Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Day in the Life

Here at Chez Weatherinthestreets, New Year's Day has been a stay-at-home day. It's absolutely frigid outside, I haven't been feeling great, and frankly we're all so over the holidays.

So let me offer a glimpse of a lazy day in the life over here in Brooklyn. I'm not sure where this is going, and it's sure to be dull, but I'll try to tell it like it is...

9:30: stumble upstairs like a hungover orangutan, despite the fact that I indulged in nothing more last night than a viewing of Tropic Thunder (brilliant by the way) and a glass of orange juice, New Year's Eve festivities cancelled in a moment of malaise. Oh and I went to bed at 11:30. Hedgehog is in a new phase of letting me sleep in on weekends, so that she can have an hour of privacy in which to sneak chocolate coins and read comic books without my nagging voice...

I am happy to note that Pippin has been walked by someone. And by the way, he's still with us. His condition has been upgraded from the appalling seizures of Death's Door to merely One Foot near the Grave. I'm relieved but wary, and I think he can hang on for a bit longer, but who knows.

9:30-9:45: groggily stumble around, make coffee, make toast and pour orange juice for Hedgehog. Debate whether to give her Damson Plum or strawberry preserves on her toast. The question is, which will be easier to pull the fruit pieces out of? Yes, every morning I revert her preserves from preserves back to jelly by fishing out all pieces of whole fruit. Why, you ask, would I not buy jelly to begin with? Well, I dislike jelly, and I won't compromise where my preserves are concerned. Why not buy jam and jelly? OH, I hadn't thought of that...the answer, by the way, is Damson Plum. I go with Strawberry; I like a challenge.

9:45-11: sit on couch with Hedgehog. Finish up invitations to my birthday party--I'm forcing my friends to come to my house and knit. I will serve hors d'oeuvres, however. Trader Joe's, I'm coming. Hedgehog reads her new Batman comic, given to her by Sarge. She comments to me that it is her first ever Superhero comic, and she really likes it. She says "Mama, Bruce Wayne is really handsome even when he's not in his Batman outfit!" She seems oddly surprised, and dare I say titillated...

In this time, I also begin a project for a knitting contest, but put it down to check on our sink drain, which has been mulish for a week now. We're very, very scared to find out what has lodged itself down there. Sarge votes one of his missing socks; I think it's a wad of old credit card bills. Dran-o, boiling water, whispered tender sweet nothings, and finally shouted imprecations have all been for naught. It's time for the makeshift snake.

11-1: This is the transitional time for our lazy days at home. It's a precarious couple of hours, because depending on level of moodiness/ leftover seething resentments/ feelings of boredom/ thwarted desire to watch Lifetime undisturbed, the day can turn sour here.

I make Sarge a breakfast/lunch thingy; he has been sleeping off his job, and I like to let him. Today it's a grilled cheese with cucumber spears on the side, and a glass of ice cold Dr. Pepper as he doesn't drink coffee (that savage). I bring it to him in bed, because that's just how I roll. I like to be nice when I can. He wakes up, and we discuss Tropic Thunder for quite awhile. For instance, Robert Downey Jr in blackface. We thought he was brilliant. I maintain that the movie is the Spinal Tap of Vietnam War movies. Transitional period, so far so good.

Upstairs, we play some of our fave 1950s "race music" and Sarge and I sing along very loudly. Hedgie begins to squirm with embarrassment. But that's our job as parents, to embarrass her!

When I call it "race music" jokingly, Hedgie asks about that expression, which leads precipitously to a discussion of the civil rights movement, which leads to perusal of pictures of segregated water fountains, buses, bathrooms, etc. Hedgie has never seen any of these photos, and for some reason the one that really brings a horrified look to her face is the classic "white" and "colored" water fountain signs. She knows a lot more about certain things than many children of her background, if not her age. She tends to run with quite a sheltered, privileged bunch of kids. But she knows about the Holocaust, and about the military, and about the war that's going on now (people, you'd be absolutely stunned to know how many of her peer group don't even know exactly what a soldier is. WTF?) Of course, Sarge's job and his background and his military service already set us apart from our milieu, but in a way that I think is salubrious. Hedgie has grown up knowing things about the world--age-appropriate things, but nonetheless...anyway...

Soon the history lesson about one of America's most complex and frightening and ultimately inspiring chapters comes to an end, as abruptly as it was begun. Such is life with an 8-year-old. Now boredom will prevail, tipping the delicate balance toward grump. When Sarge and I came upstairs, Hedgehog was dutifully writing 18 thank you notes for her birthday party gifts, it's a work-in-progress, but even bolstered with tons of brightly-colored stickers and a variety of fancy notecards, this task is a tall one for an 8-year-old. The first one contained the apology, "I would write more, but I have 17 other thank-yous to make." I had to explain to her why that wasn't entirely polite, even when I wasn't sure myself; I just knew it probably wasn't quite.

After the race music and the lesson, Hedgehog abandons her notes to strike up a squabble with her blameless parents. If I were a decent parent, I would have taken her to the playground at this point, freezing wind be damned. But with Sarge I took the lazy way out and waited out the semi-tantrum in order to be able to continue to languish inside like overgrown hothouse flowers.

Next, Whomper the hamster/guinea pig thing comes to the rescue, out to entertain the troops. He has achieved such immense proportions that he no longer fits through the tube between his cages, but that's a topic for another post. Hedgie feeds him some cauliflower, and then puts him in the bathtub for his run and scamper. She calls in with frequent updates on his playdate with himself.

1-2: The U2 Joshua Tree songbook emerges from the shelf behind Sarge's desk, and Sarge and I hold an impromptu sing-along; Hedgie seems to accept it, and works on her Mandala coloring book in silence. Singing inspires us to unearth the cd, which is then played very loud, while Sarge and I analyze not for the first or even the 7th time its merits as a Christian Rock album. We are in agreement that it is, but one of high caliber. One that could convert even a staunch NY Jew, at least temporarily. Don't think I didn't fall for Bono's fresh-Irish-faced moanings about Jesus, back in the day. That triple-entendre John Donne-ian sexy religion is pretty compelling. Half-way through the album, Hedgie retires to her room with "The Secret of Platform 13" and a little tub of Hubba Bubba. All our emoting is once again just too much for her, bless her heart.

Sarge and I make it through Joshua Tree, Sarge puts on some Vivaldi religious music, then we subside into other activities, Sarge with his newspaper in the dog's chair, I with my computer and blog and some yogurt.

2-present: classical music, Sarge and Hedgie working on a 1932 Chrysler Roadster model, and I still at my computer, multi-tasking over blogging and suffering premature performance anxiety over dinner preparations. I wish everyone would agree to eat scrambled eggs tonight.

And now I leave you to scan the contents of the fridge, hoping to catch sight of some culinary catalyst...

Happy New Year!


Kookaburra said...


Hey Leah Happy New Year to you and your family.

January 1st for me was not too disimilar from yours...

New Year's Eve...
4:30pm - Helen was whisked away to stay overnight at a friend's house.

5:30pm - me and Jo are staying in (a regular Darby and Joan couple, as per usual, lol). So i phone the local RSL and ask if we need to book for a table and am told that they are fully booked. I should have known.
So it's grilled sausages in front of the telly and an early night for us because Jo had to work on New Year's Day.

New Years Day...
Jo heads off to work at 7:15am and I am home alone and spend the day doing chores. Ho hum.

Today, January 2nd.
I get to work early to find that being Friday, most people have taken the day off!!

Leah said...

Hi Mark!

I very much enjoyed your day's rundown--grilled sausages and tv sound fabulous, and pretty much exactly what me and Sarge did last night.

I had to look up "Darby and Joan" on Wikipedia, and what a great expression. I must say, it sums up my existence in some ways, and I can't complain. I like being Darby and Joan by day and something else in my fantasies!

Happy New Year to you and Jo and Helen!

Kookaburra said...

Ah ... what an exciting life we lead!!

Karen ^..^ said...

Happy new year, new friend!!! It sounds like it was a lot of fun. I lazed around the house all day, but did manage to make the requisite black eyed peas. Then I proceeded to watch Iron Chef most of the afternoon.

I feel it is important to mention, that I saw a young Alan Rickman in the grocery store yesterday. By young, I mean around 40-45. I nearly humped his leg, but stopped because of the disapproving stare he gave me. Of course, that only got me going even more, but of course he didn't know that.

Anyway, it was a very pleasant trip to the grocery store. I briefly entertained the idea of stalking him, but I had to get home to help my daughter with her party. Damn the luck...

Leah said...

Hello Karen m'dear!

You had me in stitches--Alan Rickman, the leg hump, the disapproving stare--I just let out a peal of laughter that startled my dog!

Happy 2009!

MJ said...

...suffering premature performance anxiety over dinner preparations

Houseboys are the answer.

Practically Joe said...

"And now I leave you to scan the contents of the fridge,"
My wife wants to now what I'm doing scanning cauliflower on my new printer/scanner.
Why am I doing this again?

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah!

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Pretty much the same sort of thing here in Oklahoma. Loads of football. It's our cultural pastime.

Best wishes,


Cece said...

Hey Leah,
I just wanted to wish you a happy early birthday. I think we should start the party early over at the Onion. When I get home from work today, I'll see what I can come up with. Anyway, I worked on Jan 1. But the bright side of it was that I got paid double time for it, so I didn't mind. Well, I'm working now, so I best get back to it. Thanks for the holiday wishes on my blog. And here's to a wonderful 2009. May it be kinder to us than last year was. (or at least to me anyway!)

Megan said...

My day was very different. But I enjoyed reading about yours, even though I am not really a fan of Joshua Tree. Too long of a story to go into here...but anyway, Happy New Year!

Suzanne said...

Huge fan of Joshua Tree.
Huge fan of Heggie.
Huge fan of you and Sarge.
Huge fan of a simple meal.
Huge fan of friendship and love.

I love you my dear friend,

P.S. Great post!

P.P.S. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil was on sale for $11.99 this week, so bought it. The company is now also offering Blood Orange infused Olive Oil and Garlic infused Olive Oil. I want to buy every single one!!! I'll let you know what I think. Baby, send me your address via email. Oh, and hurry, so I can get what I want to you by your birthday. No! Don't screw around. It's not like I have weeks!


Leah said...

Suzy--I immediately emailed you my address!!! Yay!

MJ--I would kill for some houseboys right now. They can even be some leftover homely ones; I'm not picky.

Joe--that's it! I'm going to serve them paper food, let's see how they like that!

Skeeter, how wonderful to see you. I was just wondering what you were up to!

Cece--a toast to a much better year!!! And my birthday--yes--I'm all over it! Love my birthday, just love it! And you're a January gal too!

Megan--wait, I want to hear why you don't like Joshua Tree. Too overwrought? Or is it a personal reason? I'm now curious...

Old Knudsen said...

Playa, big dicked playa! Tom cruise was brilliant in that film if he wants to be a star again he needs to do more comedy. watch the commentary on the movie. Best film of the year.

Ben Stiller could film a shite and I'd watch it and laugh.

Maybe they don't know what a soldier is cos they have only seen Yank ones.

Yes being ex British military I can say that.

When the Prussian general was training that traitor Washington's army he said the difference between an American soldier and a European soldier was if you order them to dig a hole the European soldier would start digging, the American soldier would ask 'why?'

Old Knudsen said...

The Joshua Tree was U2's mainstream prime.
I love in the film 'Three Kings' when the start of God's Country starts up.

They should stay out of Northern Ireland politics though the southern Irish know knowing about it.

Old Knudsen said...

One more point about U2 and NI poltics, that would be like me writing songs about living in the Gaza Strip from what I hear on the BBC news.

Leah said...

Hey OK, I'm sure you're right about U2. You're definitely right about Tropic Thunder and Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise. About the American army, well, you'll have to take it up with Sarge. But hey, you've gotta have pride in the home team!