Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I want to know why I cannot go into nesting mode on, say, a Sunday afternoon. Or a Tuesday morning. Or before midnight, really. Last night, after consuming a bowl of spaghetti, I zoned out on the sofa for an hour or so. I laid there, watching CSI: Miami, hating David Caruso and berating myself for not getting up and doing something. I actually drifted off to sleep for some indeterminable amount of time - I think it was about twenty minutes - when I woke up, absolutely stricken with the urge to finish cleaning the kitchen. It had to happen. I was putting something away in the fridge and thought, gosh, I need to clean out the fridge. While cleaning out the fridge I sat something on the stove and noted that my burner pans could use a good cleaning. After dismantling the stovetop and giving it all a good cleaning, I saw a box of clothes that had not been unpacked, so I switched rooms and started cleaning and sorting and putting away in our bedroom, occasionally going back into the kitchen to swipe at something with antibacterial cleaner, just for good measure. I made myself lay down around 1:30am, but still couldn't fall asleep for another half hour - I laid there, begging for sleep, and could only think of all the things that needed to be done around the house.

My sister-in-law is throwing me a small, family baby shower this weekend, which will be at my house. Ack! Grandparents, Aunts and in-laws, all under my roof at the same time. That's not even mentioning my father and my stepmother. My stepmother is a devoted and loving wife to my father, who means the best and wants the best for us, but the woman acts (at least I think, nay, hope it's an act) stupid around other people for some reason. The last time she was around my in-laws my mother-in-law followed her around making faces at her behind her back and doing that universal 'crazy' sign, where you twirl your fingers around your ears. I hope everyone behaves.

I was talking to my Aunt last night and she asked me what I needed, and I was stumped. What do I need? I literally had not thought about it. I knew I needed a car seat, and had already hit my father up for one, but outside of that, I didn't know. I realized I don't have a lot of those long sleeve, warm pajama sleeper things, I have no baby bath gear - towels, washcloths, CLR (that was for you, Clark), things like that. I have a metric TON of receiving blankets, I have a smattering on onesies in various sizes. I don't have any baby socks. While I was thinking about all this, I started to feel very ill prepared. And then there's the matter of the weather. It's usually still cold around the end of January around here, so I know I need some warm newborn stuff. But how long will he be in newborn clothes? I mean, I had a friend whose son never fit into newborn sizes - he came out needing 3-6 month sized clothes. He'll be fine. I suppose I have reached that point where my hormones have completely taken over, and they are doing a fine job of inciting panic. I need a boppie! And a breast pump! And a diaper bag! And diapers! I feel completely unprepared. I think that is the hormones talking. It will be fine, I will be fine, he will be fine, it will all be fine. On a completely unrelated note, this child gets the hiccups more often than any other fetus in the world, I think. He had them last night for what seemed like HOURS, and he has them again now. Bless his little heart.

I'm going to go drink my one cup of coffee I allow myself. And try to calm down. I'm exhausted, and frantic, and just need to settle down, but not so much that I fall asleep. Because that is generally frowned upon, sleeping at work.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I do not spend enough time with my daughter. It is that simple. And since we moved, I have been neglecting her and letting her spend waaaaaay too much time in front of the television while I waddle around, getting things done. And once she's in bed, and I am done for the evening, I will zone out in front of the television, as well, since my books are still packed. And I have felt compelled to do things until I am exhausted and in pain - work long days (because we need the money), or unpack and move and shuffle (because Brian is so busy and works such long days) until my belly button hernia is throbbing, or until my back gives out on me, or until I am having painful Braxton-Hicks contractions. No more, I say, no more.

My goal is to establish a routine. I think it will be good for all of us before Little Guy makes his appearance. I don't have a concrete plan in mind - just a few things that are floating around in my head. I know I want to spend more time with her, or at least make better use of the time we have together. I know I want to turn off the television. I want to teach her to help around the house. I want to eat dinner at the table with her, every night. I need to sit down and figure out what I want and how I'm going to implement it. I need to re-read my 'Mother's Rule of Life" and actually use some of the ideas there. I'm calling myself to action. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Loyal Order of Water Buffalos

Brian made his return to the lodge last night (he is a freemason). There was a family night, which I frankly can't stand attending. Tons of people show up and eat, then the menfolk go off to their secret meeting and the other womenfolk quickly disperse and head for home, leaving a very dirty kitchen. In the past I have gotten off work and arrived there just in time to eat the cold plate of leftovers that someone made up for me and then wash dishes and clean for another hour. Last night I had already decided I would not be cleaning up. I only went because Brian took Jacelyn and my mother-in-law, and both needed a ride home.

I got there and ate (attempting to comment quietly to Brian about how terrible the green beans were, only to discover that he made them - oops), smiled at the comments ("Oh, look, she swallowed a watermelon!") and tried to ignore the 'you-da-man' props the other men gave Brian upon discovering that I was pregnant, and with a boy no less. Lots of back patting and hand shaking and winking and whatnot. Silly boys.

One of the other masons has a young daughter, I think she is 18 or 19. At one such family night when Jacelyn was smaller she brought a friend with her, at proceeded to make me feel like crap when she literally pointed at me and said out loud in a normal tone of voice, "She was pregnant when she got married". I mean, so what, and all, but it wasn't the most polite thing to do. Last night I she walked over to me sporting a baby bump that rivaled my own. She is due a couple of weeks after me. She hasn't finished high school, she isn't married, and she broke up with the baby's father and, in her own words, "...kicked him out. That is my mother and father's house, and he's not going to be living there with me with that attitude". Sigh. Poor thing.

I ate, got my mother-in-law and daughter and we were out of there. Brian didn't come home until almost 10:00pm, and announced that the members asked him to be "master" next year. I just sighed. What do I say? I mean, it's his family tradition - the men in his family are masons going back generations and generations. And then there's the Catholic aspect of it, which I am still not 100% clear on (the Catholic church has denounced masonry for literally hundreds of years). And when I tentatively and carefully brought that up one day he waved it off. There are men in his lodge who are also Knights of Columbus. I don't understand the church's position on it entirely, but it nags at me a little.

To be "master" requires a lot of time. He already works ten hour days. You add in the half hour commute each way and that is eleven hours out of the house already, just with work. The lodge has two scheduled meetings per month, plus whatever other degrees, important visitors, visits to other lodges, etc.. I tried to gently remind him that he already works so much, and has a daughter who loves and misses him, and will shortly have a infant son, and that's not to mention his lovely wife, who will be frazzled trying to take care of a kindergartner and an infant, maintain a household, and work part time. He accepted the position, anyway. Sigh. So starting in the end of December he will be installed. I am fairly certain he is only doing this at his father's urging, and I don't know what to do about it.

I tried bringing it up with his mother last night, being very careful about how and what I said, but that didn't do any good. She has a very Wilma Flintstone attitude about the whole thing. My father-in-law is literally gone five or six nights out of the week to some lodge or another, and she complains occasionally, but her thoughts on the subject are as long as he takes her out shopping on the weekend, buys her dinner and gives her money, she's OK with it. I'm not OK with that. He can't buy our daughter off - there is no toy, no matter how fabulous, that will replace his role in her life. He needs to bond with his new son. And I certainly cannot be bought.

We will have to see how it goes. Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems right now. He was master once before, and he was busy, but I think his work schedule will limit some of his activities. I don't want him to burn out, either. We shall see!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wah-wah-wah Whine

I have waddled, reluctantly and wearily, into the third trimester. It's like someone flipped a switch. Overnight, everything aches and hurts and swells and is uncomfortable and you pee all the time (sometimes even making it to the bathroom) and you know it's the final stretch but it hurts so bad. The sad thing is, it's early yet for me! It's not going to get better; it's only going to get worse. That's OK, it will all be worth it when I hold little guy in my arms for the first time. I'm just tired. It will get better. I hope!

A typical night in the third trimester (at least for me):

11:00pm: Lie down on bed, attempting to sleep on your back. Find yourself unable to breathe and roll to your left side.

1:00am: Wake up with pain in left hip. Get up, pee, then come back to bed and lie down on right side.

3:00am: Wake up with pain in right hip. Ignoring urge to pee, roll back over to left hip only to discover it still hurts. Sniffle pitifully. Try laying on back; discover you still cannot breath. Gingerly find comfortable position on left hip.

3:05am: Angrily get up to go pee, since you forgot to go before you got comfortable.

3:10am: Feeling the stirrings of fetal movement, you return to bed and attempt to get comfortable again. Snarl at husband when he asks if you are OK. Find a tenously comfortable position on your left hip again.

3:12am: 'Fetal Dance Party' begins in your uterus, since all the moving has awakened your little one. Thinking a change in position whill settle the baby, you roll to your right side, only to discover that 1.) your right hip still hurts, and 2.) the baby is up and moving regardless of whatever position you might attempt.

3:30am: Cry silently as baby continues his early morning aerobics.

3:45am: Your right hip now hurts so bad you roll back over to your left hip, which still hurts. You are not surprised by this anymore, only pitifully accepting. Get up and pee just because you can, and because walking feels somewhat better than laying down at this point.

3:50am: Return to bed and roll around attempting to get comfortable. Loudly suggest to your sleeping husband things he could do to help you: "Why don't you carry this baby for me then, huh, buddy?", and offer up blame and guilt: "This is your baby, too, you know".

4:00am: Offer husband a teary "Well, FINE THEN" as he retreats to the sofa to get away from your rolling and complaining.

5:00am: Wake up, fully aware that both hips hurt and there is no comfortable position. Get up, pee, and walk around the house, mumbling things to yourself. Glare resentfully at sleeping family members. Watch a little TV and hate it; there is nothing good on at 5am. Turn off TV and return to bed, exhausted and still aching.

5:15am: Re-discover the power of prayer: "Please, God, let me sleep".

5:30am: Fall asleep in a bizarre, contorted position that requires multiple pillows in odd places and angles. Sleep for two hours. Get up, pee, and give up the notion of sleep for this day, at the very least.

9:30am: Try not to scream when a stranger in Wal-Mart tells you, "Well, sleep now, because you won't later". You somehow find the restraint to not shake them senseless and bellow, "I DON'T SLEEP NOW!". Grit your teeth as people you have never met and will never see again tell you how very "huuuuuuuuuuuuge" you are and express their horror that you are out in public in such a state and manner. Wish you really had gone through with making that t-shirt that says:
1.) It's a boy.
2.) I am due January 26th.
3.) Yes, I realize that I am enormous, possibly the most vast pregnant
woman you have ever seen. Thank you for taking time out of both
of our days to point that out, as it is exactly the boost to my esteem
I needed.

Yeah, that'll do. I'm going to try and find something that will give me the attitude adjustment I apparently desperately need. Here's hoping!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Babies and Ramen Noodles

Little Guy has dropped down a little bit lower, just overnight, it almost seems. Or maybe it's been a gradual process and I just haven't noticed. I found out at my last doctor's appointment that he is head down and ready to roll. I can't believe I'm 29 weeks already. Knowing myself the way I do, reality will not slap me in the face until I hit thirty weeks. Fourth quarter, people! Time to step up the game! I still need to pre-register at the hospital. Gotta do that. And pick a pediatrician. This might be a terrible thing, but I'm not obsessive over a pediatrician. I wasn't with Jacelyn, either. My doctor keeps encouraging me to interview pediatricians. What do you ask at one of those? "So, like kids?". I guess they have to like kids, or at least put up a good front. The only particular I have with a pediatrician is whether or not they will support breastfeeding. Other than that, I don't know. You can interview someone, but sitting there yakking about particulars is completely different from how they will actually be around your newborn/infant/toddler. I have reservations about some of the vaccinations, but none of the reservations are so powerful that I would not have him receive them. I guess. What do you ask? I'm clueless.

On the home front, my upstairs neighbor is apparently the Ping-Pong champion of the world. And being the Ping-Pong champion of the world requires practice, folks. None of this namby-pamby couple of hours of practice a night thing - Thursday night there was ping-pong action from about 9:30pm until about 4:00am.I laid down on the loveseat just before 10:00, determined to prop my feet up to hopefully alleviate the massive swelling in my ankles. I watched a little TV and then drifted off to sleep, but was awakened by the ping-pong upstairs. It's not just the pinging and ponging that drives you crazy; it's also the foot motion involved. While at the table itself you have to jump, and slide, and shift around, and then when you aren't playing you have to go outside for a smoke, and apparently run laps around the living room to stay warmed up until it is your turn again. And when you leave at 3AM to make a beer run you have to talk loudly on the stairs, saying "Dude!" a lot, followed by other silly and inane things, but you have to make certain that the 'Dude!" is audible for a good fifty feet, otherwise you aren't cool. And when you're in the ping-pong game, there's nothing more important than street cred. I did take the time to lay there and marvel at their staying power. I think the only things I have ever done for seven hours straight is work, sleep, and read. I endured the noise out of sheer laziness and comfort, but was finally forced to my bedroom at about 4AM. I don't know if there was a doubles match taking place or what, but the foot traffic noise had picked up considerably, and the scribble-scrabbling from over my head was too much to take. The noise wasn't nearly as bad once I was in my bed. They have their ping-pong table in their dining room, which is the room furthest away from the two bedrooms, so it didn't disturb Brian or Jacelyn a bit. Thankfully. Things were better last night. I don't know if the ping pong marathon wore them out, but they were decidedly subdued. We shall see. They seem harmless, if not a little annoying (the entire crowd smokes on the balcony and throws their cigarettes onto the ground, so our patio area is littered with the things). But it could be worse, so I'll roll with it.

Unpacking is going slowly, but at least it is going. We're having Brian's family over for dinner tomorrow evening, so I have a deadline to keep in making things look presentable. Even if that means taking the final few boxes, shoving them into our room and closing the door. I have to say all this cleaning and sorting and putting away is good for my nesting instincts. And I had a moment the first morning we were there that made it all worth it, when I realized I was standing in the kitchen, washing dishes while wearing only my underwear. That moment, odd as it may sound, was magical to me, especially considering that 1.) I have lived with my in-laws for the last 2 1/2 years, and 2.) before that I lived with my sister-in-law for a year, so I haven't been able to wash dishes in my underpants for quite some time. Hooray!

For dinner last night I made the most bizarre salad that turned out to be quite good. I have a enduring fondness and love for ramen noodles, so that must be taken into consideration before you make a face at my atrocious taste:

Ramen Spinach Salad
2 (3 ounce) packages chicken flavored ramen noodles
8 cups torn spinach leaves
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup sliced red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 red bell pepper, sliced
20 grape clusters, for garnish
Cook ramen noodles according to package directions, without adding the flavor packets. Drain noodles and cool. Cut noodles into large bite size pieces.
In a large bowl combine the torn spinach leaves, cooked turkey or chicken, halved grapes, red pepper, cashews, Gorgonzola or blue cheese, and ramen noodles.
In a small bowl mix flavor packets, garlic, and lemon juice and let stand at least 15 minutes. Add oil and mayonnaise and whisk until smooth.
Pour dressing over salad and toss until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with red pepper rings and small grape clusters, if desired. Serve.

I changed this quite a bit, to accommodate our sad lack of groceries: I only used one packet of chicken ramen, and about half a bag of regular fresh spinach mixed with a few handfuls of plain old garden salad mix (to make up for our pitiful lack of other vegetables). We cut up a rotisserie chicken Brian brought home from work, added some sliced tomatoes, and I only had green grapes, so I quartered a handful of those and tossed them in. I didn't have cashews, bell pepper, or cheese, so I had to omit those as well. I did make the dressing almost as directed, except I only used the one seasoning packet from the ramen noodles (and kept the dressing on the side, as I was dubious about it). I let the garlic, seasoning and lemon juice sit for fifteen minutes, then mixed it with the mayo (Duke's fat-free) and olive oil and put it in the fridge, where it sat for about a half hour or so. When I first mixed it up it tasted way too salty, but after sitting the fridge for a while it thickened up and mellowed a bit. I actually liked it (and I am notoriously picky), and Brian liked it, too. We polished off the whole big salad and all the dressing. Yum! Weird, but yum.

I'm going to get some work done and try to get through this day so I can get home and hang out with Jacelyn, whom I feel like I haven't really seen or spent time with in weeks. Have a good weekend and a good Veteran's Day!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Man Killed; Wife Responsible

Pensacola, FL: A 29-year old pregnant woman murdered her husband with her bare hands yesterday, literally choking the life out of him as they shopped for furniture. "It was the two-tone sofa," the woman sobbed. "It was a dark brown fleather (fake leather) base with a khaki microsuede pillow top. When he added the pie-slice shaped cherry and glass end tables and the granite-colored polka dotted lamps I just snapped, I couldn't stop myself".

According to the wife, the incident occurred after roughly six hours and eight different furniture stores. The man insisted they go back to their first stop of the day, a Rooms to Go, and was seriously inquiring about a ridiculously expensive furniture package when the woman grabbed him by the throat and choked him. "He's just too big to shake" she was overheard saying. "Otherwise I would have just shaken the s**t out of him".

A salesperson named Krissy was also injured in the incident. She was treated and released at a local hospital for injuries consistent with being shaken vigorously. A witness at the scene reported: "The wife just kept shaking her and screaming, 'Don't encourage him! What are you doing? Those pieces do not go together!'". The wife reportedly told police the salesperson kept telling her husband he had 'an eye' for interior design.

The woman is currently out on bail pending further investigation. A source in the prosecutor's office has said that charges will most likely not be filed, since " really was a terribly ugly furniture grouping".

I really hate furniture shopping, can you tell? I really could have murdered Brian yesterday. Luckily (for him) we did not purchase the offensive furniture in question.

This is the sofa. Apparently the lamp and the table set are so terrible that RTG won't put them on the website, so you'll have to use your imagination. The sofa:

Now picture this sofa with cherry and glass pie-slice shaped coffee and end tables, and then add two very bulky textured lamps with enormous raised polka dots in a granite-gray color. It was terrible. Like I said, we didn't buy it, but I was scared - it was a close call.

Brian hates everything I like. I, being a mature adult, am willing to compromise, so I told him I would just go with what he liked. Until I saw this grouping, and then I had serious second thoughts. Luckily for me, 'Krissy' fibbed about some pricing items and then neglected to mention the additional $110 for what is basically ScotchGaurd-ing (apparently a 'required option', a phrase which has amused me endlessly). Brian was livid and we left. Whew!

Moving in went terribly. We actually didn't move in. The apartment wasn't ready that morning (that's why we ended up furniture shopping), so we had to wait until 2:00. We actually didn't get there until 3:30, and walked in to a nasty mess. The carpet was still wet, for one. And the apartment itself was disgusting. Mold in and on the refrigerator, cigarette butts on the floor, the stove and oven had not even been touched. Mildewed caulking in the bathroom. I can't even list all the issues we had. Brian called the office and told them that we expected to clean when we moved in, but we thought that they might have the place cleaned, and it didn't look like they did. They ended up sending their cleaning crew out again, and we were told to come back at 6:00.

We returned at 6:00 to a marginally cleaner home. Still mold and mildew everywhere, but whatever. So Michelle, Joe and I cleaned until about 12:30am. I went home and collapsed into bed, and here I am looking at a weekend of cleaning and moving. Sigh. It will all be worth it soon, that's what I keep telling myself.

Brian watched Jacelyn while we cleaned, feeding her and got her showered and in bed (almost certainly late - I didn't ask because I didn't want to know, but judging from her demeanor this morning before school she was up late), and then hung out at his mother's house, calling us occassionally to check in. He later decided to replace all the light bulbs with energy effecient bulbs, so he went to the store and bought a ton of bulbs, and then came over and got in everyone's way changing them, walking through freshly mopped floors in his sneakers, flipping the light out in the bathroom while I was cleaning the shower....really, I think if I had killed him yesterday no jury would have convicted me.

So moving happens Sunday. The only item in the house are Jacelyn's bathroom set, and then Brian's new living room furniture (ugh) and the television that he insisted on bringing over, to 'make sure that the cable works'. Here's to a busy weekend!