So Close and Yet So Far

parrotWe were so excited. After seven long years, we were doing it. We were finally going back to Key West for the Parrot Head convention.  We used to go every year, but that was B.C. (Before Children.) I used to go even Before Husband. I’ve been six times and my husband had gone three times.

The convention, called “Meeting of the Minds,” is a four-day music fest for Jimmy Buffett fans – the hard-core ones that join the Parrot Head Clubs. It’s one big-long party, and for most, it’s like a family reunion. We’d meet people from all over the country and every year we’d reconnect in Key West. We’d see friends who’d moved away from our home clubs, make new friends and broaden our Parrot Head family.

Jimmy Buffett’s band, The Coral Reefers, plays every year, and Jimmy himself shows up about every other year. The year we met, my future husband came down to the convention but he decided on it last minute so he couldn’t officially register. Jimmy came that year, the same day as my husband, and without convention credentials my husband couldn’t get into the concert. I didn’t want him to feel bad, so we spent Jimmy’s concert sitting in a bar by ourselves while the rest of the island saw the show. read more

Seven Minutes

Note to readers: I’m going to change my posting schedule from Saturdays/Sundays to Mondays. It seems that I don’t always have a topic by the weekend but I do on Mondays, so it works out better for all of us. Please look for new posts on Mondays going forward. 

 

BoyIt was the worst seven minutes of my life.

My husband threw up his hands and called out, “WHERE’S (OUR SON)?” I looked around, expecting to see my three-year-old in a ten-foot radius. He wasn’t there. I widened my search to twenty feet. He wasn’t there.

Our closest friend said, “I’ll watch your daughter. Go!”

Eyes wide, trying to suppress panic, I stepped out from under the festival tent and headed toward the main drag. I scanned the path, the tents, the alleys between them. My son wasn’t there. I got to the end of the path, turned around, scanned again, saw some of our friends looking too, but I didn’t see my son. At the end of the path, one of our friends pulled me aside and had me talk to a festival volunteer.

“What’s his name?”

I told him.

What’s he wearing?

“Uhh, I don’t know. Oh God, I don’t know. Khaki shorts!”

“What color shirt?”

I’d never wanted to remember something so desperately. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!” read more

Dealing with Disappointment and Dread

Crying HeadI dreaded my daughter’s return. I had just exchanged emails with her friend Olivia’s mom and we had canceled their after-school playdate. My daughter had anticipated this playdate for weeks. The girls had originally scheduled a playdate themselves, and the day before that one, we had to tell them it didn’t exist.

My daughter didn’t react to that news very well. She got mad and she cried and cried. I tried to comfort her with the news of the real playdate we’d scheduled, but six-year-olds aren’t big on delayed gratification. When she did calm down, she asked about the new play date.  “How many sleeps?” she asked.

“Eight.” read more

Friends in new places

FriendsIt’s not easy being the new kid in school. We knew that before we moved, but our kids are young and we figured they’d adapt.

My daughter is six and in kindergarten. At her old school in Seattle, she had a group of about fifteen friends, including a best friend. Right before we left, we threw a birthday party for my daughter and invited all of her friends. She had eleven guests, and they all got along so well. Their parents told me how much their daughters liked mine and that we’d have to have some play dates.

Well, we left all of that behind when we moved. When my daughter started school in Maryland, we were impressed by the academics, but we didn’t hear too much about friends. Although my son asked daily to go to his old preschool (my God, the guilt!), he made friends right away. It’s easier to adapt when you’re three, I guess. read more

Home sweet home

houseIt took a lot of doing but we did it. We’re officially East Coasters again. It all started with a house. We wanted to move but didn’t have a firm date, a job, or a plan. Nevertheless, I was cruising the real estate sites (See “My real [estate] obsession”). I insisted that my husband find a job first, until I found my dream house online and had to have it.

My husband had been running into road blocks on his job search because recruiters would see his address and assume he’d want them to cover moving expenses, even though his cover letter clearly stated that he wouldn’t. So he was pushing to move without a new job. I vehemently objected, then I found the house, we reviewed our finances and we had a meeting of the minds. read more