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Friday, 17 October 2014

The Big Meeting at the Daycare

Oh guys. I was dreading this meeting. I was in a sick to my stomach but yet can down a large portion of baked macaroni and cheese kind of state the last few days. It wasn't pretty. I lost my vegan badge and probably got kicked off the PETA Christmas e-mail list. NOT GOOD. This meeting has been postponed a couple of times and I have just wanted to rip the band-aid off. I have good reason to fear meetings at daycares. I don't think we have ever had a good meeting at a daycare. IN FACT, even recitals have always ended badly. So, yeah, I was little freaked out to attend this meeting... especially considering this daycare is our last chance in terms of child care arrangements. I know this, I looked it up. I might have prayed a little this past week.

We ran around the apartment this morning, getting ready and trying to get the Kid up. Murphy's Law: toddlers will always sleep in on the mornings that you need to get a move on. ALWAYS. Half asleep I got him dressed and carried him on my hip because this morning he had decided to bring up that old separation anxiety. Going to the bathroom was like having a Chucky doll become my probation officer.

We were out of the apartment by 8 and took the 45 second walk to get to the place. I was breaking out in hives and going through my act. I had planned to play "Intimidating mommy who has had enough of this shit and you say one negative thing and I will cut you."

We walked in and the two main daycare providers brought us into the classroom and we took our seats. Our hobbit seats. The Kid was in another room but I could hear him kvetching. I just hoped he wouldn't walk by the classroom and like, see us through the glass door.

I got comfortable... well as comfortable as it can be to balance one ass cheek on a wooden plank and got ready to throw shade. The one woman started and thanked us for coming. We nodded and I could see the Husband match me for tension. This was not our first rodeo in terms of daycare meetings and we braced ourselves.

"Well, he is an absolute joy!" she told us.
"Que?" I asked.
"He has really been developing these past few weeks!"
"Scusi?" I asked.
"He just shows so much potential!". Oh, there it is... "potential". That brings me back. For years during my schooling, my parental units consistently heard 3 sentences during parent teacher nights a) She sure likes to talk! b) If she would just apply herself.... and c) She has so much potential (and that was usually followed by sentence (b). And so I temporarily twitched this morning when the provider said "potential". And then I realized that what she just said was a huge effing wonderful big deal. And so I started to cry. Happy cry.

She went on to tell us that yes, he shows signs of autism but they are so impressed with how fast he learns new things and for the next couple of months she wants to really focus on "rules". One of the rules would be making sure that he puts on his shoes and jacket every morning. At this point I snorted and silently thought "Yeah, good luck with that!" and then she said "He already does that here."

"Que?" Oh that little sh... I mean, attaboy! Are you kidding me? Well, that is fantastic and I feel like he totally played me. The party ends today, Kid. We spent the next hour discussing his habits and what we could do at home and what they could do at the daycare. They also said that they could call us during the day to tell us how he was doing and both the Husband and I responded "NO!" because after almost a year of calls from the old daycare, we don't want to hear nothing unless he has taken hostages.
Just give him a cookie and it will pass.

We also discussed the possibility of him staying for lunch because we are starting to burn out with these half days. They said that eating is "intimate" (GET OUT OF MY CLOSET AND GIVE ME BACK MY DAMN OREOS YOU WHORES.. cough, cough.) meaning that it would probably take him a long time to feel comfortable to eat in a group. I was like "He's not a Bravo reality star. He has no issues eating in public"... but I let that slide because I need them to like me. I came up with a suggestion to get him to eat and they will try it next week. I'm crossing my fingers this works!!

I also told them that we were looking into A.B.A. therapy and they were very very pleased. So, long long long story short, it was a great meeting, I feel like we are all on the same page for now. I finally left a daycare meeting with a spring in my step and not murderous rage.

So tonight I am going to celebrate.. well a little. I have to work a few hours tomorrow but then I am going out for dinner so I plan to get a little blotto because I have this huge huge burden off my shoulders! Having a special needs child is exhausting and has thrown me for a loop. It also didn't help to have a completely incompetent daycare before who shamed us daily. Finally I feel like we have support and competent people and I just hope I keep this happy feeling going. I need it. God, I need it. So, HAPPY FRIDAY, AMIGOS! WOOT!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Things I See on My Walks

Guys. I am not quite sure what to say. One post and I am like, I am like, wait... let me put down my wine... I am like plutzing. I cannot believe all the messages I have received the last few days. As I wrote on the Operation Tubetop page, I am so incredibly overwhelmed and so incredibly touched. I feel like Anne Hathaway before everybody started to dislike her. Not sure why... she had great bangs in "The Devil Wears Prada". Anywho. I am amazed at the response and I vow to keep on posting... even though I am sitting here, thinking.. "hmmm... how can I top that post about living in Vienna.?"

So, I have decided to tawk about my walks. Because.. why not? As most of you know, I take a walk almost every morning. I do this because otherwise I would spend at least an hour reading reality gossip and while I find that a wonderful thing to do, I realize that at 33, I need to stop writing "eu mah gawd" in the comments section everytime there is a post about Teresa Giudice. So anyway...

Things I see on my walks:

I start out at our place on the fabulous Drasche Park. I pull up my hoodie and make my way to Wiedner Haupstrasse. I walk on the other side because there is a place beside the Belgian Embassy that says "Sauna" and I am pretty sure, based on their opening hours, that it is not a wellness centre. I cross the big street and keep walking. Once in a while I have to crosss the street again because at 5:50 in the morning street signs sometimes look like rapists in the distance.

Just the other day, I passed a bar at 5:30 in the morning and two women and a man (who had whipped off his button up shirt) were dancing to "Sex Bomb". I was amused. And a little concerned.
Not even close to what I saw.. but you are welcome.
I keep walking down this street and just before I get to Margareten strasse, I pass a brothel. Now now, in Europe, this is not a big deal. But yet, this still makes my inner prude stand up and go "QUE?". And I would be totally lying when I would not say that I am a little disappointed when the door doesn't open when I walk by. I have no idea what I would see but I have an imagination, I see throw pillows and Chevron wallpaper. Non?. Before you judge me for being a pervert (I totally am one) I just have to explain that it is more of a morbid curiosity than being a weirdo. When I moved here for the second time, 10 years ago, and I had the opportunity to take a taxi along the Gurtel, I pointed out prostitutes like familes play "punch buggy!!!!" I'd be all tipsy and would exclaim "THERE'S A HOOKER! THERE'S ANOTHER ONE!" I'm not proud. Moving on.

Then I hit Margareten strasse, I cross over and walk along the right hand sidewalk and make my way to the 5th district. I pass a cinema that has been renovated and looks amahzing but know that I won't be seeing a show there until well into my 40's. I keep walking and come upon the Margaretenhof which is one of my most favourite of building compounds in Vienna. It is spectacular and what I imagine Hansel and Gretel would have built once they won that personal injury suit.

I cross the road and head back down Margareten. I pass a few shops and hit the 4th district again. I pass a designer clothing store called "Elfenkleid" and schmutz up their windows with my breath of wanting. Once I have done that, I keep going and pass a shop that sells the most fabulous squirrel topped serving dish but for 250 euros I go "Nuh uh" and then wonder what I could re-create with Play Doh at home.
And, dear readers, please never Google "Squirrel dishes". I need to take a shower now.

I keep walking and pass the bagel shop and then turn right and head to Wiedner Haupstrasse. Since it is near the university, I have to be extra careful about random puke but for the most part, iz all ok. I cross where the Paulaner Kirche is and keep walking up Wiedner Haupstrasse which is lined with lovely trees. Little sidenote: a few months ago, when I started this walk, there was a shop that seemed to be under construction for foreva which had a sign that read "Lactose free, gluten free desserts". Rich white girl that I am, was intrigued. For 3 months I walked by in anticipation. It has finally opened and is called "Allergiker Cafe". It looks cute, but this morning, I spied a harp. Ugh. Harps. Don't get me wrong, the harp is a fine instrument... but... I am sorry.... I dislike the harp. Go ahead, beat me. It has nothing to do with the sound that a harp makes. No, rather it has to do with me and my dislike of large instruments. Long story short, I finally got to play the cello when I was 10. The parental units rented me a cello with a soft case. Every Tuesday I had to take that damn thing on the school bus and I cannot describe how terrified I was to leave a head-sized dent in that rented cello everytime that school bus hit the brakes. Shudder.

Anywho, I keep walking until Johann Strauss Gasse and walk past the Burschenschaft (saving that for another post. Spit spit) and then hit our lovely park where I make a loop around and try to climb the ivy to get a better look at the beautiful apartments surrounding it. So far.. no luck. And then I am home. It may seem a little boring to do this 5 times a week, but actually... it is awesome. You just never know when that brothel door might open.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Just Random Thoughts and Updates

You know what would be helpful guys? Me actually placing my cup under the coffee maker. Gawd I am dumb at 5 a.m. but it really isn't my fault that I am exhausted. The Kid was a thing possessed last night. The bedtime routine went down without a hitch (sleep training update today!) but around 9:30 he came running into our room and launched himself into bed and fell asleep mid lunge. At 11:30 he started his Jackie Chan moves and I yelled "Dammit! You are going to your bed before you bruise another one of my kidneys. NO MORE!" and so I half dragged him to his room, changed his diaper and then threw a bottle of milk into his bed. I walked back to bed and may or may not have yelled at the Husband "Thanks a fucking bunch for helping me out." Awww, mawwiage.
This one is going in the family album!
At 2 the Kid again came running full speed into our room - just take a minute here and imagine a crazed 3 foot zombie running at 60 miles per hour with his eyes closed. Yeah. He better be grateful I decided that "new obstacles" would be very unfunny the night before. The Husband, perhaps still smarting from my earlier swearing, took the reins and declared "No! No! No more!" and brought the Kid back to bed. A couple of hours later, the Husband returned and wearily declared "He's asleep". So I put on my sweet voice and said "Thanks a bunch for helping me out! LOVE YOU!". So  we are tired.

It is early Monday morning and I am about to take my neighbourhood walk. This usually involves a little game I like to play "Bird call or serial killer lurking around the corner". At least this little game makes me walk a little faster.

And without further ado, some random thoughts and updates:

Kindergarten: We are still on the 11:45 pick ups. They say they won't keep him past noon if he won't sit down and eat. I literally do not have a problem with him not eating. He can eat at home... at 2... when our nanny picks him up. We have a meeting on Friday (the last meeting was postponed, fanfuckingtastic) and we will discuss his progress. They are also suggesting more therapy. This I don't have a problem with because we are currently looking into A.B.A. therapy and hopefully we can get started on that ASAP. Preferably at a decent time. You know.. not at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday.

Sleep training: Well. Ah hahaha. That didn't go as planned. A few weeks ago we spent about 5 nights trying the sleep training. I realized that it was a bad time to start it with all the changes happening. Also, we were looking up divorce lawyers at 3 a.m. and that just wasn't good for anyone. But the plus side is that we re-established a bedtime routine that actually works. Well, it works for me because I am awesome. At 7:30, after dinner, teeth brushing and looking at books, we tell the Kid "Time for bed" and he repeats "Beeeeeedd". Then he says goodnight to the Husband which is "Buh bye, Daddy" paired with a little wave and it is the cutest gosh darn thing in the world. He crawls into bed, I top up my wine glass and turn on my Kindle and whisper read to him until he falls asleep. The average time it takes is about 20 minutes. My personal best was 5 minutes last week. It was AWESOME! Even though he is still running into our room in the middle of the night, at least we have a couple of hours of quiet in the evening and that has made a huuuuuuuuuuuuge difference.

The New Train Station: Well, what can I say... other then.. IT IS AWESOME! I took a little jaunt there on Sunday morning and I lost my North American mind. It's like a mall. A mall about an 8 minute walk away. And it has a Starbucks and a Subway and several bakeries and wait for it... A juice store that sells green smoothies with names like Garden Body Detox which yes I bought one because I need to counteract all the scurvy I think I am getting. I am super pumped about this new place because when I need a little Christmas cheer in a month or two, I have a feeling this place will be all decked out in its finest, filled with angry Austrians and nothing says Christmas like anger and stress. Yaay!
Yaay! Holidays!
So those are some random updates. I am also so incredibly stoked about how many people clicked on my post about living in Vienna. This makes me so happy. Thank you!

So now I have to head out for my morning walk wake myself up a bit. It feels like it might be one of those long days. Happy Monday!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

How's That Veganism Working Out for You, Tova?

Well, lemme just start off by saying; holy crap did yesterday's post go nuts! I mean, holy crap! Thank you everybody for reading it and sharing it on the Interwebs. Dear lawdy. I looked at my stats this morning and had to do the whole rub the eyes in disbelief schtick. And the views keep coming. Thank you!

And now, back to our schedule. As you guys know, I decided to give veganism the old college try. How am I doing? Actually, pretty awesome. Out of the 13 days so far, I have only had cheese twice. Real cheese on cheesy pizzas. That's a huge win. Have I lost weigh? No clue. I will know when I get on the scale next Monday because do not fear, the 12 Week Challenge is back. Still going on. Still happening. Still a thorn in my side.

I don't think my stats will be amahzing on Monday but that really isn't the whole point of the 6:1 vegan plan I am on. Just joking. Weight loss is EVERYTHING. No, no, I jest. This is about leading a healthier life. About discovering clean eating. ABOUT WEARING SIZE 4 PANTS AGAIN. Dammit, Tova, get back in your box.

I'm finding it not too hard to stay vegan. The hardest part is when I don't plan my meals in advance. The other bummer is that I am definitely using the vegan store as a crutch and not as an occasional ottoman like I should. Case in point, I made "chicken" baked fajitas last week and ate like there would be no more tomorrow. Or a tomorrow with no food. I'm overeating because the food I've been making is just too damn good. Now, you might ask, how does one make vegan cheesy delicious chicken baked fajitas? Walk with me.

First I bought some vegan tortillas, then I bought some vegan "chicken" which is a combo of soy and peas and carrots and then somehow magically made to look like grilled chicken strips. I stocked up on some guacamole, salsa, beans, red peppers and onions. And then purchased "pepper jack cheese" from the brand Daiya. I sauteed the veg and "meat. Then I placed the salsa, guacamole, "meat" mix and "cheese" on a tortilla and wrapped it up and placed it in a baking dish. I baked it for about 30 minutes and then took it out of the oven. And stared at it for a long time.

I admit it. I was skeptical at first. The "cheese" didn't really melt on the outside. But I served it up to the Husband and me....

And lo and behold, it was delicious! Many many many stars of vegan goodness.

I actually was very impressed and this will be my new go-to feeling sorry for myself vegan meal. Now, I had the impression that once I went vegan, the fat would literally throw itself from my body screaming "SHE HATH FORSAKEN US!" and yet, it hasn't. And I know why. I'm carbing it up too much. I really am. My new aim is to really focus on more veggies and protein the next week or so (save for Wednesday night when I will be ordering a bacon cheeseburger - and it will be amazing). Tonight I will be having a red thai curry soup. Tomorrow will probably be a Moroccan veg stew with couscous and probably a veg curry with brown rice on Saturday... and so on and so forth. If I discover a way to make vegetables taste good, I will let you know... Have a great day!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

You Know You Have Lived in Vienna for a Long Time When

I've been meaning to finish up this post for a while. On June 1st I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of living in Vienna as an adult. All together I have lived in this great city for 14 years but for 4 of those years I lived with the parental units so I was in a bubble of international schools and diplomatic immunity. I consider myself a bit of a veteran when it comes to Vienna and although sometimes I find myself wanting to go a little postal, I truly do love this city and everything it has to offer. So walk with me.

You know you have lived in Vienna for a long time when:

1) You have successfully been first to order bread at the bakery regardless of the mob surrounding you and the fact that you came after said mob.
I'm next! Dammit!
2) You don't even flinch when someone screams "ZWEITE KASSA" at the supermarket behind you. In fact, you were probably about to bellow it too and you definitely have already pushed past people in front of you who try to line up at the new cash.

3) It doesn't even bother you that much that shops are closed on Sundays. You drink instead.

4) You own a dirndl/lederhosen.

5) You bitch when the next Ubahn will take more than 4 minutes.

6) If you wear heels, cobblestones are no longer your kryptonite. Who's laughing now 1700's road?!? I own you!
Come at me, bro!

7) You haven't stepped in dog shit for years. But you have developed a humped back from constantly keeping an eye on the path in front of you.

8) Little old ladies don't fool you no more.
Fool me once
9) You say obnoxious things like "Just back from London/Paris/Berlin" or "Ugh, another night at the Opera" and don't realize how obnoxious you sound.

10) When a new restaurant opens serving greasy breakfasts/burgers/Asian food, the expat community collectively explodes. Critics pop up faster than you can say "Dry aged beef".

11) Rumours regarding places like The Gap or Victoria's Secret opening up become an expat's mission in life to prove true or false. True: The Gap just opened in the Donau Zentrum. Let's all go!!
Bitch, don't even tell me that Target might be heading here. Show me your sources.

12) When friends go back to North America for a visit, you plead for them to bring back food colouring and cough syrup for kids.
Liquid gold.
13) You know which pharmacy won't treat you like a raging drug addict when you just want to buy a pack of aspirin.

14) You probably live around the corner from somewhere Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert/Strauss lived and you could care less. Until visitors come. Then you be all like "And yes, Mozart composed blah blah blah" just around the corner. And you say it loftily because you are now obnoxious.
Yeah, Gorgeous. Whatever.

15) You are sick of schnitzel and yet, whenever you are forced to have it, you remember how damn good it is when done right. This is why you never ever go to Figlmuller... ever.

16) You no longer vomitus a lotus when you drink a lot of Austrian wine. Maybe it was the acidity? Or maybe it was your inner college student screaming "TWO EUROS FOR A BOTTLE OF WINE?!? DON'T MIND IF I DO!" Now you know better. Maybe. Maybe not.

17) You know never to drink heuriger wine without sparkling water. Unless you have a death wish. Why you have death wish? Is fantastic city with vineyards and cheap wine. Suck it up cupcake.

18) You hate how crowded the Christmas markets have become but you still go and inadvertently give yourself the diabetes from all the delicious overpriced punsch.

19) You now know what "schlag" means in various contexts.

20) You start to use terms that uncouth teenagers use: "Na geh!" "Oida!" and you don't care.

21) You have learned not to weep when you see how much is taken off your monthly pay cheque. Quality of life kind of balances it out.

22) You know the term "makler" and you have learned to fear it and hate it.

23) You know that when anyone says they don't like "Altbau" you know that they are lying.

24) You rarely travel to other districts unless you know someone in that district or if that district is awesome. Having to change the Ubahn more than once might just break a friendship.

25) You now know that dogs sit higher on the totem pole than children.

26) You are outraged and shocked if a restaurant has set seating times and asks you to leave after 2 hours. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T NURSE THIS GLASS OF WINE FOR 4 HOURS?! BARBARIANS!"

27) You get a little patriotic on behalf of Austria. Examples include: the guy that jumped out of a tin can from space, Conchita Wurst.
Damn straight, "Empress of Austria"
28) You no longer get hassled to buy concert tickets by the guys in white wigs and baroque coats. And you feel a little smug about that.
Yay! I blend!
29) You no longer fight the feeling that you have to move to another country. It's called acceptance. Or in some cases, resignation.

30) You no longer notice the staring that ticked you off immensely when you first moved here.

31) And finally, as jaded as you might be, there are times when you think it truly is one of the most spectacular cities in the world and adore your life here!