Combination Disaster: Part 2

Combination Disaster #2: Me and anything related to fashion.

Ok, so about a year ago we covered this topic in the post on my sister's NYC wedding and the clothing dilemma I faced when preparing for that trip. I didn't get it right then and well, I have to admit, I didn't get it right this time either. Which of course is not really a news flash for a jeans and t-shirt wearing gal like myself.

You see, Kurt's business school reunion, like all reunions I imagine, consisted of a weekend full of various events, each requiring different attire. Friday night was to be business casual; Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning, casual; and Saturday night, cocktail attire. I was okay with the casual. I mean, I can come up with all sorts of ways to wear my jeans! What I was lacking was anything that seemed appropriate for Cocktail Attire. Actually, I wasn't even sure what that meant to tell you the truth. I figured, um, a dress? A short black dress? Isn't that the answer to all fancy events?

I pulled everything out of my closet and spent an hour dusting it off and then trying on each and every possibility. Much to my chagrin, the 40-60 miles I am running each week in preparation for my upcoming marathon did NOT guarantee that I fit into my pre-pregnancy dress clothes (most of which I have had for over a decade now anyway). The most appropriate of dresses didn't fit me in the least! (Darn expanded post-pregnancy rib cage....and, um, 10 "maturing" years!) And so I called around to see if any of my friends had a "cocktail dress" I might borrow.

After trying on the beautiful dresses of a friend, none of which seemed quite right, I realized I was just going to have to bite the bullet and buy a new dress. I headed to the nicer of the department stores in our community mall, Von Maur, where I took my eye off the ball and tried on dozens of pairs of jeans while trying to chase down Solomonster every two minutes. I justified this misuse of time by acknowledging the fact that all my jeans are full of holes and tears and certainly I couldn't go to Stanford with ragged jeans now could I? But, to my dismay, Solomonster figured out how to escape from the dressing room within about 30 seconds and after an hour of chasing him down, I just bought the 6 pairs of jeans I was deciding between and figured I would bring back the 4 pairs that didn't work later.

Still, I had no dress. After trying some of the local consignment shops nearby, I was thoroughly stressed as I had come up with nothing.

The day before we were scheduled to leave, I rushed out to the Mall of America, Solomon in tow, and took a shot at Nordstroms. I found two dresses in my size and tried them on. The first one fit perfectly. I stepped out of the dressing room and asked the sales person (whom I truly thought I could trust.....seriously, I have issues) if this fit right and was considered cocktail attire.

"Oh yes. That is perfect. It looks terrific, blah blah blah....."

"Great!" I said. "What would I wear with it? Black shoes? Do I wear black panty hose?"

"Oh, you could definitely wear black shoes and black hose if you wanted," she assured me.

Now, in case your fashion savviness is anywhere close to mine, here's a little tip:

Not here, not there, not anywhere! And if you are shaking your head thinking, "Well, shoot, I DO!" Then you need to read that again. Apparently panty hose went out around the same time as the dinosaurs as the black scrunchy. (I missed that one, too, something about having my head in the sand, with the scrunchy still on....)

So, we arrived at the evening of the Cocktail Party. Kurt, having seen several guys go into the party in what appeared to be dressed-up jeans, put on a wrinkled button down shirt and pants and stopped there. I was stuck however because I only had the one option: this incredible red dress, with sheer black hose and thick black heels (that I probably bought with my last installment  of Teen Magazine of black scrunchies, like 8 years ago.)

We arrived on the scene: probably close to 200 people crammed together in a bright and sunny, outside patio, mingling. (This is where the record player comes to a scratching halt and all eyes turn in our direction.....What? We don't use record players anymore? Since when?!) I would have felt just as comfortable had I been wearing a big orange Halloween Pumpkin Costume because as I glanced around, I realized that California "cocktail attire" resembled something more like the sundresses I might wear to the beach on a lazy summer day, OR ONE OF THOSE KNIT DRESSES THAT I WORE TO MY SISTER'S NYC WEDDING! and here I was, dressed as if I were a lady Kurt ordered from a local Escort Service. I was all Pretty Woman, BEFORE the help of someone who knew proper dressing etiquette....and minus like 10 inches.....in several different areas.....(One of my friends told me after the fact: Next time you have an event, call me and I'll hook you up without hooker-ing you up.)

Anyway, suppressing the incredibly excruciating urge to run back to our room and put my jeans back on before anyone else noticed us, I clung to Kurt's arm and did not make eye contact with anyone until we could slip into the darkness of the actual event. At least there I could hide myself under a table (well, at least my lower half) and pretend that I was as up to date as everyone else. And the few times I got up, for a necessary drink or bite to eat or what have you, I simply prepared a line: "Kurt has a panty hose fetish, what can I say".... in case anyone approached me, which they didn't. I did make sure to tell all our friends that though, you know, because that's how helpful I am with the whole "networking" thing. I figure, if they care what I have to say when they consider investing their livelihoods into his firm, well, they might need to reconsider their investment strategies anyway.

So, to sum this up before I write the next Moby Dick sized novel, if you ever invite me to an event, please consider coming over to my house and picking out my attire for me, will ya? That's what a good friend would do.

(But hey, at least I got a beautiful dress out of it....

                                 ....one that I have sworn to never, ever wear again.)


Combination Disasters, Part 1

The next few posts are going to focus on what I will call Combination Disasters: Two or more things that, although perfectly good alone (sometimes), are simply no good when combined. 

For example, five kids and an airplane.....that gets delayed for an hour and a half AFTER boarding. (Think Three Men and a Baby, only, the baby is on steroids and the three men aren't at all funny. Actually, no, let's just stick with five kids and an airplane.....)

When Kurt decided a few months back that we were in fact going to take the entire family out to CA for his 10 year Stanford Business School (GSB) reunion, I practically begged him to go without us. It isn't that I didn't want to go back out to CA: I really love CA, at least parts of it. And it isn't that I didn't want to take some sort of vacation. I mean, we can all use a little break sometimes, right? But I really didn't fancy getting on an airplane with five kids, well actually, one kid loomed large in particular: the 15 month old Solomonosaurus. The idea of being trapped on an airplane for four hours and then having to conduct life with this barrel of Solomonkeys in a tiny hotel room for five days just didn't sound like much fun. 

So, after much stress over wardrobe and packing, the day finally came and we arrived at the airport and easily made it through security. (And I have seriously saved you like three hours of reading just typing that one sentence and not looking back at the details! You're welcome.) I asked Kurt to keep an eye on the baby while I went to fetch some breakfast for the kids. When I got back, Hans Solo-mon had a lovely bruise and scrape down the side of his face where he had apparently picked a fight with the only hard corner in the airport. I personally considered this a blessing though: random ER trip averted! Yay!

Pretty soon we boarded the plane and sat down, eagerly waiting to see if the person next to us would kindly switch with Aidan who was sitting by himself in front of our other two rows. When the nice guy finally arrived, I think the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Excuse me, but would you be willing...."

Very Nice Guy: "YES, Certainly! Yes, yes, yes, Thank you!" 

I didn't even have to finish the sentence practically....apparently he was pretty perceptive (or had already gotten a good look at our crew in the lobby) and realized his fate was far better off NOT sharing a row with two parents and a Solomonstrosity.

So, we're sitting on the plane, heading toward the runway when the plane stopped and the Captain came on over the loud speaker to let us know that all departing planes had been grounded due to weather. Yay! But never fear, we'd be able to stay on the plane and wait it out. (Yay again!) And we did. For an hour and a half. With conversations like this:

Kid: "Dad, can you check the weather report?"
Kurt: "Yeah, just a second. Hey, Liam, open the window shade. Ok, the weather report says there is a 100% chance of thunderstorms right now."

And then, after a while, the kids sang "camp songs" to a quieted and weary plane. The other passengers were so thrilled. I could tell by their sweet looks and kind whisperings.


But, apparently the kids don't take requests because when I asked the amused men a few seats ahead if they wanted to hear Lily's Louis Armstrong impression, she quieted up real quick.

Meanwhile, Joe Solomonggio decided to practice his pitching skills and chucked the Sky magazine into the row next to us. The man who caught it (in the face) was reading a tiny book called, "Done: What Most Religions Don't Tell You About the Bible."

He seemed very polite but he hardly got my joke when after a while I told him, "If this delay takes much longer you will be DONE with that book before we even depart." Apparently he doesn't like jokes. Or maybe it was just really bad. Or, most likely, he couldn't even hear me over the kids who had moved on to Oh, Susanna and Skip to My Lou and Yankee Doodle and any other such song likely to get stuck in your head for the next 4 hours. At any rate, he seemed to be stuck on a particular section the entire flight (probably a How-To Guide to Loving Thy Noisy Neighbors on an Airplane).

We tried to make light of the situation of course, telling Liam all about when we were kids and they would actually let the kids into the cockpit to see the pilot and all the buttons and stuff and then would send you away with your own set of wings to wear proudly on your shirt. But, "Too bad Liam. You don't get to do that." (Which got a good laugh from the two young women sitting in front of us anyway.)

And then finally, the pilot told us we would be heading to the other side of the runway because of course the winds had changed. Luckily, we were the first in line to take off. After being in the air less than 2 minutes one of our kids yelled out, "Are we almost there yet?" And that's when I realized I forgot to pack our DVD's for the trip.

Yes, seriously.

Ok, apparently I was wrong. They do still do this as Liam got to spend the entire boarding time (for the flight back) with the pilot....not sure why I was the only paranoid one who thought maybe this was a bad idea.....really, don't they need to check things, like engines and fuel levels and whatchmacallits without the distraction of tiny boys sitting there asking questions and likely to push the wrong thing without them knowing it? And seriously, is this like the longest  caption ever???


Recap, in pics

I haven't had time to sit down and write. Heck, I haven't had time to stop and think much less pay close attention to the details. And currently I am sitting outside a hotel room in Northern California waiting for the baby to wake up from his nap so that he can let me back in....ok, not really, (about the letting me back in part) but naps are certainly tricky while traveling across the country with five kids! 

At any rate, I have tried to keep my camera on hand, to snap up some moments. Here is what the last few weeks have looked like:

 Why the cords you might wonder....well, Solomon has this freaky obsession with them and he pulls them out and starts plugging them in, or leaves a trail of them wherever he goes....yay!

These are the eggs my dear friend brought me from her farm.....

Here is what was left of the eggs the next morning.....look how bright they are.....so fresh and so yummy! I can't wait till we can have our own chickens. I just know Kurt is on board after eating these, right Kurt? Kurt? Hello?
Here is the random pie crust I started making before i realized I didn't have the ingredients I needed to make the rhubarb pie I thought I would make.

And so I started a new crust hoping to make a different pie and then realized you were supposed to bake the nuts BEFORE adding the chocolate. Doh.

So, we started over.....and made the crust for a peanut butter chocolate pie, which was delicious and which we ate up before I got around to snap a photo of the finished product....but if you have ever seen a picture of a really yummy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, it looked just like that, only better.

Solomon, happy that one of his siblings gave him an open container of chocolate pudding to use for finger painting. Yay.

These next five pictures fall under the category of: What could possibly go wrong?
Solomon, trying to sit on the wood holder, after he put it up on the hearth.....

Notice Solomon's wire necklace as Liam tries brushing his hair....

"Uh, what do you think you are doing?"

This is a Hidden Picture: if you look closely at this photo I captured with my phone, you can see the owl in the middle.....I found him on one of my runs, right after I convinced myself I didn't need to take my camera with me....

And then, I convinced myself that surely I wouldn't see another cool thing on the very next run so I didn't need my camera that time either and lo and behold my friend and I came upon this cool shot: 

Lily on a special dress day for her school.....we especially liked the addition of the earmuffs under her sun hat....

This next series explains why I can't open my windows this spring.....

It was when he got to this point and was trying to stand up in the windowsill that I dropped the camera to help him narrowly avoid disaster!

Kurt and Liam checking out the annual opening of the hydrant....

The baby turtle I found on a run.....why take a picture when you can just take the whole turtle?.....more on this story later....

Liam trying to LICK! THE BABY TURTLE!.....seriously. 

Solomon declaring himself king of the mountain, on top of the violin cases.....wielding a cello bow. 

"I was just riding my little car by the unlocked cabinet when all of a sudden the baking equipment just JUMPED OUT IN FRONT OF ME! What's a one year old to do Mom?" 

Why is he so happy?

Because his sister gave him THE ENTIRE POT OF MAC-N-CHEESE.....

And finally, how do you know when you may have ordered too much mulch for your landscaping?

When you put a double layer over everything in your yard and you still have this pile left over:

That's Kurt taking mulch over to our neighbors yard to put under their trees.....

Next time we probably will get a little less.....by like half....

Have a great week!