Wednesday, April 1, 2009


It's been over a week now since we left Geneva and with it the last vestiges of home. I'm dying to get our new life underway but due to multiple factors beyond our control, we're stuck in a holding pattern, at the 'Not Bad, but Not Yours' Hotel.  I'm doing my best to be grateful: at least there's a pool, a half-decent breakfast, and the morning paper. The room is quiet and Honey, our dog, is welcome. There's a kitchen with four of every utensil and a fridge the size of our old shower stall. But, to be perfectly honest, there is big part of me that is impatient and jealous. I want my home, my time, my privacy. I want to cook my own food in my own kitchen.  I want to have a routine that doesn't include getting quarters for the hotel laundromat. I have a novel just sitting there, a school to apply to. It's times like this that bring to mind a label I intrinsically loathe: trailing spouse. What about my career plans, my goals? I know it is only a matter of time before I'm back at it, but for now I'm the link between our old life and the new, a plain-Jane bridge without even a troll for drama. 

Then again, maybe I'm the troll.

Sulky self-pity aside, time spent with the girls has been well spent and necessary. When not poolside or walking the dog, we've made good use of the hotel's stock pile of board games. Emma the Brave is a top Clue investigator and just plain lucky at Uno. Yours truly happens to be reigning champion at Sorry, an accomplishment I'm a little too proud of given my age and that of my opponents.  I can tell Mouse is just biding her time until we break out Monopoly. The kid's a pint-size tycoon and wins by pure tenacity, if not skill.

As a future educator and parent, I can't overstate the value of playing games with kids.  Even in the most simple card games, kids must:
  • remember and comply with rules
  • take turns
  • win and, more importantly, lose with grace
  • negotiate 
  • use numbers  
  • strategize
  • and see a task through to completion
How many grown-ups do you know who still struggle in these areas? Far too many, if you ask me. Computer games, if not played against a live and in-the-room opponent fall short of many of these objectives. Rules are dictated by the program and, unless you have a junior code-cracker on your hands, can't be broken. If you lose against a machine, you can play again or quit without consequence. Perhaps my week has been a little under-whelming, but in my heart I know progress has been made, no matter how small.  

Now where's that Monopoly...


  1. I couldn't be more proud of "my girls" ....


  2. Oh my Lord, you need to play Ludo with Ally and Rory, their rules change by throw of the dice - reversing allowed, splitting the number on the dice over their counters so they don't land on each over, 'safety zones' - aargh!

  3. Oh - I forgot to say they call it advanced ludo. Can you tell I'm a stickler for the rule book.

  4. Advanced Ludo is like Sorry, except all the fun stuff pulled by your dynamic duo are part of the official rules. House Rules are a point of negotiation and I like that. There are dozens of variations on Crazy Eights so when people play together, they have to negotiate the rules before they start. It's annoying, but it's a good life lesson. Taxes are universal but rules change from country to country and year to year.

  5. When you stressed out from mothering and classes and maybe working too remember this time when you couldn't do your to-do list because you were stuck in a hotel.

    I love the idea of house rules. The one I hated was on jigsaw puzzles that you couldn't do the middle until the border was done, although that really isn't a game but a family togetherness project.

  6. Oh no,no,no. Manufacturers pay good money to print up those rule books for a reason - that they are ADHERED TO AT ALL TIMES!