again and have to read my book tonight into the wee hours. Sadly , it is not one of those books that I can’t put down or anything. Vaguely interesting and not something I normally would pick – “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932.”
  • I bought teeny tiny mini cupcakes for Bandar as a reward after her Monday’s doctor’s appointment and as she barely picked on them after her initial excitement, I have been eating them. I showed some restraint yesterday as I was having my annual bloodwork done and didn’t want my blood sugar to spike or anything.But now that it’s out of the way, I am eating them shamelessly.
  • On the same note, I finally ordered an elliptical and can’t wait for it to be delivered. Hope it gets here before the weekend, so that I can set it up and start the week afresh on the exercise front.
  • On Facebook this week , I saw a classmate from high school got married and all the numerous guys she dated over the years were there as guests. 1) I would never have an ex at my wedding, neither would I want to be at an ex’s wedding. Even if it was only highschool “dating” , which was maybe more glorified than a crush and was atleast a mutual crush, fuelled by teenage hormones 2) I am so glad I did not date any of these jackasses in school. None of them have turned out remotely decent or desirable now in their 30s. A large part of my high school life were spent in boring pursuits like re reading the Anne of Green Gables series multiple times and for that I am grateful now.
  • We have a super bowl invite at a friend’s but I so want to bunk it. I do not follow the game at all and have absolutely no interest. I will be going for the mere socialization aspect, but guess some things have to be done. Sigh. I didn’t even know which teams are playing till today. The poor husbadoo has been denied viewing access to both college football and NFL when we cut cable after moving here and I do think he has been suc ha sport about this. Never complained at all.  He used to love watching college football with a passion when we were first married, and has patiently tried to explain the game to me too. I never cared to learn, and just needed to know basic facts like who was playing who, who won , the final scores to have a decently knowledgeable conversation with my co – workers about the weekend.  Now I have to probably fake interest with our friends again this weekend!

Day 27 : Those were the days

28 Jan

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about the storm. Funnily enough nothing much happened in NYC, atleast the part where we live. The roads were cleared of all vehicles but emergency ones after 11 pm yesterday, another example of why I love this country – people actually follow laws. We had a surprisingly silent night and I almost missed hearing the cars and buses outside out window.All we heard were the snow rollers (think they are called that, not sure) which worked all night cleaning the snow from the streets. We woke up to see a winter wonderland from our window, and just some barely there, light falling snowflakes. The sun was shining today afternoon and the traffic appears to have resumed too. People are back on their feet and I saw several parents wheeling strollers around the neighborhood, enjoying their snow day off from work supposedly and the absence of their regular nannies.  Regarding our little world, Bandar is still sick.Her fever falls with the medicine but rises otherwise . It it worrying till it finally breaks for good and she is on the path to recovery. i should be used to these viral infections by now , but surprise myself each time with fresh worries. Sigh!

Onto other cheery topics. This week, I was looking in my work  calendar for a specific document attachment from 2009 and when a simple search didn’t give me what I wanted, I had to go through my calendar month by month to find it.  And how eye opening this exercise proved to be!

I laughed at my 23 year old self who was out to make a name for herself at work and set up several Friday afternoon earnest meetings with my team at that time.What a pain I must have been, when others wanted to leave for the weekend!  I remember hanging out at work to leave after or close to the time my boss left, just to show I was working. I really don’t  think any of these things matter any more or even did then!

I saw the lunches that I had with friends –  it was pretty much every day of the week! I was probably the only married one in our desi group at that time and my friends never , ever cooked. Or so it seemed. So often, I would have my lunch box with me but would still choose to go and have lunch outside with the gang. I didn’t worry about calories like I do today. Of course, the husbadoo and I spent alteast an hour at the gym every day and maybe that let me eat a ton. But we followed up a few of those gym sessions with eating out for dinner too, to be honest, so not sure if it all balanced out at all. Apart from this, I enjoyed cooking and that was when I experimented a ton in the kitchen as I had my own little guinea pig to feed. I ate to match him like I still do and that was when I gained about 10-15 pounds happily that year.

I saw the calendar time I had blocked off to go and pick up our new car which we bought a few months into our wedding. I also have time blocked off to take the car to the temple for a puja! I remember all the naive financial analysis we did , sitting across each other as we pigged out at a desi restaurant after every visit we paid this particular car dealership. Our hearts were set on this car and we wondered if the expense made sense. Finally, we did buy it of course , but that was probably the first major decision we took as a couple. How excited we were to have the short little puja done at the temple and drive it home!

The same financial prudence or any , didn’t come into planning vacations though! I see the one odd day I have marked off as vacation time on all the long weekends that year. You see,  I had spent most of my yearly vacation for the wedding mid year and we were left with only long weekends to travel. Tickets are most expensive then and I know we booked tickets at the very last minute on most of these. I shudder to think of our low bank balance then, no savings to speak of almost , but we lived happy care free lives! We went to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, New Mexico, LA, Tahoe in just 6 months! We stayed at fun places, ate out lavishly and enjoyed these breaks so much, so there are no regrets at all! I am glad we traveled as much as we did when we could. Now, I over think every single vacation decision , evaluate the cheapest option across multiple sites, read a bunch of forums, before I hit the final purchase button.

Life was really care free. We were so excited to finally be together and build our lives together.We did fight then, but I do think they were minor, teeny fights at best. I would never have dreamed then that I would say some stuff in fights that I have said now over the years. Granted , life is of course more complicated now. We are older, wiser, busier. That said , I do want to bring a little bit of our carefree , younger, fun loving selves into our daily life now. Reduce the weekly snarling at each other that we indulge in, do away with the mean little comments which we know only too well that hurt , learn to not worry about the future –  finances, career, kids or anything and just live a little like we did in 2009.

Day 26: Storm Ready

27 Jan

We are in the middle of a snow blizzard right now and it will probably last for the next 24 hours!

Around noon today, just as the blizzard was starting, the temperature was  in the 20s F. So it was manageable to actually go out , as long as you had your snow gear. I had to take Bandar to the doctor and had to deal with the NYC living with a toddler dilemma of simply  walking versus managing a  stroller- with-no-elevator at the subway station, if that makes sense. So walking it was, as I have zero arm strength to wrestle a massive stroller and slightly less massive toddler up wet subway steps. Walking with the wind blowing tiny snowflakes on your face was actually quite fun, again only as I was well covered.I caught sight of my reflection in a shop window and I looked like a huge eskimo. Even if the layers added maybe 5 pounds , I can easily do with some exercise by the looks of it.

We wrapped up our doctor’s appointment and got home. The husbadoo and I balanced work and child effectively between us for the rest of the day. Our tiny apartment is by no means sound proof and when Bandar is cranky and crying, especially with being sick and all, people at the other end of my conference call scan hear her. I worry if it makes me sound unprofessional but on days like this there is not much that can be done.

The husbadoo has a holiday tomorrow because of this bad weather. We really don’t know how bad this is going to get and what we are in for. I had to step out today evening for a few minutes to get Bandar’s meds and some groceries. The grocery store was crazy busy. People were stocking up. I saw the ingredients for soup and chilly being bought all over the store! I noticed an older uncle and aunty arguing about whether they owned a can opener!

All this inspired me to come home and go on a cooking spree of sorts. So if this blizzard is as terrible as they say, we have bhel, pizza, lentils, schezwan fried rice, lasagna to see us through! The rice and veggies still need to be sauteed and the lasagna has to be baked but I am hoping to get to it tonight after Bandar sleeps , so that we are good to go even if we lose power tomorrow.

Bandar’s schedule is out of whack with this illness and she’s still up at almost 11 pm! I need to get her to bed now , so will be signing off. The next few days are crazy hectic for me, so I am hoping to get through the marathon with just sad , update posts like this and bore my few reader with these mundane things.

Day 25: Sickday Sunday

26 Jan

So much for longing forward to a relaxed Sunday. Bandar got up with a 101 F fever that proceeded to rise and fall as the day progressed. Any and all plans of going out were canceled today and we stayed at home trying to nurse her back to health.She clung to the husbadoo and banished me away with several rude little comments – ” Ask her not to look at me”, “Ask her not to talk to me” , and the like.  I am feeling a tad bit guilty about the exposure to the cold yesterday and maybe even the frozen yogurt. So far we have ignored our moms telling us that eating cold things leads to sickness and Bandar has always had cold milk, ice etc . Maybe there is some truth in that and we shouldn’t have given her cold frozen yogurt in the peak of winter. Sigh. Live and learn, I suppose.

As holding a sick little monkey is a one person job and said monkey didn’t even want me around, I spent the morning in the kitchen. Paneer subji was made and eaten, by the husbadoo and me. Bandar is refusing food just like she normally does when she is sick. We went through the only too familiar debate of treat the fever with Tylenol or let it run its course, that I am sure most parents go through. TV viewing which is usually an occasional treat was sanctioned. And that’s how we have been getting through the day herw.

I am bracing myself for the next few days or even week ahead. Who knows at this point, right? Childcare for the next few days has to be planned as she can’t go to daycare. The yearly hundred hours of back up childcare I get from work have to be rationed and used, as its only January yet. Doctor appointments need to be made for the mandatory ear check in fevers like this. The husbadoo has to tear himself away from Bandar tomorrow and  get himself to work tomorrow and I am dreading the screams and crying already. She even refused to let him use the bathroom when she was awake today, she’s at her clingiest worst with the sickness .

Even though in my heart I know this is probably just a viral and she should be okay soon, seeing your little one sick is never easy. Its probably the most helpless feeling for any parent – you want to do what you can to help them, but there is little you can do.

So that’s our Sunday report here. Hope yours is atleast a tad better.

Day 24: A Pinkberry and Chipotle kind of Saturday here

25 Jan

The title says it all really. That’s what we had for dinner, in that order. Here are the other finer, random details around our day.

I cleaned the house thoroughly on Friday night. This was in preparation for a playdate Bamdar was having.Her social calendar is way more full than mine. Also you can imagine the state of the house that it warranted thorough cleaning for a mere playdate. Anyway, the house looks lovely now. I still have some dumpster areas to clean.bathroom cabinet shelves…God alone knows what we have there, sock bags full of unmatched socks…and so on.  But overall , the house is pretty decent and I can have any of you over today and I will be fairly tension free! Makes me think I should get our cleaning done each week on Friday evenings. I watched an old season of Top Chef as I cleaned and I was happily working on all this till 1 am. I even ungrudgingly went downstairs twice to dump the recycling , a job that both the husbadoo and I keep postponing.
Enough about the house, Bamdar’s playdate was good. Her little French friend is moving back to France in a few months.This is Bandar’s first real friend. They had moved to NYC from Cali just before we did from Texas and girls became very close at school. I also really like the mom.  So Bandar and I will miss them. I am happy for them though, getting closer to family and doing what they want etc. NYC appears to be a very transitional place for many of us – stay for a while, do your thing and move on. So I guess it just means we should make the most of these few months/ years here.

It snowed last night and the city from my window looks beeyooteeful.This year the snow hasn’t been bad at all. Somehow better than what I remember last year.  We went out today evening and bought a few specific things for the husbadoo. He knows what exactly he wants and is a fairly picky but quick shopper. Bandar was a riot at the stores, till she hurt her lip running around. So of course we had to get frozen yogurt and Pink Berry it was. There are really few things better in the world than watching your toddler enjoy her bowl of frozen yogurt, despite her cold and all!

We followed it up with dinner at Chipotle and then made our way home. I already have some veggies chopped for tomorrow, we have brunch plans with friends, I have started a good book (finally) for book club, I don’t have office work to think about till Monday. So that is what I would call a relaxed Saturday night.Hope everyone else is having a good one too. Do share and let me know!