Friday, November 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes about Saying Cheese, Driving in the Labyrinth, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday!


We haven't taken family pictures for a loooooong time. So when our photographer friend Bret offered to shoot some for us, we were thrilled because (1) we need Christmas cards and (2) the kids keep getting asked to bring family pictures to school and we don't have any that include the baby.

We got plenty of great shots of the kids and even some of Phillip and I. Try to guess what was going on around us while these were being taken:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

There was a baby at my feet and a child trying to photobomb us from the sidelines. I was also trying to judge the level of property damage from the volumes of my children's gleeful screams and they went running through the hallways of the building.


About that building where we took pictures. Did I mention that we found a zombie in it? Well, let me back up.

After photographing Bret took us on a tour of the building, which is an old cider mill built in 1880. Like many old buildings it was full of funky hallways and weird stairwells, and because it was dark by then my kids thought it was scary. Phillip helped by warning them to watch out for zombies.

The last stop on the tour was the creepy, ancient boiler room. We had to squeeze down a narrow iron spiral staircase to get there and almost had heart attacks when we found ourselves face-to-face with a blue woman (yes, she was painted blue) clutching a chain link gate in front of her and snarling.

Turns out that she was also doing a photo shoot (although I can't guess for what,) and we couldn't see the photographer until we got around the corner. She wasn't exactly a zombie, but close enough to terrify the kids.

From the number of times she's mentioned this incident already, it looks like this is going to be one of the formative events of my 3-year-old's childhood.


Another rumination on family photos: how old do kids need to be before they can give a coached smile that looks somewhat normal?

When we instruct our kids to "say cheese," they think we mean one of the following:

  • Squint and wrinkle your nose
  • Show me all the teeth in your face at the same time
  • Tuck your lower lip completely under your top row of teeth and bite it
  • Stare at us blankly
That must be why my kids in pictures look confused, insane, or both.


Life with an engineer, exhibit A:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Papers Phillip leaves around the house to show us how smart he is.


After many years, Phillip and I have agreed to disagree on what color our house actually is. I say yellow, he says green. 

Which is why I was so excited when one of our kids brought home this drawing from school:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Definitive proof that we have "a yello hows."

We happened to have company when I saw this paper, so just for good measure I asked "What color do you think our house is?" After some thought, our guest uncertainly said, "Tan?"


Let's talk for a minute about driving in Boston. To me, driving in that city is proof that converting 1700s carriage roads into freeways ad hoc doesn't work well at all.

There are a billion wonky intersections, lanes that peel off to the side without warning, merge areas that are too short to actually merge, and street signs stacked so high you can't even read them all (let alone figure out which sign is pertinent to you) before missing your turn and getting honked at by a Prius.

You think your GPS will save you? Ha. Driving in Boston once caused my GPS to have a seizure. After three "recalculating" announcements, it freaked out and the little car icon just spun around in a circle for a full 10 seconds.

Needless to say I avoid driving there at all costs. But we needed to discuss the results of my baby's MRI last month with a neurosurgeon at Boston Children's Hospital.


When we got into the doctor's office, the first thing he said was, "Well, I feel bad that you had to drive all the way to Boston so I could tell you everything's fine!"

Which is exactly why I'd asked the receptionist  repeatedly  if we could just pretty pretty please do a phone consultation instead. Once I figure in round trip drive time to Children's, getting lost 1-2 times, walking at toddler speed from the parking garage all the way to the waiting room, plus the time for the actual appointment, we're looking at a 4.5-hour voyage. The receptionist said no. I'm having a hard time maintaining charitable feelings toward the receptionist.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Illustration of my preference for the phone consult instead of the office visit.
photo by Gabriella Fabbri

But sitting in the doctor's office I couldn't even be mad, because I was so deeply relieved this meant one less surgery for my son. He's been through a lot in his short life. He has one unrelated surgery scheduled for next week, and hopefully after that we'll be in the clear for a while.

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