Friday, October 31, 2008

So you think you can drive?

I told all of you about my butter fingers..or just my buttered self.. for it seems that my entire body works in tandem to cause some mishap or the other. What about my adept brain.. the power house.. you would like to ask wouldn't you?

My power house has an acute case of Extended ADD. Why extended you ask... because it continues for lengths of time.. unlike typical ADD which has kids bouncing from one task to another. I am cleaning the room, cooking, washing the dishes and blogging at the same time.. As a result.. the room get messier, the food gets burnt, the sink overflows and the blogs never get written... so now you know why I have been practicing abstinence from my blog.. its not because my butter fingers acted up again.. like you thought! So you can surmise that I suck at multi-tasking!! BIG TIME!!

Now imagine someone like me driving.. with this symptom... I am driving along on the road when Cheeky lets out a shriek "Mamma switch on the music"... so now I have to pull over and stop the car and turn on the music and then get back on the road again.. (despite the fact that the controls for the audio are on my steering wheel). If I attempted both at the same time.. driving and turning on the music can just not be done without swerving off the lane now can it...You get the drift?

But I have a thankless, thoughtless son who is my worst nightmare when I decide to sit behind a steering wheel... I have to listen to comments about how Daddy would turn the music on, the rumbly road is suddenly my fault, the slamming brakes (Amma pichaku pichaku break podadhey), not to mention the reading out of the speed limits and the rest of my rights every couple of minutes.. Now how am I supposed to listen and drive at the same time?

Wondering why I am waxing eloquent about driving? After a complete twist of fate when some clueless instructor gave me a license a year and a half back (I tell you getting a licence in Colorado is far too easy)... not to mention the many attempts and mishaps of the past. After that, I drove my car esconed in a night mare for a month. I would dread taking the car out, dread hitting the highway, and heart in hand would complete every ride with a thanks to the lord that yet again I survived it. Then the excuses began - Its night, we are late already, there is road work about a mile away, snow is here, roads are slippery.. and it went on and on till recently. One of my more demure friends started driving and taunted me into saying one morning.."I am going to drive". Cheeky and M looked agape as I adjusted the seats and started the burly red thing!

Since that morning I have made many more attempts at driving but there is no convincing my biggest critic. Everyone I brag to (I won those bragging rights fair and square.. was I not clear enough.. I drove the monster)... hears another version of the story from Mr. Cheeky... about mommy's death grip on the steering wheel, the gritted teeth, the squealing brakes and the ominous speed limit (I dont know why he has to keep mentioning that)! So this weekend I loosened the grip on the wheel and even let go of one hand to wave at the little imp and drink some water (aah my heart!!) while I went hurtling down the highway. At the end of the ride I had the audacity to ask Cheeky how it had gone.. "Who does that, everyone knows you have to hold the sterring with both hands" was the reply!! I think I am going back to my excuses again!

So while you can all relax that the terror on the road is gone again.. here are some fall pictures from our trip to the mountains last week.


(c) Preethi @ Incessant Musings, October 2008

And before I sign off... HAPPY DIWALI. Diwali at the Cheeky household came and went without much notice... let me put it this way.. we tried not to notice the burnt smelling, high sugar contraption mom had called thenga (coconut) burfi but looked like a gooey mass lying in the trash can sticking to everything! Other than that we had a lovely Diwali thank you!

[Thanks to all of you who checked in to see if I was okay... you guys are wonderful!! ]

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FOLKS.. STAY SPOOKY!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A note from Ms Butter Fingers

My tryst with destiny started at an early age. I was 2 when I had my first accident. This I don't remember.. so what I say here is just hearsay! I had sneaked into the bathroom yet again... and stood under the tap playing with the water and getting completely drenched.. while at it I jutted my chin against the tap (testing its strength?).. Considering that I have lived to tell the tale and it took only half a dozen stitches to stem the flow.. I guess it was worth the experiment?

When I was 4 girls my age had started to stand around and gossip. Not to mention worry about their skirts / pinafores getting dirty when they do stunts on the jungle gym! But I was one of the few who paid no heed to gender discrimination. So I spent my time scaling walls and hanging upside down on jungle gyms. On one such occasion I banged my head and even had blood gushing out! No stitches were needed I think! But I remember distinctly my embarrassment when I was asked to go "rest my head" aka sleep with the 3 yr olds while my class mates went on to sit prim and proper in their seats and attend school. This mortification is my earliest memory (what a one to have right?). But this episode kept me off trouble for a few years.. either that or it was luck! I bet on the latter because as the years passed I mastered the art of scaling walls, climbing trees, rolling under vehicles and so on...

But it was not these acts of abandon that led to my next accident. It was an unfortunate fall in the bathroom again. I seem to have a lot of luck with water right? It was the morning of an exam (we had what was called mid terms then.. about a month before the final exams for the year). I was shooed to the bathroom to get ready. There was a big rock in the bathroom to close the drain and keep away rats.. this rock was moved to keep the drain open in the morning and then closed again at night to keep away the rats! And I slipped and fell and landed my hand on the rock. I feared my mom's wrath "you had another accident?" so tried to pretend nothing was wrong.. but had to fess up and find out that I had my first ever fracture! My right arm too.. aah what a deal I did not have to write another exam that year!

The very next year I climbed up a cupboard and hung on precarious balance while I looked for some treasure atop the Almira placed next to the cupboard. But as you can imagine.. slipped and fell for the second time that week (I had earlier landed on the same arm while climbing a tree to get some mangoes!).. And so happened the fracture of my left hand! This time it was no fun.. for people were tired of my accidents and no one wanted to bestow pity! Also being left hand that was fractured I was not awarded any lenience at school and still had to write all assignments and exams! The mean people!

But I soon discovered accidents were no fun and turned my attention to books and more lady like pranks.. till I had a baby. No No No.. I can see where your thoughts are turning.. fast forward another year. Cheeky was 1 and I was rushing to get to a function at a cousins place. We lived in India then and in our new house had cordoned off the stairway with giant wooden gates. Since you did not get ready made plastic gates like in the US we had the carpenter scustom make this for us and they were huge. So it was probably not a good idea to try and pull it out while wearing a saree and carrying atleast 4 bags of things not to mention the little imp in my hand.. I dropped the gate on my feet and my left little toe began to swell up almost immediately. I ignored it to go to the function and later at my uncle's place he dragged me to a doctor to give me a tetanus. When the swelling had not subsided after 2 days not to mention the pain, it was discovered that the toe was fractured and I was put on bed rest! Haah... you can imagine how that went.. I hopped around the house while my aunt and cousin tried to baby sit the little brat.. not to mention M taking a week off to cook and baby sit! I did enjoy all the attention!

Tired already? But thats not the end of it. Another year later.. I had just moved to California from New Jersey (If you have been reading this blog for a while, you are aware of my restless feet.. which brings me to the award Shraikh gave me.. I digress, but had to mention that..
Thanks Shraikh. I will make another post on this soon.. but had to gloat now!)

Back to my monologue on Miss Butter fingers.. So I had moved to California and my car had still not made the cross country trip. So as we sat there car-less in California I had a brilliant idea. I would make Kurma for dinner. It was 8 Pm and my stomach was rumbling aloud.. so I grabbed the block of coconut from the freezer (what had become a block but was meant to be shredded coconut) and grabbed the butcher knife (I can hear the collective gasp) to cut into it. At that very instant Cheeky ran out of the bedroom almost into the wall up ahead and as I yelled "Cheeky" ... cut.. I cut into my thumb!! As the blood oozed out I looked at it and instinctively knew something was wrong... I wrapped a towel around it and told M "I think we need to call 911". "For a cut" he started.. but he is not my husband for nothing.. we know that I am a magnet for accidents.. so a friend was called and I was driven to the hospital. I sat there and bravely told them that the degree of pain I felt was 4-5 on a scale of 10. I was told I need stitches and made to wait till 3 am. Meanwhile M and Cheeky were sent home while the friend waited with me. At 3 am the doctor was about to switch the wound up when I thoughtfully asked.. do you think I could have cut a nerve ending or something? The doctor looked at me in disbelief.. but wheeled me to one of those scary rooms with huge lights that move right over your head and sure enough I had ruptured a tendon! Are you sure you are not in anymore pain he asked me? But I am an experienced girl.. ain't I?
A week later I was operated on (a micro surgery) that left me groggy with anesthesia! Months later the cast went off.. but not before I endured twice a week physio therapy for my left thumb! But the good news is.. had I not thought to ask that question that night, I would have lost complete use of my thumb in a week!

Its been 2 years since that last accident and I type freely with my thumb. So far so good.. from accident prone land... signing off...
Ms Butter Fingers

(Images: http://www.thefreedictionary.com, http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/ and some)

[PS Last night as I tripped and fell once again.. I felt a distinct Deja vu.. M rushed to me and asked "Are you sure nothing is broken?". No nothing is.. even if I sat there in the passage way and laughed hysterically.. while a bewlidered Cheeky and M looked on. M searched my head for a clot... but found none!! Yeah I think there is one thing worse than my butter fingers.. my crazy ways? I can see some of you read this blog shaking your head in disbelief.. but be rest assured I am none the worse for wear!]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

As we grow older...

Every year I expect it to get easier . this whole parenting rigmarole.. but looks like this time I am in trouble for a long long time..
My son thinks now that he is a big boy! So the baby reasoning techniques no longer work with him.
For example the other morning I handed him his drink in his
sipper and he sat there not drinking it.. And I yelled every few minutes "Cheeky Drink".. So finally a very frustrated mommy tried a different track(no point in bringing on the tears so early.. so lets try and coax the imp into taking a sip)! "That good boy
story" we call it. There is a good boy called Peter who is just the perfect kid.. and Cheeky is told stories of Peter all the time. Some times it works.. at other times Peter is just "a silly kid".
"You know I am sure Peter drinks up all his drink without being told twice"
"I am sure Peter's mom gives him his drink in a glass"
I look at the big stain on the carpet and shake my head while succumbing to the pressure... "Do you want a Chewy instead?" (Img Courtesy: http://beltondvd.com/media/spill.jpg)

Cheeky reinforces his theory that he is a big boy by demanding to eat by himself.. Fair enough you think? And he has been encouraged to do this since 2.. so he must have enough practice right? Wrong!

I slave every morning to pack him the perfect lunch. So what if comprises of t
he same sandwich, fruit and juice every day? Cheeky sits at the table in school.. and talks non stop to his friend while he holds the sandwich in his hand. The box comes back untouched every afternoon. The brat is then force fed the food before he makes a beeline for desert!

When we go out to eat it is a different story.. the food is placed in front of him and Cheeky plays around with the fork while he does what can only be called as some experimenting! Soon we have worked through our food and the boxes are called for.. the unsuspecting waitress walks up and asks "Can I get you anything else", Momma and Dadda gasp.. the despair on their faces. While Cheeky calmly orders Dessert.. "I will have a tiramisu" seriously.. he can pronounce those things too!
Mommy tries "No you cannot, you have not finished your food"!
"But I have Mamma"
Just look at your plate
They just gave me too much food... I am full.
Pulls up his shirt to display his tummy (oh yes resort to flashing now while you have the attention of everyone in the restaurant)... See?
Embarassed mamma.. pulls down the shirt.. If you are full you have no room for dessert! Aaaha
Cheeky pulls the shirt back up again See there is some room here?
Dessert is served.. which the big boy calmly eats up by himself! (img courtesy: http://disney-clipart.com/)

And there is the incessant dissecting of statements. Cheeky's school have been teaching him about God. A couple of weeks back he was taught the story of "God's creation"
Cheeky came back home deep in thought!"Mama my teacher says God created the world"
"Yes Dear"
"He created the sun, the stars and the rainbow?"
"Yes Dear"

Silence! Cheeky is deep in thought
But rainbow is created when the sun looks at the rain right?
Yes Dear
So then God did not create the rainbow
.. relief on his face!

As many of you know I try to keep the arguments with Cheeky to a minimum!
Later that week he brought home a paper plate with all kinds of pictures stuck on it with glue..
Mama this is for you he chimed..
The caption said "God created everything"
Thanks darling.. God created everything artwork eh?
Yes Mama..
Rushing back to Mom.. But God did not create this artwork I did!

As we grow older.. one thing is clear to me.. I am going to earn every gray hair!

[Edited to add... I was the one who put sand in her lunch box every day - how did sand get to the class room where I ate my lunch? no one knows.. but that was the reason why I never could finish my lunch... Considering that I did this in school I should probably be glad that I can still force feed Cheeky his food and not have to cook again!]

Having trouble understanding the financial crisis? Geeky Dad makes a guest post to lay it out in simple terms - Global Economy Web - How did we get here?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

1,2,3,4 ...Happy Birthday!

(img courtesy: http://www.ptotoday.com)
Now we are officially in year 4 of His Cheekiness's reign.. where he continues to rule our world! Before we start, let me strive to confuse you! We have two birthdays in a year.. A star birthday that corresponds to a tamil star (28 in number) matched with the tamil calendar year! Are you confused enough? Dont worry so are we... read on!

Year One!
After much ado about that first star b day when the world was invited and a hall booked.. the holy fire lit and the mantras told, we did not want to make a lot of the English b day! But since it was the first ever such it could not be let go too.. so a Mickey cake was got and the lone candle lit.. and when Cheeky finally awoke from his nap... the drums were sounded of momma's thundering feet down the hallway.. and she yelled down the stairwell "Party time.. Cheeky is awake!". The other wee ones were picked and physically carried to Cheeky's living room .. and while they watched and cooed, cried and yelled the adults cut the cake and gorged on it and soda and chips and added a few pounds!!
(img courtesy: http://www.funpartysupplies.co.uk)

Year Two!
By year 2 we had been burnt once and we were enlightened that a party of toddlers left much to be desired!! Not to mention the big hoopla Momma had created by cutting her thumb (tada.. a post idea.. Miss Butter Fingers.. soon very soon). But the day before the big day Mom and Dad who sometimes can be such nincompoops sat the toddler down and told him about his birthday. "Yay tmollow Cheeky cut cake" was the reply - in your face you aghast parents! So the next morning ensued a hurried trip to Costco and a huge Strawberry Mouse cake.. seriously who is going to eat all that sugar dripping contraptions?! A friend was hurriedly called.. "Its His Cheekiness's birthday and apparently we are cutting cake, it will do better for the photographic records if you were here too". So 4 of us (the friend brought a husband in tow.. to help numbers) sang the song, clapped hands and helped consume the cake!! Now you know the secret to my love handles! (img courtesy: http://carey2.blogspot.com)

Year Three!
Year 3 was filled with grandoise. We were pushed and prodded by Cheeky.. who started way in September interogating us about the plans for his party.. he chose the decor, the cake (Winnie the pooh was decided on after much delibration.. for the records) and the plates! And then proceeded to use the plate for a steering wheel... while we put up the streamers and the balloons cooked up a storm and proceeded to have a party barely getting arrested (the kids not us.. created a lot of noise and pattering feet could be heard for miles). And once the big day drew to a close Cheeky declared "Time to shop for Halloween"! (Img Courtesy: http://www.danzfamily.com)

Year Four!
We are now bunch of experienced people.. or so we think! But not quite..
Our quest towards becoming a 4 year old started with the school hunt! When we were hunting for school yet again in our new town this year, we were told that His Cheekiness could attend the royal classroom for 4 yr old's! But he was just 3!! In all the forms I was instructed to write his age down as 3 and not 4! It was not a request of course.. His Royal Highness does know how to issue his orders!
(img courtesy: http://images.cafepress.com)
I was promised that the age 4 will start to become a reality only after the cake was consumed! Seriously.. what world are we in? ( Do I have a toddler or a teenager? In my confused state I am one step closer to accepting the looming reality.. MID LIFE!)
But did I tell you we are experienced now? So we know the trick.. when you cant conquer, confuse! So we started with the star bday! He was informed about it.. decked with new clothes and sent off to school with a promsie of a sweet waiting in the afternoon "Momma I will eat it and turn 4" he informed me (if mamma makes no sweet, I just wont turn 4 he figured). So I slaved over the stove and made some "Appams" before the brat got home! His Cheekiness had a few appams got a few photos taken and threw the curve ball! "Where is the cake? When I eat the cake I will turn 4"! Phew so much for trying!
At least we have enough notice.. lets do it the week after the birthday... no such luck Cheeky has plans for that weekend (?? seriously he is turning 4 and not 14? you sure?). So it has to be the weekend before the birthday! Phew rush again to get everything ready.. and this time lets not forget to invite the people! So the friday evening was chosen (a trick dad played on mom.. who now had to work on the meal all by herself) and the cake was ordered, people were invited and the stage was set!
Thursday evening came and Cheeky declared.. "Where are the decorations?" So the box that says Birthday decorations was brought down (at least we had the good sense to save that...) and the streamers and balloons were put up for the party!
Friday arrived and the brat was packed off to school reluctantly "But momma I need to be here for the party".. If you don't go to school there ain't going to be no party mister!
The feast was prepared and the guests began to trickle in.. till the last one decided to be late much to his (the guest's of course) ill luck! So Cheeky was seen entertaining his guests talking, singing, dancing (considering they were all dad's friends from work, wasn't it fair that dad gets a word in? but we know how to steal the show in style!!)..while doing all this every few minutes Cheeky would throw open the door to go peer outside.. and come back in and insist dad call uncle G!
Finally at 8 PM uncle G arrived to apologize to an irate Cheeky.. "You are late.. you know because of you I stood outside with my bare feet"! Seriously, were you asked to stand outside? But Uncle G was good enough to apologize and speed up the cake cutting.. much to everyone's relief.. for finally Cheeky decided to play with people his own age (at least for the most part)!
The weekend was spent opening presents and playing with them so much that soccer practice was missed (And now coach wants him to go for make up class! Seriously.. how old is my son again?)
After all this.. remember the birthday was still not over.. so if he cut the cake and ate it.. he turned 4 did he not? So on the Big day would be turn 5? On the actual big day.. he was dressed in yet another new pair of clothes. The "Birthday Boy" badge was pinned on.. and off went Cheeky with a bag of sugar cookies and candies for his "School party" (at least no more cake). At school he was awarded the birthday crown which he proudly wore the rest of the day. For the party momma went and clicked pictures while the kids got high on sugar and then read them a nice book called "Sam goes to School" Cheeky's favorite to finish off the party and send the now hyper kids packing home!! After more phone calls that evening wishing His Cheekiness Happy Birthday.. the Birthday celebrations finally draw to a close (I think I might even be able to take off all the streamers and balloons today.. and my house will be looking sane again!)

Like Cheeky's teacher said .. "Looks like the Birthday week celebrations have finally drawn to a close" (Oh yes she gets a daily recap of events at home!) So the mind boggling, earth changing, world stopping celebrations are done.. and we can relax.. till Christmas or Halloween or this weekend! Sigh!

Cheeky if you are reading this (years later.. for I intend to keep my secret for as long as I can)... I am grayed and old and no longer remember your birthday.. remember how far I went when you were 4.. but I will not have photographic evidence because in all the hoopla we forgot to take pictures.. at least there are none of the food/feast I cooked (and no that does not say a thing about how it tasted). (Img courtesy: http://www.anythink.org). As you can see every year the party has become progressively more larger in proportions. Now I dread to think of Year 5.. I think we will just have to plan a party on the moon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

HELP!!!

So Russell Peters.. ha ha not so much?Fine whatever you say.. lets move on! I was watching Glenn Beck the other day and wondered at my deja vu post! Glenn Beck was talking about Asians who save money (read Cheap) and take care of their elders. Its in their value system he said and that is what will help them through the economic crisis he said! Toodle Dee... (I am cheap and proud.. so do you think I will sail through the crisis too? Even if my bank is reluctant to give me money.. more on that to follow)

Economic crisis... I turn on the TV and its all over the place.. whats more we just have too many news channels talking about the same thing.. over and over again. I stood there holding my ears waiting for the world to come crashing down on my head.. quick turn off the light..lets save some money I moaned!

And the hype.. aah the hype.. the media keeps talking about the great depression and the bread lines scaring me even more.. not to mention the impending oil crisis.. I just cant sleep at night.. I keep counting my pennies. I call the bank up and ask them to send me some money. Why they ask.."So I can spend it" I respond! What money? Its all down the stock market drain they say! Or worse.. what bank? BEEEEP!

And whats more we at North Carolina are in the midst of an oil crisis. Deja Vu? No merely some broken oil lines due to Hurricane Ike we are told. Just how long will you say that?
Cars stand in lines on the road screaming "OIL" OIL" OIL". So yesterday M worked from home.. you know how well that went.. we were rushing off last evening to join the cars in the oil hunt.. we struck gold in about 3 miles.. but just the fact that we were out to fill gasoline as a family shows 1. our solidarity, 2. we are all bored and jobless, 3. We are all egging to send M back to office! Whichever it was that triggered action in our otherwise procrasinating household, the gas tank is full again and M is back at work! Phew! Cheeky is back to his non stop talking.. sigh!!

The one person unaffected by the economic crisis is my son.. Last night he was seen flying a plane to pizza hut.. when I was bemoaning the crisis, my son reassured me "Don't worry momma, we are rich.. lets take the plane to pizza hut".. whatever gave him that idea?.. maybe we just buy him too many presents!

Aside: Istockphoto seems to have a good handle on the crisis.. just see the pictures!

The need of the day.. I need to do a course dumpster diving 101.. anyone want to help me out here? Some of you commented to my previous post about the thrill of bargaining.. and that is something I need to learn. Bargaining for dummies, is a book I have to read! So far I am no good!

Some people are born to strike the best bargains. Everywhere they tread, they can haggle their way to financial freedom! I am not one of them! I saw evidence of this in a movie once (Sindhu Bhairavi) were an actor says "if I don't reduce at least 25 paise on your price I can't sleep tonight"... although I presume that the effect must be quite heady, I just can't win a bargaining war! One of my uncles loves to strike a bargain.. so every time we go shopping for the big stuff we beg him to come along.. saves us a pretty penny!

I listen to the bargaining tales with a lot of fascination though. A friend once told us about how she struck a good bargain with the car dealer. Ours sold us a Camry and a few thousands worth of "added benefits" to keep the "interest rate we were getting". We sneakily canceled the benefits later.. but the fact that we could not talk our way out of it should tell you that we suck at bargaining. This friend went to the store to buy a premium SUV. The SUV came with a DVD player (part of the package). But she argued that she did not need one.. remove it and give me a discount she claimed. So the dealer gave her the discount and let her keep the DVD player too. I listened with my jaws wide open of course!

My tryst with bargaining was limited to the streets of TNagar and Bangalore's commercial street! I can safely say I never struck a brag-able deal! For all my talk, I can just not bargain! I have tried only once too often with the auto walas in Chennai and Bangalore. In my hometown Coimbatore there is no haggling with them.. they are an immovable lot.. you pay the exorbitant amount of money or just choose other means of transportation! However the auto walas in Chennai and Bangalore are a little more amenable to haggling! And every time I get a raw deal! There was this guy who once brought us home in his auto from the railway station. He had spoken to us (my mom and me) in local rickshaw waala Tamil. So we presumed that while he might catch some of English numbers, he will definitely not figure Hindi out! And sure enough I kept watching his face in the rear view mirror not a flinch! So I told my mom "Saat rupai dethe hein" (Lets give him 60 bucks). Safely deposited at home, the guy turned around and told us "Nahin chalega madam, assi rupai dheejiye" (Wont work Madam, give me 80 bucks). I was of course speechless, his Hindi was a lot better than mine and I had been tricked yet again! Needless to say the guy walked away with his 80 bucks or was it a 100? How am I to know.. I was dazed and confused! (By the way.. these days it is 120 bucks for the same distance.. boy am I growing old!)

That my friends is my bargaining power.. so if I hope to save any money I am in dire need of lessons! I promise not to blog about it , anyone game?

(img : http://www.literacy.lancaster.ac.uk, http://sfbay.redfin.com)

[No coming up section this time.. I might just have to rename it "Running Late" like the Indian trains or American airlines!]