Friday, July 14, 2017

Cousins and Our Future "Dentister"

Remember when I thought this would be a relaxing summer and I would just read and write and take my kids to the pool?

Haha. I had no idea.

It feels like we have been going 100 miles an hour the past couple of weeks. After a low-key Fourth of July (about which I actually had all kinds of complicated feelings because I'm not totally convinced the democratic experiment of 1776 is actually working out all that well, given the enormous numbers of people who feel and are disenfranchised in this country), we had cousins come visit from California and set about showing a 9-year-old and 12-year-old just how much fun stuff there is to do in St. Louis in five days.

playing in the backyard clubhouse

If you're considering a visit to St. Louis, I'll tell you we managed to go to the zoo, a Cardinals game, the City Museum, the Botanical Gardens, Ices Plain & Fancy, Ted Drewes, Schlafly, and paddle boat riding at Forest Park Boathouse, and all were great fun. The kids said the City Museum was their favorite. Plus I had to attend a funeral for a colleague (sad and unexpected) and David had to work one day, so I would say that we did a pretty good job of squeezing in a lot of fun stuff, but we are all kind of wiped out from it. Paddle boating when it was 104 degrees out wasn't exactly the most ideal plan, either. (Poor Kailer, David's 12-year-old nephew, was mortified when I started complaining about boob sweat).

Zuzu and Coco absolutely LOVED having their cousins here. I can't even describe how smitten they are with those two. And it was awesome because they were totally entertained but the cousins are old enough that there was none of the typical playdate bickering. Basically, I want to have a nanny who is 9 years old and just helps me out from 9am-4pm every day. We loved having them here.

at the Botanical Gardens

It was also excellent to have three adults and two big kids to help us tackle the City Museum with Zuzu and Coco. The last time I'd been to the City Museum was more than ten years ago. We'd been waiting to take the kids because I didn't think Coco was big enough for some of the stuff (also I didn't realize they had a toddler area) and Zuzu's fearlessness makes me nervous. Both girls had a great time, and Coco was determined to keep up with the big kids! The outdoor climbing structures still gave me the willies occasionally, and even Zuzu was a little more cautious than I've seen her before when we were up really high.

At one point, we were climbing around in the indoor treehouse and I saw Zuzu go down a slide and come out a level below me. I had my eye on her, and I saw her foot slip through the metal bars she was walking on. I knew she'd banged her knee hard and I saw her start to cry, but I couldn't figure out how to get down to her--where do I enter the climber? What slide did she go down? So I was kind of freaking out. I was trying to yell down to her that I was coming, but she couldn't hear me. Then I saw a gray-haired lady come over and start talking to her (I'm sure asking her where her negligent parents were). I sent David up a level to find the slide and I started climbing down to her, but then when I got down to where she was, she was gone! Just as I started to freak out, my phone rang. I had written my cell phone number on Zuzu's wrist band, just in case. It was an unknown local number, so I answered it and, sure enough, it was the nice older lady. "Do you have a little girl with pigtails in a blue shirt?" I said yes and that I was trying to get to her and she said, "We're in the tree house" and I said, "I'm in the tree house! Where are you?" and then I realized she was right behind me. Anyway, Zuzu was fine and it was actually a nice transition to heading home.

The same day the cousins left, we had friends come to town to join us at a Jason Isbell concert, which was kind of our anniversary date and was fantastic.

13 years of weddedness.

We left our kids and our friends' daughter with a babysitter and it made me feel like a Real Adult somehow, except Coco cried when we left because she's mama's girl and then I was really sad but then I had a gin & tonic with dinner and I remembered that sometimes I like to do adult things without my children. Also the show was so, so great. I loved The Mountain Goats too, who opened for him, although at first I was like "I should have brought ear plugs because I am so old." And we talked about how we love going to concerts where we get to sit down. Basically we are the uncoolest ever. No shame.

Yesterday we went out to the House in the Forest to scope out a few things and measure a few things, and remind myself that this is real and we're really moving. I also boxed up a bunch of books and all the pictures I had hanging up the stairs and now our house looks empty and ugly and also dirty with the shadow of the frames left on the walls and it's kind of depressing. Also all our house guests were gone yesterday afternoon and Zuzu and I were both feeling the post-fun glum. I coped by treating myself to a La Croix and a magazine. Zuzu coped by being a complete and total brat. It wasn't our worst day of the summer, but it certainly wasn't our best afternoon. I truly sympathized with her--she's overtired, out of routine, used to have constant entertainment, missing her cousins and friend--but mercy she can be a handful.

Speaking of depressing things, the air conditioner went out on my car and the car place was like "NBD, prolly needs freon, run you about $50" and then the car place was like "Just kidding, you actually need a whole new system thingy and it will cost $1350. Or we can do just one part of it and that will cost you $850."

Given that my car is 10 years old, we were actually like, "Should we just go ahead and get a new car?" but then we were like, "Oh, wait, we're buying a new house, so NO." And my car (knock on wood) has been pretty trouble-free for most of its life, plus it has nearly 150,000 miles on it. Anyway, that was still not a fun phone call to get.

Also Zuzu had to have a cavity filled today. I never had a cavity as a kid (in spite of very lazy dental hygiene in elementary school) so I was shocked by this. Also it is not cheap. I was a little worried she would be dentist-traumatized, but she loved it. We go to a pediatric dentist practice and they used laughing gas and let her choose a Barbie movie and gave her a balloon and then another one for Coco, and fussed over what a great patient she was, and she told me she wants to be a "dentister" when she grows up. So I guess that was successful. But I sure can think of more fun ways to spend a thousand dollars than on dental work and car repair (plane tickets and gin and tonics come to mind... also a new couch).

Anyway, that's the latest around here. More packing to do today. Zuzu just informed me they are playing, "Dinosaur Times" and Coco is a baby dinosaur. I'm going to try to take advantage of the relative dinosaur harmony and see if if can get the rest of the stuff on my living room shelves boxed up. (You guys. I have so many books.)


  1. I follow a girl on IG who was giving books away, but people just had to pay for shipping. I'd say you should do that, but then you have to mail them and the post office with kids is basically hell on earth so this comment is pointless.

    Also, I love sitting down at concerts too.

    1. I'm a book hoarder. I want all of them and book shelves with a library ladder!

    2. Can you imagine how many books could fit into the LS house?!

      G&T's are much more fun than freon.

      We just lucked into a new (old) car. My dad's been hunting for a barely used convertible BMW, and he posted a picture of one that he finally found. M called him and asked him what he was doing with his Volvo - 5 years younger than our Volvo, and with only 165K miles vs. the 180K miles on ours! The biggest thing is that it's the next model up, so it's got a ton more leg room in the back and twice the trunk space.

      Long story short, we bought the car for $2K, and then the same day a friend mentioned at a dinner party that she needed a cheap, high mileage car to bridge the gap between the end of her current lease and the release of the electric Tesla that she's on the waiting list for. SO... we sold her our Volvo for $1500. A good swap for all.

      With our house stuff up in the air, I did NOT want to buy a new car, especially before I have a garage. And you can drive Volvo's into the ground - maybe E can learn to drive on this one. SOB. She'll be 14 in less than a month.

      I'm rambling, so I'll stop. I'm just trying to be like Caroline who leaves the best stream of conscious comments ever.

  2. Eleanor had to have a tooth pulled a year ago, and she also had laughing gas at the pediatric dentist. She talks about the tooth-pulling pretty fondly, which makes me wonder why we didn't have pediatric dentists in the '80s and also where I can get my hands on some laughing gas.