Tragic Sandwich

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Archive for the tag “Mr. Sandwich”

Why Our House Is a Disaster – Weekday Edition

caution tape

We’re refinancing, and on a recent Friday, we had a visit from an appraiser. The house was not even remotely clean, although I did set my alarm for 5 a.m. so that I’d have time to at least straighten up the living room (read: put things in stacks). Instead, I was so exhausted that I just kept hitting the snooze button. Sorry, appraiser.

Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly evaluating the way we spend our time, particularly on weeknights, so that we can finish everything we need to and be ready for the next morning, while still getting Baguette to bed. What does that look like right now?

5:30 a.m.

Get up, wash face and brush teeth, unload dishwasher, wash any dishes in sink and put in drain rack to dry, give dog her medicine, open dog door, take one egg out of the refrigerator, put skillet on burner (which is not yet turned on). If it’s a day when we send lunch for Baguette, prep thermos with hot water.

5:48 a.m.
Finish bathroom routine. Shower if I’m lucky.

5:53 a.m.
Go back to bed to keep Baguette from rolling out; Mr. Sandwich gets up, gets dressed, and leaves for work.

6:20 a.m.
Get up, counting on Baguette to not roll out; get dressed, pull her pre-selected clothes/socks/shoes off of the shelf, get diaper and wipes and put them with her clothes, scramble and cook egg, heat up food to go in thermos, put egg in portable container, put food in thermos, assemble her lunch bag, put her breakfast in her tote bag along with anything else needed that day (set out the night before). Put yogurt and granola in my lunch bag if set up the night before; otherwise plan to buy breakfast at work. Feed dog. Make sure back door is locked, cabinets are latched, stove is off, and refrigator is closed.

6:40 a.m.
Unplug anything that has been charging overnight and put in handbag. Go back to bedroom and change Baguette’s diaper. Put her pajamas in the hamper and dress her for the day. Comb her hair. After she lies back down, sit her up and comb her hair again.

6:50 a.m.
Make Baguette stand up and walk to front door. Pet dog goodbye. Pick up bags, lock door, coax Baguette down steps, put her and bags in car.

6:55 a.m.
Arrive at day care. Get Baguette and her bags out of car, sign her in, drop off tuition or hot lunch money or other paperwork as needed, and walk her to classroom.

7:02 a.m. If I’m lucky.
Leave day care. Drive to bus stop. Park car, run across street, hope to catch bus. If I do, hope to get seat. If I don’t, drive to work. It’s an hour either way.

8:05 a.m.
Enter building. Buy breakfast and coffee, or just coffee if I managed to pack my own breakfast (lunch is even less likely). Go upstairs and work.

5:00 p.m. Unless I have to work late.
Leave building. Walk to bus stop. Catch bus home.*

6:00 p.m. Unless traffic is worse than usual.
Exit bus. Get in car and drive home.

6:07 p.m.
Arrive home. Pet dog hello. Change clothes. Put away any dishes in drain rack. Pour milk into straw cups for evening and next day.

6:12 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich brings Baguette home. Feed Baguette as much fruit and/or Goldfish as she will eat.

6:25 p.m.
Take Baguette and dog for walk around the block (1/2-mile distance). Discuss day. Encourage Baguette to walk, but carry her for intermittent stretches. Let her run back and forth when the impulse strikes her.

7:10 p.m.
Return home. Pull together some semblance of dinner for Baguette while Mr. Sandwich helps her play with the hose (it’s hot out). Start her bath.

7:20 p.m.
Change Baguette’s wet clothes and feed her.

7:50 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich gives Baguette her bath. Set out her pajamas and nighttime diaper, take dog out, feed dog, close dog door, wash dishes from her dinner, empty her lunch bag and clean containers, straw cups, and thermos, probably wash the skillet from that morning.

8:05 p.m.
Dry Baguette off, put her in nighttime diaper and pajamas, let her watch Sesame Street. Continue to prep for next day, gathering any paperwork or materials needed for day care. Eat tortilla with peanut butter (if lucky).

9:10 p.m.

Go to bed. All of us, because otherwise Baguette won’t. (Note: That’s “go to bed,” not “go to sleep.” There’s no telling how long that could take.)

What’s missing from this picture?

*This is when Mr. Sandwich does as much laundry as humanly possible in 50 minutes. Neither one of us has time to fold it or put it away.

Photo by skyloader, via Flickr.

It’s My SITS Day!

What do you call a community of some 40,000 women who support each other? SITS!

Women Online

Just like the name says, the secret is in support. Each day, the site features a blogger, and today’s my day.

Those of you who are new to Tragic Sandwich may be wondering what’s up with my name. You can find that on my About page.

So who am I?

  • I’m a 40-something writer/editor/social media marketer with a husband (Mr. Sandwich) and one daughter (Baguette).
  • I’ve lived all over the country, but have been in L.A. since Mr. Sandwich and I got married in 2004. We have a dog named Wicket who adopted us a few months before Baguette was born, and we love reading, TV, movies, travel, and the outdoors.
  • I like to cook, but I rarely have time–I’m not even able to pull together slow-cooker meals as consistently as I’d like. Simple and fast are key these days.

This blog is about our daily life–things we do, and things I think about. If you’d like to take a look around, here are a few recent-ish posts to get you started:

Tales of the Dragon Mother–I’ve always been fight-y, but motherhood means that my ferocity sometimes surprises even me.

All the Single Ladies–I’m not a single mother, but I think society should stop giving them grief and start giving them more support. Because this job is hard.

It’s Not Rat Poison–Everybody calm down. It’s just formula, and it’s fine.

Guest Post: Mr. Sandwich
–Our marriage is based on teamwork and mutual respect, and that extends to my blog. I can’t leave out this post!

Work-Life Balance–I think this sums it up.

Thanks for stopping by–I hope you’ll come back! And please feel free to comment wherever you’d like. I’m always open to civil discourse, regardless of whether we agree with one another!

On Dinner

Dogitos!

Me: I’m just going to put this in the microwave.
Mr. Sandwich: How come?
Me: I like the tortilla to be warm. And the cheese.
Mr. Sandwich: Oh, see, I like to let the warmth of the hot dog insinuate itself thr–
Me: I don’t have that kind of time.

Photo by OctopusHat, via Flickr.

Guest Post: Mr. Sandwich

This is my 500th post. Recently Mr. Sandwich wrote something that started out as a message to me, but we both agreed that by the time he was done, it had become something that we wanted to share here. And I can’t think of any way I’d rather mark this milestone.

Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal from Isaac Lamb on Vimeo.

The other day I got forwarded the video of Isaac proposing to his girlfriend Amy by way of a four minute long song and dance number which involved sixty friends and family as well as relatives beamed in via Skype. It was a peppy, happy, extremely well-orchestrated number complete with marching band uniforms. It was very cute. I watched the entire thing and smiled wistfully a number of times during the bit I’m sure. What struck me however, were the two things that occurred to me after the video was over. The first thought my wife and I shared congruently, which was that when the singing and dancing stops and Isaac strolls through the parting crowd to ask Amy to marry him, he does so in a sweet, sincere, and very touching way. He tells her that she’s already given him a lifetime of happiness, and if she married him, he would do all he could to return the favor to her. My wife asked me “Didn’t you think the words he chose when the number was over were strong enough on their own?” Yes, clearly they were. That man loves that woman and she loves him back. You can tell even through the over-the-shoulder backseat-cam mounted in the car. The Broadway number is the garnish on the plate. A bouncy, choreographed, Music-Man styled garnish, but a garnish nonetheless. The part where Isaac asks Amy to marry him is the real meat of the matter here.

Which brings me to the second thing that occurred to me. Almost immediately thereafter I started seeing links in the various online news feeds and Facebook postings about how this was the best marriage proposal ever. Isaac was interviewed and issued a statement to all the other men out there that he hadn’t intended to mess things up for them. Apparently the overwhelming consensus among women was that the bar had now been raised as far as marriage proposals were concerned–and all men planning on popping the question had better sharpen their pencils, fire up their copies of FinalCut Pro, and orchestrate something fantastic . . . or they weren’t going to get the answer they were looking for. Which makes me cringe just a little bit. I mean, it shouldn’t. I’m married. I made my proposal to the most stellar woman in the Universe and she said yes. What other men out there do or don’t have to do to get their gals to marry them nowadays affects me about as much as a sneeze in a hurricane, and yet I still cringe and I’ll tell you why.

When the time came for me to pop the question to my Sweetheart I got lots of advice from both men and women.

  • “Take her on a hot air balloon ride and ask her there!”
  • “Get the pilot to announce it on the plane’s intercom when she arrives in town to see you next.”
  • “Skywriting!”
  • “Jumbo-Tron!”
  • “*Don’t* put the ring in her food and have it delivered to your dinner table. If she chips a tooth on it she’ll be pissed.”

Etc. Etc. Etc.

In the end the lavish public gesture seemed like neither me nor her, so I went my own route, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that so many people had given me that a grand, public spectacle was not only expected, it was the only way to go. I had been clearly told that I had only one chance to do this and I had to go big or risk looking like a goat in her eyes.

Instead, on a July 4th when she came out to visit, I planned a bike ride from breezy Brentwood to the ocean, where when we paused for a breather overlooking the Pacific from the bluffs of Santa Monica I planned to go down on one knee and ask her to marry me. It seemed like a pretty and inspiring spot indicative of the beautiful vista our life together would be.

It didn’t go down like that.

What I learned on that Independence Day was that my Beloved was terrified of biking downhill. And downhill is exactly what the Santa Monica bluffs are from Evanston and Bentel where we parked the car. About 1/3 of a mile into our pleasant bike ride I heard from behind “This isn’t fun anymore!” and turned around to see that in her new clipless pedals on her new, unfamiliar road bike, my possible fiancé was indeed, not having a good time. At that moment I had a decision to make: Insist we press on the next 1.5 miles to the sea where I had *something very important to do* or turn around, find some nice flatter, more inviting road to pedal on and just wing it. Good thing there wasn’t a flash mob waiting for us at Ocean and San Vicente because their performance would have been axed. Instead we turned around, made some nice lazy loops around the golf course and when we got back to the car and I put the bikes on the roof I got down on one knee, took out my Oma’s ring and told her I loved her and asked her to marry me. To my eternal gratitude, she said yes. While we will never make enough money to live in Brentwood, there is a patch of somebody’s grass at Evanston and Bentel that will forever be our lawn. And every July 4th when we watch fireworks, we will always know that they’re really for us.

And that’s where I double back to Isaac and Amy. Because any proposal where you get the answer you are looking for is the right proposal. I cringe at the notion that an intricate, heavily orchestrated viral video number with threescore of your closest friends and family is some benchmark that needs to be matched. I cringe because media outlets are contributing to the very theatrical and very entertaining notion that a marriage proposal absolutely must be a dinner-and-a-show kind of production or you don’t really love her. You know what? If you’re a hot-air balloon guy, great. If you’re a Jumbo-tron guy, terrific. If you’re FinalCut Pro/Vimeo music video guy, then outstanding, provided that that’s indicative of who you truly are, a snapshot of your essence. To thine own self be true. But as a guy who’s been there and done that, I’d like to offer my humble opinion to guys out there: This is how I did it and it’s worked out OK so far. Whether you make a big spectacle or not, the essence of the right proposal is always the same.

First, get down on one knee. For one thing it’s more or less a universal sign of what’s about to happen, and that way you don’t run the risk of launching into some unprompted dramatic soliloquy in such a way that confuses the hell out of your beloved and she misses the first thirty seconds of it. Also, when you get down on one knee it shows you’re putting her above you; it demonstrates your good intent.

Second, look her in the eye, produce a ring if you have one, tell her that you love her above all else, and ask her to marry you.

Third, and this is the trick: mean it. Really mean it. You have to mean it right down to your teeth. It’s clear Isaac means it when he asks Amy. Congratulations to you both! Cheers! Mazel Tov! The singing and dancing is nice, but it’s the saying and the asking and the meaning it that matters most, because this is actually serious business. There will I’m sure be more viral proposal videos and God help us all there will be endless reality TV wedding shows, but the reason that both those things make me cringe a bit is because they get all the press but they are not the meat of the matter, not even close.

Proposals and weddings are to Life what Proms are to your adolescence. They’re nice, they’re milestones, but they are nowhere near as important as all the other things that happen in that span without the least bit of fanfare. Proposals and weddings are in fact just symbols of the Big Picture, and when you propose you’re asking that person to join you in the Big Picture. When you ask someone to marry you, you are saying “When picking teams in the Game of Life, I choose you first. I always choose you first.”

That’s why you have to mean it, because when you ask someone to join you in the Big Picture you’re going to need all your energy for the times that really matter. So if you want to make the splashy proposal, go for it. If that’s the kind of person you are then you should ask your beloved to marry you in the same vein that you live your life. My advice, however, is to take that energy you put into the big show and save it.

Save it and put it into the relationship, making sure she’s The One. Because when you chop the top of your finger off in the garage, while you are busy wrapping your bloody digit in a washcloth you want someone who will find the missing piece on the workbench, bag it, tag it, and drive your bloody self to the ER. Save it for middle of the night when her feet are cold, because your feet are the fastest way to warm hers up. Save it and take her the cool and inspiring places you’ve been and see if they inspire her too. Save it and go to new places together so they can belong to both of you equally. Save it for when she has that awful day at work, because if you can do the laundry and take out the trash and get dinner started before she gets home maybe the end of her day won’t be as bad as the middle. Save it for when she has a miscarriage. Or four. If you think you’re going to feel bad she’s going to feel worse like you’ll never know, so get in there and hold her up as best you can. Save it for when she’s in Hour 38 of labor and the OB just told her she can either have a C-section right now or three more pushes if she can do it. The Big Display will mean more then, trust me. Save it for your baby. Save it for the joy and the exhaustion and the joy and the fear and the joy and the exasperation and the joy that is your baby.

It’s not that I don’t want anyone do have big splashy choreographed proposals. Not at all, I want people to be themselves. When you ask a question this big you need to be yourself when you ask it. I don’t want all guys or all gals to think that there is a standard of theatricality that needs to be met when they ask someone to join their lives forever. Get down on one knee, say it and mean it. The other stuff is just filler. The proposal isn’t the Game, it’s the first pitch. The Game is going on when the cameras aren’t rolling.

I love you Sweetheart, from the tallest heights to the deepest depths. I will always choose you first.

World’s Greatest Dad

Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom writes today about helping fathers become involved as parents.

I always knew that being an involved dad would be natural for Mr. Sandwich. It’s such an obvious extension of who he is and how we approach our relationship.

He, apparently, had more qualms. He says that when he found out that we were expecting a girl, he got a little nervous–he wasn’t sure what to do with a girl, whereas he felt that he did have some sense of how to be a father to a boy, having once been a boy himself.

Until the moment she was born. He saw her for the first time, and describes the suddenness of his reaction as “like being punched.” That was when, he says, “I learned what ‘love at first sight’ means.”

After they did the most immediate tests and measurements, we got a Golden Hour–an hour in which (aside from one nurse) we were alone in the room with our new daughter. I unwrapped her and held her against my skin, under a warm blanket. It was the most beautiful, astonishing thing I had ever felt. I could have stayed that way the whole hour.

But I knew that I wanted Mr. Sandwich to have that, too. So after a while, I said, “You have to do this.” He said, “What do I do?” I answered, “Take off your shirt, hold her, and put the blankets over both of you.” He said, “I don’t know how to hold her.” And I said, “Yes, you do.”

I was right. He did. The two of them snuggled for the rest of the hour while I looked at how beautiful they were together.

They’re still beautiful together. They always will be.

It’s My Party and I’ll Sleep If I Want To

Last night, after a day of not napping, Baguette fought sleep like a tiger. I think she finally surrendered at something like 11 p.m. I have no idea what that was about, but now I’m tired. Really, really tired. Which was not my plan.

Today is my birthday. I’m finding each decade better than the last, although my 30s were pretty much a decade of increasing awesomeness, and my 40s have so far been a bit more up and down. Still much better than my 20s, though, so I am not complaining.

Once upon a time, I became famous (among my friends) for inventing the birthday tradition of Ice Cream Dinner. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. But I drifted away from that and developed new traditions. Here’s what I usually like to do for my birthday these days:

  • Do something I’ve never done before.
  • Eat somewhere I’ve never eaten before (note: I am more likely to choose a dive than Ruth’s Chris, and not just because I’ve already eaten at Ruth’s Chris)
  • Get together with two of my closest friends, who have birthdays within a few weeks of mine.

I’ve got #3 set, but I have no idea about #1 or #2. Primarily because here’s what I really want to do for my birthday this year:

  • Sleep.

Like the decade, the day itself has had its ups and downs. The low point was finding out that the mother of one of my oldest friends passed away (support the American Cancer Society). I’ve known them both since the second grade, and even though we were across the country and I haven’t seen either my friend or her mother in years, this makes me sad.

The ups, though, are definitely there. Before I even got out of bed this morning, Baguette woke up, looked at me, and said, “Mommy!” Then she climbed on top of me and said, “Mommymommymommymommymommy” for about two minutes.

And later, Mr. Sandwich brought me these flowers:

Hmm. Maybe I should have some ice cream. And, if I’m really lucky, some sleep.

Bedtime for Baguette

When? Later than we’d like. How? Much, much harder than we’d like. This little girl does not like to sleep.

Also, she’s started to climb, and she’s very strong. Recently, we’ve spotted her grabbing the top rail of her crib and planting both feet on the rails in an attempt to scale the sides.

We all know what’s coming next–she’ll make it to the top and fall out. Hence Mr. Sandwich’s latest project:

That’s right–he built this toddler bed himself. It’s very sturdy, but made of soft wood (someone likes to chew). And it’s midway through being finished with nontoxic butcher block conditioner (again with the chewing). He’ll add a rail to the side that won’t be against the wall. And yes, we will let her have a mattress.

I think she’ll like it.

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