Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dealing with porch pirates

It started with 3 missing packages. In an effort to circumvent all the hassles we faced with our last move (i.e. no litterbox at 11 pm), I ordered a bunch of pet supplies and had the shipped to our new address. I knew we were risking things when I got an alert that the order was arriving a day earlier than planned, but I hoped that no one would be interested in cat food.

The order was quickly replaced when I couldn't find it, but the sizes of the boxes indicated they hadn't simply been misplaced. The next evening, I would find a young man hanging out in what was supposed to be a locked off area behind our unit. When confronted, he jumped and than accused me of racial profiling. Never mind he was trespassing.

Over the next couple of weeks I would be lulled into a false sense that the package theft incident was singular. During this time, a neighbor would start coming over to our complex, hanging out for hours on end in the carport area, watching me the whole time. But I wanted to believe it wasn't anything to be concerned about.

Until yesterday when the period of the loiterer on the property correlated nicely with another package disappearing. Him laughing wildly when he saw me come home. And then getting very agitated when the mother of his daughter dropped the little girl off, making his home address painfully clear.

Police reports have been filed (though let's be honest, the police aren't going to do a damn thing) and management has been alerted. Originally management assumed I was just being dramatic until they found the loiterer on the property, refusing to leave. Supposedly the police are going to show up, but who knows.

In the meantime, Grey and I are devising ways to handle porch pirates, given we have no firm evidence who the culprit is. We're rerouting all package deliveries to Grey's work (meaning now I owe the loading dock crew) while I'm looking into a lockbox/locking bag, investigating delivery services, looking into security cameras and other options. All while resisting the temptation to buy a bait box.

Sadly, as annoying as all of this is, it's still better than our previous rental situation (read no leaking oil tanks or lack of heat). A beast I can handle given we are living in a transitioning neighborhood. But given this is a growing problem, would love thoughts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spoke too soon

On Monday, She-Beat was formally diagnosed with sleep apnea. In the midst of moving and transitioning, she's been waking up in the middle of the night choking and wheezing and snoring has become routine. One night it became too much and after dealing with a screaming Grey who was clearly scared out of his mind, I got her in to see a new medical provider where she immediately got a referral to the local sleep clinic.

The diagnosis is a double-edged sword. First, we have an explanation. And this ENT has suggested that this could be the underlying cause for She-Beat's developmental delay as we know that poor sleep is linked with learning difficulties. In light of the fact that there is a growing body of evidence about the links of poor sleep quality with early onset dementia/Alzheimer's, ADHD, diabetes, high-blood pressure, etc, none of this is surprising and it actually gives me hope that in combination with continued therapy we may end up with a kid who once again falls into the normal range.

But I'm also insanely pissed off that this was completely missed by the Harvard-educated ENTs in Boston as well as the daycare we divorce. These supposedly world-class physicians missed something that was immediately obvious to the ENT on the West Coast, demonstrating once again how full of shit they can be. And I'm actually looking into reporting that daycare to the Board of Education given that they missed something that should have been addressed (the use to let her nap until 5 pm, claiming they were not allowed to wake children up and ignoring something that was glaringly wrong).

Finally, I'm frightened. Because this means surgery number 5 for this child who isn't even 5 years old. Following when the Beats had their ear tubes removed, I assumed we had put all of this behind us. I spoke too soon. And though adenoid and tonsil removal is routine, it's none the less scary to know there's yet another operation.

The summary statement is we're moving forward, with surgery scheduled for May 3. And I'm thankful that we have some way to help She-Beat as this cannot continue. She needs to be able to breathe.

But I dare anyone to argue with me about how superior medical training in Boston is. Or argue in general.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


One week ago today, Grey and I loaded up the family and headed to a hotel by the airport. Over the next 24 hours we would fight exhaustion and stress, navigating 2 separate airport and all that was needed in between. I'll be honest and state there were moments where Grey wanted to slip me some of the sedatives Jaxson and Daisy were on (apparently I looked like a ghost after dealing with TSA), but somehow we survived.

And now we've been focusing on adjusting.

There's so much I forgot about the strangeness that came with arriving on the West Coast for the first time. The car-centric culture with wide streets and access to freeways. The distance between destinations. But most of all is the warm weather and sunshine; going from winter-like conditions to summer-like conditions has been unsettling.

Equally unsettling has been navigating the porch pirates and petty scams. One unexpected blessing of our Boston experience was having zero issues trespassing or package theft.

But the biggest adjustment is finding ourselves once again close to family. Over the weekend, Lucas and Moon invited us over to their home for Easter, which was an easy 30 min trek. It's the first time Moon has ever met the Beats and the cousins meeting one another. MIL is also currently in town celebrating her birthday, which has given her a chance to see the Beats in almost 3 years. And my brother is planning on visiting this coming weekend.

There's a lot of weirdness surrounding all these events and as we begin to establish a new normal and routine. Some days all I want to do is pull the covers back over my head, sleeping until my head isn't as foggy or allowing myself a glass of wine earlier in the evening.

But then there's seeing the foothills in the distance or watching the kids interact with one another. There's watching Jaxson and Daisy sun themselves on the patio. And finally there's seeing the smile on Grey's face that disappeared during our time in Boston; hearing the excitement he has once again about the future and life in general

This past week also marked 6 years since my second miscarriage, which I've been quietly dealing with. Normally this week is a harder one, with me hiding more from the world, but the truth is it feels like hope and light are finding there way back in to spaces of my heart that I didn't know were darkened. It's far from perfect and all of this has made me realize more healing needs to happen, yet its progress.

All of it part of adjusting, both to this new normal but also to a new chapter.

Monday, April 2, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Rants from a cat (moving edition)

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Dear Humans,

Our mom sucks. Daisy and I had a feeling we were going to be shoved into a plane again, given all the furniture disappeared and we had to have a visit with the evil veterinarian to discuss "pills," but deep down I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't go through with it. 

Then we woke up early on Wednesday morning to an extra early breakfast, only for me to realize too late that the food was laced (Daisy wasn't fooled, resulting in another pill being shoved down her throat). Then we were locked up in our canvas cages, with the humans thinking it was so cute we had our own tags. We officially pee on tags like this.

"Check me out, I'm checked in." is missing "in HELL" at the end.
Equally not fun are the X-ray machines. Any organism who thinks that practice is humane also gets peed on.

But the worst was spending 6 1/2 hours shoved under a seat, having to endure the farts of some stranger while occasionally being placated with head rubs. Daisy and I have survived torture.

Sure, California is pretty peachy. Granted there are less bugs and I miss hearing the mice run through the walls, but there's grass and sunshine and it's been warm.

Plus Daisy and I have claimed new outlooks

Note the lone paw indicating I'm fully stretched out and unconcerned about the humans opinions about my new outpost
Still, this whole moving thing is for the birds. I just want things to calm down and for my mom to get rid of any future ideas of relocating.

In the meantime, I officially have claimed the stairs. Toll to pass depends on how you chose to please me, including chewing out my mom.

With kindest regards (unless you chose to drug me too),
Jaxson Euripides Meowser

Monday, March 26, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Lasts

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, I took the Beats on one last hike at a favorite local wildlife area. The March weather combined with chilly temperatures resulted in the place being fairly deserted, giving us the opportunity to explore.

As part of our hikes at this preserve, the Beats would cap of their exploration with spending some time on a lone set of swings located close to the parking lot. Over the last 2 1/2 years, they've gone from toddling to the baby seats, begging to be picked up and placed in, to independently getting themselves situated in the normal swing seats, asking to be pushed higher and higher.

Yesterday was their last time on this swing set. Just writing those words leaves me heavy with emotion.

The March/April transition is a hard time of year for me. 6 years ago, I was in the middle of a second miscarriage, fighting to hang onto hope only to later learn all had been lost. And even though a year later things would change, I would still be reflecting on those last moments of what could have been.

Last night I was reminded of all of this again while dealing with phantom pain at the site of my Caesarean. Pressing down on the scars, I marveled at how grateful I was to even get the experience of carrying the Beats for as long as I did. But I also allowed for the pain of knowing all that was lost due to that journey.

There's so much focus on the firsts in life, from first steps to first kiss to first adventures. But equally important is recognizing the union that exists between those firsts and the lasts. That one cannot exist without the other, despite the fear surrounding closing the doors on certain chapters.

This week the Beats say good-bye to friends and teachers. The excitement of moving back to the West Coast is being tempered by them having these lasts. Already He-Beat is struggling, lashing out and being extra clingy as he fights to make sense of these emotions. The urge to completely shelter them both from this part of the process is high. And yet, I know that they have to learn to navigate this process, with Grey and me guiding them through this process of happy/sad that comes with transitions.

Being excited for the firsts and all the new while also honoring the lasts.

Friday, March 23, 2018


It's moving week in the Grey/Cristy household.
On Sunday, we picked up the rental car and began packing. Start death-cleaning style process of sorting what will make the trip. Decide to part with beds, bookcases, computer desk and futon. No other drama to report.

Monday: Lenny was picked up to begin his journey to California. He'll likely be meeting us there.

Monday was also started with me realizing that the car seats wouldn't fit in the rental car (sidenote: Chevy Transverse is a designed for people who are more concerned about their comfort than actually transporting small children). Cue multiple phone calls to rental car company with being told there's nothing they can do. And apparently Cristy is not allowed to drive the rental as she's not listed on the agreement. In addition, moving pods arrive unexpectedly, cueing neighbor (landlady's aunt) to freak out about accessing the garbage bins and her launching in about hating having an extra recycling bin.

Cristy attends lecture with puffy eyes. Death-cleaning/packing continues.

Tuesday: trip to airport to get Cristy on rental car agreement. Quickly learn to not trust people on the phone as 1) being married negates the need to add me and 2) the people at the office hear about our situation and immediately act to rectify it. We leave airport with a Dodge Minivan and a $50 refund for our trouble. City makes fun of neighbor for being stupid about recycling bin. Neighbors happily accept the recycling extra bin (normally they cost $100 for the ticket, so it's a win for them). Ramp up on packing.

Wednesday: Grey and Cristy watch weather, packing while praying. Projected 8-10 inches of snow never happens. Wondering how universe will screw us tomorrow.

Thursday: An extra light dusting of snow. Finish packing. Moving crew comes and loads moving pods. Watching these guys work, filling everything in 3 hours leaves me realizing what an amateur Cristy is. Moving guys finish by taking half the stuff we planned to donate (read Ramones cassettes, blender, various hand tools and electronics), which we are happy to supply them.

Evening ends with my students giving their final presentations to PreK-12 educators (and getting a TON of valuable feedback on their project).

Friday: wake to find moving pod company on site to pick up pods. Cue ever child (ages 2-78) on the block glued to their windows to watch the guy driving the forklift. Donations picked up. Toddler beds sold. Friday ends with promise of take-out and Cristy bullying Craigslist respondents to pick up futon.

I loved Tetras as a kid. But all the moving pieces from this week has left me utterly exhausted, wanting to sleep the sleep of thousand deaths. And it's not over: Monday is vet visit for annual exam and to get meds for trip. Tuesday is final walk through and last day at schools. All leading to Wednesday, which is when we say good-bye to Boston. Still lots to do.

But one thing I am loving is seeing all the pieces come together. Waving good-bye to the pods felt really good. Watching furniture disappear has felt even better. And this final divorce with the rental from hell is something both Grey and I are looking forward to.

Just need to figure out how everything fits together in this short stretch of time.

Monday, March 19, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, Grey's former roommate and very good friend came up with his family (in-laws included) to visit. It's become a running joke that he's only interested in seeing us during coast-to-coast moves (last time we saw them was 2 days after our arrival to Boston). The morning was spent taking everyone to the Natural History Museum followed by a tour of campus, resulting in two extremely happy former roommate in-laws but 3 kiddos who were deeply bored and in need their own adventure.

To rectify the adult-centered morning, Grey, former roommate and I decided to take the kids to an indoor playground. But the first order of business was getting lunch into the preschoolers. Hence the stop at Friendly's, when former roommate realized that Grey and I had never been and declared it was his duty to initiate us.

There's so much about this place that left me cringing. But the ultimate was during the walk to the restaurant when we realized the entrance was blocked by a male Canadian goose who was hissing and chasing people away. It was only when we managed to get around him and inside the atrium that we noticed his mate sitting in a nest pressed up to the glass, clearly incubating her eggs.

"That's Ozzie and Harriet" said one of the regulars as Grey, former roommate and I caught our breaths while the kids marveled at the continued geese drama happening outside. "They've been coming here for the last 7 years to lay their eggs and raise their young." 

Apparently no one has thought to build them an enclosure to rectify the ongoing drama. 

Then again, maybe this is just a weird revival of the 1950s TV show, except being an audience member is a bit more of an experience.
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