7 weeks

Well, this is the first Thursday I soundly missed my 11 am target. It was, of course, because I did not write my post. My Wednesday was busy! I hope you forgive me friends. I did manage to pull of the discipline for at least 7 weeks. I think it’s a great habit for me, and feel like I’ve been writing more, and more enjoyably.

Part of my posting delinquency has to do with a lack of good topics. So in lieu of actual good writing, I’ll give you a grab bag of thoughts.

1) My boys are in an awesome spot
Grey and Thane have just been rock stars this week, in the behavior zone. I was prepped for a horrible week of “What do you mean I have to go to school every day” following five consecutive Mondays out of school. But no! I’ve had children doing homework without being told the minute they get home. I’ve had children cleaning their rooms when asked. There’s been cheerful chores doing, tremendous snuggles, and book reading. I don’t know what happened to MY children, but man I’m sure enjoying the kids I have this week.

I was trying to think of a good way to thank Grey for his behavior tonight, without including junk food. Adam is doing aikido again (yay for him!) and so I had the kids myself. I picked up Grey and asked how his day was “Awesome!” and his homework situation (done at the Y!!!!). Then I offered him the chance to make the evening meal, with my active support/training and a grocery run if need be. He decided to make omelettes “Like Aunt Andrea made”. We stopped to pick up ham for cubing. (And Lucky Charms. And the tortilla chips I like that Peapod doesn’t carry. And bananas since every single banana I’ve ordered on Peapod for the last month has arrived frozen.) And then Grey sliced the ham and the chives, and I taught him how to make omelettes! Next up: teaching the children how to eat dinner….

2) Imagine how easy our commute will be this spring
All over New England, working parents have been doing rock-paper-scissors over who gets to leave early enough to get to work by 9 am, and who has to drop off the kids and saunter in at the crack of 9:30. (This is an improvement. Last week it was the crack of 10.) I didn’t think anything would make my normal commute look good… but having all the lanes available and the traffic just normal-bad will feel like a vacation. And parking… the lots have been full a lot lately, leaving my carpool to park in a $34 a day lot that’s about 1/3 mile away in 12 degree weather. Getting back to a reliable 3 block walk from a $18 a day lot will feel like a cheaper and easier life! Add in a commute that’s only an hour, and the mind boggles!

3) I don’t understand how a capitalist society can not have gloves for sale right now
I got in a car accident (I was rear-ended by a hit and run driver) last Thursday night. The car is like $999 dollars damaged. (This is how you can tell you have a $1000 deductible.) I was sore, but I’m ok. What was I doing Thursday night? I was driving to Target to buy more ski gloves for my kids because they would lose their limbs if they weren’t firmly attached to their bodies. I don’t blame my kids too much – I always lost gloves too. (Still do sometimes.) But in Target, there were swimsuits. Summer dresses. Bubbles and sidewalk chalk. And not a single warm glove to be found. Seriously, I would give a lot for a store that sold clothes you would be appropriately dressed walking out of the store wearing, and gear that you actually need right now. I simply do not understand how it is effective selling to try to pawn off on me stuff I can hardly imagine using while refusing to sell me things I desperately need. That’s how you get a grown woman on the verge of tears in your aisles after having risked LIFE AND LIMB to get to your store… thumbing up the Amazon app on her phone and picking next day shipping. Do better, Target, and all the other retailers in the US.

4) Lent has begun
By the time Easter arrives, the snow may have muchly melted. It is a time of transformational waiting, and I suspect I will feel that even more than usual as we go from the frozen heart of winter to spring. Six more weeks.

I’m really looking forward to someday going places and doing things again. I’ll be sure to let you know if that ever happens!

Bus comes, bus goes

You try taking a good picture of the bus while you're running to catch it!
You try taking a good picture of the bus while you're running to catch it!

For two months now, I’ve had a bus commute. Despite living in Boston, one of the few American cities with a truly functioning public transit system (even if complaining about it is a local hobby), I have never had a public transit commute, or worked in the city. I always thought this was a pity. But now, my mornings and afternoons are governed by the uncompromising schedule of the 7:49 and 5:20.

My bus ride and my mile long walk to work give me some new and different things to think about. Ok, let’s be real. They give me some new and different people to think about. After two months, the folks around me have stopped being entirely noise, and turned into signal.

First, the etiquette of the 354 bus is very strict. Thou shalt not in any way inhibit others from sitting down. Thou shall not have conversations with others once thou hast boarded the bus. Thou shalt not talk on thy cell phone. Speaking to others is entirely optional. If you have to add your money to your Charlie Ticket, go last. If you see another bus rider running to make it, make sure the bus driver knows. Always thank the bus driver as you exit. Form an orderly line to get on. Don’t cut to get ahead, but don’t hang back either. It is a courteous and well-managed bus. It is even (usually) on time. Because it is expensive ($5) and requires planning ahead (who wants to get dropped in Woburn casually?), there are very few first-time, or “I don’t care” riders. As in, I haven’t seen one yet.

With this cloak of silence, I’m getting to enjoy some of my fellow riders. There’s the cute red-headed guy in business casual who always, ALWAYS has Bose noise-cancelling headphones on. He may not have ears, and I would never know it. There’s the older, Italian-looking woman with unrealistically black hair who looks like she would be at home selling limonada and tortellini on the Sicilian coast. One of my favorites (ride home only), is this guy who (when it’s not 80 degrees out) wears a trench coat. And he has a moustache – an honest to goodness 30s era moustache. I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw a non-Indian sporting just a moustache. He doesn’t like crowds and doesn’t mind standing, so he often waits at the edge of the crowd and boards last. There’s the guy who doesn’t speak English, Portuguese or Spanish but something that sounds related, and rides sometimes with his 3 year old (?) daughter. He always makes eye contact and gives me a big grin. There’s the woman who has the exact same commute as I do, and in my early days offered me some wry (but helpful) advice.

Then there are the folks who walk the opposite way from me on my way home. I can tell whether I’m early or late by where I meet them. There’s an older gentleman whom I always notice because he is always wearing jeans and he never looks like the sort of person who would wear jeans. He never meets my eyes, but I feel like we’re old friends. There’s a very tall guy with a very round beard whom I like to imagine as a viking warrior instead of a software engineer. (My walking commute is the epicenter of suits, and this guy is always wearing a funny t-shirt, so I think he must be technical.) Today I recognized four “friends” on my walk to the bus. I wonder how many I haven’t noticed yet, versus how many are too unreliable or just visitors. (You can usually spot the visitors. They’re the ones with the tricorn hats and big eyes pulled constantly skyward by marble-atriumed monoliths.)

Perhaps you can tell by my windyness, but I talk to you about these people, these things, almost every day as I walk and watch. I tell you about the gift it is to walk across the sea – even if a small, polite, well-contained bit of it – and watch the tides go in and out. I talk to you about how the eagle statue in Post Office square always makes me think of the Trolloc statues in Wheel of Time Series. We swap tips about how best to cross the intersections (when you can safely dash, when you should wait, where the advantages are of crossing which way). You commiserate with me when (a rare case so far) I watch the bus pull away, separated from me by an uncrossable river of traffic. We smile together every afternoon as we watch the children and parents swarm the Children’s Museum. And then, of course, I get to work or home and I have no time to remind you of our ongoing conversations.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone else notices or see me, the way I see them. Do any of my “friends” (or perhaps ones I have not yet noticed?) think about that woman with the brown hair and backpack, who is always hurrying and sometimes limping slightly? What about you? Do you have friends, people you pass or see every day, whose name you do not now nor are likely to ever know?

Back in the saddle again

So I went back to work today. My extensive period of absolute leisure came to a close. Of course, it was significantly impacted by having no daycare on Monday, and Thane having a “vomit every 12 hours stomach bug” for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But oh! The Tuesday!

Ah well. Isn’t that how it always happens? I did not program a DROID app. I did not clean the attic. I did not finish transferring things to the new computer. I did not conquer Mt. Laundry. I did play a bunch of FABLE, do three PT session, get excused from all future knee-related work, make a gourmet meal and take care of a sick little boy.

Anyway, I’d forgotten how darn tiring newness is. Everything was new today. New routine, new kind of commute (bus! at least until the T cancel it!), new worries (will I make the bus?), new failures (didn’t have enough money on my Charlie Card because the bus is an express, forgot my Kindle and really needed to have headphones for online training but didn’t), new people, new cultural expectations. Phew. New is hard. But I think once I get past the new and into the rhythm, this is going to be a pretty cool thing! Heck, their first expectation for me was to get a fully functioning IDE up and running on my computer. Niiiiice. I’m back, folks!