Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cleaning House

Today was an odd day. Poker Chick has had a rather nasty cold the past few days, and this morning she woke up hardly able to swallow and with a low-grade temperature. It was 7:30am and she found herself sleepily making oatmeal and missing her bed while the husband slept. She realized he would need to take the mini to ballet this morning. She did not have the energy for getting dressed and out by 9:00, she desperately just needed to sleep.

9:01. Husband was still sleeping. F*ck. At this point she realized she was screwed. She gulped some mouthwash, threw on clothes and grabbed the mini. They had to run.

On the bus (they were too late to waste time walking the one mile) she decided if she was going to be up at this hour she might as well have the husband take the kid after so she could go to her now-and-again Pilates class (it's a lot harder than it sounds, seriously).

Thirty minutes after ballet and she had somehow gotten the mini changed, dealt with the potty, given her a snack, ran six blocks to the bookstore (all while carrying the "darling" who refuses to walk and eat at the same time), grabbed the workout clothes she forgot from the husband and threw them in her purse, ran another six blocks from there to her class, and changed in a flash once she got there. Even now she's not sure how she made it, it doesn't sound humanly possible. Seriously, that was one manic half hour.

The class was awesome as always, and it's always a bonus that it's taught by a friend. She worked through the sniffles*, and the weirdest thing happened after .

She had.....energy.

She walked home, all her muscles crazy sore, and after a bit of lunch she put the radio on and....just.....started.....cleaning.

If you know Poker Chick IRL you probably don't believe this. If you don't, all you have to do is read any post on how clumsy she is or how she's a sh*tty housewife, and you won't believe it either.

All the clutter under the windowsills....gone. Things thrown out, put away. And - this is the best - her ENTIRE closet switched over to summer. This certainly doesn't sound monumentous but you must remember we're talking about a monumentally messy and lazy person. The huge pile of clothes on top of the hamper had been serving as her closet since last summer. Well, that and the open suitcase next to the bed she's been living in and out of. Shoes were everywhere. But when she was done, not only was she able to put stuff in the hamper she was actually able to close BOTH closet doors!! Winter shoes were hidden away in boxes! Sweaters were put in the tee shirt drawer, while all the tee shirts came out to the closet in full view! Too-big, too-old, and too-outdated clothes were retired to a giant "donate" bag. She excitedly made giant to-do lists, including a small list of items she would need to pick up at the Container store to complete this impromptu project. The Container store? Willingly? Poker Chick?

It was unbelievable. It was like a day of shopping, for free**. With skirts finally on skirt hangers she was able to count them. (She owns 23 skirts. Just skirts. Damn). As shoes were placed next to, rather than on top of, each other she re-found the fun, less practical shoes that were always hidden away (Sparkly blue shoes! Jimmy Choos! And five pairs of flip-flops!). Belts, finally on a belt hanger. She owns a whole bunch of belts. Who knew??

At this point we stop and ask readers not to do the warranted eyeroll. We know most of you "put together" people go through this exercise every year. But believe it or not, Poker Chick had never done the wardrobe switchy-thing. So maybe it was ballet or maybe it was her muscles waking up, maybe it's just spring, or maybe it's Passover. But somehow, the goddess of female domesticity finally found Poker Chick. And so she had to write about it. Because something tells her she'll be gone in the morning.***


*we'll spare you the details of her cold. Add in asthma, imagine all the dust, and well...you can imagine the damage for yourself. It ain't pretty. But hey, her closet now is.
**Dear husband: please note, she still found some gaps she needs to fill this summer. We know what you're thinking as you read this so we're warning you now that shopping is still warranted. Of course it doesn't make sense to you. You're a guy.
***No matter. All that cleaning and this princess is thinking a mani/pedi is in order for tomorrow anyway.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What's She Missing?

So after about the 5th blatant "hey baby!" look and drool smile for that day, Poker Chick started wondering where she went wrong today. She knows she got dressed in a hurry this morning, but she must have missed something. It's as if she forgot her pants or was wearing her bra outside her shirt. Did she grow a set of DDs overnight? What's up?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey peeps....behold...PEEPS!

It's true. Even funnier than the ten plague finger puppets. We swear Poker Chick did not make this up. Don'tcha wanna look?

Marketing Speak

Poker Chick thinks this new Starbucks website everyone's talking about is just a brilliant, brilliant idea. What do coffee drinkers get out of this? A chance to be heard. Rewards. The opportunity to help create a better product and a better customer experience. The feeling that they are part of a community. What does the company get out of this? Other than happier consumers (translation: more sales $$)? They get brand loyalty: more people than ever will be vested in their brand. They get a free brainstorm of marketing ideas from millions of people. They get a ton of buzz and word-of-mouth. And they build a pretty hefty database in the process. And what does it cost them? Pennies. Pennies!! Talk about a win-win.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We were slaves in Egypt, and I'm hungry dammit!!!

Poker Chick is not a fan of Passover. Well, let's rephrase. She likes the first two days. But it's the days after that suck. You're at work and you can't buy a bagel on your way. No sandwich for lunch. No Tasti-Di-Lite on the way home. And if you're traveling you're just SOL. If you're like Poker Chick (who hates matzah), it makes for a great Jewish version of the low-carb diet.

But this year is feeling different already. Sure, the hunger is still there (the asparagus-dill soup she spent an entire day cooking isn't quite cutting it). But it's been put into context. This year, Poker Chick was reminded of some spiritual theory behind Passover (Pesach). Here's the shocking reminder: It's supposed to feel restrictive!! We were slaves in Egypt for g-d's sake! So for eight (or seven) days you're supposed to suffer a little so you can be reminded that your people had it hard some several thousand years ago. You want we should suffer? We'll tell you how to make a Jew suffer: you limit their food options. Yep, we teach em young: us Jews are all about the food and the money (another fact Poker Chick was reminded of as she watched the mini in her first real negotiations for the Afikoman).

That's right, Poker Chick just used a cheap stereotype for a quick laugh. (Stop laughing if you're not Jewish. It makes you an anti-semite). But seriously, there is a cleansing component to Passover we often overlook. So this year, with renewed optimism, Poker Chick decided to take a slightly less negative approach to Pesach this year. It's an experiment. She doesn't usually do optimism.

So here are several themes to Passover she has been reminding herself of:
  1. It's not supposed to be a week of binge-eating. If "suffering" for Poker Chick is taking away bread for a few days, then she's got it pretty damn good. And she'd better remember how spoiled she is and appreciate it. Moral point one, check! Bonus points for donating food to the homeless!
  2. If you live in Israel you already know to associate Passover with spring. If you don't, you may or may not realize it always gets warm and sunny right before Passover. Spring may be on the calendar late March, but it never really arrives until just before the holiday and this year was no different. Passover was "late" and so was the warm weather. Here in New York, we had temps in the 40s and then suddenly a beautiful 80-degree day right before. As if mother nature was announcing: "Ok peeps! It's finally time for Passover now!" Yes, that's exactly what she said. "Peeps". So not the point. Just accept it and move on. Spring and sun make this girl happy. Then again, so do the two pairs of sunglasses she recently bought in preparation for the summer.
  3. Spring is an opportunity to clean house. So as we focus less on food, we are free to do things we've been neglecting like switch our closets, dust off the resume, that sort of thing.
  4. Spring is also an opportunity to "clean inner house" i.e. our soul (hold cheesy comments, please). We get to examine bad habits and relationships, re-connect with friends and family as we wish them a happy holiday, and reconnect to our faith as well.
  5. If nothing else, it's an eight day reminder of how we're different than everyone else. She can't think of any other religion that wouldn't recoil from horror at finger puppets of "boils" and "lice". But not us. We give them to kiddies and laugh together.
One day in and Poker Chick is already feeling spiritually superior to three days ago. Case in point: one of the bad mental habits Poker Chick is trying to fix is thinking of Passover as an annoyance. Then again, it helps that she recently scored a fridge in her office. So today she was free to stock it with supplies like cherry tomatoes, cheese, fruit, and jelly and butter for the occasional matzah. Mmmm....butter. Maybe this Passover thing's not so bad.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Allergy-Free Passover

SO IS CHAROSET STILL LEGIT WITHOUT THE NUTS??

(Separately, check out another article about food allergies posted by a reader - thank you!)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Calling Fellow Neurotic Parents....

If anyone out there with a kid with food allergies has taken a cruise, then Poker Chick needs your advice! Good news: Poker Chick's family is trying to get together on a cruise. Bad news: cruises mean lots of buffets, a food allergy nightmare, especially when you're miles and miles from a hospital. Now, she can't believe she's about to say this, but after some initial research she's seriously considering a Disney cruise. Stories of special chocolates on the pillow. Nut, dairy and egg free birthday cakes. Entire menus prepared just for your kid. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

But before she shelves her grownup coolness and resigns to a gambling-free (gasp! no poker?) trip, she wants to see if anyone has heard anything good about food allergies on any other cruise line. There's also the question of whether or not a Disney cruise will be upscale enough for Big Boy, she still has to sell him on it. Any tips, advice, links would be greatly appreciated (including where to go, which is also open!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Poker Chick can't believe this place is closing!! The Underground bar, a place she used to meet friends in Jerusalem....

On a lighter note...

Did anyone catch Christopher Walken's opening monologue on SNL this weekend? Poker Chick just saw it last night and thought it was brilliant. She was looking for the clip on YouTube to post for you peeps, but it's been deleted due to "third party copyright". Still, she was pleased to see it labeled as the "funniest SNL monologue ever". We're glad to see that Poker Chick is not the only person in the world able to sit at home alone with a pint of ice cream and recognize comic genius when she sees it. Laser cats....

Facts on Rotavirus


Rotavirus is a serious illness whose pattern is exactly like what the mini experienced (see pity party post). It lasts almost two weeks, and it's hell, peeps. Just so you don't think Poker Chick's exaggerating, the CDC calls it a "highly contagious disease that causes life-threatening diarrhea in young children". Each year, it kills 600,000 children worldwide.

Pictured, above: Evil little Rotavirus bug

In 2006 the FDA approved a vaccine for this, so for those with newborns if your doctor recommends it we seriously advise you to listen. The mini spent 3 days in the hospital the first time around and was rapidly dehydrated this time as well. Though it is uncommon to get a second time, at least so severely, the mini's pediatrician confirmed the rota diagnosis. Interesting side note: studies show that 69% of nurses can accurately identify a child infected by rota in minutes by the smell alone!

The upshot of all this though? Renewed confidence in Poker Chick's parenting skills! Or, at the very least, her uncanny knack for diagnosing viruses. She's not so clueless after all!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How To Throw The Perfect Pity Party

Poker Chick may not be June Cleaver, but there's one party she throws that can't be beat: The pity party. It's an area Poker Chick truly excels in. And in time, you too can be an expert.

We will take you through a case study below, including the steps to do it properly:

1. Objectively cite the facts. Just the facts. No opinion-y adjectives of judgement.

  • This weekend there was a funeral in the husband's family
  • Big Boy was in town the past 4 days and Poker Chick did not see him
  • Poker Chick spent the last two days in jury duty
  • The mini is sick
  • All her assignments just got put on hold at work
  • Poker Chick is a dumbass*

2. Proceed to explain how said facts are negatively impacting life (a.k.a. making the status quo so intolerable there is no way out other than whining!)

3. Link facts to each other to illustrate just how sucky connected to suckier makes things suckiest.

  • Bad enough that we had a funeral. It was coming for a long while but it still sucked. Of course, that suggests Poker Chick was actually at a funeral, rather than serving as glorified babysitter to a screaming child outside the whole time with a room full of 300 people that couldn't help. We're told there were some nice speeches. We wouldn't know. The only thing we heard was the guard out front repeatedly asking who he thought was the "babysitter" for some aspirin. He asked several times, even though the answer was clearly not changing. We know what you're thinking. A screaming kid at a funeral. How did our girl not think to bring aspirin. Dumbass. Hey, she is a dumbass! Let's add it to the list of facts above! Now admittedly the aspirin is a small part of this history and probably not worth mentioning. But if you're thinking that, you have a lot to learn about a pity party, so keep reading....
  • The mini was sick, though it was at the tail end of a week-long virus. (Note we did not state "very sick" in step 1. While it was tempting, adding "very" would be a judgement). It started with the throwing up, then fever, and a week later it appeared the runny nose and cough was slowly going away. Tail-end? Ha! Poor Poker Chick. She was so gullible but soon learned her lesson. The diarrhea first appeared Saturday morning, in time for the ride out of town. It was quickly followed by toxic gas which was always followed by screams and cries*. The former then re-appeared, though (of course) mostly at night. For some reason, it was not until the second sleepless night that Poker Chick finally connected the dots to Rotavirus***. Which had the poor kid in the hospital two years prior. It was also weird because once you have it you're supposed to be immune to it. But once she thought of Rota and took a whiff around her she realized that's exactly what she was dealing with. And she remembered the last time was in the spring as well. Of course, by the third night Poker Chick felt things were finally turning around and that's when (already tired) the family pulled the all-nighter. Two-to-three times an hour, every hour. ALL NIGHT LONG. Let's repeat. ALL NIGHT LONG. (Let's also throw in a pity part for the husband, who was buying baby wipes at 3am. I mean, who'd have thought we'd have gone through a whole jumbo package in one night!) Needless to say, Poker Chick was talking to the pediatrician during every break in Jury Duty. Or she thinks she was. She was too tired. Or maybe scared. The kid was miserable and seriously dehydrated. And also terrified of what was coming out of her. She kept hysterically screaming "get it out, Mommy!". So sad! Now you'll notice we used the word "sad", which when used in conjunction with a reference to children tends to evoke empathetic emotions, one of which is pity.
  • Seeing Big Boy did not happen. This was unfortunate. But what was not necessary was the criticism of Poker Chick for it. Doesn't anyone else out there think that during this difficult time it would be nice to get some support from family? Or, at the very least, not get criticism? That was a rhetorical question, peeps. It's for effect. Are you starting to see how this thing works?
  • Jury duty. Okay, so technically there is no complaint here. It was actually quite interesting, Poker Chick got a change of pace, a change of scenery and met some nice people. But that doesn't help our story peeps! So let's throw in jury duty here and pretend it just made everything worse. You'll see when you try this exercise yourself. We guarantee, it really does make for a better story.
So there you have it. The perfect pity party. It's made even better by the fact that all of the above happened in the span of 3 days. Now you get out there and you have your own party!! Whine like it's your birthday!!

*This fact was added later on (see case study section #3)
**The first screams came from the mini, poor kid was in pain. The next came from her parents, who were blown away and trying to breathe.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Coming attractions...

Poker Chick is working on three upcoming posts: one on short people, one on observations from Jury Duty, and the other on the hell that has been the last few days (think funerals and diarrhea). Feel free to place requests for post order if you have any.

Don't worry. We won't leave you with nothing. In personal news of the bizarre, this weekend Poker Chick drove a Prius. Yes, that's right. Drove.