September 29, 1989

This is probably my last journal entry written here in the apartment. Next time I write, I'll be sitting in our brand-new house!

Lori and I walked the kids to school this morning, for the last time ever. I'm sitting here now amid mountains of boxes, waiting for Lori to come over and watch the kids while I clean the back bathroom ... waiting for Ray and John to come home from work and move the furniture ... waiting, waiting, waiting ...

It's really happening, isn't it? This is it. We're moving tomorrow. I'm excited, nervous, sad, happy, tired, energized, hundreds of different emotions at once. This apartment is filled with ghosts today. Soon it will be filled with strangers. I hope that whoever lives here after we move has as many good times and happy moments as we have. It's not the greatest apartment in the world, but for three years it's been our home, and I'll never forget it.

Goodbye, Shannon South Apartments!

October 1989

The Big Move

... By Friday afternoon we were almost completely packed. Ray borrowed a station wagon from one of Grandma's neighbors, and he and John spent most of Friday evening moving the lighter pieces of furniture and the rest of the boxes over to the house. Lori and I stayed at the apartment, cleaning. By 9 p.m. the guys were finished, so Lori and I grabbed the car and drove to the house for a quick look around. It was the first time I'd ever been in the house without the landlords, so we went around and looked at everything with giggly abandon. Then we sat on the dining room floor and drank a beer "toast" to the new house.

Saturday morning - Moving Day - dawned cold and drizzly. At 10 a.m. Dad and Valerie showed up with their big truck, and while I finished cleaning and vacuuming the apartment, Dad and Ray moved the rest of our furniture. We had a steady stream of "visitors" at the apartment all day ... Lori was over a couple of times, a bunch of kids from around the apartment complex stopped by, Maryann S. stayed for a long time and watched me clean. Later in the afternoon my mom stopped by to help. She loaded up her jeep with a couple of small loads of stuff and moved them to the house for me, and then she and Jamie disappeared for the rest of the afternoon.

Late in the afternoon the apartment was almost completely empty. Ray sensed my need to be alone, so he grabbed Kacie and Kyle and took them over to the new house. I spent my final hour in my apartment alone. I wrote Lori a "goodbye" note, and this is what finally pushed me over the edge, emotionally. I realized that this was it! My last moments in the apartment that had been our home for three years. It was a sad, sentimental hour; I wandered around from room to room and said goodbye.

I cried all the way to the house. Ray was sympathetic, but I knew I had to pull myself together before we got to the new house. There was still so much work to do, and I didn't want the kids to see me crying. When we pulled into the driveway I heard the girls shout "MOM'S HOME!" That made me feel better right away, but what awaited me inside made me feel even better. I had expected total chaos: boxes all over the place, the kids running wild and hungry, baskets of dirty laundry, unmade beds and mountains of fresh work to tackle. Instead, the living room furniture was already in place, the lights were on, and the place seemed warm and inviting. My mom was standing in the utility room, folding the laundry she'd washed for me. The beds were all made. There were new groceries in the kitchen: hamburger, Cheerios, cheese, a pound of coffee, some canned goods. A bouquet of carnations stood on the kitchen table. Unbeknownst to me, my mom and Jamie had spent the entire afternoon getting everything ready for me. I have never been so surprised, relieved and grateful about anything in my whole life!

October 2, 1989

And hello, new house!

I can hardly believe I'm saying this finally, but we're here. When on earth does this start feeling real, anyway??

Our first Monday morning in the new place: a beautiful, sunny October morning. Jamie, Kacie and Jerome just left for school: now Kyle and André are running around the new house like a couple of wild Indians. Kyle is so excited about (finally) having his own bedroom. "This is my room!" he told André proudly. "And this is my bed!" It's a new experience for him. Except for a couple of months in Kirkland, right after he was born, he has never had a room of his own.

From my spot here at the kitchen table, I can see our backyard: it is green, leafy, fenced and private. Greg and Debbie left their swingset behind for the kids, and there is a small sand box in one corner of the yard that is already filled with Kyle's Tonka trucks.

We have neighbors on both sides of us, and there are about ten houses on our dead-end street, but except for one guy mowing his lawn directly across the street I haven't seen or met any of our neighbors. I must confess to a distinctly odd feeling of isolation. No Lori right next door, no footsteps above us at night.

October 5, 1989

Some first impressions of the house: this is, far and away, the nicest place we've ever lived. Everything here feels so light and clean and airy! And it smells of fresh paint and new carpets and woodsmoke. I love it.

I NEVER want to move again. Or, at least, not for many years. I'm exhausted.

On our first night here, after my mom had gone home and the kids and I were eating our makeshift dinner of hamburger sandwiches and fried potatoes, Ray said, "Here we are in our house, and we have Mom to thank for it." It took me a second to realize that he meant me.

Kyle: "What do you fink of our new house, André?"

October 20, 1989

Packing suitcases for Kyle and the girls. Tomorrow Peg and Don are driving down from Bellevue and taking the kids for the whole weekend. Jamie and Kacie are old pros at this stuff, of course, but this will be Kyle's very first time away from home. How will he handle it? (More to the point: how will I handle it??)

October 21, 1989

The kids just left. Kyle looked so grown up and sure of himself as he strode out of the house, his blue suitcase slung over one shoulder ... I had a lump in my throat the size of a meatloaf. Here comes another test of Mommyhood, I suppose: the first night Kyle and I have ever spent apart.


I am totally at a loss without my baby here tonight.

"What's on your mind besides your HAT?" - Daffy Duck

October 31, 1989

Hallowe'en morning. The kids survived their trip to Peg and Don's. (More importantly, I survived it!) Jamie, Kacie and Jerome just left for school dressed in their Hallowe'en costumes (Jamie is Super Girl, Kacie is Cherry Merry Muffin, Jerome is Spiderman), carrying armloads of apples, books, pumpkins, lunchboxes. The little guys and I stood at the window and watched them go. "When the kids get home this afternoon," I told Kyle and André, "It will almost be time to go trick-or-treating." Now that the big kids have gone back to school, Kyle and André are thrown together like never before. When we lived at Shannon South, Kyle flat-out ignored André: he preferred to play with other kids on the playground. Things are different now: André has become Kyle's "buddy." Whether they're climbing on the swingset like little monkeys, or playing "cars" in Kyle's new bedroom, or sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons, they are BUDDIES.

Kyle just asked me if I put the apple juice in his apple! Then he said, "The store makes apples, huh?"

November 14, 1989

The kids are home early from school every day this week, due to Parent/Teacher conferences. At least the weather has been sunny and autumn-like, so they can spend all their after school time tearing up the backyard. Kacie and Jerome have pushed two picnic tables together and made a "house." I can hear a very heated debate going on about who gets to "sleep" in the wagon they've positioned beneath one table. Kyle, of course, is right in the thick of it all: every few minutes I hear one of the older kids wailing in exasperation over something he's done to annoy them. At the moment he's brandishing a huge piece of firewood - his "sword" - and Jerome is threatening him with bodily damage if he comes "one step closer" ...

Jamie is the only one who prefers to spend her time indoors. At the moment she's sequestered herself at my big desk in the laundry room, surrounded by books and papers, scribbling furiously at something. Just like her mom.

November 15, 1989

Notes from the girls' Parent/Teacher Conferences:

"Jamie's positive attitude and interest in learning are great strengths. I feel Jamie has potential to be quite a leader, but this has not flowered yet. Ms. Weeks."

"Kacie is attentive and sensitive. She's eager to do well, and is easily saddened when things don't go right for her. Mrs. McCall."

My feelings for Jamie and Kacie are so big, so intense, so deep. The thing I've finally begun to realize about them is how different they are: how unique and individual. For years they've been "the girls." A package deal. Bookends! Gotta buy two of everything, one for Jamie, one for Kacie. If Jamie's invited someplace, let's wangle an invitation for Kacie too (and vice versa). Matching bathrobes, matching bedspreads, matching parenting.

How do I adequately acknowledge the diversity of their personalities, abilities, desires, needs, strengths, weaknesses? How do I help each daughter "flower" in her own right, out of the shadow of the other? And what about all the "problem areas" ... how do I deal with them? It's like walking on eggshells.

God, it's hard to be a good parent.

November 21, 1989

Kacie had an exciting experience last night: she lost her very first tooth. One of the little bottom ones, right in front. She and Jerome and Kyle were outside playing in the garage when I suddenly heard the commotion. My first thought was, Someone's gotten hurt. But then all the kids came running in the back door, and Jerome shouted "Kacie's tooth fell out!" Kacie had the tooth in her hand, and blood all over her mouth and chin, but she was too happy to care. She's been waiting so long to lose this tooth. Tracy and Jerome have already lost two or three apiece, and Kacie was starting to feel left-out. I helped her clean off the blood, and we put the precious tooth into an old film container. For the rest of the evening Kacie walked around clutching the container, shaking it every few minutes to make sure the tooth was still in there. (We had an Unfortunate Experience last summer when Jamie accidentally dropped one of her teeth down the bathroom drain, so we've learned to take precautions.) Anyway, Kacie went to bed last night with the film container on the floor next to her bed. When she woke up this morning she discovered that the Tooth Fairy had rewarded her with two dollars.

November 23, 1989


Here are the things we are thankful for.

Jamie: "Our new house, our health, my family, being able to go to McDonalds (giggle, giggle)."

Kacie: "Thank you for this happy day. Thankful for the love we got. Thank you for the family we had."

Kyle: "Pencils. This is the new house." (Oh-KAY ...)

Mom: "I'm thankful for our new house ... for the new warm boots sitting by the woodstove, and for the three children who will wear them today ... and for my seven and a half year old daughter who makes a mean pot of coffee!"

Ray woke everybody up at 6:30 this morning to see the fire trucks parked up the street. The kids enjoyed the "excitement" while it lasted, although Jamie commented that "Somebody's not havin' a very good Thanksgiving." I've given the kids some of the Food Bank doughnuts, and now they're watching the parade on TV. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 1989

Well, I don't think I'd go so far as to call it "the most gratifying Thanksgiving holiday" I've ever had, but it had its moments. We left the house at 12:30 and got to the in-laws' fifteen minutes before dinner was served. Just as we pulled into Peg and Don's driveway, Kacie threw up all over herself and her doll and the back seat of the car. She was horribly embarrassed, but luckily I'd packed her a change of clothes (in anticipation of just such an emergency) and after I helped her clean up and change clothes, she was fine. Dinner was very good. My mother-in-law makes the best stuffing I've ever had, and she does this great asparagus thing, with cream sauce and peanuts ... mmmm. We brought home a ton of leftovers.

Kyle: "Look how fat I'm are!"

November 29, 1989

The kids got out of school early again today. Geez! They get more time off than Johnny Carson does.

Kyle: "I'm in dis photo alvin!"

Kyle: "Are we havin chicken nuggles?"

Listening to Christmas tapes this afternoon and feeling an early, intense infusion of holiday spirit. The first time I've felt any "Christmas spirit" in ages, and it isn't even December yet. It must be the house. Something about being in a house again. The kids and Ray feel it too. Ray went out last week and bought Christmas lights for the outside of the house, something he's never done before. And the girls are already frenziedly making paper decorations for the trees and windows.

December 14, 1989

Woke up this morning with that familiar tickle of worry in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I do feel "Christmasey" this year ... I feel it strongly! ... but I'm still worried. Where will the money come from? When will I get the shopping done? How can we afford to stay on top of the bills, and the rent, and still provide a bountiful Christmas for Jamie, Kacie and Kyle ... ?

After Christmas

Christmas 1989 came and went in the blink of an eye. As always, my obsessive worries about money and shopping proved to be a waste of time: everything came together at the last minute, and our Christmas was unexpectedly bountiful, warm and full of meaning. Our landlords deferred payment on the last installment of the damage deposit and only asked for the "regular" rent this month, which gave us a real break. I listed out kids with the Food Bank's gift fund, and they got some beautiful new clothes through that. And finally, our family ended up on a local charity fund's list -- the school principal submitted our names -- and we got over $200 worth of gift certificates from Safeway and Toys 'R us. Santa Claus himself showed up at our house on December 21st (in an antique fire engine!) and hand-delivered the gift certificates, along with some toys for the kids.

Anyway, through careful planning, hard work, and a few corners cut here and there, we managed to have a very merry Christmas after all, with plenty of presents under the tree and three completely satisfied children. This was the year, by the way, that I baked something like eighteen dozen cookies, to give as gifts (never again), and we made the special "collage" cards for the grandparents, aunts and uncles.

January 18, 1990

Frosty cold winter morning. My life has taken another small turn since the last time I wrote: I'm babysitting a new child, nine month old Danielle W. She is a delight. I had some reservations about bringing a baby into the house again, but I fell I love with her the first moment I held her in my arms. The rest of the family loves her too, especially Ray. What is especially delightful about having Danielle around is that I can enjoy having a baby in my arms ... the sight, the sounds, the nice warm "baby smell" ... and at the end of the day I can hand her over to her mother. All of the pleasures of a baby and none of the commitment.

January 1990

P.ville correspondence

Terri to Ray:

"Heat your potato patties in a little hot oil - pan on stove. Movie in VCR, push play."

Kacie to Daddy:

"Dir Dad:

I wot you to wer this for acus I thic it wud giv gum love. An I wot you too rot a letr back too me that is of I haf too get. Love, kacie. P.S. I love you." Dear Dad: I want you to wear this (paper necktie she made for him) because I think it will give you good luck. And I want you to write a letter back to me (the rest is indecipherable). Love, Kacie. P.S. I love you.

Ray to Terri and Kacie:

"Thank you. Ray. With love."

Jamie to Channel 11:

"Dear KSTWashington: We wish you would put Punky Brewster back on the air! At 5:00 p.m. We relly like that show, and watch every weekday evening. We relly relly relly wish you would put Punky Brewster back on the air. Sind, Jamie P."



Mom's Favorite Nicknames for Everybody:

Kyle: Booter, Ducky, Girls Basketball, Henry

Kacie: Mouse, Missy Lou, Mousky, KCP, Person!, Refrigerate After Opening

Jamie: Puss, Jameroo, Pussky, Jamantha, Jamer Oob, Polyester Fiberfill

Ray: Daddy, Asshole

Some Of Our Annoying Habits:

Daddy: Shuffles when he walks across the carpet

Jamie: Yelling in her sleep

Kacie: Tap-dancing on the kitchen floor

Kyle: Spitting

Mom: (Sorry! No annoying habits!)

Contents Of Our Medicine Cabinet, March 1990:

Two bottles of nail polish (Cover Girl "Satin Mauve" and Tinkerbell "Pink-a-boo"), empty trial-size bottle Pert Plus Dandruff Shampoo, Sure Antiperspirant, "Desert Spice" scent, Lady Mitchum solid roll-on, one empty pink lotion bottle, half-empty bottle of nail hardener, blue clay facial mask, empty tube of apricot facial scrub, nail polish remover.

Everyone's Favorite Colors, 1990

Mom: Hot pink, teal blue, gray, white

Dad: "I don't know. Blue."

Jamie: "Pink and blue-green."

Kacie: "Pink and red. And blue."

Kyle: "Hey, MY color is red, Kacie. That's MY color."

Five Things Mom Does When Nobody's Looking

1. Reads the obituaries in the newspaper.

2. Polishes the knobs on the stereo.

3. Does the Sunset Junior High cheer.

4. Bites her toenails.

5. Plays with leftover birthday party balloons.

Mom's Life Would Be Perfect If:

1. Toilet paper dispensers refilled themselves.

2. Diet Pepsi tasted like regular Pepsi.

Five Things Mom Has No Luck With

1. Vacuum cleaners

2. Checking accounts

3. Fingernails

4. Typewriters

5. Goldfish

Things Some Of Us Are Passionate About

Jamie: Paula Abdul, clothes

Kyle: Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Kacie: Food, "Ramona"

Eight Foods You Will Never Find In P.ville

1. Liver

2. Tofu anything

3. Brussel sprouts

4. Spam

5. Veggie-Snacks

6. Canned pork

7. Ovaltine

8. Goat Cheese

Eight Foods You Will Always Find In P.ville

1. Peanut butter

2. Miracle Whip

3. Rainier beer

4. A jar of dill pickles

5. Medium-hot salsa

6. Cheddar cheese

7. Half a bag of frozen french fries

8. Top Ramen

Some Of Our Most Frequent Sayings

Kacie: "How RUDE."

Jamie: "Goody!" "Oh, cool."

Kyle: (censored)

Mom: "That's the whole point."

Dad: "Watch TV."

Early 1990

Kyle, age three and a half

Kyle is absolutely wonderful - and absolutely horrible! - these days.

-- I am standing in the bathroom, dabbing foundation makeup onto my face. Kyle stands in the doorway watching me. "Are you puttin on makeup so you will be pretty?" he asks. I nod. "Well," he says, "I fink you look pretty wif no makeup." "That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week!" I tell him, and he smiles.

-- "Put it there, pal!" he says, extending his hand to me and grinning devilishly. He's got a rubber band stretched across his palm, with a piece of a plastic popsicle-maker attached to it: his homemade hand buzzer. I shake hands with him. "BZZZZ!" he shrieks, and then laughs uproariously. "I made a hand fuzzer!"

-- I walk into the living room just in time to catch him flattening André with a blow to the face. "Hey!" I roar at him angrily. "You go to your room right now!"

Indignantly fighting back tears, Kyle stomps past me and slams his bedroom door shut. Three minutes later he emerges, with a sly grin on his face. "Look what I'm are wearing!" he says, and he pulls up his Seahawks nightshirt to reveal two pairs of underpants, one on top of the other.

Jamie and Kacie have both been picked to play Munchkins in their school play, "A Trip To Oz." They were hoping for bigger parts ... actually, I think they expected to be the stars of the show! ... but I've managed to convince them that it's OK to start out small. I'm sure they'll be the world's finest Munchkins. Rehearsals start next week, and the play is next month. All in all, this promises to be a Very Big Deal.

Kyle is totally obsessed with the movie "Batman," which we bought at Christmastime. I've taken to hiding the movie in the kitchen cupboards, because if Kyle sees it he'll beg me to play it again. Frankly, if I have to listen to Michael Keaton growl "I'm Batman!" one more time, I'm going to go stark raving bonkers.

Every morning Kyle takes an old baby blanket, ties it around his shoulders and flies around the house in his "Batman cape." On Monday he wore it all day: Ray finally had to ask him to take it off before they went to the grocery store. "Ask me who I'm are!" he says. "Who are you?" I ask for the hundredth time that day. "I'm BAT-MAM!" he shouts happily ...

His other hero, by the way, is Robocop. "Robocops can't be dead," he tells me solemnly.

February 21, 1990

It snowed all weekend. Kacie built a funny little snowman in the front yard, complete with carrot nose, knitted scarf and SeaPak cap. Kyle knocked the snowman's head off a couple of times, just to be Kyle, but somehow "Frosty" always managed to get patched back together.

Kyle: "You crazy little nut head!"

February 24, 1990

Chicken Pox, Pt. I

The school called yesterday and said that Jamie was sick and wanted to come home; she had a mild fever and a headache. I said yes, of course, send her home. Within half an hour I had her tucked into my bed with a stack of Highlights magazines and a glass of 7-Up. The fever lingered for two days, and she had no energy. I thought it was just a touch of the flu, so I was in for a royal surprise when we got up this morning and discovered she was covered with huge, dew-drop blisters, from her hairline to the soles of her feet. CHICKEN POX! They're everywhere ... she's even got them in her mouth and her throat and her "private spots" (a fact which mortifies her). We're treating it with cornstarch baths, calamine lotion, liquid Benadryl taken orally, and liberal internal applications of popsicles ...

Now she's bedded-down on the loveseat in her Grandma's sleeping bag, which we've turned inside-out so the cool slippery side is next to her skin. She is surrounded by coloring books, popsicle wrappers and stuffed animals: I am never more than a heartbeat from her side.

March 5

Jamie was home from school almost the entire week. (I relented and let her go back on Friday, so she wouldn't miss play rehearsal.) After a couple days of initial itch and discomfort, which she spent on the sofa eating popsicles and watching game shows on TV, she felt well enough to get up. The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, so I let her go outside. I cut off some old jeans into a makeshift pair of shorts for her, and she kept her long hair pulled up into a Granny bun (to keep it from rubbing against the sores on her neck). She looked so funny and cute, running around in the sunshine kicking her soccer ball ... spots everywhere ...

March 13, 1990

Chicken Pox, Pt. II

A week later, and guess what. Time to break out the calamine lotion and the popsicles again ...

... Both Kacie and Kyle have the "chicken pops" (as Kyle calls them). Kacie got sick first. She came home from Sunday School and sort of "disappeared" for a while. When I went looking for her, I found her sound asleep on her bed, with all her clothes and her coat and her shoes still on! I knew immediately that she was getting sick, even though she hadn't broken out in blisters. And of course I was right. By evening, the little watery blisters had appeared on her chest and her neck, and by the next day she was COVERED with them. I am not exaggerating: there is barely an inch of skin, anywhere on her body, that doesn't have a blister on it. Jamie had maybe fifty or so, altogether: Kacie must have two hundred. They're everywhere ... on her lips, in her ears, on her scalp, on her eyelids. She's miserable. The little tricks I used on Jamie seem to be working only half as well on poor Kacie. What is really heartbreaking is how brave and uncomplaining she is. She just sits on the loveseat in Grandma's inside-out sleeping bag, stoically coloring pictures, barely saying a word.

Kyle began breaking out yesterday ... a few tiny blisters, mostly on his chest and shoulders ... of the three kids, his case is the mildest. As a matter of fact he's been in a cheerful, silly, talkative mood all day: the biggest problem I've had is getting him to settle down a little.

Mom stopped by this afternoon to drop off some "get well" gifts for Kacie and Kyle (she did the same for Jay last week); paper dolls for Kacie, a paintbook and brushes for Kylie. She looked at me and said, "How are you?" "Tired," I said truthfully. All you have to do is look at me: fatigue oozes out of every pore.

March 14, 1990

A damp, colorless March morning. Sitting here drinking bitter black coffee, wondering where I'll find the "juice" to get through another day of chicken pox ...

Little things are getting to me: Kyle breaking one of his new paint brushes and then screaming at me because I can't fix it. Ray buying himself new shoes but forgetting the loaf of bread I asked for. Jamie snapping at me because she can't find her boots (they were on her bed). Being stuck in this house for days on end with sick kids. No shampoo. Kyle's plastic harmonica. Crayons on the floor.

Kacie is better: Kyle is worse. The light scattering of blisters he went to sleep with last night erupted, over night, into a profusion of angry red sores, all over his little body - especially around his crotch and his neck. I keep telling him not to scratch, but of course the itch is driving him crazy.

This hasn't been an easy day, but right now things are relatively calm and under control. I sent Kacie and Kyle into my bedroom to watch cartoons; they're laying side by side in my bed, sipping orange soda and watching The Chipmunks. I wish I had film in my camera ... they look awfully cute together, chicken pox and all.

Kyle has been a demon all day. I gave him some Benadryl to help the itch (and hopefully relax him enough to nap), but it had the opposite effect: it wound him up completely. He's been running around on overdrive all day. Jumping on beds, jumping on the couch, jumping on André ...

I've made kitchen soup and mopped the chicken floor. (Oops! Guess I'm more exhausted than I thought. Make that, made CHICKEN soup and mopped the KITCHEN floor!)

March 16, 1990

Better still. Kacie and Kyle are both still covered with spots, still itchy as hell, but at least the fevers are down and they're back on their feet. I sent them outside to play with Kacie's Christmas Play-Doh and a basket of toy dishes, and they sat at the picnic table making Play-Doh cookies and hot dogs. Kyle fell off the jungle gym, landing with a horrific THUD on his side and bursting into sobs. I ran (heart in my mouth) to help him, but after a hug and kiss from me he abruptly stopped crying, brushed himself off and said, "That's OK, I'm not hurt anymore." He does this a lot lately, and I don't get it. The other day, for example, the toilet lid slammed down on his you-know-what while he was going potty. At first he SCREAMED and flew to my arms in tears, but after a moment of comfort he suddenly pushed himself away, announced (through tears) that he was "fine" and hopped off my lap. Another time he actually told me, "I like hurts." What is this?? Some budding macho instinct that little boys develop??

March 1990

Kyle, age three and a half

(Pointing to his fingernails) "These are my fingerlashes!"

(Pointing to his eyebrows) }"These are my eye-BROWNS."

"I don't play with those plugs 'cuz I don't wanna get extra-cupid!"

"Mom, will you do me a favor? Eat these cookies because" (pulls up his shirt, sticks out his fat belly) "my tummy's full."

(Commenting on the pancakes) "I think they are radical."

"I see your under-butt!"

March 27, 1990

Tonight is the girls' school play, and there is an air of excitement around this house. Jamie was up before 7 a.m. to grab a quick bath and wash her hair, and then I fixed everyone a nice breakfast of french toast and oranges. Ray is taking the day off from work so he can go to the play tonight with Kyle, Lori, Tracy and me. Jamie and Kacie have put in hours of hard work on this play, and tonight it all pays off.

March 28

We had a wonderful time at the play last night! Jamie and Kacie were the cutest munchkins I've ever seen. They were only on stage for a couple of minutes, as part of the "crowd scene," but those were a couple of the proudest moments of my life.

March 28, 1990

Chicken Pox Pt. III

Jerome and André are here today, both of them sick with ... chicken pox. Sigh. At least they're the last two kids who can possibly come down with it. (Danielle had it last week, a very mild case.) Once they're done, that's it, folks: no more chicken pox in P.ville. This is the only thought that sustains me this morning, as I drag out the calamine lotion one last time ...

April 2

Chicken Pox Pt. IV

Today is the first official day of Spring Vacation. The girls (and Jerome) have the whole week off from school. In addition, we're babysitting Jerome and André's little cousin Andrea, because ... you'll never guess ... she has the chicken pox. Her regular daycare won't take her because she's contagious, and everybody's already had it around here, so I agreed to do this favor. Already my living room is swimming with noisy children, Matchbox cars, empty cereal bowls and toys; my repeated admonition to "Quiet down!" is being completely ignored. It's not even 10 a.m. yet and already my stomach is churning. This will be a very long week.

I keep asking Jamie to help me out by keeping an eye on three year old Andrea. "Just keep her amused," I said. But as usual I've been met with sullen resistance: right now Jamie is in her bedroom again, listening to her infernal Paula Abdul tape and shutting out the world. I stuck my head in her door. "This is how you help me out?" I said. She shot me a look of pure poison, snapped off her tape recorder and stomped out to the living room, where she started picking up newspapers and dirty dishes. I called her over to the table where I was sitting, took her by one hand, and calmly explained (again) that all I really want her to do is watch little Andrea. The message finally seemed to sink in. Her shoulders relaxed, and she smiled. "Can I have a little cup of coffee to help me wake up?" she said, and I fixed her one. A few minutes later the kids decided to go outside and play. Jamie very nicely helped Andrea put on her socks and shoes, and found her jacket for her and helped her put it on, and then she warned the boys to play "carefully" around Andrea. I thought, Gee, maybe Jamie isn't as completely self-engrossed as I thought she was ...

So. Here we are, fifteen minutes later. Andrea is outside with the rest of the rough and tumble crowd, looking bewildered, and where is Miss Jamie P.? Parked in front of the TV with her coffee, watching The Price Is Right.

A very long week indeed.

April 1990

On our way home from the in-laws' yesterday, we drove through our old neighborhood in Kirkland, just for fun. It's been three and a half years since I've seen the Kirkland house, and I was flabbergasted by how tiny it seems to me now! It's nothing more than a little shoe box!! Funny: it didn't seem that small to me while we were living there. Other than that, it really didn't look much better. It's still painted that icky mustard yellow my father-in-law picked out, and the cherry tree is in full bloom. (Minor nostalgic pang.) The rest of the neighborhood seemed unchanged as well. What was really unexpected was my lack of emotion, seeing it all again. I always thought that the next time I saw the Kirkland house, I would feel sentimental and sad. Instead, I just felt anxious to get out of there and come home ... the home we have now.

Continued ...


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