My Real Life

August 31, 2011

Me, Myself and Irene

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:11 am
Tags: ,

Saturday night started with the monkeys cuddled up on the sofa bed, in the basement, watching movies and eating popcorn.

It was a fun adventure and we were so ready for Hurricane Irene.

We had decided to sleep in the basement, just to be safe.

Flash forward to Sunday night, and Real Man and his brother and a friend of ours were just finishing pushing out 8 and a half inches of water from our basement while my Mother and I tried to figure out what to do with all of the stuff we rescued and brought upstairs.

Move ahead to Monday night and Real Man and our friend had just finished cutting up, rolling and tying the carpet from the basement and chucking it out into the lawn, where the insurance adjuster told us to leave it.

I had ideas about how I’d write the story of everything that happened in the wee, small hours of Sunday morning, but in the days that followed, seeing the devastation up and down the coast, knowing that many of my friends are still without power, knowing that some of my friends have lost absolutely everything…a fun twist on Irene doesn’t feel right.

Instead, I’ve decided to count my blessings with regards to Irene.

1.  I woke up when the power went out.

It was around 1:30 am and I had dozed for about 15 minutes, but the beeps throughout the house that notify you of power being lost woke me.  I went upstairs and watched the storm for a bit, then decided to wake Real Man, because he loves a good storm as much as I do.  We lit candles and got the flashlights out in case any monkeys woke up.

2.  I heard the water start filling the basement.

After being upstairs for awhile, we decided we should get some sleep, because Irene wasn’t going to keep Monkey in the Middle asleep past 5 am.  We headed downstairs and cuddled up in the recliner.  Real Man fell asleep, but around 4:30 am, I started to hear a strange bubbling sound.  I woke Real Man and we looked at the windows and the ceiling and couldn’t figure out the sound, until we realized the carpet was getting wet from underneath.  Water was seeping in through the floor.

Because we had been up before, we had flashlights at the ready and we started to pick things up and carry them upstairs to the kitchen.  Monkey Girl woke up and started to help.  Then, Monkey in the Middle awoke and also started to help.  While Baby and Tiny Monkey slept peacefully on the couch and the pack-n-play, the four of us tried to get everything out of the basement that was possible.  And, we did.

Had I been asleep and not heard the gurgle, we would have awoken to 8 and a half inches of water and much more loss than we did.

3.  We get by with a little help from our friends.

On Sunday, Real Man’s brother was here with a cooler so we could empty the fridge, and when he saw the basement, immediately started looking for a pump for us, went home and put on his hip waders, and came back and began to help.  One of our friends, from high school, saw our posts on FB about the basement and came over to help, as well as Real Man’s father.  This was not a one person job, and there is no way we could have gotten the water out on our own.  It eventually took Real Man removing some bricks to create a pathway for the water to escape and then all of them shoveling water toward the escape route to get the water out, but after many hours, they did it.

On Monday, our friend came back and he and Real Man cut up, rolled up, and tied the carpet to get it out of the basement.  All that is left down there are the couches, the recliner, the entertainment center, the desk, and the exercise equipment all of which need to be disposed of, but insurance has asked us to hold on to them until they’ve been out to assess the situation.

There were multiple offers from so many friends of a warm house to sleep in, a hot meal to eat, fridge and freezer space in which to store out food, etc.

People are good.

We spent Sunday night at my father-in-laws house and he made us dinner and we collapsed and slept a good sleep in his warm, dry house.

4.  Basements can be replaced.  People can’t.

We’re okay.

We’re healthy and we’re not hurt.

So, what did we lose?

We lost two sleeper sofas, an entertainment center, a computer desk, a recliner, a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle, and the carpet.

There is only one thing we lost that cannot be replaced, and that is my wedding album.

When Real Man carried that up the stairs I broke a little and finally cried.

However, I’m doing my best to dry it out, and although there is damage, it may not be a total loss.

We will have to replace the baseboards and most of the drywall, although we’re hopeful we can just cut and replace the lower section of drywall and not have to redo the entire walls.

We will buy a generator or a battery powered back-up sump or something to ensure this doesn’t happen again and we will also have someone in to see if we can do more to waterproof the basement.

We’ll use tile or linoleum with area rugs instead of re-carpeting the space.

We live, we learn, we move on.

We were lucky.

I simply cannot believe the devastation I am seeing across the area.

A neighboring town is still under water, and when I say under water, I mean that there is footage of people Jet-Skiing down the streets.

My friend, Darlene, lost everything and you can’t look at the pictures of the inside of her house with the water-line almost as tall as I, the mud on the floor, and the furniture completely knocked over by the force of the water without getting tears in your eyes.

And what does she say?

“…but we’re fine and we still have each other.”

It humbles me to witness such grace in such disaster and it reminds me again and again and again how very fortunate we were.

Here’s hoping that all of you who were touched by Irene were spared any physical harm and that your losses were minimal.

August 27, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:30 am

So, Irene is headed our way.

Yesterday, the kids had some good friends over and were all playing beautifully, the baby was sleeping, and so I walked outside to get the mail.

It was absolutely beautiful day.

Like, a perfect summer day.

And, it was hard to imagine the storm that is coming.

Granted, where I live, we are inland, but all the weather channels and websites are telling us that we will need to “batten down the hatches” and prepare for big-time trouble.

So, we are.

But, right now, it seems silly.

As I walked down the driveway, letting the sun soak into my skin, it felt strange to know that I was doing all the laundry in the house, so it was done in case we had no electricity for a few days.

That there will be a bathtub full of water for flushing and there are cases of water and non-perishable foods.

That the kids are prepped to possibly sleep in the basement tomorrow night.

And, I started thinking how annoyed people are going to be if she shifts her path and goes out to sea; annoyed with the amount of preparation they did for nothing, instead of feeling grateful that they were spared.

I started thinking about weather and natural disasters and thinking ‘You know, I don’t live in California so I don’t have to experience earthquakes, and I don’t live in the Gulf region so I don’t have to worry about hurricanes, and I don’t live in the Midwest so I don’t have to deal with tornadoes, and yet we’ve had the trifecta of all of this in the past few months, here in NJ.’

It’s like all bets are off with Mother Nature.

In fact, I had to laugh when one of my piano students put as her Facebook status, “I think someone needs to give Mother Nature a Midol.”

My sentiments exactly.

Then, I started thinking, what does this all mean?

Global warming?  End of the world?  Just really bad luck for humans lately?

Who knows?

All I know is that the Chinese proverb of “May You Live in Exciting Times” is definitely coming to pass, recently, and these are some exciting and unexpected times.

So, for now, we’re keeping a cool head and enjoying the weather while it’s still beautiful.

Because, honestly, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

August 26, 2011

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 8:12 am
1. Did you make any fun purchases this week?
You mean, other than the hurricane preparation stuff?
As a matter of fact, I did!
I bought the monkeys beanbags for their rooms.
Monkey Girl has a “reading nook” in her room, based on the shape of it, and when we moved, she had asked for a small rug and a beanbag chair to put in there, with her bookcase.  We haven’t been able to find any, but we hit a new Target, yesterday, and found one.  The boys wanted beanbag chairs for next to their bookcase, also, so we left with three beanbag chairs.

2. If you could go to any musical concert, what would it be?
I really don’t know.
I’ve only been to three concerts in my life:  Steve Miller and Billy Joel, when I was in high school, and Bon Jovi a few years ago.
So, my options are pretty wide open.
I love any and all music, so I think it’s safe to say, I’d go see anyone in concert.

3. What is your least fav/ most fav house chore?
No earth shattering secret there.

4. Would you prefer new appliances or clothes?
Considering the fact I’m living in a house with a dishwasher that leaks all over the floor every time you use it and will cost $500 to fix (hoping to get a new one during Labor Day sales), a microwave that doesn’t actually heat anything up, and a fridge that is supposed to dispense water and ice, but after three visits from a repair man, still doesn’t perform these tasks, I’m going to go with appliances.

5. Miracle Whip or Mayo?
Is there a difference?

August 25, 2011

Me and My iPad…A Love Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:43 am

I bought myself an iPad.

I’ve been working hard at losing the weight I gained during my pregnancy.

Yet, I have a hard time keeping myself on track with eating and exercise, sometimes.

I know myself and I, sometimes, need a little extrinsic motivation.

So, I made a deal with myself that, if I got back to the weight I was before I got pregnant, I would buy myself an iPad.

Last weekend, finally, I did it.

I was very proud, and we went to the Apple store and bought an iPad.

I love it.

I love it so much.

I’ve downloaded apps for me, apps for the kids.

So far, my favorites are the NYTimes Crosswords, HBO Go, The Weather Channel, The Onion, Archie Comics, Cozi, PBS Kids. (all free)

And those are just my very favorite!

I still use my laptop for my blogging (which could explain the slow down in blogging this week, because I rarely put down the iPad) because it’s easier to type on here, and for that same reason, I am doing my lesson planning on my laptop, as well.

However, I just love, love, love the iPad.

Also, I love Apple.

Because, I dropped my iPad when trying to carry both it and Tiny Monkey from one room to the other.

The screen cracked.

It was two days after I bought it.

I was devastated.

I hadn’t bought the Apple Care Protection Plan.

Still, I went back to Apple and Luis replaced it for me…free.

Then, after one day, the new one wouldn’t recognize Wi-Fi (I bought the Wi-Fi only iPad) so I went back to the store again.

It was a problem with the chip, and Luis replaced it for me…free…again.

So, I’m on my third iPad and it’s working great and I’m being more careful and I am in heaven.

August 23, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:56 am

I’m desperately wanting to start off this post by saying something like, “I can’t!  I just can’t curb my enthusiasm for this show!” but there are limits to the depths of cheese which I am comfortable with.

So, instead, I’ll just let you in on my newly discovered secret, which is Curb Your Enthusiasm.

People have told me I should watch this show for years.

I am an enormous Seinfeld fan, and the show is by (and about) Larry David, who was the c0-creator of Seinfeld.

However, we didn’t get HBO.

We changed our cable package, when we moved, and we are now getting HBO, but CYE is in it’s 8th season, and I figured it was too late to come to the show, so I still didn’t watch.  Thought, maybe, I’d start from the beginning on Netflix.

But then I downloaded the HBO Go app (for free) to my iPad (which is a post for another day) and I discovered that I could watch all of the episodes (for free) from the beginning of Season 1.

I gave it a try.

Good Lord, I love this show.

So very, very funny, in a similar yet different way from Seinfeld.

My kind of humor.

Real Man watched an episode with me a few days ago and commented “Why did we wait so long to get HBO?”

So, if you get HBO, or even if you don’t, but you do have Netflix or some other streaming service, you might want to give Curb Your Enthusiasm a try.

A seriously hysterical show.

August 22, 2011

John Popper…AKA…The Baby Whisperer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:12 am

I’m assuming that most of you know of John Popper as the lead singer of Blues Traveler.  One of my all-time favorite groups, and he is one of my all-time favorite performers.

Nobody rocks a harmonica like John Popper.

Musical talent aside, John Popper holds a very special place in my heart.

When Monkey Girl was a baby, we had to take a long car trip.  She was always a good baby in the car, but this trip was, apparently, a little longer than usual.

She started to cry.

And cry.

And cry.

And cry.

And…well, you get the picture.

We tried everything, but we were stuck in traffic and there was no getting out of it.

We talked to her quietly and calmly.

We sang lullabies.

We sang James Taylor.

We sang Bon Jovi.

We sang Metallica.

We sang anything we could think of.

And then…

We started to sing Blues Traveler songs.

More specifically, we started to sing “Hook.”

Now, “Hook” is a song that says that the meaning of a song is essentially meaningless, because people want to listen again and again based on the “hook” or the catchy part of the tune.

Basically, it calls mainstream musical listeners idiots.

Good song.

So, we start to sing, and at this point, we’re trying to get her to stop crying, but also, admittedly, trying to drown her out.

So, we’re singing loud.

“It doesn’t matter what I say…as long as I sing with inflection…if it makes you feel I’ll convey…some inner truth of vast reflection…”

She is still crying.

But, it’s a little quieter.

“But I’ve said nothing so far…and I can keep it up, as long as it takes…and it don’t matter who you are…if I’m doing my job, it’s your resolve that breaks…”

She’s taking little breaks.

Like, she’s listening.

And so it continues until we get to the best part of the song.

You know the part.

Where he starts singing fast and when the song is new, everyone tries to memorize THIS part so you can seem cool when there are people around and you sing it and you know it all?

Yeah, that part.

And it makes no sense.

And she’s quiet.

And we finish.

And she’s asleep.

Next time she cried and we couldn’t get her to stop, we sang the crazy part, and she stopped.

Ten years and four kids later, we still sing Blues Traveler to our crying babies.

And it still works.

So, if you have a baby who won’t stop crying, click here.

It’ll change your life.

August 19, 2011

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 9:56 am

1. Do you close the bathroom door when you are home alone?

This question assumes that I am ever home alone.

Which I am not.



But, yes, I do shut the door in my everlasting battle against potty radar.

Potty radar?  What’s this, you ask?

It means the minute my patootie hits the seat, someone needs something.


And they are right on the other side of the door, knocking, banging, crying, whining, calling for my undivided attention, despite my pleas of “Just a minute!!!  I’m a little busy in here!”

So, I always shut and lock the door, but still, they come.
2. You have to walk around with a word on your forehead. That word describes you. One word. What is it?

One word to describe me?

I’d hesitate to describe anyone with just one word.

And yes, this is my way of getting out of this question.
3. What store do you refuse to shop at and why?

Abercrombie and Fitch.

Any company that won’t hire teenage kids because they don’t “fit the look” doesn’t fly with me.
4. If you participated in arranged marriages for your child(ren), who would you choose for your child(ren)?

Uh…weird question.

My kids are little…hard to imagine (don’t want to imagine) them leaving me and getting married, but if I had to choose, at this point…

Monkey Girl – no one.  She stays with me.

Monkey in the Middle – His friend, Mia, from school.  She is an awesome, sweet girl and she makes me laugh.  She’s a pip and I want him with someone who is full of life, like her.  I want him to be challenged with a wife…someone who makes him think and laugh and really live.

Baby Monkey – Erin’s daughter, Madeline.  Char-ac-ter.  He’s a goof, she’s a goof…what a house of laughter that one would be.

Tiny Monkey – Seems like all of my friends who are currently having babies are having girls.  He’s got a plethora to choose from and plenty of time to do so…time will tell.

Again, tough question…they are too little for me to really think about it.
5. If you could pick how and when you would die, would you?


I think I’d just say when I’m really old.

In my sleep.

August 17, 2011

You Know You’re Tired When…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:33 am

…you fall asleep sitting on a cold, granite counter!

August 15, 2011

Anyone Care to Explain

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:57 am

…why in a dollar store full of toys, where we went upon his adorable request, does my kid just want to play with the plungers?

August 12, 2011

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 10:19 am
  1. Bully, teacher’s pet, geek, shy kid in the corner, or something else?

When I was in school I was a geeky kid.  I think I was friendly to everyone, but I wasn’t a cool kid in any way, shape or form.  In high school, I managed to get to some cool kid functions as Kim, Erin and Michaela were way cooler than I, and I was happy in my role as “her friend, Amy.”

In my little group, I was always good for a laugh because I wasn’t afraid to make fun of myself or let others do it for me.  I got bullied a bit in middle school (the table of boys who threw bread and me and quacked because they thought I looked like a duck) and kind of disappeared in high school, but that was fine with me.

I was in the smart classes, but never really felt smart.  I liked the routine of school and as an only child, loved being there with my friends.

What did/do you usually eat during lunch time at school?

In elementary school, I got whatever the hot lunch was.  Same, I think in middle school.

In high school, there was more variety and the choice was all mine, so I am pretty sure that for four years, I had a hot pretzel and chocolate milkshake for lunch, every day, with a Bahama Mama slushie thrown in there for good measure every now and then.

What did/do you normally wear to school? Thinking back to what you wore(if you’ve already graduated), do you like it?

In elementary through middle school, I wore jeans, sneakers, shorts, etc.  Nothing special.  Hair in barrettes or a pony tail.

The summer before high school started, I thought I’d transform myself into this way cooler version of myself and got a perm and a new wardrobe.  From then on, I wore a lot of jeans skirts, slouchy socks, tank tops under button-ups, etc.  Remember…I was in high school from 1986-1990.  Perhaps this photo can explain:

Any sports/activities/clubs you participate(d) in?

In 7th grade, I made the softball team.

I don’t know how.

I sat the bench the entire season, and even in practice, managed to annoy the coach enough, with my non-athleticism, that he threw a glove at my back, as I was running to first base, and knocked the wind out of me.

So, that was it for me and sports.  Until college, when I played rugby, but that’s another story.

In high school, I joined Key Club.

I was the Secretary to Kim’s Vice-President in our Junior Year, and then the Vice-President to Kim’s President during our senior year.

Any worthwhile friends you (would) still keep up with after graduation?

As regular readers know, I married my high school sweetheart, and I’m still tight with my 3 besties, Kim, Erin, and Michaela.

However, through Facebook, I’ve reconnected with people I knew in high school and actually become closer to quite a few of them.

Not thrilled with the phrasing of this question…I think we’re all “worthwhile.”

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