Regional Differences

I knew this move would involve a bit of culture shock. The speed of life is certainly slower here than in Jersey. No one beeps if you don’t move immediately upon the traffic light turning green…in fact, no one moves immediately (why I think most of the traffic exists at rush hour). The accents and my lack of one have us sticking out like a sore thumb. There is such a thing as customer service (everywhere) and baggers (at the grocery store). This state is red politically and Jersey is very blue (despite its current governor who Jerseyans are clearly shocked that he is doing what he promised and they don’t like it, why they voted for him, I am not sure).
I was expecting some culture shock. I was not expecting one of the religious variety. I am not religious. Maybe it’s the hours of forced Catholism from one parent but the other not involved at all. Maybe it’s too much engineering and science. I believe in God (for lack of a better word); I describe myself as areligious, not agnostic or athetist. Whatever it is that makes me feel this way, organized religion is not for me. I find no comfort in it. So much so, when I married Hubby, we had a Jewish ceremony and plan on raising our kid(s) the same. Hubby understands that I’m not interested in the requirements of religion but I do believe everyone should be raised something so that when you grow up, you can decide if it (or some other religion) is for you. And religion does provide some basic morals to follow; all major religions have some basic morals that are the same.
I digress. In my new area, it *is* about religion. “What church do you go to?” is a common getting-to-know-you question. Grocery stores and children’s parks are empty until about 11 or 12 on Sunday mornings when churches let out. You can buy beer in the grocery store but not 2am-12noon Sundays. And there’s only one synagouge in the area.
So how do I answer the question? If I say, “I don’t go.” one of two things happen: 1 – I get the looks that says I’m a heathen or 2 – “You should check out mine! Christ saves!” And sometime both happen. If I answer with “My husband’s Jewish.” or state the synagouge’s name, I am viewed as a curiosity and/or a heathen. I don’t answer that I’m Jewish because it’s not true and I don’t plan on converting. More than you would think, a patient is the one asking and/or trying to spread the word to me, when all I want to do is diagnose pneumonia or diabetes.
I never got any of this in Jersey, except in extreme cases, that even my new neighbors would find extreme. Avoidance of the issue is not an option. I’m going to have to come up with an acceptable answer or two – something quick for work and my patients, something else for potential new friends. I know where I stand; I just need a way to express it that doesn’t make others uncomfortable.
– Areligious


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I’m thinking about going crazy and making a master grocery list. The kind of thing that’s preprinted and I can cross off stuff I don’t need and a space to add stuff that’s not a weekly item. I love having a grocery list and adding to it during the week. I hate the “15 minute scramble before heading to the store” recheck to add normal items to the list. And if it’s not on the list, it might not get bought. I often go off list as I get inspired while I’m wandering the store…but I often forget some item I buy every week or nearly every week. And I’m thinking about making the list in order of the store to stop the “last 15 minutes of going back 6 aisles for 1 thing” nonsense…because I hate that 15 minutes too. I wouldn’t mind it so much if it were always the same thing I forgot, but it’s not, especially with learning the new store layouts.
Hell, I hate grocery shopping but since I do the cooking, I need to go most of the time so I know what’s in my damned kitchen, plus to get inspiration. Hubby doesn’t mind it but will only get exactly what’s on the list plus his usual stuff. His issue is when I say “get whatever fruit looks good and I’ll make dessert” or “buy goat cheese” or help me if I want something weird and/or he doesn’t already know where it is. I will not get it, even if I GPS’d the exact item and putting flashing lights on it…if I’ve gone to that much trouble, I might as well have just gone to the store myself.
Don’t get me started on actually buying groceries…you touch everything at least 8 times, if you bag your own and you only use the thing once.
– List Lady

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10 years ago

I was in first year of medical school and since it was only 3 weeks in most of the class was still actually going to class. Between the first and second lecture, there was a break and often someone had something to announce…join this club…this activity was super cool…you know the like. Mostly, I ignored that stuff.
On this day 10 years ago, a girl named Lydia was crying as she was trying to make an announcement. No one quite understood her, we knew the words she was saying but didn’t know what she meant. No way could she be serious…a plane into the World Trade Center. One or two people left, the rest stayed for the 9 am lecture.
During the 9 am lecture, the dean of something or other came in and cancelled classes for the rest of the day. We got home in time to see the second tower collapse.
Hubby (still Boyfriend at this point) was living in Vermont and happened to be home sick from work that day. On my first cell phone ever, I tried reaching his landline and got that fast busy signal. The immediate weekend after, he drove 10 hours to see me, just to give and get hugs.
This morning, I got to sleep in and woke up about the time of the first plane crash. I stumbled down the stairs and made my coffee. Hubby hugged me the same way he did that following weekend.
We have had a good 10 years, fairly positive on the whole. Only one divorce, two deaths, and a few career opportunities not go the way we would’ve wanted them to at the time (but turned out better the way they did). But we’re healthy and happy and have Doodle. And while Sunday football weekends don’t mean sitting in a bar watching all the games at once, they do mean giggles while wrestling with the game on in the background.
The terrorists only win if you let them. They may have taken all those lives and some of our American innocence but they haven’t won. Living our lives, watching football, and raising our children…they haven’t won.
– Saddened but not defeated

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Expanding a Tweet #2

“Touring daycares is like touring colleges: they are all the same until one jumps out at you.”
We moved successfully surviving an earthquake as we were driving in Northern Virginia and a hurricaine as soon as we were done unloading the truck.
This week we are visiting 3 daycares because Doodle clearly enjoys it and we clearly can’t just put food and water on the floor and lock him in his room while we work. We last did this when he was only 7 months fermented, touring several traditional daycares and one in-home one. It was a blur of color and children, until we got to the one we ultimately choose. It was so bright. That’s what I remember from the first visit. But I also came away with the feeling that kids were learning and still being kids. The state seems to regulate traditional daycares pretty hardcore (my new state requires a parental note to apply diaper cream and cannot give acetaminophen) so it comes down to philosophies and learning styles and does it mesh with your style as a parent. None of which you can really determine in an hour visit. And we’ve moved to a more conservative region so the 3 visits we have scheduled might not be enough.
Suffice it to say, I am not looking forward to touring colleges…unless I get to go back because college was awesome.
– Daycared

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What does a person like me do when they have an affectionate child? A person like me who is uncomfortable with lots of touching.
Uncomfortable is really the best word. During most hugs, I’m thinking “When will this end? Am I doing it right? Does this person know how uncomfortable I am? Why did we have to hug? Ugh. When will it end?”
So, I don’t really do hugs. Hubby is the only one I’m comfortable with and even that’s not all the time…sometimes I tell him “too much.” When I moved from South Jersey, I announced I was giving “free hugs” to anyone, which floored some of my co-workers.
Doodle was a typical infant and wanted held a lot, which wore on me, like water on rock. But I knew as soon as he was mobile, he’d want to be mobile. And it was only really bad when I was out on maternity leave, aka “no escape.” More than once, as soon as Hubby came home, I’d hand Doodle off to him, me in tears, and escape for a few minutes to shower and cry. (I honestly don’t know how SAHMs or WAHMs do it. I needed to go back to work for everyone’s sake…and not just financial sake.)
Now, we’re entering a phase where he wants to give hugs and gives them all the time and sometimes to strangers. And this time around, he’s aware if I’m uncomfortable and I’m aware that he’s aware.
So I’m trying. And it’s better with Doodle. And I think I’m on track to getting comfortable with him as I am Hubby. But unlike Hubby, Doodle won’t understand why Momma doesn’t hug as much as Daddy (or most people). Hell, I don’t completely understand it myself, nor does Hubby but he’s accepted it and sometimes “requests a hug.”
The other shoe to drop in this mess of uncomfortable hugs is nature vs nurture and passing this onto Doodle. In my family, there are several people with an Austic spectrum disorder. And what if I don’t hug him enough…will it bring out something or at the very least, pass this feeling on? I wouldn’t want him to feel this way, especially since I don’t like it and Hubby’s family are “huggers.” (Yes, seeing my in-laws are a special secret torture for me, because we have to hug upon coming into the house, even if it’s in the world’s tiniest kitchen and all of us are in there, and we have to hug goodbye too…even if we saw each other yesterday and will see each other tomorrow.) Thankfully, because Hubby is a hugger, Doodle has a 50-50 chance.
– Playing the Odds

Update: A few hours later, Doodle had a major freakout of unknown cause and only calmed down in my arms and eventually fell asleep on me. Forty-five minutes later, I gently slid him over to a nearby couch cushion. But in a crisis, I rise for my kid.

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Expanding a Tweet

“I am defeated today: 3 socks without matches and cheerios all over the floor.”

I’m moving in less than a week.  I have had about that long off of work and am trying to get this house ready to go.  Emphasis on try.

Today I finished a load of laundry, only to get to the folding stage left with 3 socks.  One orange argyle one and two white sports socks that were clearly different enough to not pair.  This means that my favorite socks are possibly no longer a pair and that somewhere there’s a paired set of white sports socks that aren’t really a pair.

While I was folding this same laundry, Doodle dumped his entire Cheerio snack cup all over the pile that he had just pulled down from the chair.  Cute and easy to shake out of the laundry.  If you don’t mind vacuuming.


The noise.  The monotony.  The “lines” it leaves on the carpet.  The dust…even the bagless one have to deal with the dirty dust it collects.  The extra crazy-ass u.  The people who spell it wrong.  The fact that it doesn’t look like I did anything except create those stupid lines.

Lucky me, Hubby does the vacuuming (usually) because I do the bathrooms (50-50 y’all!).  Unlucky today, it was 5 hours until he got home and Doodle would be napping by that time so at least 7 hours of Cheerios covering the floor or I vacuum.

– Bitter but Vacuumed

I realize this is one large whitewhine but this is what vacuuming does to me.

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Juggling Numbers

Scene: Hubby is juggling pieces from a numbers puzzle.  Doodle is copying but is’t letting go of anythign, just waving his arms about.

Me: “Doodle, are you juggling too?”
Hubby: “No, he’s juggling 3, 6 and 8, so really 17.”
Me: *rolls eyes*

– Having Pun

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