November 2006
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Archive for November, 2006

Looks like they’re on their way since the CCAA updated their website last night.

The cutoff date for this batch is September 8th, 2005. Current time to referral is ~14.5 months.

I’ll save you all the painful whining and analysis. Let’s just say that I think next fall is looking more and more likely. It’s okay – slow and steady wins the race, right?

(Egads – don’t you just hate platitudes and proverbs?)

There’s so much to say that I’m pretty much not even going to try to hit all the details and will instead attempt to summarize our too-short Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday:

3rd time this year for water in the garage. Another nor’easter that I simply couldn’t face, so I went to work at 7AM and left J here to deal with it. He did. I left work early so we could make the long trek to New York to spend the holidays with J’s family and spent 12+ hours on the road on what should have been an 8 hour trip. After many tears, curses, and frustrating traffic encounters we arrived in Wappingers Falls, J’s hometown, at approximately 4AM on Thursday morning.

Thursday:

4 hours of sleep later, we wake to meet J’s brother’s future wife for the first time. What a great first impression we must have made – sleep deprived and barely coherent! No matter, she’s a doll and is going to be a great addition to the family. She’s super intelligent, pretty, and sweet. She also has a biting wit and is just what Michael needs!

Many hours of cooking followed (not by me – no sirree) in preparation for the Thanksgiving gala. There was a houseful of guests and still enough food left over to feed an army. Michael made the turkey and it was awesome. One of the best I’ve ever had. J and I contributed to the effort by heading out to get everyone Starbucks while they were preparing the feast.

Friday:

We got a very early morning start to head down to NYC. We had a full day planned and accomplished every bit of it. We took the train from New Hamburg to Grand Central before connecting to the D Line subway and heading to Brooklyn. We walked the neighborhood where J spent many of his formative years before going to get the best pizza on earth at Lenny’s Pizza (of Saturday Night Fever fame). John Travolta – pshaw. Go for the pizza. You won’t be disappointed.

After lunch, J’s uncle came and picked us up to take us to visit J’s paternal grandmother who is 93 years old and living in a residential facility in Staten Island. We were a little unsure of what to expect from the visit, but she lit up like a light bulb when she saw us all and we had a nice long visit before being interrupted by a fire alarm. When the fire alarm went off, they quickly moved us all into the dining hall (which puzzled me – did the dining hall suddenly become fireproof?) where a big birthday party was taking place, complete with cake and entertainment. It became obvious that Grandma would rather be in there listening to the music than continuing to talk with us (she was a great singer in her day) so we took that as our cue to leave. The visit was a bit bittersweet because it’s unlikely that we’ll get to see her again.

J’s Uncle Bob used to be a NYC cabdriver so he drove us into Manhattan. That was fun and frightening all at the same time. He’s a treasure trove of knowledge and trivia about the city so we all learned something new on the drive in – and also nearly all had heart attacks from his driving. He told me that you just have to be fearless and “own the road with no hesitation while driving in the City.” Boy oh boy, that man sure practices what he preaches. He dropped us at Lord and Taylor’s where we looked at the windows for about 5 seconds and then went inside and had a group picture taken with Santa as a surprise for J’s mom. We did a bit more shopping, but mostly walked around the city and looked at the lights before heading back to Grand Central and catching the train home. We picked up Chinese food and beer and ended the evening with much laughter over Michael’s self love fortune cookie.

J’s brother also deserves a special mention for something he did for me on Thursday. We were walking towards Rockefeller Center and poor Southern me was just chilled to the bone. Michael went in to La Maison Du Chocolat and bought me the best darn cup of hot chocolate that I’ve ever had in my whole life. It was also likely the most expensive at $8 per (a very) small cup but it was worth every penny.

Saturday:

We had a wedding to go to! I was a bit unsure about going since it was a full Catholic Mass and I’m not Catholic (and am very uncomfortable with most organized religious services). I was a little worried about it and my very understanding in-laws let me beg out of attending the actual wedding service. J of course jumped all over that and conveniently used me as his excuse for not attending. We instead went to visit his other Grandma’s grave, which was something that J needed to do. J was very close to his Grandma and it’s been hard on him not having her around. It was just heartbreaking for me to see his pain, even though she’s been gone for two years already.

So – on to Nick and Nicole’s wedding reception. The bride was beautiful and the groom was ever so handsome in his Navy uniform and it was just an overall great party. J was responsible as always, so I was able to imbibe a bit more than I usually do, which resulted in some unsteadiness on the killer 4 inch ankle strap heels that I was wearing. I still made it through the night without taking my shoes off even once. We left a bit early to get back and try to pack up a few things, which really means that J packed things up because I can’t handle alcohol and invariably fall asleep after just a few drinks. This is exactly what happened!

Sunday:

We were up at 3:30AM to be on the road by 4, hoping to beat some of the traffic. It went okay until around 6AM and then it was just packed. I was still sleeping off some of the effects of the night before so I dozed while J drove. We made it home in a little over 10 hours this time and pretty much just crashed for the rest of the day.

It’s always good to be back home though, no matter how much you enjoyed the holiday and visits with friends and family. I missed the cat (we took the dogs with us) and I’m really, really looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight.

Just back from another whirlwind business trip to DC and it feels so good to be home. There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed – even though I did stay at the Hotel Palomar which is quite possibly the coolest hotel ever (except for the creepy maintenance guy who fixed my heat). You’ve got to love any hotel that is super pet-friendly, has fake fur throws, and that supplies you with complimentary L’Occitane toiletries and animal print robes. Loved it!

DC is very busy right now with the freshman Representatives and assorted assistants all over the city. I was listening to NPR on the drive up and heard an interview with an incoming Representative from Arizona – 36 year old Gabrielle Giffords. She sounds so idealistic and full of plans. I sure hope she stays that way. She seems like a very intelligent and well-spoken woman and it’s really nice to see one of those breaking into the good-old-boy ranks.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to discuss DC. What’s to say, anyway? Too much traffic. Horrible drivers. Ad nauseam.

The point was this: I think people, especially first time pre-adoptive parents and their families, can sometimes have a very unrealistic view of the challenges we face in bringing our girls home from China. It’s traumatic and it’s not always easy and it’s sometimes scary being faced with a grieving child and we as parents need to plan for this. The Rumor Queen has written a fantastic post about this very subject and I would urge everyone to read this. She’s speaking from experience and it’s a very informative and thought provoking essay on the joys and pitfalls of parenting one of these beautiful girls.

RQ writes about The not-so-rosy part.

We haven’t bought any furniture for the nursery yet so I finally decided to purchase something to go in the room.

And since I sure as heck don’t need a crib in there right now, I decided to buy something useful instead. Ta-da! It’s a Bowflex Series 5 treadmill to get myself in peak condition for climbing the Great Wall. This room has sat empty for long enough, and since we have no idea when our referral might actually be here, I figured that we may as well get some use out of the space.

That said, this thing is a behemoth. It folds up for storage which, for some unknown reason, I equated that to mean it would be moderate in size. Ha! It’s huuuuggge. It was delivered last Thursday by two delivery guys who were (ahem) a bit on the aged and feeble side. There was no way I was going to ask them to carry it upstairs and have two deaths by heart attack on my conscience, so I told them to put it on the front porch. It was so monstrous and heavy that it sat on the porch until Saturday when J rounded up the neighbors to help us carry it inside.

I don’t know where it will go when the kid finally gets here because J says he’s never moving it again. Ohhh – here’s an idea! We can put a girl-y canopy on it, throw on a crib mattress and some strategically placed Princess stickers, and we’ll call it a toddler bed.

I said goodbye to a friend today.

Charliecollage.jpg

Charlie died last Saturday. It was unexpected and tragic and he was far too young to leave us. He was 56.

Charlie was a good man with a true and kind heart. In the three years I worked with Charlie, I never once heard him say a negative word about anyone. He loved people and he loved life. He was always smiling and it was his mission in life to take care of people. That was his signature phrase, “I’ll take care of you.” And he did.

I went to the funeral home last night with my best girlfriend. By the time we got there they had already closed the casket. I’m glad. I don’t want to remember Charlie in a wooden box. I want to remember Charlie on the dance floor, which is where you could always find him. We signed the guest book, looked at all the flowers and read all the attached cards, and left. I don’t think I even looked directly at the coffin. I just didn’t want to.

J and I went to the funeral today. It was held at Charlie’s church. They called it a homegoing service and the minister talked about the fact that we really were there to celebrate Charlie’s life and not to be sorrowful. It was a lovely (and lively) service with lots of soulful singin’ and preachin’ and I think many people came away feeling consoled and hopeful that they’ll meet Charlie again someday.

I’m still filled with sorrow, though. It’s just so damned unfair that someone who was so good and had so much in him still to give had to die. The world is a sadder and emptier place now.

As I mentioned, J went with me to the funeral. You have to picture this – my non-practicing Catholic raised Italian born and bred husband tossed into this rowdy African-American Baptist service that lasted almost 2 hours. There were about 200 people there – a veritable melting pot of race, color, creed, financial status, whatever – and, as expected, the service really got going with the choir singing and the congregation really interacting with the minister. I think J experienced just a teeny bit of culture shock.

And you know what? Charlie would have loved that, too. He would have teased J and then had him singing and clapping along with the choir in no time. He was just that kind of guy.

If you get a chance, take a moment and read Charlie’s obituary guest book located here. It’s pretty cool to read other’s views on what a fantastic guy he was.