Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Election Day

As I am way too often required to do, I was sitting filling out forms today. Of course, the after school program that Jake goes to had me because today was his first day and if I didn't fill them out by 12:30pm? No after school.

I was there at 12:10pm furiously filling them out.

After school is essential for anyone who works. Elementary School lets out at 3pm, and on Tuesdays? 12:30pm here in Newton. The program Jake goes to is in the school itself and it makes life a whole lot easier.

Poor Kindergarten parents go from full time day care to three half days a week, two full days, but not until October. It's a nightmare. Just when you think someone else is finally in charge of your kid- for free as it's a public school- the reality hones in and you gotta make more plans than you ever imagined. I know. I was working while Jake was in kindergarten.

I was also incredibly lucky to work at a very flexible workplace.

As I sat and filled out my forms, the staff were talking about what to do with the kids today. How about we do something about voting, one twenty something woman said- no, she's new and I do not know her name. Staff at these programs shift so quickly, it's hard to keep up. They are paid almost nothing and given the greatest responsibility- our kids.

That's another rant, not today.

Voting? another twentyish staff member said.

It's a voting day, that's why we don't have the gym, said the head of the program.

Confused looks. I said, because I cannot help myself, It's the primaries. We are electing who runs against each other in November. Only in Massachusetts, it's sometimes the election because there are not many Republicans here.

It's an important day. Not every state has the same kind of bias towards a single party. Can't complain if you don't vote.

A moment passed. I could tell they were a little embarrassed and a little scared of this big dyke filling out her forms.

Finally, the first woman said, Let's have the kids vote on something.

I don't know... said the second, will they even understand?

Um, I said, my son does. He can't help but know because I work in politics. But I think you'd be surprised... these kids have pretty active parents.

I know! Pizza or Spaghetti!

What are their favorite TV shows?

Maybe they could vote on...

And the energy was there.

I doubt any of the staff voted. The kids did but Jake cannot remember what they voted on because he was more interested in hanging with his pal. I don't know how the elections will turn out today here in Massachusetts.

Just remember- you can't bitch if you don't vote.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Going Green

We are going green.


Jeanine's car died. Eleven years old, 150K miles on it, the transmission went and it simply makes no sense to fix it.

And who wants to be forced into making a decision about buying a car on the spot?

Mind you, with three boys in three different schools with three different needs, I am in the car all the time. It's why we bought the hybrid because at least while I'm sitting at yet another traffic light, I can feel a little better about my carbon footprint.

We live about a half mile from the T, which is what we here in Boston call the subway/trolley. Jeanie has decided she wants to try taking the T every day instead of buying a car. She has always wanted to be as green as possible, and while I agree, I'm not as dedicated.

One car family now. I'm not sure how long it will last. It's a huge commitment for a family of five living in the suburbs without very good public transportation. It helps that my sister is just down the road lest we have a drop off/pick up emergency.

As for the broken car? We're going to donate it to a charitable organization that takes junk cars. There will be a tax credit, and we'll no longer pay insurance, excise tax, and repairs- not to mention the cost of filling up.

I'm wary of how this will work out but unlike other times when Jeanine thought about taking the T instead of driving, there is no other option. No spiffy set of wheels beckons from the driveway.

Wish us luck on this new green adventure. It's not going to change the world but it is a significant step for us.

On a day where we remember the dead of 9/11, an attack rooted in our dependency and policies around oil? It feels like the right thing to do.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Dumpster Nirvana

For those of you who have followed my blog for a long time, you will know this is a day that will be marked in my personal history forever.

Jeanine has agreed to let me have a dumpster.

Now, Miss Pack Rat has been VERY clear that none of her things will be thrown away and I completely agreed to the terms. Believe me, we have plenty to toss without touching her stuff. And ever since our town changed the rules and we can only have one trash can of garbage a week, have to call to have anything extra picked up... well... it's time.

An old wicker couch, a broken treadmill, construction left overs from when my office was redone... we have some big things that need to go.

Okay, you all know I just cannot wait to get rid of all the crap I can possibly stuff into that dumpster. I will be in a frenzy and one better make sure I haven't tossed the kitten in there by mistake.

My hope is that if I can do one big purge, I can get back into a good rhythm of recycling everything possible, and only needing one can for garbage a week. Being married to Ms. Pat Rat is hard enough but when you fall behind with big items to toss... well... it's a nightmare for someone who would be happy with a minimalist approach to life.

I need a single, sharp chef's knife (and a steel to sharpen it), one large bowl, one wooden spoon, one spatula, a butter knife, a spoon and a fork to cook. Couple of pots. We have every known kitchen contraption known to mankind. That is the ying and yang of my relationship with Jeanine. She needs stuff. I do not.

The dumpster is a sign. A sign that she's ready to make some changes. Might sound silly but we did have a moment at the end of the summer where I had a fit. I, as always, got to the place where I was done with her working all the time. I wanted to be adored.

Heck, I wanted to be noticed.

She heard me. Because when I asked the other day, for about the 857th time, she said yes. Just don't touch my stuff.

I would never touch her stuff. I respect her need to hold onto some things even though I don't quite understand it. I know there are underlying, deep psychological issues represented in all those computers downstairs. I will be the model of restraint.

I'll call her mom and let her know the dumpster is coming and she'll be up here in a flash to help me out. Jeanine's mom can throw things away I cannot.

Weezie!!! It's party time!!

It's left me feeling hopeful and happy. The accumulated stuff doesn't taunt me, I simply smile and know that soon all will be restored to order again. It's that time of year. Time for new beginnings, new school books, new routines, new shoes. My life has always been dictated by the school calendar.

This year, though, feels different. Big changes are in the air. New treatment for my sister's cancer. New Executive Director for Mass Equality. New school for Ben. New brilliant idea for a shareholder resolution.

And a dumpster.

Nirvana. Pure nirvana.