Saturday, September 24, 2005

Baby Magic Tricks and Other Ways to Clean House

I'd say we are officially free of jet lag - finally! Its great that we're all sleeping through now, but I have to say, I will miss those middle of the night family parties in the living room. There was something about them that kind of fit very well with our personalities.

Anyways, the jet lag has been replaced by another mysterious phenomenon: the disappearance of important objects. It started yesterday. I was standing at the supermarket cash register, which, of course, is the baby's cue to start screaming her dang brains out. So I give her my cell phone to play with, and this distracts her long enough for me to pay, pack everything up and get out of the store. I walk around the corner (1 minute) to my apartment, get inside and realize that the phone is gone. I go nuts unpacking the grocery bags, looking in the fridge to see if I mistakingly put it in the egg tray with the eggs (something that wouldn't be totally un-Mama Jens), check all around the stroller, etc. Nowhere. So, I get the baby back in the stroller, and head out to retrace my steps to the supermarket. I walk out of the building and there's this suspicious dude standing right in front of the door with my handy. I say, Hey, great, you found my handy! He looks at me like I'm nuts, so I rephrase, "Did you by any chance find a handy?" No, he says, and puts it in his pocket. I get really irritated and say, "Well, that's funny (you asshole), because I just lost my handy and it looks JUST LIKE THAT!" I was of course banking on the very low odds that this would just be coincidental...that you lose your handy and five minutes later walk outside to look for it and a guy is standing there with the same handy as yours in his hand. Well, after I basically treated him like a first-rate criminal, he shows me his address book. The Fritz's, Harald's, and Stephan's just didn't match up with my Stephanie's, Angela's, and Jennifer's. So, I continued to retrace, heading toward the supermarket, and the phone is simply nowhere to be found. So I figure the dude found it and switched the card out for his. After all this, I call my husband on the regular phone, and he is consulting another friend and we all determine that if he had switched out the card, it wouldn't be ringing when we dialed the number. (E - could you confirm this?) So the dude was off the hook. We kept calling it so it would ring and I retraced my steps again. Nowhere. At that point, the thought actually crossed my mind that maybe my baby ate it. She did seem to be displaying signs of indigestion afterall. Okay, so I called Eplus and locked my card.

And then, today, we're out walking, and I give the baby my sunglasses case to play with. One crossed street and about four steps later, I realize its not in her hand anymore. I look down, behind, around, all over the case. I go back across the street to the point where I gave it to her. No case. I look under every car within a fifty foot range. NO CASE! GONE! VANISHED! POOF! At this point, my husband starts questioning my mental health. Are you sure you gave her a sunglasses case to play with? And then he spells out my lesson: Never give her anything you want to keep anymore. Fair enough.

And on that note, I will consider those two objects the first in a loooooonnnng list of things to get rid of in the next couple of months before we jump the pond. Okay, I know they are small and wouldn't take up space, but still, they are officially symbolic of my personal "Getting Rid Of" launch party. Today was very productive in that regard, We took two rows of books from the bookshelf to St. George's English Bookstore. Then, we got a couple of bags of old Mama Jens winter clothes ready for another second hand store, AND, my older daughter and I set up a stand at a Kinder Trödel Markt at the church across the street. We sold some toys, and lots of children's clothes and it was fun playing "store" with her. I told her the money she earned will be for a new bike when we move to the states.

I already feel lighter.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We're Back!

We're back from our three week trip to the U.S. now. I'm not sure I mentioned here that we were actually going. But anyways, we are back and trying to get settled back into a place I think we've already left in our minds. The jet lag is bad this time, very bad. We have been back for five days already and are all still completely whack.

For example: I woke up awhile ago, and, with my very bad eye sight, determined it was 4 AM. So I figured, okay, I'll just get up now, do some baking, get a head-start on the day, etc. But after I went nuts taking a shower, doing laundry, making coffee, I had another look at the clock, this time with my contacts (and pearl earrings and make-up) on. It was actually only 1:30 AM. Damnit frickin' jet lag! So, here's Mama Jens now, 2 AM, having lunch - a big bowl of pasta salad (which has sundried tomatos, green and red bell peppers, corn, green olives stuffed with feta, green onions, fusilli pasta, and my famous balsamic vinegar mixture. delish.)

I can't remember ever having jet lag quite this bad. The kids have it too. Maybe its the time of year? The length of the trip (from California)? Who knows...all I know is that this being awake in the middle of the night (at least the kids are actually asleep right now) is getting pretty wacky.

Oops. Spoke too soon. Husband and older daughter just came in. Well, at least the baby is still sleeping.

So, our trip, it was long. Ohio (for my brother's wedding), Las Vegas (which, as you probably guessed, I can't help but calling Veg Ass), L.A., and Santa Maria. Airplanes. Cars. Starbucks.

Here are a few of the highlights:

The hairdryer warmth and humidity of a real, American summer.

Seeing my little brother get married. The Mama Jens weeping fest during the exchange of vows reminded me of Ms. Calvert, my high school English teacher, who said that people cry at weddings not because they are moved, but because they are sad that the people standing at the altar are giving up their freedom. Hmmm...I guess that said a lot about her marriage.

Watching my brother sing the entire song, "Baby Got Back," to his new bride at a very fancy wedding reception while tailored guests looked on.

Gambling at the $4 roulette table at the ever-so-fancy Casino Royale (just kiddin' about the fancy part) in Vegas (Veg Ass) with my husband while my dear Maman watched over my little nest back at the hotel.

Walking into the Mandalay Bay hotel, having a free drink and winning $40 before walking back out. If only going out were always that profitable...

The salmon my dad barbequed on a cedar plank. Whoa.

The two cheeseburgers I had while in the U.S. Whoa. Whoa.

Breakfast at IHOP. Rooty Tooty Fresh n' Fruity.

Standing before the Baking Section of a big American supermarket with a BIG empty cart next to me.

Washing a load of laundry in an American wash machine (the size of a small car).

The aforementioned load only taking about an hour start to finish. (For those of you that aren't familiar with the wonders of doing laundry in Germany, it takes me about a day to wash a load of laundry here. You start with the teeny, "energy efficient" machine that runs in slow, intermittent cycles for about three hours, and end with all the little scrunched up pieces that have been hung to dry and are crispier than fresh saltine crackers.)

Taking pictures in the desert.

Realizing that people in America are pretty aware of the disturbing level of consumerism and waste.

I am sure there are many other noteworthy trip highlights, but it is 2 AM, so my brain isn't exactly operating at a level I would term "clear."

Okay, back online. More to come. More recipes. More fun.

Love from Berlin,
Mama Jens