We’re communicating!

Jack’s shorthand for telling us what book he wants to read:

  • “Hat” is I Want My Hat Back.
  • “Choo choo” is usually The Little Engine That Could and sometimes The Little Red Caboose.
  • “Baby” is usually Astrophysics for Babies, but sometimes “Baby Dear”.
  • “Guck” could be any number of truck books.
  • “Beep” is one of the Little Blue Truck books.
  • “Hello” is The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.  (The first line is “Oh, hello”.)
  • “No. Hmph,” is Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late.  (That’s his favorite part of the book.)
  • “Hop” is usually Bunny in the Winter, but could be Pat the Bunny.
  • “Ah-boo”, I discovered tonight, is Baby Peekaboo.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Lately, when Jack wants something, he asks if he can have it and answers yes in the same breath.  This is what I want, and I really want you to give it to me, so maybe I’ll just help you answer.  The right answer is yes.  Thank you and goodbye.

I want to watch Sesame Street honkers. “Honk, yup.”

I want Dada.  “Dada, yup.”

I want to read the lion book.  “Roar, yup.”

I want to watch trucks on TV.  “Guck guck, yup.”

He repeats the request and the yup, each successive repetition getting more desperate and more tearful, especially when the answer is no (pretty often for the TV requests) or when I have NO IDEA what he’s asking for.  There are two songs he’s been asking for lately, but I don’t know what they are, and he gets so frustrated trying to tell me.  I know he wants a song because he points to the bluetooth speaker in the corner, and I’m pretty sure they must be on one of three albums because that’s pretty much all we play through that speaker, but what song is “wee a-wee, yup”?  It’s not Wheels on the Bus, and there aren’t any with sirens.  And then he asks for another song by making a sort of horse snorty-blow-out-of-the-lips noise (I can do it myself but I can’t describe it, apparently).  Or maybe it’s a kind of b-b-b-b car engine noise.  What song could that possibly be?  Raffi makes lots of funny noises in his songs, but none of them are that noise.

We did it!

After…three weeks? I think?…we were finally able to buy a new (used) car!  YAY!!!!  Although, STILL, not without some hiccups.  The transfer from Norwood to Warwick was supposed to take three to four days, business days, which with the holiday, meant that yesterday (Wednesday) was day #4.  No word from CarMax.  I emailed the person I was working with there to see if she had any updates for me, but it was towards the end of the workday, so I didn’t expect to hear back until today.  This morning, I called the Warwick location to see what they could tell me. The guy I spoke to said the car is there, it’ll be cleaned and ready in about half an hour, but there’s some issue with the title. He didn’t know exactly what, but he was going to find out and have someone get back to me.

GREAT.  More title problems.  An hour or two later, I got a text from the person I emailed telling me that everything was ready and we should make an appointment to test drive (and hopefully buy) the car.  I asked her if the title issue was resolved.  She said “it appears to be” and I should wait for the office confirmation to be sure.  Uh huh.  I called again and spoke to someone who said it was all sorted out.  So yay!  Only a couple of hours of frustration this time.

We were in the middle of failing to get Jack to sleep for his nap, so we put some snacks and toys in a couple of tote bags, put him in the car seat, and headed to CarMax.  For the third time.  Jack fell asleep on the way up, naturally (and GOOD), so I dropped John off at the entrance around 1:45 and drove in circles for another 15 minutes before they were ready for us.

The test drives went well, the car was (is) in good shape, and we were ready to buy!  And even then, even without having to jump through any more hoops or dealing with any of the usual dealer bullshit, it was STILL 5:30 before we left.  SO MANY HOURS.  Jack was really great, but he was losing it during the last hour, and we were, too.  He didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want to read truck books, he didn’t want to play with his toy phone or toy tablet.  He  just wanted to run around the place and push rolling chairs down the hallway.  That worked (kind of) when one of us could stay with him while the other answered questions and filled out paperwork, but at the end, we both had to read things and sign things, and he was driving everyone nuts.  Which is when I remembered the magic of YouTube.  Three Sesame Street shorts and two truck videos later, we were the proud owners of a new car.

Caffeine is a jerk

I have had a headache the last two evenings, and I think it’s because I haven’t had any caffeine the last two mornings.  I didn’t avoid it on purpose; it just worked out that way.

I don’t want to continue having headaches, but I also don’t like the idea that I’ve gotten so used to caffeine that my body protests when it doesn’t get it, so I’m going to avoid it for another few days and see if the headaches go away.  I’m in control here, not you.  It’s especially annoying since I don’t drink much to begin with.

And it’ll be healthy for me to drink only water for a few days.  Water…and wine.  Totally healthy.

Are you here? Am I here? Is any of this real?

Do you know what I did today?  I mean, really, do you know?  Because I don’t.  What day is it?

This long weekend really threw me.  I was happy to have it, don’t get me wrong.  It’s really nice to have a day off, even working half time.  Figuring out how to fit four hours of work into every day is more stressful than I imagined it would be.  I’m not losing any sleep over it or anything, except that’s not true.  I AM losing sleep over it because I get up extra early to get a couple of hours done before John has to get to work.

I don’t think that’s what I meant to write about because what I DID mean to write about is that I don’t have anything to write about.  Which is a really boring thing to write about because if I really don’t have anything to write about, I shouldn’t write at all.  EXCEPT that I’ve been on a roll these last couple of months, only missing two or three days, and I’m feeling the pressure.

Also, I TOTALLY had something else to write about, but I forgot what it was sometime in the last paragraph.

I am going to bed before this gets any worse.

I used to listen to music for ME, I think. It’s so hard to remember…

Children’s music is entirely too catchy.  It’s really hard to try to write something when the only words going through my head are “Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring.  Banana phone.  Boop-boop-ba-doop-ba-doop.”

I like it fine (that song is right up my alley), but the only songs that drive it away (temporarily) are Sesame Street songs, and is that really helping?

We started re-watching New Girl the other day, and Jack really likes the theme song to that show, but those 20 seconds on repeat might kill me.

Losing it

I finished my last book during Jack’s nap today, and (le sigh), really enjoyed it all the way through.  So glad it’s nominated for a Hugo.  And, since Jack is STILL napping, I get to start a new one!  AND and, it’s by an author I love.  I’m only three pages in, but I am confident I’m going to be happy with this book, which (again) is SUCH a nice feeling.

Speaking of pages, this is the first time since the end of January that I’m reading an actual dead-tree book.  Apparently, I’ve forgotten how they work.  I got to the bottom of a right-hand page and SWIPED.  Honest-to-god, cross-my-heart, SWIPED at a page as though it were my Kindle.


The late fees would be ridiculous

As you probably remember, Jack and I used to go to the library a LOT.  And by “the library”, I mean any one of five libraries, since we pretty much went to a different library for story time or sing-alongs every weekday.  And since we were at the library so much, library books had pretty high turnover at our house.  Right up until the pandemic, anyway, when all of the libraries shut down and stopped accepting returns.

I have one book and Jack has six or seven, all borrowed in February.  My book, unfortunately, wasn’t good enough to finish, so now I’m stuck with a library book I didn’t even like.  Out of Jack’s haul, there’s only one he’s not interested in, but I wonder how much he’ll protest if those ever disappear from his shelf.  There are a couple we read all the time.  Of course, this is assuming we’re ever allowed to return them.

I wonder how many books libraries have out right now.  I’m sure they’d rather have them back than have to replace them, but after so many months in everyone’s homes, how many books would need to be replaced anyway?  Or can’t be found?  I’m willing to bet libraries aren’t going to charge replacement fees.

*I should note that I have been taking a ton of e-books out of the library – I’m certainly not hurting for reading material.  I’m just annoyed that the book I got stuck with was so irritating I couldn’t finish it.

It’s a small thing, but it’s a big thing

I love it when I’m totally engrossed in my book.  I’ve only felt that about one other one in the last eight (including this one in that count).  I had a good string before that, though.  Even when I can only read in short snatches or in the few conscious minutes I have before passing out at night, it’s always a really good feeling to want to get back to my book.  So much better than having to remind myself which book I’m reading.

Anyway, yay for Catfishing on CatNet and yay for Naomi Kritzer.

I have forgotten how to grill

I used to grill a lot.  There was one summer not that long ago when I grilled salmon several times a week.  Me, not John.  I knew how to do this.  But then I tried to grill chicken last week or so.  (Time has no meaning.)  It’s possible I’ve never grilled chicken before, but even so, how could it be this hard?  It took FOREVER.  Also, I set the chicken on fire.  Frequently.  It turned out fine, but I’m not eager to do that again.  (See fire and also forever.)

Then last week I tried salmon again.  Do you like your salmon blackened?  Into a crisp?  Mine was basically inedible because fire.  What the hell, man?  (I mean, I’m assuming I had the burners on too high.)

I’m just out of practice, right?  So I should practice.

Tonight, steak.  Me again – John has faith in me, and hey!  No disasters this time.  The asparagus came out fine (I didn’t lose any in the grill, either), and I basically did the whole five-minutes-per-side thing with the steaks over medium heat. Maybe 7 minutes on the second side.  They were on the rare side of medium, which is how we like them – not charred, not blackened, good without having to drown them in anything (I am just now remembering that I forgot to use the horseradish I put on the table), so maybe I just have to practice with chicken and fish.

Car salesmen are the WORST

We did NOT buy a car today.  We could have.  We found the car with all the stuff at a price slightly below the one at CarMax.  We got there, we test-drove the black one, looked it over – all good.  Then we drove the silver one.  Well, John did.  The salesman tried to convince us it just smelled faintly of dog, but it 100% smelled like smoke, so that was a big no.  But the first one was great.  Let’s do it.

And that’s when the sales game started.  FOR NO GOOD REASON.  We were prepared to buy the car for the price they advertised.  John told the salesman that, and then he went off to “run the numbers”.  What numbers?  Here’s the price, you know the fees, the taxes are easy to calculate – what else?  UGH.

“Since you’re not financing with us, it’ll actually be an additional $450.  That’s a rebate that won’t apply to you since you have outside financing.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our pricing.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Oh, that 3-year maintenance package only applies when you’re financing with us.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our deals.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Since this car is Nissan-certified, you get the warranty for only an additional $1295.  No, it’s not optional, but let me talk to my sales manager about it.  Okay, he says we can’t remove the warranty but we can split the cost with you.  You can have it for only $647.50.”

There was more in that vein, so we decided not to buy the car.  The sales manager got really pissy with me, which was completely unnecessary, and we walked, listening to him mutter at us as we left.  I ordered the transfer of the EXACT CAR from another CarMax from my phone five minutes later.  Hopefully this one will work out.


What a difference a week makes

After last week’s not-so-great car dealer experience, I wasn’t really looking forward to doing it again.  On Friday, I made two appointments, one each for two cars (a Jeep Renegade and a Nissan Rogue).  The guy on the phone (central office again) said the location doesn’t appear to be appointment-only.  I said it was last week, and is there any way to know for sure?  He said I could call them, and I think I managed to hide my frustration when I asked how, since the number I called to reach him was the local RI number.  He told me to follow prompts to the business office.  Cool.  I did, I spoke to someone, and YES.  This week IS different from last week.  They’re almost back to normal, with social distancing rules in place.  We can walk the lot, test drive as many cars as we want, and except that it might take a little longer because they have to prep the cars first, it’s almost normal.  Whew.

So Saturday, we got there around 11, and two hours later, we left, having both driven three cars (Jeep Renegade, Nissan Rogue, and a Ford Escape), AND – more importantly – having pretty much decided that we want to buy a Rogue.  Now comes the obnoxious part: we have to find the newest car we can find, with all the features we want, with the lowest mileage, for the lowest price.  Within reason.

As of this writing, it is possible we have found it at a Nissan dealership in Warwick.  They have several that appear  to meet our requirements.  One of the features isn’t listed, but I called and was assured that because they all have the other features, the missing one is standard, and don’t worry about it.  We’ll find out on Monday, because car dealerships don’t appear to be open on Sundays anymore.  Our backup is to have CarMax ship the only one they have in the entire country up here from Maryland.

I had no idea I could be that kind of buyer.

But we are so close I can smell it.

When did this happen?

This whole car thing has unearthed an unsavory side to our lifestyle recently that I would really like to fix.  We have become COMPLETELY irresponsible with the mail.

Maybe not completely irresponsible.  We pay our bills, but then again, most of those don’t come in the mail.

We decided to sign the car over to the mechanic rather than get it fixed or donate it.  It’s the easiest course of action, and we’ve got a lot going on.  So what does it take to do that?  Not a lot – just sign the title over to them.  Got it.  Cool.  We planned to go first thing in the morning.  Say goodbye to the car, take some last pictures, sign over the title.

We were up, dressed, Jack had eaten, shoes were on, and we were all ready to go.  John went upstairs to the file box that has all of our important documents, but then he didn’t come back down.  And he didn’t come down.  And he still didn’t come down.  Eventually, a “Zannah…?” floated down the stairs.  “Yeah?” back up the stairs.  “Can you think of anywhere else the title could be?”

And thus began the destruction of our house.

We turned it upside down, and in doing so, found all of the places we’d been squirreling away mail.  (There were a lot of places.)  Not to hide it, not to avoid dealing with it, but to get it out of the way when we’re picking up or expecting company.  Very bad habit.

We did not find the title.

I called the DMV to figure out what we do now.  We can get a duplicate title by mail, but it’ll take 3 weeks.  What are we supposed to do with the car for 3 weeks?  Last time John called them, they said they’ll charge $30 a day for storage.  Maybe we could have USAA tow the car back to our driveway.

Plan B!  I called the mechanic and explained what was going on.  He said not to worry about it – just bring a copy of the registration, he’ll have us sign a thing, and they’ll take it from there.  If the title turned up in the meantime, bring it to him.  He was super nice to me, said they wouldn’t charge us for storage, and I got a “don’t worry your pretty little head” vibe from him, but it was working to our advantage, so I’m not complaining.  Now, of COURSE we’ll still get the duplicate title and eventually get it to him.  I don’t want anything weird about the car hanging over our heads.

So that’s great, that’s the plan, and John found time for us to go down there Thursday afternoon.  So Thursday afternoon rolls around, and as we were getting ready to go, I picked up the registration I pulled out of the car when I emptied it last week.

Well….crap.  It expired.  At the end of JANUARY.  And neither of us remembers renewing it.  I went online to check – inconclusive. I called the DMV.  YUP.  We have been driving an unregistered car since the beginning of February.  Granted, we haven’t been driving it MUCH these past two months, but STILL.


The car doesn’t have to be registered to sign the title over to someone, so that was helpful, and the car was not at all driveable, so that’s not really an issue, either, but the mechanic was expecting a copy of the registration!

We decided to go anyway.  I went in to talk to Leo and laid it on the line.  Not only could we not find the title, but it turns out our registration had expired.  He laughed sympathetically, told me it was fine, and then declined to charge us even for the hour they spent diagnosing the engine problem.  He said we’d had a rough week already.  Maybe he expects to make enough off of our car that he can afford to do that, but I choose to believe he’s just that nice of a guy (and he wants our business when we get our next car).

So that all worked out, and we no longer own the Tucson (except that we totally do because we didn’t sign the non-existent title over), and I have a Mid Year Resolution.


First step, sort through and toss or shred the existing mountains of unsorted mail, which is what I have been doing, a little bit at a time, for the last several days.  I’m making real progress.

I can see for miles and miles


For someone who professes to love Indian food (that would be me), it sure did take me a long time to try cooking it myself.  To be fair (to myself), I’m not exactly an enthusiastic cook.  I would much prefer Indian takeout but the nearest one is not that near.

I found an instant pot recipe for butter chicken, had almost all of the ingredients (I had to make two minor substitutions – so minor they basically don’t count), and it turned out pretty well!  I am super excited about the leftovers.

I took zero pictures because by the time it was ready, I was hungry.  Also, you know, it looked like tomato sauce and chicken over rice.  Oh, yeah, I made basmati rice in our rice cooker, which hasn’t seen the outside of the cabinet in, let’s see, when did Corey and Christine give us that instant pot?

My horizons, they are expanding.  Figuratively speaking.

I can also leap tall buildings in a single bound

I have put Jack down for real, honest-to-god, SOLID naps for THREE days in a row!  I did it, I am awesome, and I am for real doing the Carlton dance (which, ahem, I have learned since that video call with Corey and Mel).  (For those wondering, I did an approximation of the Kevin Bacon Footloose dance instead.)

For my next feat, I will turn a toddler into a blueberry.  He is HOOVERING blueberries lately.