Archive for October, 2008

the routan rides roughshod

It’s funny how highly “irreverence” is revered in this culture. Except, of course, when it is directed at something that is actually, you know, reverential. Then, we have zee leetle problem.

As the friend of a few different people struggling with infertility, when I first saw the ad for Volkswagen’s new Routan minivan, I was startled by its blatant insensitivity. Riffing on a news magazine format, the “story” of the Routan “boom” is reported by Brooke Shields, who with faux gravity describes a statistical explosion of people having children in order to have the van.

While in theory the premise is vaguely funny — I mean, who does have a minivan anyway, unless they have a gaggle of kids to haul — in practice, it falls flat. Granted, it’s a fine line between funny and ferocious. Perhaps the good volks at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, VW’s agency for this campaign, thought that by planting Shields (who has herself battled infertility) as spokesperson it would feel more like a “we’re laughing with you not at you” friendly little in-joke to the audience. Ah-ha-ha, now that I’ve adopted my child it just makes the memory of all those miscarriages and late-term losses so danged funny! And oh-ho-ho, those reverse vascectomies, with their $10K premium and dismal success rates, they are just so amusing, no? 

If they were selling to the Rabbit crowd, who perhaps are largely in their pre-childbearing years and not yet fully cognizant of the emotional suffering infertility can wreak on a person, they might have better success getting a giggle and some interest with this campaign. As it is, every parent or hopeful parent I have spoken to thinks it is poorly thought out and offensively executed at best, and downright mean-spirited at worst. I can almost see the picket lines. From my house.

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Last night the temperature dropped into the 40’s for the first time. Our garden, however, is still madly producing summer veggies. The kids love smelling and touching and picking (and, mostly, eating) what we’ve grown, and get really excited about planning future crops. We did try starting some broccoli already, but much to the kids’ dismay, some sort of creature totally decimated it along with all the sunflowers. I want to try brussels sprouts because they’re so beautiful on their stalks, and who knows, maybe the kids will even eat ’em if they grew ’em. 

Here is the the haul today: tomatoes, roc d’or wax beans, spring onions, and a preemie carrot.


Tomorrow: swiss chard and green beans. Maybe corn, though the ears are still smallish.

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blanket statement

Yesterday marked beginning of a new work-at-home era for me: I increased my son’s time at nursery school from three mornings a week to three longer days a week (morning until 3pm) plus one morning. I amazed myself with my own hyper-productivity! I was able to run out-of-town errands and not worry about being late for pickup! The only lunch crumbs to sweep up were my own! Laundry was folded! By me!

But the best, the absolute best, was that I had a work  call without the usual background noise of Shriekeur’s toy hammer, or demands for more crackers, or his whining “UPPIE! UPPIE MAMA!” I was able to hear the person on the phone, and I believe she was actually able to hear me. Sheer luxury.

The only hitch, besides missing him a little bit, was that his teacher called and said he was refusing to nap. Oh. Part of the problem, she thought, was that he didn’t have his own blankets. We’d borrowed the school’s, because ours are all packed away in the depths of the garage and I can’t get to them until Monsieur Shriek moves a LOT of heavy things out of the way, which probably won’t happen for another week or two. But, because our darling boy couldn’t sleep, I had to declare a state of emergency and hit the Target for a new one. 

Would you believe it worked? I got a call this afternoon that he was sound asleep. Amazing.

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