Friday, February 27, 2009

Little Things...

...Sometimes, it's the little things that mean so much.

This week, I took the car to get washed and they guys took an extra long time paying attention to little details. They even washed the sludge that's been accumulating in the center console cup holders and along the inside side rails where the kids step in with muddy feet.  They thoroughly vacuumed inside pulling out the car seats and the back seats and hand dried the whole thing and even motioned to me to stop so they could re-dry my window where they saw they missed a little.  I was impressed with their eye for detail during these "tough economic times" where everyone's morale seems to be down and companies are downsizing their service.  LMC Car Wash on North Avenue--you've won a customer for life!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Bye, Liz

Central Park, Sept 2001

I guess there's a lot of buzz from a certain 86 year old being laid off.

So far, I've gotten calls from Reuters, the NY Observer and my father looking for a statement today.

Will the calls, letters and publicity packets cease to come now that she's throwing in the towel?

I'll miss you, my friend.  2am calls from freaks who just finished your book and need to get answers will never be the same now.  And the call from a certain old boyfriend from 50 years ago was a touching story, but alas I still couldn't help him either. It was fun getting calls from Kevin Spacey's office and invitations to galas in Florida.  Most callers were amazed that someone could actually have the same name as you and tried to assure themselves that I wasn't "Liz Smith the columnist."  Yes, I'm sure.   

But I AM Liz Smtih the blogger.  Read ON!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I don't believe it!

I have a new friend...

This guy took sour apple green permanent marker off of my white marble counters and light yellow cabinets when a regular sponge did nothing....

I don't know how you do it, Mr. Clean, but I am blown away.  Thanks for saving the life of a certain 21 month old!!!!  I can't be mad now, but I have to say, my blood was boiling when I first discovered the damage a few minutes ago.  I love art, but his designs need a different surface.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Evan scored lots of points for sending me gorgeous long-stemmed roses to enjoy during the week!

Our Valentine's Day this year was packed with festivities.

The kids came up with an idea to have a party!  Well, Wesley talks about having a party all the time, but when the idea for a Valentine's party was put on the table, Evan and I went with it and helped the kids create a low key breakfast party.

 They were each allowed to invite 3 friends.
This is Alessia who Wesley talks about a lot...

 We came up with a menu:  Heart shaped pancakes, bacon (very heart healthy!) and strawberry smoothies.

We decorated,

they made puzzle crafts,


they played games and decorated cupcakes.  

Afterall, it is the holiday of SUGAR!!!

 It was fun having a party that was combined with the two age groups.

 The older ones entertained the younger ones and the dynamic was fun!  I think having a Valentine's party is a great idea.  Spread the LOVE!


...Evan and I had been planning an adult party of sorts.  Last year, we went to ICE for a 
Romantic Couples Cooking Class which was very entertaining and lots of fun.  We had the great idea to do it ourselves this year with 4 couples and Evan was the chef.  Everyone participated in preparing a wonderfully delicious menu that Evan came up with.  It was really fun to cook as couples and enjoy the evening together.

The menu:

Hearts of Palm Salad with Beets
Truffle Leek Lasagnette
Filet Mignon with Merlot reduction & frizzled mushrooms
Steamed Aspargus
Truffle Filled Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Lovely ladies: Liz, Jane, Anne, Annalee

Hardworking men: Bill, Evan, Kai

Cris prepping the herbs & shallots

Evan finishing off the Merlot reduction

The delicacy filled table awaiting us!  Jane, bedding sylist extraordinaire delighted us with a beautiful table setting!

The guys pulled off making the chocolate cakes that each couple shared!  I have to say Cris has some wicked cake decorating skills!!!  Good job, men!

My Valentine:
Be MINE! xoxo

*** if anyone is interested in the recipes, leave a comment and I'll email the doc to you!

Scatophobe's Nightmare

(Post by Evan)

(My dad once told that there are really only two kinds of people in the world, those who find farts funny and those who don’t. If you don’t fall into the former category, please discontinue reading now.)

I have been a scatophobe for a long time. Perhaps it was all those years being forced to pick up the dog crap in the back yard, but whatever the reasons, I had one of the scariest encounters of my life on a recent flight to Salt Lake City.

Delta Airlines had put us in a bad mood with some extremely poor customer service at the onset of our flight. Liz and I ended up traveling separately, with me taking the two older kids on one flight while she took Luke (plus all the baggage) on another. We were separately angry and annoyed at the situation and were already on edge. Please join me now as I’m about 2 hours into the flight:

Wesley is tired and falls asleep on my lap. The captain turns on the fasten seat belt light for turbulence. I check the security of his seatbelt and continue reading my magazine. About 20 minutes later he wakes up moaning, in a daze. I immediately recognize his cry as "I have to pee, but I'm not awake enough to do anything about it." The turbulence had subsided and the crew is up front serving drinks, so I decide it is safe to make a run to the lavatory.

Wesley drops his pants to begin his business, and immediately the turbulence comes back with a vengeance. Part of me feels bad for the boy. Another part finds it mildly comical to see someone in a dazed state trying to maintain balance with an unstable floor beneath him. I snap back to reality with his desperate cry of frustration, since he is unable to find relief. I watch him strain to perform the task and then look down with disbelief as a huge log emerges from his backside. I can only stare with a sense of revulsion as I watch it fall end over end, first colliding with the waistband of his pants, then falling squarely between my feet.

When I finally realize what has happened, Wesley is now awake enough to be full-on crying. Still stunned, I attempt to pick him up and sit him on the toilet. The only problem is now the turbulence is so strong that it makes it nearly impossible set him down. And to complicate matters the turd on the floor is now on the move, and I am doing a macabre dance trying to avoid contact with my shoes.

With a bawling Wesley situated on the commode, I realize I have the task of poop disposal. My whole body shudders. Due to the cramped quarters of the lavatory, I am unable to bend over to perform the necessary service. So I am forced to open the door, back out into the aisle, and get down on my hands and knees to wrangle the offensive deposit. I reach up for some toilet paper and find myself at the end of the roll with just a couple of squares, enough to take care of the task at hand, but not enough to finish up the whole ordeal.

I have one of those surreal feelings, almost like I am on a hidden camera show, as I’m down on all fours being buffeted by the bouncing plane trying to pin down a rolling bundle of fecal matter that is leaving “skid marks” all over the lavatory floor every time it skitters from one side to the other. I ultimately corner my quarry and grab it oh-so-carefully. My stomach does a couple of 360s while delivering it to the toilet.

Wesley is holding on for dear life as the plane shakes. I grab the last of the paper towels to clean the residue from the floor. It’s all I can do to keep from decorating the floor with the contents of my own stomach. After completing that task and being compelled to do a maintenance hand wash, I attend to my half-asleep frightened, confused son. But where to start?

I survey the situation and it’s worse than I thought. Wesley’s underwear is caked with poop. Wesley needs to be wiped. There is no toilet paper, no Kleenex, and no paper towels left. There is now a flight attendant banging on the door asking me to return to our seats. I spy the toilet seat liners and begin to use them clean the underwear. It’s hopeless, though. I figure removal is the only option. Luckily the pants themselves are poop free so at least I won’t have to haul him out naked through the aisle.

I realize Wesley has no shoes on. Standing on the floor won’t be an option. After cleaning his bum with a couple more seat liners I pick him up with one arm and try to remove his pants with the other. Remember the plane is still shaking violently, so this is not an easy task, especially in the confines of an airplane lavatory. I finally manage to get the pants off and have him stand on the sink with his arm around my neck for stability. After extricating the unusable underwear I wrap them in a few more seat liners and then pull his pants back on.

A sense of relief hits me and I prepare to go back. A thorough cleansing of my hands is definitely in order. When I look down at my hands, a huge feeling of dread and fresh wave of nausea hits me as I discover that my hands and sleeve have a good coating of poop. I know it’s just poop, but remember I have an irrational fear of it! With Wesley still hanging on to my neck I exhaust the bottle of liquid soap and do my best impression of a pre-surgical scrub. Shaking off the water and rolling up my sleeve, I grab a fresh seat liner and make a sling for the previously-wrapped underwear. I take that package with my right hand and pick up Wesley in my left arm begin the journey back to my seat. I only have to go about 5 rows forward, but it’s a very delicate dance carrying a 40-lb child and dangling a toxic waste package with my free hand while navigating a narrow aisle that’s in the throes of pitching, yawing and rolling.

When I arrive at my row I temporarily stash the package in the seatback pocket and get Wesley situated. I wipe away his tears and buckle him in. He puts head in my lap and I stroke his head until he falls asleep. I finally take a relaxed breath. I try to purge the recent events from my mind. The shuddering feeling dissipates. I fall asleep, exhausted.

As we’re landing I stop and recount the incident to myself. With the trauma behind me I actually realize that this could have been a scene straight out of a slapstick comedy movie. I muster a smile thinking about how funny it would have looked from the outside. As we’re walking on the jetway into the airport I realize that I left a certain “surprise” in the seatback pocket. I feel bad for the employee who will find it, but remembering how Delta had treated us earlier, the feeling quickly goes away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wesley said...

"I'm too hungry to eat!"

When the dental hygienist finished his teeth today, I overheard him answer her, "That was AWESOME!"

"I don't want to go skiing today, but will you still buy me Clone Wars jammies?!?!" after I was trying to bribe him to ski. (he hates the cold like I do)

"Can we still go back to that house with the video games?!" (He's so cofused at who everyone is out in Utah. "That" house refers to his cousins' house.

"I want NOTHING and I don't want to go NOWHERE!" This is a regular extreme tired Wesley response.

We love you, Wesley, even though at the end of each exhaust us! xoxo

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daddy's Inferno

(Post by Evan)

Abandon all hope ye who enter here...

Famous words by Dante Alighieri. Those are the same words that coursed through my brain as I made my first appearance at Chuck E. Cheese's since my teen years in the early 80's. A lot was the same, but a lot had changed. It was a teen hangout when I went the first time. I spotted very few teens there this time around. Must be because of the requirement of parents to accompany minors.

All I can say is, "wow!" It was a complete assault of the visual and audible senses. The flashing lights, the noise from the game machines, and the noise from the crowds moreso made it the perfect way to cap off a sleep deprived night.

Now in all fairness, I went willingly, with the intent of making amends with the kids for having to bail out of a planned ski excursion for today. I got a call from work in the middle of the night with bad news about one of the systems I managed. During one of the windows where things were out of my hands we loaded some excited kids into the car for a journey west of the Hudson.

I have to hand it to Nolan Bushnell for his enterprise. It's a great idea to keep parents hostage in a place where kids don't have fun unless they're spending your money. You can't leave your kids behind on their own. That's just genius. I will try to incorporate similar logic when I come up with my next business enterprise.

All my kids had a great time. They all just wanted to run off and do everything. An especially close eye was required for a certain one-year old who had no qualms with assisting other kids playing their games. I'm not sure he understood what the problem was. A four-year old boy's brain is driven by the coolest looking apparatuses. (Or is that apparati?) Anything that invoked testosterone surges like race car video games was exceptionally attractive. I was impressed that a seven-year old girl's behavior was motivated by the social aspect. I found it intriguing that she was able make partnerships to play some of the games that weren't necessarily designed to played with a partner.

The 80 degree temperature coupled with the 100+ decibel noise and the smell of fried food and cardboard pizza was the ideal combination for a relaxing evening with the kids. I was sad that it had to end so that I could race home and jump onto a conference call to finish what we started 18 hours previously. I know that I'll relish my next trip to spend the leftover 60 tokens.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What a difference a day MAKES...

Here are some videos of Wesley skiing over the weekend...

This is the first day...

This is a little later....

This is the end of the second day...

Now, that's improvement!  Go Wesley!!!