Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Travelogue and other insights

  1. Do not trust your husband with any important jobs. This is the reason I have no pictures of my vacation. Mr. L-S was in charge of charging TWO sets of batteries for the digital camera, loading one set into the camera, stowing the spare set in teh camera case, and brining the camera on vacation. Let's just say thank heaven for Walgreen's and Kodak disposable cameras, but I think I would have, could have, and should have taken a whole lot more than 27 photos.
  2. Kids don't care. Notice...Chuckles, did you see the Grand Canyon? Answer: "Yesh! Hewikoptore." He was much MUCH much more excited to see the helicoptors flying through the canyon like mosquitoes than he was to see the canyon itself. Oh, and the fact that we took a shuttle bus to the various overlooks was enough to enthrall the kid for days.
  3. When the lady at the mini-mart (and by mini-mart I mean house that has a sign that says they sell soda and chips out of the front) asks you if you're sure you want to see the Grand Canyon today...with a baby, perhaps you should question your decisions. The day we went it was 25 deg-F at Grand Canyon, AZ. The road to the West Rim is dirt. Actually, calling the road dirt is a tad mean to dirt. The road is sand, mixed with dirt, mixed with rocks, with a boulder or two thrown in for good measure with a grade that made me reach for the non-existent grab handle in the rental car no fewer than 5 times, the road which put Chuckles right to sleep (and made me realize we installed the car seat incorrectly because it jostled about - oh the jostling), the road which potentially voided our rental car contract, which the nice lady at the store told us is bound to wash out as it was raining (and look out for loose rocks, falling debris, and wild cows...I kid you not). We went 14 miles on this road in 75 minutes. Now, I'm no math major, but that works out to an average speed of 11.2 miles per hour. So, yessir, we were cooking. Oh, and make sure your tank is full because I hadn't seen a fueling station for 100 miles.
  4. Pack a lunch when going on such trips because there are no streets crossing the major highway and certainly there are no McDonald's.
  5. Part 2 of do not trust your husband with any im-portant jobs. Mr. L-S was in chaarge of our itineraries, IDs, tickets, and Chuckles's birth certificate. I could not figure out why we kept getting grilled by securty and the airlines about the boy until I realized he never handed over the birth certificate. He says, "Don't do anything unless they ask or they'll think you're suspicious." Well, effer, you handed over our driver's licenses without being asked, this is his ID. They think we are kidnapping this blond-haired, blue-eyed child and smuggling him into Mexico. Show the birth certificate that says we are his parents.
  6. My niece is a doll. She referred to Chuckles as "baby" and Mr. L-S, her uncle, as "new guy". I was not called anything. Such is the life of a mother. She liked "baby" ok, but not when he was chasing her with a pink doll stroller.
  7. Even with a 30-pound diaper bag in tow, I still did not have enough actual diapers for an all-day trip.
  8. Even with a pokey husband and a toddler in tow, I am still able to hit three or four travel destinations in one day (Hoover Dam, Joshua Tree National Forest (which makes me think of U2), Grand Canyon, and Willow Beach on the Colorado River (which is beautiful and if you ever go to Hoover Dam, stay on 93 for about 7 miles into Arizona and go here)).
  9. Always but your toddler a seat even if you could bring them as a lap child. Having a car seat and an extra plane seat was just about worth the $300 we spent on it.
  10. If you must take that godforesaken road to the Grand Canyon, do it in a rental car so as not to ruin your own car.
  11. I had never seen poverty like that before. People just squat in the desert with a camping trailer and start adding corrugated sheet steel and plywood additions to it. And the garbage in teh yards! Man, if we get a pop can or a wrapper in teh bushes, I'm out there picking it up, but again, we have curbside garbage pick up, and I imagine they don't (what with the no curbs and the nothing for miles and miles). I'm not even sure once we got into the desert that the people have electricity. I didn't see any wires. I think they use generators to make the power. It's a very different life, that's for sure.
  12. If you are taking two toddlers to JC Penney to get their pictures taken together, bring three adults - two to hold and one to sing four verses of "If You're Happy and You KNow It". The verses are: clap your hands, stomp your feet, shout hurray, and do all three (which I find quite challenging...but heck, I'm blonde).
  13. I took Chuckles to the dentist today. I'm pretty sure he stitched his mouth shut the second we got to the office, but Dr. Faye did really well. She's so young and pretty and energetic. Chuckles's teeth are fine and we are to bring him with us so he can watch us get our teeth cleaned.
  14. I will never travel without a crib again. My sister bumped my niece out of her crib and gave it to Chuckles and he slept through the night in a strange crib in a strange house. I will never travel without a crib again. Period. End of discussion. I may need to buy a travel trailer, but the crib is coming with us.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

So I got a thing

  1. I got a bed.
  2. I got a call back on my resume. Yes, yes, perfect candidate, too far to drive. No not that company. Are you sure you aren't interested? Paid relocation. Very good salary. You sound perfect for hte job (and might I say that this phone interview makes you look especially thin in your worn-out elastic sweats). Maybe you could get an apartment there while you looked to sell? No, been there-done that-have teh scars to prove it. Very strong candidate. Best resume we've had for it yet. Are you sure you don't want the interview? You'll get the job offer (little does he know I've never gone on an interview and not gotten the job). Quite sure. Thanks for your time and if you see anything up my alley, please keep me in mind.
  3. I got 5 books from Goodwill today. I got two 1960s original Richard Scarry books for 50 cents apiece. And a book on choo choos that we read at the library one day and it has colors.
  4. I got goat's milk and breakfast sausage. NOthing exciting there, but it didn't seem fair to only have 3 numbered points.
  5. I got nothing for #5, but it seemed lame to end with that #4.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What have I done?

I just sent my resume out for a job.

Let's say two jobs ago I was an ABC Manager of the X Department for the Q Company. Well, out on monster, there has been an ad for an ABC Manager of the X Department for the Secret Company. So, I sent my resume out. We'll see how that goes over. If Secret company is who I think it is, I don't want the job (a farther, but easier drive than my last job), but if I am wrong, maybe it would be OK.

Need to network, but the last time I called someone was that post a couple down, and that wasn't so great.

You know, I feel like I should say something about the Virginia Tech thing, but I can't. Very tragic, yes. But I have nothing to say. Selfishly, I am glad I wasn't there and that my family is OK. I feel bad for all involved. Very sad.

My Brain is Mush, but you get what you paid for

Well, there is lots happening here (actually, there is not, but I feel busy).

The replacement bed is being delivered tomorrow in a random 2-hour window which I have not been given yet.

We are leaving on a "vacation" on Friday. We are taking a toddler on an airplane (and it won't be nap time). This vacation will bring us to The Grand Canyon eventually. We hope to go to the cantilevered skywalk over the canyon, but apparently this is a controversial thing. I have no idea why. If you know why this is controversial, please tell me. I thought everything about the canyon was commercial now and Indian Tribes doing things to make a buck seems fairly typical to me too.
Access to The Skywalk will run from dawn to dusk and will cost $25 per person in
addition to the cost of a Grand Canyon West entrance package. One hundred
and twenty people will be allowed on the bridge at a time. Admittance is
first come, first serve for walk up visitors; however, reservations can be
made. Guests will enter and exit the walkway via temporary buildings while
the adjacent visitor’s center is being completed. Grand Canyon West plans to
issue numbered shoe covers – in order to avoid scratches and slipping - to
each visitor that enters the open-air walkway.

This "vacation" involves me entertaining young CHuckles on a four-hour flight. I also need to bring soy milk (a liquid) through security. He'll also need lunch, books, exciting toys, a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, and on and on. I've made two lists. One called "diaper bag" and the other called "suitcase" so I don't forget something important (like DING).

Also, I have no idea what this sentence from teh TSA is supposed to be saying: "Therefore, you any liquid, gel, or aerosol purchased such as coffee or soda in the secure area after you process through a security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane." There is no limit on breast milk or formula if you have teh child with you, but what about soy milk? Should I just pack the formula as a powder and not worry about it?

And a helpful hint in case you are an idiot: "NEVER leave babies in an infant carrier while it goes through the X-ray machine."

And we will be traveling at lunch time, so I need to pack a lunch because Chuckles has some food issues, but maybe I could just bring fruit for him and buy him some chicken McNuggets. I mean, a trip to McDonald's will not actually kill him. Just me.

Speaking of killing me, CHuckles tried to kill me at least four times in the last week. Just so you know, EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE here. Chuckles let us know that from midnight to 5 am the other night. The crying - oh, the crying. He got up for teh day at 2 am on Sunday. Monday night was good. He only got up twice and one time was yelling I WANT MILK, so I pretty much nailed that on on teh first try. Last night, he slept through and I feel as if I could form a complete sentence today. Yesterday, though, he tried to stab me in teh eye with a pen. He tried to fool me into thinking he was going to take a nap by saying, "Chuh seepy, bankie, lay down, take nap, seepy nigh night mommy" and laying down on a pile of pillows, so I laid down with him and closed my eyes when BAM a pen to the eye. So, I am not falling for that again and we are once again driving in the car for a nap where I have my back to him and he is strapped into the car where he cannot reach me.

I have been stripping 6 coats of paint from our main bathroom vanity. Fun times. Good stuff. Someoen asked me if it was lead paint. Well, shit, I hope not. So, out of irrational fear, I have stopped all sanding projects and have decided to live with my bathroom in a state of semi-squalor while I look for a way out of this problem. New vanity = $1200, which I don't have (re: unemployment). This is all part of the great bathroom remodel, which was WAY more expensive than I ever planned, so I had to scale back my plans and decided to do some things myself. I need help with this and my MIL offered, so I will be milking that for what it is worth.

At Mother Goose today, a girl handed me a book and sat down in my lap and asked me to read, so I looked at her mother for approval and I read. Chuckles let this happen. He did not freak out, so perhaps, he only freaks if it's a boy in my lap or he's growing out of it secure in teh knowledge that I love him best. Oh, and he learned how to do "Cheers" with his sippy cup at the dinner table whilst Dada and I drink copious quantities of wine to make teh exhaustion-induced headaches go away. Perhaps I should put wine in teh sippy cup to help him sleep better (just kidding, all you readers from DCFS, just kidding, ha ha, it's a joke...yes yes yes it's a lame one, but again, no sleep).

Also, I feel like a fraud when reading Working Mother magazine now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I always think of Carly when I.....

make banana bread, and today, I made banana bread. So Carly, I am thinking of you (and your grandmother, since it is her recipe).

My brain is going crazy with all these thoughts

I have a friend whom I haven't seen in a while. I dropped he and his wife a Christmas card and hadn't heard from them, which I thought was odd because his wife is generally really good about those things. Anyway, he emailed me yesterday to say that they had been very busy over the holidays and to give him a call.

So, I did. He had bumped into some people from my most-recent past employer and inquired about me since I had written a blurb about my new job in the Christmas card. They had told him I was no longer there, so he called to find out what's what. I told him. Then I asked about his busy over Christmas, work or personal, and so on.

It turns out that he and his wife got pregnant last year and they had a son just before Thanksgiving. Their son only lived 5 hours. They knew that he was seriously ill before he was born. They chose not to terminate the pregnancy and they had five sweet hours with their son. According to the father, he was a beautiful boy with a head full of brown hair and big brown eyes. Five hours. During those five hours, they had to live an entire life. They took all the pictures they will ever have of their son. They had to tell him that they loved him all the times they ever could. They had to hold him all they will ever get to hold him.

I find this so hard. My son is perfectly wonderful (upstairs sleeping after a car ride for a nap). I cannot fathom their pain. This man's wife walked around pregnant for six months knowing that the baby growing inside her was not going to live once he was born. Every day he was inside her, he was alive. But once she gave birth, he would die. So, here she is with a growing belly, with strangers smiling at her in the check-out line of the supermarket probably inquiring as to when she is due, and she had to soldier on knowing that she was not getting a "take home" baby out of this deal.

I tried to do my best while on the phone with my friend. What was his name? How much did he weigh? How are you doing now? How's work? How's your wife holding up? Did you have a funeral? How about that local sports team? I never uttered the words "It's God's plan." Nor did I say, "You're young and can try again soon." I have read that those things don't help people. Some people find it offensive that God's plan is that their baby should die. Or, trying again soon isn't going to bring my baby whom I love back to life. I hope I did OK and didn't make his pain worse.

Anyway, I have all these thoughts about how horrible this must be for them and how do you possibly move past somethinge like this to get on with the rest of your life? I mean, I can't even move past little things and this is pretty much the biggest thing I could imagine ever happening. They are obviously strong with a great marriage if they can survive this, and I wish them peace and happiness.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Catch Up

For Maundy Thursday dinner, we ended up going out for Mexican food. Woo Hoo. And Thursday is $2 off burrito dinners night. And, I think sangria was on teh down-low too, so you know, maybe I had to partake in some of that, whatever.
So, Friday (Good Friday) I made salmon, broccoli, and cous cous. Was fabulous until I realized I made fish on Friday during Lent. Very funny for a heathen like me.
I have no recollection of Saturday whatsoever.

Sunday, the Easter Bunny came and brought Chuckles a puzzle. In fact, the very first thing Chuckles said to me Sunday morning was "Upside-down car on fire" and then we looked for the Easter basket. Actually, as I lay him down in his crib Sunday night he also told me that there was an upside-down car on fire and said goodnight. Odd boy.

The Easter Bunny also came to grandma and grandpa's house and brought a big wheel. Woo Hoo. Chuckles has no interest in pedaling. At all. He prefers to locomote around by pushing the ground with his feet. Whatever.

My boy is growing up. I heard him refer to his ding as bankie (like blankie) several times today. I do not want to lose ding. I think ding is cute. I call it ding. Ding is a specific blankie. All the other blankies of the world can be bankies, but I want ding to be ding (actually, truth be told, there are two dings as you know, but let's keep that between us).
Also, from the my-boy-is-growing-up file, he is referring to me as Ma-Mee about half the time and Mr. L-S is Dad-Eee about half the time. Soon we'll be mommy and daddy and then mom and dad and then mother and father, and what happens then, huh? Strippers and all-night benders, that's what.

Once upon a time, in a land far-far away (Ohio), I was a reasonably good person. I donated blood, I donated my time and energy, I didn't swear (much), I generally drove politely. Well, fast-forward four years, 350 miles, infertility, child-bearing, crumbling marriage, sleepless toddler, and you get me.
So, I had that whole Lenten resolution thing where I tried not to judge others. I did OK. I just kept telling myself that everyone was doing the best they could given their teeny-tiny pea-sized brains (or something equally generous). If they were in a rush, I assured myself they were on their way to the hospital to see their new grand-daughter for the first time. If they cut me off, I assumed they hadn't seen me. If a woman was not perfectly groomed and had a beard full of chin hair in public, I assumed she was protesting society's strict view of beauty or was too nearsighted to see it herself. If they didn't have their child in a child safety seat secured safely in the backseat, I told myself that the child unbuckled him or herself and the parent is eagerly trying to get off the road safely to rebuckle. I did OK. I judged far less than normal, but I still couldn't shake it. I assume others are judging me all the time, so I don't worry too much about my background judgements. But, I am still not the person I once was. So, I donated blood. I feel somewhat better. I saved three lives - possibly even premature infants. Maybe I saved someone's mother. Or some drunk who wrapped his car around a tree after a night of boozing. Either way. I saved lives.
I feel somewhat better. I am growing my hair out again and plan on cutting it off for the cancer patients again. I will donate blood again. I am on the bone marrow registry, and if someone needs that marrow, I'll give it up. And if my sister needs my kidney, she can have it. If she needs my liver, though, she'll have to wait until I'm done having a couple of drinks (did you know you can now donate part of your liver and it will grow back? Craziness, I know.).

Oh, And I'd like to welcome Carly to the Perfect 12 club. It's a nice place to be and I'm glad I live here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How is your day going?

I just finished steam cleaning the living room carpet. Potty training rocks the house. To be fair, Chuckles is a wee bit on the young side for this, but he is so eager and ready, I'd hate not to do it just becausse of his age. He'll get more stubborn and less-cooperative as he gets older, so let's do it now.

Today is Maundy Thursday. Shall I make a big (last) supper tonight? What did people in the bible eat? I know loaves. I know fishes, sure wine, but I doubt I can make a meal of that. Help me out here.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Do you have to go to work? I do. I work seven days a week and I am on call the rest of the time. The pay is lousy, but yesterday my boss told me that my hair was pretty, so it's pretty much all worth it. His actual words...
Chuckles: Mama hair purty.

Chuckles channels a Scotsman when saying the word "turning". It comes out like t-yearning-cough-cough-haggis.
He is also a Southerner when he uses the word "help" much like that girl from the Shake-n-Bake-and-I-helped commercial.

British prisoners held in Iran released. I guess someone finally found that satellite image.
Why have I seen more coverage of a pet food recall than I did for that organic baby food recall? I like pets and all, but ahem, babies...human babies.

Speaking of pets, did I tell you I went to the Humane Society to see if they had a new friend for me? I did. I fell in love with a lazy chap named Tiger Too. I'd like to tell you he is sitting in my sunny lap right now purring like a ...ummm...something that purrs....ummmm...purring like a 1968 Camaro, but he was pending adoption, so he's probably doing that just not in my lap. I'm heartbroken, and it will be at least 3 weeks before I go there looking around again. We are going out of town in a couple of weeks, have many weekends committments, and then are hosting Chuckles's 2nd birthday party, so after that, I might tempt fate and go have a look-see over at the Humane Society again.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

For his 2nd Birthday

For his baby book, I want to write down all the words Chuckles knows and uses and put that sheet in his baby book, but I have no idea how to do this. There are so many from outside, to upside-down, to dinosaur, to bra, to nectarine, to ambulance, to Grandma and Grandpa, to Uh-Oh, to potty. I think I might fail if I start this project. But it's an idea I have.

How I spent my Tuesday

Drinking Pina Coladas at shortly after noon with an old friend whom Chuckles calls Jamington. It's quite cute. That's not her name, of course, but I don't have the heart to correct him.

How I spent my Monday

Outside trying to tire someone out who refused to nap even after almost a cumulative hour of car riding. It worked. He fell asleep in the high chair during dinner.

How I spent my Sunday

We went back to the mattress store for a "comfort exchange" but the manager wasn't in and only he can do comfort exchanges but he was going to call us first thing Monday. It's now not first thing on Tuesday and he has yet to call.

Mr. Long-Suffering agrees that the bed must go back since I have taken up residence in the guest room and I refuse to come back to our bed until the mattress is gone.

How I spent my Friday

I took Chuckles for a ride on the Choo Choo train into the city. We switched trains and went to Lincoln Park for a while. My best advice gleaned from this: only exit at handicapped-accessible stops if you are traveling with a stroller. Other than that, a good time was had by all.