Some moments this week, time seemed to stand still. I thought Christopher would never make it back from Miami. Yet here we are, Saturday night, and the week is gone.
Monday the weather was fabulous and I took the boys to a new playground. The park we visited was next to an elevated railroad track. I asked another mom if trains came through, and she said she had never seen one in her 10+ visits. Well, would you believe that three trains came through while we were there? Gavin stood in awe for probably 30 minutes while the trains rolled by. The conductors even blew the whistle and waved down at him. After we ate lunch on a park bench, I strapped Ben on my back and we were able to walk under the track to a paved trail leading to another playground. It’s a pretty fun area of town. We had swim lessons after school and everyone stayed happy.
Tuesday we had a play date with Gavin’s buddy Levi at their house in Dunwoody. Once again, the weather was nice and Gavin and Levi jumped on the trampoline and played Legos. On the way to the play date, we stopped at Portrait Innovations for Ben’s birthday portrait. The place was empty and two photographers tried their best to get Ben to sit still and smile–to no avail. When I previewed the pictures, they kept saying, “Oh, this one’s nice. Look, you can see his teeth.” Yeah, the pictures were horrible. He had a pained expression on his face most of the time. He didn’t like the flash, he didn’t like the bubbles, he didn’t like them blowing in his face or tickling him with feathers. When they brought out a ball, he fussed because he wanted to hold it. And the whole time, he kept trying to escape to join Gavin at the Lego table. I think portrait studios are becoming obsolete as people realize that children photograph much better outdoors, when they are able to move around. Here’s the picture I bought to put on the wall with Megan and Gavin’s one-year portraits. This was the only picture in which Ben had a pleasant expression on his face. Still a handsome boy.
Wednesday the rain began. We were up super early and managed to hit Walmart by 8:15. We had the place to ourselves and it was fantastic, because we were out of essentials (milk, toilet paper) and really needed a Walmart run. We were home by nine and I felt like I had accomplished so much. Ben took an early nap and we had swim lessons after school. Gavin had a major meltdown while Megan was showering and cried for a good hour, basically until bedtime. I seriously don’t know what to do with that kid; I’ve never seen a kid throw a tantrum like him. I’m getting good at staying calm, putting him in his room and holding my ground, but sheesh.
Thursday and Friday were kind of a blur. It was rainy and gloomy and I was reaching the end of my rope. Thursday I got a Groupon for a membership to the High Museum of Art. The museum also hosts Toddler Thursdays featuring activities for kids, so I bought the Groupon and we headed to the museum. Because it was raining, I found a two-hour parking space on the street, which saved me $10. I strapped Ben in the stroller and we started experiencing art.
What a disappointment. I really want to be one of those people that takes my kids to art museums, but it’s not going to happen. At least not when they are 5 and 1, and at least not this museum. It was boring, and the kids’ room was small and disorganized, and the guards gave me dirty looks.
Perhaps most of all, once you live four miles from the Smithsonian, everything else is bound to be a bit of a letdown. (I miss Arlington.)
At any rate, I went home and actually got my Groupon refunded. I apologize to anyone I may have convinced to buy this particular Groupon. Perhaps you will have better luck than I!
I didn’t even send Megan to school on Friday morning as it was a half day and she was invited to go somewhere with Ella Wells. So they took off at 11 and I managed to get a nap when Ben fell asleep at noon. Christopher got home at 3:30 (thank goodness!) and later my friend Paige came over to babysit and we went out.
Our date Friday night was a surprise to me, and I was shocked when we pulled up to the Capital Grille. We ate at the Capital Grille in DC when someone else was paying for it, and the bill ended up being around $200 a person. I kept asking Christopher if I was missing something–an anniversary, a life event. Turns out that one week a year, there’s an event called “restaurant week” where we could eat a full meal for $25 each. Amazing. We had salad, steak (I got the filet mignon, of course), with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (which was delicious), and we had creme brulee for dessert, which was a first for me. Divine. We got home pretty early, as we were both tired and had a week’s worth of DVR-ed shows to catch up on.
One other interesting thing happened this week, that consumed my thoughts for a few days. Christopher got the following email: “There may be an opportunity to do a demand transfer to Kuala Lumpur to work on a telco case. I figured your not interested given your army of children has just moved here, but thought i’d check. Let me know if I’m wrong :)”
So we did a few hours of Google research on KL, and when I was done, I practically had my bags packed.
It would have been a sweet gig. We would’ve just packed and flown business class to Malaysia, leaving our apartment sitting in Atlanta. Bain would pay for our housing while we are there (3-6 months). The timing couldn’t be better. Gavin’s not in school yet, and I could just home school Megan for a few months. I’m sure that she would learn more living in a foreign country than in a few months of second grade. We would have arrived back in Atlanta soon after school started, in plenty of time to catch up and just in time for my favorite season: Fall.
I could just picture myself strapping Ben in the Ergo and traversing the city with my three kids. KL has two science centers, a handful of animal parks and zoos, and lots of city playgrounds and parks. It seems like a fantastic place for kids and welcoming of foreigners. The city is an eclectic mix of Malays, Indians, Chinese, and expats, and I read the food is awesome and the shopping great. The dollar is strong, the cost of goods and services low. For example, the IKEA crib that costs $179 here costs about $25 in KL (according to the Google currency converter). You can get one of those fish pedicures (where the little fish eat the dead skin off your feet) for $10.
The only downsides I could think of–heat, humidity, mosquitoes, traffic–are also part of living in Atlanta.
But alas, it didn’t work out, as they weren’t quite ready to send a four-month-young consultant and his family of five overseas. But I did learn that I am mentally prepared to go global with my “army of children.” The next time an opportunity like this comes around, we’ll be ready.
Today we slept in (thanks, Benny!) and planned our morning around a stale loaf of bread. First, I cut the crusts off 12 pieces and made French toast. Then, we took the crusts and the rest of the loaf and headed to a nearby duck pond. We fed ducks, geese, and even a swan, and the kids loved it.
The afternoon passed slowly. Ben took a way-too-short nap and I just wanted to curl up in fetal position and sleep. We set the clocks an hour ahead after dinner and put the kids to bed early. Now that the blog is caught up, time for some much-needed sleep.