Wednesday, November 25

Berry good

I was nearly an adult before I realized that a cranberry was an actual berry, rather than the gelatinous, cylindrical substance that came from an Ocean Spray can. When I was growing up, it was my job every Thanksgiving to open the can, run a butter knife along the inside of the can, and then very carefully, shake out the cranberry sauce. The goal was, of course, to get it out in one solid tube, with no cracks or slices missing. Once out of the can, I had to put the cran-tastic tube onto a serving plate, and slice it into even discs.

It was a ritual I looked forward to, and perfected over the years. I loved the vacuous sound the cranberry tube made as it slowly evacuated its place in the can. Sometimes a gurgle, sometimes a flatulent act of defiance. Every once in a while, my knife skills failed me, and a chunk of jellified material would stick to the bottom of the can and would have to be exhumed at the end. Then, rather than present the cranberry guts on the plate with the other perfect slices, these remnants had to be eaten right then and there. I was always more than happy to take care of their disposal.

Because next to the turkey, the jellied cranberries were my favorites. Forget the gravy. As a child I couldn't be bothered with it. Or the stuffing - gross. Mashed potatoes were ok. Peas? Blech. I would much rather pile my plate high with white meat from the bird, and a few majestic magenta floppy cranberry frisbees.

As an adult, my taste buds have matured. Gravy? Yes please! Stuffing? Why sure. Mashed potatoes? Keep em coming. Peas? Blech. I've even acquired a taste for green bean casserole.

We spend Thanksgiving at my in-laws, and unfortunately, the cranberries are made fresh, from the berry, rather than shaken out of a can. In my opinion, the fresh berries are too tart. I like mine far removed from its organic form and pumped full of preservatives and sugar.

Hey. It's Thanksgiving. I'm allowed.

Monday, November 2

Baby steps
With any luck at all, one day this week I will come home and discover that I have steps on the side of my house, leading up to the side door.

Sound familiar?

Maybe it should - because about thirteen months ago, I was having the same hopeful thoughts. And then one week went by, then another, then another. And then it became fairly obvious that we'd been had. We got GOT, to quote a BB11 houseguest.

It all began in October of 2007. Our garage roof was in dire need of repair. And, rather than pay a contractor a couple of thousand greenbacks to do the job, my husband decided to take on the task himself. So he recruited a couple of his buddies, rented a giant-size dumpster, and they did the repair. While the dumpster was on our property, we figured, why not also demolish the steps on the side of our house? The cement was crumbling and the railing was wobbly at best - a few of the spindles of the railing were gone long before we had even taken the title. We'd rebuild them as soon as we had the money saved.

Well, you and I know that saving money is easier said and done, especially when there's day care to cover. And then things kind of went in the crapper money-wise. But last fall, we finally had a little "wiggle room" in our monthly budget - not much - and it just so happened that a contractor came to the door asking if we needed anything done.

That should have been the first red flag. I remember at the time feeling like it was a little bit shady, but I wanted those steps. The guy drew a diagram and showed us his plan for rebuilding them. We also hired him to take down some high tree branches - which he did that day.

The second red flag was that he wanted to be paid in cash. No checks.

The third red flag was that my husband said he couldn't pay him until payday - and when my husband came home, the contractor was waiting for him in the driveway.

We only gave the contractor half of the total payment - on the assumption that he'd use it to buy supplies. I think he DID buy supplies - Jack Daniels, Cuervo, Budweiser. Nothing that you'd find at Lowe's.

And we never saw him again. My husband called him a few times and he'd always have an excuse - too many other jobs, the truck broke down - and then he finally stopped answering the phone when my husband called. We called daily for weeks and left messages. Where did this guy go? And what did he do with the money he gave us?

Finally, we gave up. We paid a steep price for a lesson learned. Get it in writing - and checks only. We didn't even have a contract from this guy - just a flyer he made on his computer.

This year, we decided to give it another go. We've spent two years with a non-functioning door that leads to nowhere. We have a nice masking tape "X" near the doorknob to remind us that there is a three-foot drop awaiting us on the other side should we attempt to exit that way.

I got a solid referral from a colleague, we have a contract, we wrote a check with a down payment, and most importantly, we have this guy's home address. If I don't get my steps built, I will go to his home and hunt him down.

Wednesday, October 28

Outsmarted by the master

Doodle and his dad come home from school the other day and Doodle spots his squirt guns on the back porch, cast aside from some sizzling September day. "Dad, can I play with my squirt guns?" he asks.

"No, Doodle," says his dad. "You can only play squirt guns when it's warm out." It's jacket weather when he says this - a biting October day where crisp leaves form a blanket over the driveway.

A couple days later, Doodle and his dad come home from school. It is a beautiful sunny day, one of only a few fleeting days of warmth before fall gives way to winter. "Dad," says Doodle. "Is it warm out?"

"Yes," he says.
"Then can I play squirt guns?"

What shot do we have against this kid, I ask you. What shot?

Thursday, October 22

Como se dice, "stupid?"

I knew it would happen eventually, but I thought he'd at least be in grade school. I saw it in the still-distant future: Doodle comes home with school, armed with homework that is just too difficult for me to help him with. Heck, after he masters basic math, I'm out. But I wasn't ready for his four-year-old self to come home and be reciting stuff in Spanish.

I think it's great - but it's forced me to try and harken back to the early 90's, when I was wearing the blue and green plaid uniform of a Catholic schoolgirl. I was a Spanish whiz - I took four years of it in high school and got straight A's in the class. But then, in college, instead of taking advanced courses in Spanish, I decided to start fresh and take la francais. I only took the 100 level of French, but this consisted of three semesters' worth of work.

Since then, the two languages have blended together in my mind. And a lot of it, I don't remember. Especially, and surprisingly, French. Even though that is the more recent of the two, I actually remember more espanol. And even though I spent countless hours in college in a little bit of torture here on earth known as "Language Lab." This is where you'd take a little cassette tape into a booth, where other students were also listening to cassette tapes in their own little boothes, and you'd put on a giant-size pair of headphones and were expected to verbally answer the questions the overly-cheery cassette tape French speakers would ask you. Or they would want you to repeat words or sentences. Often, their inflection was so over-the-top that even listening to it, let alone repeating it IN A ROOM WHERE OTHERS COULD POSSIBLY HEAR ME, made me want to sucker punch the frat boy next to me. It's possible that the language lab was so lame, and so traumatic, that I have forever banished any remembrance of the French language from my brain.

So, instead I remember Spanish. But not enough to help Doodle.

He was learning the colors in Spanish, and HE actually knew more than ME. I'm sure this is only the first of many instances in which Doodle knows more on any given topic than I do.

I just wasn't expecting it to happen this quickly. I did, however, earn his respect when I counted to ten en espanol. He made me repeat it over and over and over.

Time to unearth those old workbooks!

Monday, October 12

Safety Tips

When picking up Doodle from school on Friday, my husband noticed a list the teacher had made entitled "Safety Tips." It was tips given by the kids, and each tip had the kid's name who contributed the tip.

The list reads something like this:

Don't run in the hallway - James
Keep all the legs of the chair on the ground - Ava
Pay attention to the teacher - Madison
Listen to the directions during a tornado drill - Tyler
Don't bring fire to school - Doodle
Call 9-1-1- in an emergency - Nolan
Be careful with scissors - Lydia

Thank goodness Doodle warned everyone of the dangers of bringing fire to school. If I don't get called in for a parent conference, I'll be surprised.

Monday, October 5

A messy situation

Warning: this post is going to deal with the topic of baby poop. If you can't handle the poop, come back another time.

I arrive at my office this morning, log in to my e-mail, and up pops a message from a family member with a subject line of "[Scribble's] Poop."

Without reading it, I already know what's coming. Last night, while we were at said family member's house, Scribble went on a marathon pooping spree. He hadn't gone since Friday, so it was understandable that it was time for him to go. Plus, he had downed a huge bottle, and what goes in must come out. While the concerned family member was changing him, she remarked on how dark his poop was and asked me if it was normal. I said I wasn't sure, because Scribble ever-so-kindly poops at school during the week, and so I really don't have any frame of reference when it comes to the coloration.

The conversation ended at that point, or so I thought. But apparently, it's become such a worry that an e-mail had to be written about it. Fortunately, a friend emailed me a link to a site that shows photos of various colors of baby poop and what each color means. (It's like the facebook quiz you never wanted to take.) And, I'm pleased to report that Scribble is perfectly normal when it comes to the contents of his diaper. I e-mailed this link to the interested party and I'm hoping that is the end of that.

Like I needed this on a Monday.

Friday, September 18


By a show of hands, who thinks I am damaging Scribble for life by calling him "Chubs?"

Maybe it's because Doodle was a string bean as a baby, and still is. He never had any delicious baby thighs to pinch. His were always pretty thin. Lucky kid, he inherited his father's genes! Scribble, on the other hand, has pinchable thighs, a nice buddha belly, and irresistable baby arms. I find it hard to leave him alone when I'm holding him on my lap. If I see a spot that needs a little pinch, I just have to go for it.

So the nickname of "Chubs" to me isn't deroggatory; it's a term of affection for everything I love about him. It just seems to fit. It's come to define who he is. It has derivations such as "Chubbington" or "Chubby McChubberson." The noises he makes? They're known as "chubbing."

I am hoping it's a nickname he grows out of, because ultimately, I understand the implications it may have on his self-image. I don't think he will have a weight problem - in fact, I'm sure when he starts walking, he'll probably be skinny like his dad and brother. But until a better nickname comes along, it's going to stick.

Thursday, September 17

Home away from home

I’ve been in my current job for ten years, in my current office for about 8 ½. We moved in early 2001 to a brand-new facility, custom-made for us. I remember in the early days, we were not supposed to eat at our desks for fear of soiling the new carpet. There are tales of people being busted by executive assistants for having such banal snack foods as apples and bananas at their desks. If we ate lunch at our desks, we did so hunched over, quickly, in case the Food Patrol came by. God forbid we have to heat something up. That was a covert op that had to be done with the precision of Jack Bauer. You had to go through a certain door to minimize being seen by anyone. Then you had to do something about the smell. We covered for each other, creating diversions.

As the years went on, the rules became more lax, we ate freely at our desks. Even smelly stuff.

Tomorrow, we are moving again. The moving boxes are piling up, and ghosts of past employees are stirring. In the process of moving, old files, personal belongings and long forgotten objects are assessed to see if they are move-worthy, or dumpster material. Some things are no-brainers. Those boxes of old brochures with outdated company logos? Those can go. IBL’s golf club paper weight that he left behind when he retired? (Yes, he’s gone. I don’t want to talk about it.) I can’t bring myself to part with it.

I consider this office to be my home away from home. I spend most of my waking hours here. It’s a place I’ve kept my stuff in for longer than my current house. The people here, for as much as they drive me nuts, are a pseudo family. I still refer to abandoned cubicles as “So-and-so’s desk”, even if that person has been gone for years. I’ve become used to the constant chatter of those around me, and of Bad Lady’s radio (that plays that damn Black Eyed Peas song at least six times a day – which is six times too many). Hell, I’ve even spent my share of Saturdays here, in my grubby clothes. One Saturday, while waiting for a response from management, IBL and I pitched pennies at a spot on the floor – closest to the spot won that round. I was pregnant with both my children while I worked here (and hence twice got to park in the exclusive, close to the building “Expectant Mother” parking spot – the envy of my co-workers). I got married while I worked here. I turned 30. I saw the Twin Towers fall while huddled around the television in my boss’office. I watched our current president’s inauguration with the company CEO, who stopped his day to watch the revelry, on a co-worker’s computer screen. I said goodbye to friends who moved on, were downsized, retired.

So it’s no surprise that I am a bit emotional over this move. It’s a piece of my history. I’ll never see this space again. Others will sit where I now sit, they will fill the shelves with their own photos, hang their own silly cartoons or child’s drawings on the walls framing the cubicle. They will go through their own milestones in life and at work. Maybe they’ll wonder who it was who sat in the seat before them.

As for the new office, my feelings about it are ambivalent. After so long in one spot, it’s hard to accept a new one, that for me in particular, brings with it a longer commute each day. On the plus side, my new cubicle is secluded, so I might not get to hear the Black Eyed Peas song at all. It’s just off the kitchen, so I can discretely heat up my lunch and bring it back to my desk without the Food Patrol breathing down my neck (although I doubt they’ve been retained in our new building). I can re-hang my photos and silly cartoon clippings on my new walls.

And maybe, eventually, it will start to feel like home.

Thursday, September 3

Information Gathering

At the tender age of 4, there's stuff that Doodle just doesn't want to talk about with me and my husband. Such as, "What did you do at school today?" So we had to find out about the fire drill they had a school from my in-laws, with whom Doodle shared the whole incident, including how Scribble was carried out by a teacher, since he can't walk yet. Can you imagine a fire drill at a day care? I cannot. Only that it must be complete chaos, and even though the cost of day care is causing me to forego such things as my haircut and going out to dinner on Saturday nights, I have to say that daycare workers are just not paid enough for what they do.

He also confided in my mother-in-law about his crush on teacher Miss Katie.

His answer to most questions we ask him is "I dunno" or "I can't how to do that."

So any little bits of info I can gather about my son and his emerging personality and likes/dislikes are little nuggets of treasure that I like to put away in my pocket. Today I saw one that made me smile, and I'd like to record it here so I can remind him when he's older. On the wall outside his classroom door is a sign that says "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up." I think we have asked him this before and gotten his standard "I dunno" response.

However, the answer that is recorded on the wall for all to see is "astronaut."

I guess decorating his nursery in a son and moon motif wormed its way into his subconscious. Or maybe it's his obsession with all things Star Wars, Transformer and robot.

Anyway ... nugget: pocketed.
To infinity ... and beyond!

Wednesday, September 2

Someone, please light a fire under my hubby's patootie

Some people, maybe all, I haven't asked everyone so I will only assume "some", feel that their lives are out of order when their house is out of order. I am one of the some, fo' sho'.

So you may have noticed by my last post that the first few weeks of Scribble's life were a little chaotic and that I may not have been the Mother of the Year. I assure you that things are settling down now and I am actually feeling much more balanced now that I'm back at work. (Which is so scary, you have no idea. My lack of postings about the job is not for lack of drama - I assure you there has been plenty. I am saving it for the book I am going to write about it someday.)

But when I get home, the disorder and clutter pings off some piece of crazy in my brain, perhaps in the amigdala (or is she the princess in Star Wars?). A major part of that is because we still have not figured out the sleeping arrangements for the new baby. Right now, temporarily, Scribble is still in his bassinet in my bedroom. Since I am the world's lightest sleeper, this means that I wake up at every grunt and baby noise that Scribble makes (read: about 13,763 a night). And then when he's QUIET, sometimes I wake up and check to make sure he's still breathing. The lack of baby noises lulls me from precious sleep. So, even when Scribble sleeps through the night (which he's done, about three times so far. Who IS this wonderbaby?), I still wake up a bunch of times to check on him.

We need to get him into his crib and out of our room, pronto.

The bottom line is: I need a bigger house. But, given the real estate market and the fact that we have some major repairs to make to the house before we can sell it and NO money for said repairs, we are making do.

So there are only so many options for where the crib can go. On the first floor, we currently have our bedroom and Doodle's bedroom. Ours is slightly larger. On the second floor, we currently have a computer and a bunch of junk. Some junk is important, but other junk is just occupying space and needs to be tossed. The second floor could easily accommodate a crib.

Problems with the second floor scenario:
  • It is HELLA hot up there in the summer and HELLA cold up there in the winter. May be difficult for a baby to deal with these conditions. Solutions, such as a window-unit air conditioner and a space heater, will increase our bills drastically, and the space heater is unsafe.
  • I will be climbing the stairs several times at night (well, hopefully not) to retrieve Scribble.
  • We'll have to use the baby monitor, and I'll therefore still be able to hear every grunt and baby noise, resulting in me waking up multiple times during the night.

Option #2 would be to move Doodle upstairs, and move the baby into Doodle's room. In addition to the heat/cold problem, I think I'd need a baby monitor for him just in case he needed something during the night. Also, I don't want him trying to come downstairs in the middle of the night. Finally, every time we mention this possibility, Doodle gets really upset, and I just don't want to rattle his cage more than I already have these past few months.

Option #3 is that the hubby and I move upstairs and Scribble moves into our room. We can endure the heat/cold. However, I still have the stair issue and the baby monitor issue - and I'd now need to have a monitor in both boys' rooms.

I'm not thrilled about any of these options, so I am hoping that Option #4 will work: everyone stays on the first floor, but we flip-flop rooms. I've been thinking about it, and I mean, at 3 a.m. when I'm listening to baby noises, I'm thinking about it, and I think that we could fit a crib, Doodle's bed, and the changing table in our room (and not much else) and then we could move our bed and one of our dressers into Doodle's room. But that means one of our dressers, and Doodle's dresser as well, would have to move upstairs. I'd much rather be going upstairs to retrieve clothes during the day than going upstairs in the dark of night to tend to a child. So this may be the winner.

So now, the only problem is time. I hope over this long weekend that we are able to get this done ...

Friday, August 28

The hardest job that doesn't require a degree or any formal training

Oh. Em. Gee.

You people needed to warn me about this.

Having the second kid? Well, it's not just TWICE as hard. It's like everything becomes infinitely more complicated. It requires mad time management skillz, the ability to multi-task 24 hours a day (including while asleep), and such talents as assembling a Transformer from vehicle mode to robot mode, and back, with one hand, while breastfeeding the baby with the other.

Being at home for eight weeks gave me a true respect and appreciation for those who do this full-time, 24/7. What strength it takes, day after day, to get up and care for young children. And the energy! Lord! I have no idea what to do with a 4-year-old all day. You mean, I have to come up with stuff other than "watch TV?"

For the past eight weeks, during the day, I've lived with the fact that I may have to go out of the house in my pajamas, with my glasses on, and no makeup. Before baby #2? No way. I was way too vain. Now, it's a bonus if the pj's don't have a visible spit-up stain. Hooray for light colors! They mask the baby vomit so well. I remember the first time, post-Scribble, I put on my black Ryan Adams and the Cardinals tee that I bought back in December at one of his shows. I was unable to fit in it shortly after I bought it because of the baby bump. Within seconds of donning the shirt, I picked up Scribble, and blech -- that's all she wrote. So much for that tee until we're eating solids!

And the days would go by so slowly. I'd watch the clock tick off seconds, sometimes seeming to go backward, until my husband would get home so I could just, momentarily, be alone. Whether it was the solace of the bathroom in the form of a nice, hot shower, or a catnap in the bedroom with the shades drawn, these were the moments I lived for.

What made it so difficult? The sleep deprivation, certainly, played a role. But add to that a four year old who just had his world rocked, not only by the introduction of a major competitor for his parents' attention, but by being removed from the day care setting for the first time since he was an infant. A complete disruption in his routine both at home and at school. So it's no wonder that most days he was a complete a-hole. And I say that in the nicest way a parent can say something like that about her child.

Fortunately, he didn't take out his feelings on his new brother. Instead, Doodle reserved all of his frustration, anger, confusion and fear for me. It manifested in a mega-clingy, "me first" child who became incensed when I did anything but pay attention to him. Worst of all was when I had to feed the baby. God help us all. Because I had limited range of movement when feeding Scribble, I would always try and get Doodle squared away with food and drink as well as an activity to keep him occupied. But it never failed. I'd lift up the shirt and get the baby latched on, and the sequence of events would unfold something like this:

Doodle: *angry sigh*
Me: What's wrong?
D: When are you going to be done feeding him?
Me: I just started, so not for a while.
Me: What do you need?
D: I need you to play with me.
Me: Well, I can't right now, because I'm feeding the baby, but as soon as I'm done, we'll play.
D: *whiny voice* But, no one will play with me!!!!!

Then, sometime during the middle of the eight weeks I was home, Doodle decided it was high time he stopped napping during the day. What???!?! Not acceptable. Because that nap time was what kept me from adding raspberry vodka to my iced tea. So then I tried "quiet time" in his room, just to try and maintain some kind of separation during the day. Quiet time, most days, consisted of him kicking the wall and crying to be let out. What's a girl to do but let him out? Sometimes after a half hour, sometimes after fifteen minutes. However much I could stand.

Books I've read, and other parents, have told me that when I feel like I can't take it anymore, to get up and walk out of the room. Which is fine, and worked, right up until the point where Doodle followed me out of the room. And if I walked away a second time, followed me a second time.

There were days where I felt like a nub of a human being. The artist formerly known as. I'd moan about it to anyone who'd listen. This is haaaaaaaard, I'd tell them. Wanting them to feel bad for me. Perhaps pin a medal on my shirt. Yes, please agree with me, and then take these kids, and let me sleep for, say, three days.

It wasn't all doom and gloom. I had a newborn to enjoy and love and pamper, and that part was great. Scribble is an easy, happy go lucky infant (so far) who rarely cries (so far) and seems to take things as they come (so far). I don't know if infants are easier when it's your second child, but we fell into a groove rather quickly. And Doodle, for the most part, adores his younger brother. He makes me nervous when he gets an inch away from his face and bellows greetings to him, and pets him a la Lenny of Of Mice and Men, but I can tell that deep down, Doodle is proud to be the big dog, and will watch over Scribble with a protective eye if a bully someday tries to shake him down for his lunch money.

So, that part was great. And we had some fun doing summer stuff. Thank goodness I had this baby in the summer. Hell, I planned it that way! Both my kids are summer babies. On purpose. Going outside was a great option for us. Change of scenery, change of mood. For all of us.

And then, it was the sixth week. The six and a half week mark. The "holy crap where did the time go" mark. And then it was the seventh week, where I tried to cram in all the friend visits, the "bring the kids to the office" day, all the stuff I said I would do before I had the baby. And then it was all, sloooooooooow down. Please, clock, go backward because once this is over then I'm never going to get this time back, and come to think of it, I kind of LIKE this crazy, stressful, electric time in our lives.

For the eighth week, I put Doodle back into school to try and get him adjusted to being back on a routine. And for selfish reasons - I wanted some alone time with Scribble. I feel like, in some respects, Scribble and I didn't get the adequate time to get to know each other because of the hectic days with his older brother. I wanted to be able to enjoy my baby the way I enjoyed Doodle when he was first born. In some beautiful twist of fate, this happened to be the week that Scribble really, really learned how to smile. And I could stare into his sweet little face for hours, trying to coax smile after smile.

And then it was over. Just like that.

I thought that when I went back to work, I'd be relieved to be among adults during the day. But it hasn't been like that.

I miss my babies. Both of them. Even the a-hole. I never thought I would feel this way. And it's haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.

Monday, July 20

Hey baby

OK, Nathan. It's your big Internet premiere. Remember, first impressions are everything. Knock em dead, buddy!

Oh. Well. That didn't go so well.

Let's try this again.

Nathan James, aka Scribble
born June 26, 2009
6 pounds 8 ounces

the car seat
the sound of the dryer
his brother, Doodle
late night television

dirty diapers
being late for mealtime
windy weather

Ready to try again, Scribble? Give them your full emotional range!

Thursday, July 2

Last Summer by Pete Yorn

One of my favorite songs off the Pete Yorn album. Posting here so I don't lose the link.

Monday, June 22

Any day now

Dear Future Me,

I realize that it's customary in a mommy blog type of post to address your post to your born/unborn child. However, since I'm sure my son will have absolutely no interest in this information at any point in his life, I am addressing it to my future self.

Time is moving so quickly, and I know that in a few days, I'll have totally forgotten the sensation of what it's like to be pregnant. I'll be so caught up in the new reality of having a newborn and an almost-4 year old. Two kids. Holy crap. Whose idea was this anyway?????

So here's a brief update/reminder about what this pregnancy has been like for me.

My total weight gain has been just shy of 20 pounds. This is not too shabby, I'm told. I'm also told, repeatedly, how great I look, how small I am, how it doesn't look like I'm as far along as I am. And trust me, I LOVE IT. This is probably the last time in my life I'll have such a fuss made over me and the way I look.

I am carrying low, all in the front. My belly button has caved in on itself and I worry that it may create a sucking vaccuum that will absorb my entire body.

My diabetes is in check through a glucose supplement. During the day, I experience sugar crashes, which I quell by various means, including the consumption of little pieces of Dove dark chocolate that I stash in my purse. And maybe Jelly Bellies. I also have been indulging in low-carb ice cream. I am so grateful to live in a time where there is such a wide and tasty variety of ice cream that doesn't make me feel guilty for eating it. Even a few years ago, when I was diabetic and pregnant with Doodle, there was one brand of low-carb ice cream, a few flavors, half of which tasted like crap. Thank you, Breyers, you have been my favorite this time around.

I am supposedly anemic, and have been my entire life, unbeknownst to me. But ever since the diabetes was discovered, I haven't heard another peep out of my doctors about it. Guess it's not that great of a concern. I'm still taking my iron supplement though, as directed.

Emotionally I am about as all over the map as one could get. I'm excited and anxious to meet this new little one. I am scared as hell about having two kids to juggle and love and attend to. I am frustrated because the house isn't ready. I am nervous about the birthing process, in particular, the possibility of having a c-section. I am dreading the exhaustion. I am looking forward to being able to sleep on my stomach again. I am sad that these next few days may be the last time I feel the strange, wonderful and somewhat terrifying sensation of a living being moving inside of me. I am craving an entire bag of Red Vines, chased with Cheetos. I cry at the drop of a hat. Note to self: do not watch Disney movies while pregnant. Especially if the movie in question features the death of an animal, animal's parent, animal's spouse, or any kind of parental tender moment. I'm looking at you, Nemo!

And of course, I'm having the normal fears. That something might be wrong with the baby. He has an extra head, perhaps. Is that normal?

I feel like I've been pregnant for so long that I no longer know how NOT to be pregnant. What will it feel like to wear my regular clothes again? My elastic waisted pants are so comfortable, I just may never go back to button-down jeans.

And just a few words about Doodle. Oh, this kid is already giving me heartache about the baby. Yesterday he announced that he didn't want to be a big brother. Sorry, Charlie. He's been having temper tantrums, mostly directed at me. But at night, he wants me to cuddle him when he goes to bed. A few weeks ago, the goodnight cuddle would last, at most, five minutes. I had things to do - showers to take, Tivo to catch up on, STUFF. Now I'll find myself lingering in there until I almost fall asleep, just because I feel like this time is his, what little of it is left. And because I know this time where he wants me is also waning. I want to savor the quiet hum of the humidifier. I'll lay there, staring at the back of Doodle's head, his perfectly-shaped ears, and try and appreciate the moment for what it is.

To have heard me tell it, this has been the world's most difficult pregnancy on record, but I realize that to have the privilege of carrying a child is something not every woman gets. And for that I am blessed. And for all the headaches, the pinpricks, the non-stress tests, the iron supplements, the - yes I'm going to say it - stool softeners, the result of having a healthy son is worth every moment I suffered.

Just a couple more days ...

Wednesday, May 20


Men: it is NEVER, NEVER ok to remark on a woman's weight, even when she is pregnant. I have found that a couple of men, business colleagues, have thought it was funny to say something to me along the lines of, "Wow, you're putting on weight!"

Obviously, they know I'm pregnant, but that is dangerous territory. You could as much as look at me the wrong way these days and I'd burst into tears.

Another man, upon seeing me for the first time in a while, gestured toward my pregnant stomach and said, "What's this?"

It's the result of a nine-day Cheesecake Factory bender. What do you THINK it is?

Unfunnier still: elevator cleaner guy (what is UP with this?) says to me today, as I get into the elevator, "You're chunking up!"

Meant to be a joke, but hella offensive. My response was, "Wow, just what every woman wants to hear." Then he said he was joking, but ... ew, dude.

It is also never appropriate to ask a stranger when the baby is due - this rule applies to men and women. Do you REALLY want to take a chance that there is, in fact, no baby, and you have just drawn attention to a woman's greatest insecurity? My general rule is to wait for the person to bring it up, and THEN comment.

Monday, May 4

Beware, the flu of swine

I hope I'm not being naive, but I am not concerned one whit about the swine flu or H1N1 virus or whatever we're calling it today.

Yes, I have a small child and perhaps if someone at his school contracted the virus, I'd be concerned. But right now, it's not something that is keeping me up at night.

However, there are certain people I work with who are consumed with fear about this particular illness. One went so far as to send an email to HR, begging them to make people stay home who exhibit ANY signs of illness. (Which I am sure she intends to use as leverage to stay home herself). Another infamous germaphobe at my office has some anxiety ab0ut the disease, as well, and when the day comes that she shows up wearing a surgical mask over her face, I will not blink.

I am glad that the powers that be seem to be taking the necessary precautions to prepare for the disease, sh0uld it intensify. Until that time comes, I will proceed as normal with my life - with maybe a slightly heightened sensitivity to hand-washing.

Thursday, April 23

Quick poll

If you had a co-worker whose personal cell phone went off, I'm not exaggerating, 30-40 times a day (and that's just when I'm counting), would you:

A) Politely ask them to set their phone to "vibrate"
B) Ask HR to politely ask them to set their phone to "vibrate"
C) Wait until they go to the restroom and destroy the phone with a jackhammer

NOTE: The phone went off twice while typing this poll. And no, it's not Bad Lady's phone.

Monday, April 20

Jack Bauer to the rescue (a work in progress)

This past weeks’ pirate situation off the coast of Somalia had me thinking: if they just had Jack Bauer with them, the whole thing would have been wrapped up in a matter of a couple of hours, tops – with some side plots thrown in, too.

How would Jack Bauer be able to invervene and save the day during a pirate crisis off the coast of Africa? Any of these scenarios seem entirely plausible:

1) A mysterious man (Jack Bauer) has been on board the cargo ship, keeping to himself and staying in his cabin. He is being transported to Africa for an unknown mission, and the crew members know better than to ask. Once the pirates seize the boat, Jack springs into action from inside the boat.

2) Jack is helicoptered to the scene (because he just happens to be in Somalia), rappelling onto the lifeboat (miraculously avoiding heavy gunfire), and taking out all the pirates.

3) Jack arrives on-scene via submarine.

This got me thinking: what other situations could use a little Jack Bauer?

SCENE: an office. Woman (played by me – hey, it’s my skit) is standing by copy machine. Paper goes in and does not come out.

WOMAN: Can someone help me fix this paper jam? I have a presentation in ten minutes and I need to make these copies!

JACK BAUER emerges from a cubicle.

JACK: I’ve downloaded a schematic of the copy machine onto my PDA. According to this, the paper jam should be located in the alpha quadrant, right below drawer B.

The PDA starts beeping as if an alarm is going off.

JACK: It looks like someone has been tampering with this machine.

OTHER CO-WORKER walks past the copy machine. JACK slams him against the wall while gripping his shirt collar.


OTHER CO-WORKER: (crying) I don’t know! I don’t know, Jack! It wasn’t me!

JACK: (takes a pen out of his pocket and holds it menacingly at the man’s throat) Come on! I saw you over here five minutes ago! You know something!
OTHER CO-WORKER: I swear I don’t, Jack … don’t make me call HR again!

JACK: Listen, we have TEN MINUTES to get this paper jam out of the copier. So you’re going to do what I say … NOW!

JACK releases his grip on OTHER CO-WORKER, who recoils from JACK. While this confrontation has been going on, WOMAN has moved between the two men and calmly opens up a side drawer on the copy machine, sees the rogue piece of paper, and delicately removes it. JACK’s PDA blips to inform him that the paper jam is now removed. OTHER CO-WORKER exits to the right, quickly.

WOMAN: Thanks for your help, Jack.

JACK: Any time.

OTHER CO-WORKER is seen at desk, composing an email.

OTHER CO-WORKER (to himself): This isn't over, Bauer! This is the last time you're going to bully me around this office!

Familiar "24" clock ticks, signifying commercial break.

Monday, April 13

A grey matter
Because I often like to post my facebook/Twitter status as a song lyric, I was looking up the lyrics to Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" before posting today. I wanted to make sure I had the exact wording, because GOD FORBID I get it wrong.

No, not THAT seal.

So you know when you realize you've been wrong all these years about a favored lyric? How it totally changes the song for you? You know, "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" ... oops!

Did you know that Seal compares you to a kiss from a rose ON THE GREY?

I always thought it was "on the grave." It made sense to me. Like a rose that has been left on a grave. It's a beautiful rememberance of someone who isn't there anymore. I don't know. It worked.

What the hell is a rose on the grey? Further, what is the grey?
Like, grey matter of your brain?

Friday, April 10

The Pocket Sniffer

Dear Pre-School: let this be a lesson to you -- never, NEVER, under any circumstances, schedule school picture day on the same day my child is slated to go swimming.

Picture Day was a couple of weeks ago. Mistake #1 was mine. I had a nice sweater and khakis picked out for him to wear. But I gave him the option of wearing his "outfit" -- seen below -- a blue and black track suit and hoodie. Which do you think he chose? I decided not to push it. After all, the "outfit" is a good representation of who he is right now, at this moment, at this age, and several years from now, I will be glad I let him make that choice.


He also left the house wearing his red "Lightning McQueen" ballcap, as he is wont to do on many days, particularly if it's raining (because god forbid he get rained on -- the horror!) No big deal. He usually takes it off when he gets to school, and puts it in his cubby.

The rest of the story goes:

That morning, as happens on every morning, the pre-school teacher got the kids ready to go swimming. They all got their suits on and were ready to head to the pool. The director of the school came and said that the photographer was ready for the pre-school group, so anyone taking pictures had to get re-dressed and come with her.

Now, you have to understand that Doodle LIVES for swimming. He goes Monday and Wednesday, and on those mornings, the first words out of his mouth when he wakes up are usually, "Mommy guess what? I go swimming today!" So, this was about the point where Doodle went batshit crazy. Amidst tears, he got dressed again and insisted on the Lightning McQueen hat. No amount of bargaining could convince him to take it off -- the school director said she tried.

But even after what was deemed a king-sized meltdown by all parties present, Doodle managed to take a pretty cute picture. See for yourself. I think this is going to be one of my favorites when I look back on them after he has grown up. This is my little man, with a sparkle in his eye, still able to muster a smile after being denied one of his favorite activities.

Note: That afternoon, when asked about picture day, Doodle also said he didn't like the bunny, because it kept "sniffing his pocket." The bunny in question is the black one. No word on what was in his pocket.

Wednesday, April 8

I got the diabeetus

Last week was my 28 week glucose test. The results came back and my sugar was at 201. It should be around 100. Yep, I got the diabeetus again. Last time I was pregnant, they diagnosed me with gestational diabetes around week 11 or 12, with my initial blood test. This time around, I thought I was in the clear. Everything was coming back normal. But then I drank that damn orange pop and here I am, on serious carb withdrawal.

This is the second day of my diabetic diet, and let me just say, IT SUCKS!!!!!! Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks. I've always been a "want what I can't have" kind of girl, and let's just say that I never met a bag of potato chips that I didn't like. And I've been indulging myself with candy and ice cream during this pregnancy because I've basically felt like dog crap the entire six months so far. Somehow, gnawing on a celery stalk just doesn't have the same theraputic effect.

But I will sacrifice my sugar and carbs for the good of this baby. And I figure this gives me plenty of ammo right off the bat for when he's older and I get to infuse some mom-style guilt onto him. Right after I finish off a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Monday, March 23

Justify My Love

(Note: Writer Diablo Cody really stole my thunder on this one. Her essay on the same topic appeaared in this week's Entertainment Weekly. But, at least I'm in good company.)

I guess I must be lame.

I have never worked a pole, danced drunkenly atop a bar, made out with another girl while dancing drunkenly atop a bar. All my clothing more than reasonably covers areas which should be covered, all of which areas are silicone-free. I do not own an eyelash curler, nor would I know what to do with one if I had one. As far as I know, I've never thrown a drink at anyone. I've never entered a wet t-shirt contest. And I'm not blonde. Naturally or otherwise.

I would most certainly be categorized into the "lame" bus. These factors alone would make me a sure-fire thing to NOT appear on the show "Rock of Love Bus," but let's say for some reason I had a desire to date (if that's what we're calling it) former Poison front-man Brett Michaels, along with several other girls who absolutely have experience with at least one, if not all, of the above list of my "nevers." All of us. Simultaneously. Swapping fluids. With him, and when he's not available, with each other.

Damn ... I almost wore this exact outfit to work today.

And I admit it ... all of this? Is FASCINATING to me. I can't get enough of it. "Rock of Love Bus" on Vh-1 is the only show I tivo and watch the same day. Then I lament the fact that I have to wait another week for the new installment.

I didn't watch the prior seasons, but I may go back and do so now that I have gotten on the Bus. It's a feel-good show. Feel-good in that it makes me feel good about myself, my life, the way I behave in public. I have never made the acquaintance of any girls like these girls. I wouldn't even know where to find girls like this. And for that, I am glad. Big hair, big boobs, big makeup, big personalities, big problems. And this ain't The Bachelor. These girls are vying to date an aging rock star, who himself is manufactured out of silicone and synthetic hair. This entails life on the road, complete with groupies throwing themselves at Michaels at every turn. And this is AFTER one of the girls beats out all the others who have made out with, slept with, grinded on, done pole dances for Brett.

Sounds like the ideal cornerstone for any successful relationship.

The "competitions" within the show all exploit the girls' assets, their ignorance, and their willingness to down several shots of whatever alcohol is available and try and impress Michaels. Often, Michaels sits alone in an observation room, viewing the girls in action on a hidden camera. Sometimes his criteria for who does well in a competition is whether or not the girl in question looked hot while performing the task. And sometimes that's all they need to be saved.

The winners of the competition get to go on a one-on-one (or three-on-one, whatever) date with Brett. Brett may make out with all three of the girls on this date. And everyone seems ok with this. It's part of what they signed up for. Until they go back to the bus in a drunken rage and cry about how horrible it is to see Michaels with the other girls and how they want to go home. And then pour an entire jar of salsa into another contestants' bag because you THINK she talked smack about you. (Did I mention how deliciously catty these girls are??) Then, the next day, they're back up on the bar or the pole, hoping Michaels chooses them to continue to "rock his world." Mama would be so proud.

And despite that, there are actually a few girls who I am rooting for. Girls who aren't larger than life (well, except for the parts made of silicone). But do I really want them to "win" the show? Do I want Brett to pick the nicest, sweetest girl? I honestly don't know. Is that a prize or a punishment? Is it something you want to tell the grandkids one day?

Friday, March 20

Oh hai

Coming soon ... actual posts!

Couple things happened ... first ... it is WAY more easy to think of witty one-liners to put in a facebook status update than it is to come up with a whole post. I plan on changing that. Second ... I got knocked up again. Doodle is getting a brother this summer. But you knew that, right? Because you've also got the facebook addiction.

Anyway, more to come very, very soon. I promise.

Yes, I am making that face on purpose. That is Daniel's "big crazy" face, which is usually made by a cartoon character to indicate their displeasure at a situation.