Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recap of my Vacation

Just back from a tour of the West Coast.  The West Coast of Michigan, that is.  We hit up the chain ferry in Saugatuck, the lighthouse at Grand Haven (in an absolute downpour during a Red Flag rip current warning), Manistee (including Michigan's largest make-your-own-sundae bar with over 50 toppings),  the East Bay of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City.  We also visited the Grand Traverse Pie Company (I had chicken pot pie) and North Peak brewery where I had a fine root beer float. Additionally, we road the steam locomotive at Clinch Park (the kids were wearing their Thing 1 and Thing 3 shirts...why had I left Thing 2 at home they all wanted to know).  We enjoyed playing Venice of the Midwest walking along the docks on the Boardman River behind Front Street.

The East Bay is pretty neat.  It's shallow (as you can see in the picture) for miles.  You can start at the beach and just start walking into the water, and it doesn't go over your head.  Chuckles and Mr. Long-Suffering set out and walked for 20 minutes.  It never got over Chuckles's head and was at its deepest only at Mr. Long-Suffering's waist.  It started to get shallow again, so they turned around and came back.  They had wanted to walk to the drop-off, but alas, that wasn't to be.

But the best part of the whole vacation?  There was a water cooler in the lobby of our hotel that dispensed ice cold water infused with fruit essence.  The hotel was nice with a good (free) breakfast, but next time, I think we'll stay at the Holiday Inn.

Oh, and I saw a billboard on US-31 for Michigan's Finest Medical Marijuana dispensary in Saugatuck.  I never saw the shop (nor did I smell it), but it's there should you have a need.

On the other hand, all 3 hotels we visited while in Michigan were 100% smoke-free on the grounds (must be 25' from a doorway).  I don't know if that's the law or just good business, but I liked it.

My frugal travel tip if you're staying at a hotel without free breakfast:  I pack instant oatmeal packets, spoons, and disposable coffee cups.  I use the hotel coffee pot to heat the water.  The kids eat it while sitting on the king-sized bed and watching Cable TV (which we don't have at home so they got to see their first-ever Sponge Bob).  Another frugal tip for West Michigan:  have lunch at Russ'.  Russ' has some great specials, and their kids' meals are only $1.99 and come with a peach half (and if your kids are like mine, in a restaurant they eat ice, crackers, and the peach half, then demand a snack as soon as we're in the car on the way back to the hotel).

So I mentioned that I had donated blood back on August 2nd during a heat wave and people were faring poorly? Yes?  Good.  I did well at the donation.  No issues.  However, the next day I felt awful.  Like hit by a bus, OMG I can't lift my head.  Awful.  I felt better Thursday but still not great.  Friday I think I fell asleep on the couch after dinner.  Saturday, I had a really low fever of about 99.3, but I rallied and went to the beach (to play with my wave runner...but only 300' or more from shore).  Swimming the 100 yards out to the wave runner was not so much fun. 

Sunday morning I woke up around 4am, rolled over, felt ill, and realized something was not right.  I got up to go to the bathroom, decided to pee-on-a-stick, and I married your brother.  Anyway, the plan was to pee on the stick, drop it in the drawer, and come back to it in the morning.  However, while I was washing my hands, I glanced over (in the dark with just the little night light) and saw OMG two pink lines, what the hell is that?  I have NEVER seen pink lines so dark.  (And then I had to wait FOUR HOURS until morning to tell my husband...who was shocked!)

Now here's the weird part...the dates are all crazy.  LMP is July 12th (the day of ridiculous PMS rage).  The ONLY time I had marital visitation that entire month was July 24th.  I had morning sickness starting on August 3rd  (3w1d...who has morning sickness that early?) and got the absolute darkest hpt+ of my entire life on August 7 (3w5d).   So, dear internet readers, what the heck?  I had ess-e-ecks one time and got pregnant.  What am I?  A teenager?

I debated whether to tell you since it's so early (5w2d), but why hold back?  If something awful were to happen, I want my internet posse behind me leaving me comments telling me that it sucks, and that I'll be OK.  I even don't mind comments like "it's probably for the best" since I kind of roll that way anyway.

Because (apparently) I am not infertile, when I called the doctor's office, they didn't want to send me for a beta or anything.  Sheesh!  So, I have my first pre-natal appointment on Tuesday, August 23rd (which is 6 wks), and they will probably just have me pee on a stick or something (I don't actually know any fertile people in real life, so can anyone who had a non-medically assisted pregnancy tell me what happens?).  I think I am going to tell them that I'm not sure about my dates, because this whole thing seems highly unlikely to me.  I've only ovulated a handful of times in my life and never before CD20+, so this would just be crazy-talk.  If I'm not sure of my dates, they'll send me for an ultrasound, right?  And since it would be 6wks or more, there should be a heartbeat.  Thump-thump-thump.  For now, I'm operating as pregnant until proven otherwise.

And now you know why I had a root beer float at the brewery.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Every night before bed, I ask the kids what their favorite and least favorite parts of the day were.  Then they ask me the same.  Usually, my least favorite is something like traffic or mosquitoes.  Rarely, I will say that it was when they fought or something.  Every once in a while, I say that there was no least favorite, it was a great day overall.

Sometimes, their answers surprise me.  Yesterday, the kids went to Borders to buy discount-business-closing books, Office Max, and Office Depot.  They were each given a quarter at Office Max and Office Depot to buy whatever penny filler paper or dime binders they wanted.  They were so excited.  While they were out, they also stopped by the State Farm office to pay car insurance. 

When bed time rolled around, and I asked about favorite part of the day, do you know what they answered?  Not dime binders or penny paper.  Their favorite part was drinking water out of those little triangular cone cups from a water cooler at the State Farm office. 

Today, they went to the County Fair.  I joked with the nanny this morning that even though they are going to see farm animals and daredevil motorcycles, they will probably say that their favorite part of the whole day was the hand sanitizer station or something.  I just got the following picture as a text from the County Fair:

Yep.  They found a water cooler and are drinking out of those triangular cone paper cups (and sharing!).  They are also wearing matching outfits...the better not to get lost in a crowd (their shirts say "Thing 1" and "Thing 3"...their cousins are 2 & 4).

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hot Potato

I just got a really nice comment from creatingbalance on my last post about how I spring up in the comments sections of blogs she reads.  This post is in response to that.

We are a pretty tight-knit blogging community.  I go through periods where I comment a lot on my favorite blogs and other times, not so much. 

I hang out on lot of the parent/ing blogs & blogs of the formerly infertile, but you might find me elsewhere too (Laura Ingalls Wilder-related blogs, politcal blogs, Freakonomics, the Tribune comments section on anything having to do with reproduction/adoption, and twitter).  I use SarcastiCarrie everywhere as my name, so you might see me on google photos or youtube as well.  Or even on mapmyrun, if only I were still running.

My half-marathon is this weekend and I am not running it.  I got injured in April (tendonitis) while training for the Shamrock Shuffle (which I ran anyway!), and I am just now able to walk a half mile without too much pain.

The wave runner we bought at the beginning of the season is awesome.  We've been having a lot of fun, but I got a federal ticket, which was bogus, but I am guilty.  The thing is the rule is not fair.  It's discriminatory, in fact, but I'm sure my $125 will help the debt ceiling.  So what's the deal with the ticket?  I was within 300' of shore (at idle speed) in a no wake/idle speed zone, but personal watercraft can't be there under power, only boats can be within 300' of shore at idle.  I have to anchor 300' out and swim to shore (with both kids and a cooler of snacks).  A small jet-powered PWC captained by a conscientious driver is much less damaging to ecosystems than a boat, but I digress.  It's true that I did that illegal act in the National Lakeshore...which is why it's a federal ticket.  And I found out later that the feds were just out flexing their authority because of a jurisdictional pissing match.  Whatever.  The ticket will be paid and the kids are getting a lesson in Why Mommy Likes Limited Government. 

(Getting the ticket was quite a scene because of the whole jurisdictional angle...other police groups came out while I was being ticketing to make sure the Feds weren't overstepping their authority, then my dad stepped in and started arguing with the park ranger, then Bobo came over and started covering my feet with sand, then the town council president from the town where I was (the one with the jurisdictional issues) came out, then about 25-30 people started gathering around to find out what was going on.  Big fun.  Not embarassing at all.)

I gave blood last Tuesday. It was a hot day in Chicago.  The room where the blood drive was held was not air conditioned.  Blood donors were dropping like flies.  Since I had been spending so much time at the beach, I was acclimated to the heat and did just fine.  I even took the kids to a National Night Out Against Crime celebration that evening.  It was 91 degrees at 8 pm.  I had recruited several of our new hires and interns to be first time blood donors as well.  they did not fare so well, but they all promise they will give again....come Fall. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

First Ever

It is far easier to ignore my blog than to figure out how to sum up the last month. But I’m going to fill you in.

I went on “vacation” with my in-laws, who are lovely people, but are not my parents. Hence, things with them are just different. And it’s OK (sometimes tense, sometimes passive-aggressive) but OK. However, at a certain point, a certain 2-year old’s meltdowns coincided with my husband announcing that he was going fishing for 5 hours 5 minutes from now (not asking, but proclaiming) first thing in the morning after I had gotten 4 hours of sleep because of various child-related overnight waking things, and I had my first-ever bout of PMS. And I lost it. I lost my shit all over the place. It was not pretty. In fact, I had never actually hissed anything before.

My husband and I have been married almost 10 years. We had never up until that “vacation” had a fight before. We had disagreed about things, but never what I would classify as a fight. I stormed off the next morning with the kids. I took them to McDonald’s for pancakes and then the pharmacy since Bobo developed some kind of rash. I had actually contemplated putting them in the car and driving them home by myself. That’s when I knew I was blowing things out of proportion. Royally.

And wouldn’t you know the next time I went to the restroom, I had my period (and had not packed in a vacation supply of “supplies”). Yay! It was Cycle Day 25 and was one of the most classic PCOS periods evah! It lasted 2 weeks, which is super awesome, was gone for a couple of days, and then came back. For good measure.

I guess my husband was mad at me after my outburst, for which I refused to apologize because, really, who leaves during a child’s tantrum when I’m supposed to be on “vacation”? So I didn’t apologize, and he didn’t talk to me for two weeks. It was all pretty gruesome. Eventually, I apologized for overreacting. We have resolved that we have a difference of opinion as to how vacations should be spent.

Mostly, he thinks he’s on vacation and should get to relax and he thinks I should dump our kids with his parents so I can spend my time alone.

Except, I want to spend my vacation spending time as a family since in our real lives we get very few chances to do that. And I don’t want to be alone because I work in a building by myself all day and commute to and from work by myself. I spend a ridiculous amount of time by myself as it is. I want to spend time with my husband and children on vacation.  And if children are going to be dumped upon my in-laws, I really think it is my husband who should do the dumping because they are his parents.
So, our “vacation” usually involves him going off to relax by himself to do whatever he wants to do and me taking care of both kids by myself in the Northwoods of Wisconsin without the benefit of our normal toys or routines.

So, we’re not sure how to get past this, but this is the 10th or 11th time I have gone on this vacation and the longer we have kids, the worse this gets because the work load on me increases every year. Potty accident overnight…I’m washing sheets out in the sink and hanging them over the railing of the cabin’s deck so the kids have somewhere to sleep the next night. I keep telling myself (every single year) that it’s just one week and I need to suck it up because this is the only thing my husband looks forward to all year, and yet, I hate it so much, I don’t know how I can possibly go back next year (and we’re already booked for next year since he reserved our spot when he paid the bill).

It’s an agree to disagree kind of scenario. Oh, and I had dreams this year, since we bought the waverunner, of me just hopping on the waverunner while he was out and taking the kids on long rides, except it was so cold and rainy that it just wasn’t possible much of the time...nor was the park, the nature center, the guided nature walk, the wildlife rehab center. The only fun indoor thing I found was a hotel that would let you pay to go to their pool. That was a blast.

So, great and powerful readers, how would you resolve this conflict?  (Note:  I only get 3 weeks of vacation so taking another week-long family vacation is not going to happen because my vacation time is used for the first day of school, the class parties, field trips, parents' programs at school, volunteering in the classroom, Christmas, and covering the nanny's vacation days.)