Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quote of the day

Said by my husband when I called my husband from work to see if he needed me to pick up anything on the way home:

I have a baby in one arm, a dog in the other and I’m holding a book which she is trying to eat! I can’t talk to you too! Come home. Bye!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The longer the move takes, the less time devoted to pretty much ANYTHING else

(oops, wrote this one and forgot to post - so a late post - meaning, I actually sent my Christmas cards before the 23rd!)

The move keeps dragging. Originally we were going to get in the first weekend we had the place (that’s when the movers dropped off most of our stuff). Then we needed another week because of all the unplanned painting to be done. Then just one more – as painting takes a lot longer than we thought… And the longer the move takes, the less I do anything else. I took the munchkin for Christmas pictures very early so that I could have the cards all ready to go to send with our new address before we started receiving cards (and so they wouldn’t get lost in the move). Admittedly I was slow about printing out labels and all that, but when I finally was ready to go on them, I found I had no energy to write much of anything on them!

This has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine… I know I’m going to get flack for this, but hear me out. I get Christmas cards from college friends who I haven’t seen in years and they just sign their names – no updates on family or life, no photocopied Christmas note. As we’ve gotten older and everyone starts to have kids, they include a picture – so that’s kind of an update in itself. Although then the card is pre-signed, so they just stuff it in an envelope (with an address label) and send it off – feels like we could do that by email.

I know I’m being picky and petty. I actually really enjoy getting the Christmas pictures of my friends’ kids. It just starts to feel a little impersonal, I guess.

I mentioned this a few years ago to one of my friends – who does always write a note – and she said I’d see how much harder it is when I had kids (it’s her answer to a lot of things I say…). But now, with the move, I am ready to just shove these babies in envelopes – with my pre-printed labels, and printed new return address labels (just hoping they notice that it says we’ve moved!). I feel like I complained a bit too much about that in the past – and it does still feel too impersonal (if I like you enough to send you a Christmas card, I feel like I should say hi on it…), so I put a brief note on most of them. (To be fair, my husband’s relatives and college friends who I don’t know so well and my distant second cousins, etc. … did not get notes!) However my sentiments got shorter and shorter as I thought about my move to do list! Good friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time got a simple “Miss you! Hope to see you at the holidays!”

Great. I’ve totally turned into the thing I used to mock! I’m going to do my best to blame it on the move rather than the babe. We’ll see how that works for me … next year… (I’m sure they’ll be something new to blame it on then!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are you going to keep this wallpaper?

Lest there be any doubt on the design of our wallpaper… I had told my husband (before we knew about any other issues) that the kitchen wallpaper just HAD to go before we moved in. It’s yellow with some flowers and berries and is really just very busy – and covers the kitchen and adjoining hallway. I’d sent pictures of the house / the website info to a few different people all of whom sighed in relief when I told them that wallpaper was going. One actually said – thank goodness you said that, as I was going to tell you – friends don’t let friends keep that wallpaper.

But I do have to admit now that we’ve removed the other extensive red toile wallpaper from our entry / stairway and now that the previous owner’s floral furniture is gone, it doesn’t seem quite so egregious to me. I’m not saying I like it! I’m just less repulsed. But clearly I’ve just gotten used to the pain…

Our first weekend, our new neighbors sponsored their church youth group to rake our front lawn as a welcome to the neighborhood present. It was really kind of them (although a little part of me does think that they also just wanted the darn leaves gone! I mean, the place obviously hadn’t been raked all fall and it was covered! We have a lot of trees, so even the front lawn alone resulted in about 25 bags of leaves – God help us in trying to figure out what to do in the back! But that’s not our priority when so much is left to be done on the inside – a fact I think our neighbor’s must have guessed… But anyway - ). When we saw the large group of teens working outside, we brought out some drinks and snacks and told them that they were welcome to use the bathroom (the one on the first floor as no, you can’t not walk on my new carpet in leaf raking shoes!). One girl, who was about 14, was waiting for the bathroom and turned to my husband and said – so, are you going to keep this wallpaper in the kitchen? Hahahaha! He told her, no, I think we’re going to take this down. Why? Do you like it? She responded – no, not particularly. Then she went on to explain that it was a bit much next to the red bathroom (yes, the red toile wallpaper was in there too – but in this case only halfway up to the chair rail molding and the top was painted red.). But then she qualified that she actually sort of liked the bathroom – um, thanks kid, so do I.

Thus far only one person has ‘voted’ in favor of the wallpaper (it’s not my husband or me and this isn’t a democracy!) – even among strangers who’ve come in. I wonder where my wallpaper scorer went…

Now THIS makes me feel old and suburban… (About your tree?)

Day two of home ownership and my husband was at the house trying to get everything done – stripping wallpaper, painting baseboards, dealing with the HVAC guy and chimney sweeps and so on. One of the neighbors came over to say hello. She introduced herself (and checked the place out!) and then said, hey, will you step outside with me? My husband was a little surprised, but said – OK… They got outside and this is the conversation that followed (well, approximately! I wasn’t there):

Neighbor: You know, your property actually extends pretty far over this way (indicating towards her house).
Hubby: oh yes, I know. It’s a big lot (where is she going with this?).
Neighbor: So all these trees are yours.
Hubby: Yes
Neighbor: And they all drop leaves on my lawn.
(Ah, this is where she is going with this…)
Neighbor: I can’t even grow grass because I get no sun.
Hubby: Actually, you know, there’s a type of fescu that is just perfect to grow in shady areas. It has a shallower root base and thicker leaves, so it doesn’t need as much sun.
(Editor’s note here: He made that up. He knows nothing about this. Apparently fescu (however it’s spelled) is a real grass. Maybe it’s good in shade (maybe not). I have no idea why. And more importantly, he has no idea why. He was just trying to redirect – I mean we weren’t even moved in yet!)

The conversation continued…

Neighbor: I think we should landscape it.
(Note – we. We, huh? Lady, landscape your little heart out. I’m pretty busy ripping down wallpaper.)

Finally, Hubby looked at her and said something like – Look, I’ve owned this house TWO DAYS now.

She backed off a little. But then pretty much redeemed herself as a neighbor by saying she would buy the plants if we would plant them.

So I started telling people this story – my Mom, some friends, etc. And suddenly I realized – oh my God, I’m telling stories about my neighbors! I’m having whole conversations regarding the foliage in my yard! I’m like a thousand years old now…

The neighborhood Christmas tea

So before we had even actually moved into the house, there was a note in my mailbox inviting me to the 7th annual neighborhood Christmas tea (!). I have to tell you – I grew up on a really busy street with no other kids on the block and no HOAs. My parents have owned (still do) that house for more than 40 years and when I was little, many of the neighbors were original owners. So we knew them all – I think we were a novelty – like standby / practice grandkids in the neighborhood (though I think most of their grandkids were actually older than us). But still, as it was a busy street and most of the families were older, there was never once a block party or anything like that. To be honest, I thought block parties were a made up thing on TV. You know, like how everyone sits on ones side of the dinner table in TV shows or the living room is set up so everyone faces one way? Block parties were a TV thing like that. (A side note – my parents also never complained about their in-laws. Both sides of my family are pretty nice generous people, so I think that made it easier, but I also remember my Mom saying, how could you ever have a real animosity for the person who gave birth to / raised the person you love most in the world? OK, so I’ve seen some of my friend’s mothers in law who perfectly answer that question, but still, I get her point. Anyway, as a kid I also thought that in-law jokes were just something for TV. Not something real or based on any actual animosity. So I was overall sheltered.)

Anyway, my in-laws neighborhood had a block party a couple of years ago – my first. Apparently, according to my husband, a block party veteran, it was a truly lame block party. No grill, no keg, etc. And here I was thinking I hadn’t missed out on anything as a kid. But, according to him, a “real” block party was much better and something worth going to. OK, I’ll take your word for it.

My only experiences with these types of neighborhood community events are the parties run by prior condo associations. While they are trying, the reality is that they often are pretty lame and lack real mingling too. I’ve usually brought friends and encouraged them to do their best to drink back my condo fees.

So a neighborhood tea – one held the week I moved in – seemed such a novelty! Where have I moved? Is this a good thing – a real community? Neighbors who understand that the word means more than a shared property line? Or a bad thing – have I moved to Stepford?

It turns out it’s the first – wow! I brought the munchkin with me as the hubby had worked the night before and gotten no sleep. She was the only baby, but they’d said it was OK to bring her along – and boy was she the hit of the party! Most of the people there seemed at least a little (to a lot) older than me. I’m not sure all their ages, but have to guess from the ages of their children (and grandchildren and great grandchildren). There were actually a good number with teenage kids (and at least one with a 6 and 9 year old. My Mom pointed out that I could have a 9 year old if I’d started really young. OK, maybe… But could we stop aging me?). They had tea and snacks and everyone was very anxious to help me get some as I was holding the baby – it was really very nice (as I’d been wondering how on earth I’d manage). As I was sitting, someone next to me said – I’m just dying for my turn to hold your baby. Well, how could I resist (I could finally eat the chocolate mousse cake then!) – and she went no fuss! She actually was OK being held by a few people – as long as she could pull off / attempt to eat their name tags.

They actually had a short program – first an icebreaker to introduce everyone and then someone gave a short presentation on the meaning of Christmas and bringing the light of it into our lives (getting beyond all our busy-ness to remember what it was about. This was definitely the neighborhood CHRISTMAS tea, not the holiday tea.). It was actually pretty nice – not overly preachy and pretty open. And, through the intros, you could see that everyone was pretty friendly and laid back.

I have to admit that it all seemed a little surreal – so much unlike what I’m used to. But all in a really good way. And not once did anyone bring up our leaves or our trees or whatever other mess we need to sort with this house!

Friday, December 18, 2009

New carpets

On the bright side, we did want new carpets and now they will all be done before we even move in. On the down side – they are taking ALL our available funds. The entire slush fund that represented our emergency savings post settlement. OK, we do get paid this week, so we’ll be OK – as long as nothing else happens (dear God, was that bad horror movie juju or what? I take that back. I never said that!). We’re working on negotiating getting at least some of the money back from the security deposit. (Actually, basically, what we would like is enough money to cover all the carpets – not all were stained, but we had to replace all of upstairs and the stairs so that they match. And because we were going to do it anyway eventually, let’s just make it one big project. If that’s covered, we’ll worry about coming up with cash for the rough in at some future point when we get to that.) Sadly, the couple who’d been so nice up until this point is now digging in their heels. My husband pointed out that I probably wouldn’t want to just give up a few thousand dollars without a fight either, but I don’t like the way they’re doing it. They could argue that based on the grade of carpet or what have you, we should split the cost. Heck, they could even TRY to argue that the carpets weren’t that bad (they were). But that’s not the approach. They are arguing that we should have known about the carpets from our walk throughs (despite the furniture). Heck, they are now even arguing that they’re not responsible for the rough in that was in the listing and they confirmed was there multiple times. I think their argument is that it’s not listed in the contract. Yeah, you know why that is? Because plumbing conveys! You don’t HAVE to list plumbing!

Anyway, their demeanor on this is making us want to ask for even more! But I think we’re caving at 60% (slightly less than the carpet cost, but it will cover most of it) to just be done with it. It’s just all added so much extra stress! Because, given the state, we couldn’t move in with it – which meant it had to be done almost immediately. And, hey, if you’re carpeting, you should really paint first – which meant ripping down A LOT of red toile wallpaper (it covered the foyer, stairs and upstairs hall. If that doesn’t sound so bad, you should probably know that the dining room next to it was navy and the living room on the other side was sort of a peach color – and then there was other very busy wallpaper in the kitchen.). Sadly, we just ran out of time, so we just ripped down the wallpaper and prepped the rooms and then painted the baseboards – as they will be closest to the carpet. But in the plans to do this, my husband decided he was simply too disgusted by the carpet to even kneel on it while he worked, so he ripped it up first – discovering that the stains penetrated the carpet pad and had even stained the floor boards. Thank God they weren’t wet / didn’t smell or have mold. But can you imagine how gross they were / how much there was to pass through all of that?!

But now we have new carpets and have begun the work of painting – and have realized in the process that we have essentially recreated the design of our condo (essentially the same carpets and exactly the same wall color). Well, or we almost have – the condo is (sadly!) still nicer as it has crown molding! We’ll be remedying this soon… I’m beginning to wonder about our logic in moving (something I’m sure I’ll REALLY wonder about when the first mortgage bill comes due…)


Ah thank God the time has finally come! My in-laws have been amazing in their generosity with us as they’ve opened up their home, but it is definitely time to go. We went to the final walk through for the new house and it is now ours. And we are discovering the “joys” of homeownership right away…

Every time we’d seen the house before it was jam packed with stuff! There was barely an inch of floor space. So when we’d seen the carpets upstairs, we knew that they were a bit worn and we’d need to replace them in the next few years. But we figured we had a few years. With ALL the furniture gone, it turned out there were - what we are politely calling lots of pet stains. Less politely, it looks like the dog must have pooped all over one room and in many places in a second. Actually, checking the stains on the carpet that we could see before – those were probably cleaned up poop stains. Anyway, the carpet absolutely has to go – as my husband said, he wouldn’t let the dog in there, never mind his 9 month old!

The other issue is there was no rough in for plumbing in the basement. Again, the basement was jam packed with stuff, so we could never see the exact area where it should be, but every time we came, they assured us it was there. Now that it was finally empty – no rough in. To be fair, my husband asked the owner to show him where it was. She went downstairs and pointed, saying, there it is. He responded – that’s the sump pump. (As an aside, yes, I totally would have believed that was whatever you told me it was as well. Well, maybe I could recognize a sump pump… but I’m not sure.)

Because we did the leaseback, we’ve already settled and can’t go through this at settlement. However we did a hold a security deposit with the title company, so now we have to start negotiating on that. Unfortunately, the security deposit isn’t really enough to cover all that’s missing, but as my husband is handy, I think we can make it work – not that we’ll likely get the whole thing. It’s all just such a pain and we really want to be done with it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


So here’s a gross one… awhile ago I noticed a few little black spots on the tubing for my breast pump. I didn’t think much about it – figured they got dirty somewhere and left it at that. My husband happened to notice them last week, though, and said – um, that’s mold. How disgusting! He was insistent that we should cut them at the moldy part and get rid of it (when multiple cleaning attempts failed), but I didn’t want to do that for fear they might not fit right after that and the pump wouldn’t work – because then what would I do!?

So I went to Babies R Us the next day – and nothing. They don’t sell them. You have to go to the Medela website. I went to the website and was about to order the ($20!) new tubing when I noticed a mention of the 1 to 2 year warranty on the parts. Well, I haven’t had this a year… So I decided to send a note asking how to clean them and, if they couldn’t be cleaned, if they were under warranty. They responded right away that they would send new tubes free of charge! Woo hoo! Who’d have thunk it? So glad I asked…

Monday, December 14, 2009

All about Meme: 5 People you'd like to swing a golf club at

So today's prompt is 5 people you'd like to swing a golf club at. I suppose I can't start with people who won't get merry and happy at the holidays as a flying golf club makes me a bit un-merry too and it seems counterproductive. So let's try again -

1. The BIGGEST, BADDEST, Big Bertha of a poison filled club at the dang bugs in the house! We've finally gotten posession of this house (moving stories to follow later) and I keep finding big disgusting bugs! And little insidious bugs! And YUCK!!! They need to go! I thought that terrible anaconda sized snakeskin indicated that something had already eaten all my bugs (He's apparently gone or he'd be getting a golf club - but it would be thrown at him. From a distance. While I ran and screamed like a little girl).

2. This next one is for my husband (meaning on behalf of, not coming FOR his head) and it's for the last person to paint this place. The clean up work needed to even get to our own painting is painful. The other day he was fuming - who paints over light sockets?! That is just shoddy work. (note - I am probably lazy enough to paint over light sockets. That's why he is in charge of painting projects.)

3. Myself - for having so much stuff that must move and be unpacked and places must be found for it. This has the added advantage of not only taking out frustration, but also, if I'm knocked out / laid up, someone else is in charge of unpacking! ;)

4. Movers! All of them. Everywhere. Them and my list of other unsavory types - mattress salesman, real estate agents and anyone in the wedding industry!

5. I'm with Supah Mommy on the inventor of the big blow up Christmas lawn decorations. Thank God we are too strapped for cash this season to afford any as my husband has his eye on a few...

I'm saving a special bonus club (my mulligan!) for my husband if he doesn't get on the ball with Christmas shopping. I won't hit (too) hard. I promise...

Questions of vaccination – H1N1

We just went for my daughter’s 9 month check up – she’s doing well. 95th percentile in height, 50th in weight and 75th in head circumference – the doctor has told me numerous times not to worry about the discrepancy as she’s just making herself tall and skinny like we all want to be. Anyway, the kid has so much energy she probably can’t get any more weight on her!

Unfortunately we couldn’t see our regular doctor, so instead had to see the one who always wears bowties – and always seems amused by my lists of questions (amused in that way that he seems to want to pat me on the head. This from a grown man wearing a bowtie!). Anyway, we starting working through my list (numbering 15 this time – you’re starting to be amused and want to pat me on the head too, don’t you?) and got to vaccinations. He got that sort of amused smile (I’m holding off from going so far as to call it condescending, but may yet revise) and said something like, ah yes. OK, what do you want to know? After he explained that she’d get her Hep B booster and her flu shots, we started on our questions.

I have to stop here and say – I’m not anti-vaccination. I know people have good reasons for being anti-vaccination and everyone is entitled to their beliefs, particularly in raising their children. But these are not my beliefs. I am not crunchy granola. I do not disagree with using medications – and heck, other chemicals – appropriately and in reason. I know that vaccines have risks overall, but do generally believe there is a greater risk to not getting vaccinated. That said… the flu vaccine has its own special place in this discourse for us. For several reasons. I’ll go with the low end ones first – my husband’s first question was about the efficacy of the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines. I mean the flu vaccine is always a guess as to what this year’s strain of flu will be – so you get the vaccine, but they’re wrong on what the prevalent type of flu is and you get the flu anyway. And H1N1 was sort of rushed to market this year due to the scare, so that’s another concern. The doctor got his back up a little at these comments explaining how good and useful and well tested they are.

So then we brought out the big guns – we told him we were nervous about side effects. With that little smile, he asked why? Then my husband wiped that smile off his face by explaining that he had had very serious (in fact, life threatening) complications from the flu vaccine in college. He spent months in the hospital with Gullian Barre syndrome, which had actually completely paralyzed him for weeks. Now we had the doctor’s attention a little more, but he still explained that GBS was a 1 in 1 million chance. I told him that I understood that, but that it’s hard when 1 in 1 million is sitting next to me and such a close blood relative to my baby. My husband also pointed out that GBS is highly under diagnosed (the doctor really fought back on that one, but I will have to disagree with him, as my husband was lucky that (only) one of the doctors in the ER he went to even knew to test for it) and is often not linked causally to the flu shot when it likely should be. The doctor shot back that still 1 in 8000 people die from the flu each year (hard to point out that I don’t know any of those people, but I do know someone who had GBS. Statistics never mean a thing to the individual.).

We only talked to him a few minutes and then took 5 minutes to talk amongst ourselves – should we do this? The chances of anything happening to her from the shot were so low – GBS is not genetic. The chances of getting H1N1 are so much higher and so risky for her age. But either option feels so potentially devastating to us. Parenting is hard! After weighing our options, we decided we would do H1N1, but not the seasonal flu shot. So we found the nurse and told her – she came back with a form we had to fill out and sign to get H1N1 – question #4, has your child ever had Guillain Barre Syndrome?

Oh crap. It was all jumping back up at us and we felt totally undecided again. I didn’t know my husband when he had GBS, but I’ve heard enough to have some idea of the stress is caused. The night he went to the hospital, at 20 years old, he was told to make his peace and say his goodbyes to his parents. He beat the odds and lived, but had to learn to walk again. He finally got out of the hospital after about 3 months and returned home while all his friends finished out the semester. He went back for the fall semester about 7-8 months after his first diagnosis, but now says that that was probably really too soon physically. Mentally and emotionally, he needed to get out of his house and back to school then though! Actually, I take back my initial statement – I don’t think I have any possible concept of how hard and stressful that was. But I saw how hard it was making this decision about what to do for our tiny little person who was dependent on us to make the right decision.

So we stepped back and decided not to get the shot then. I have no idea if this is the right decision. I actually have no idea if this is even the final decision – we may yet go back and get it. But until then we deliberate – and, hey, don’t sneeze near my baby!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

9 months – out as long as in

The little monkey is now 9 months old – meaning she has been outside as long as she has been in. And, sadly, this is totally feeling like an accomplishment to me! I remember reading a friend’s blog years ago about one of her kids birthdays – she said that she felt like every birthday was an accomplishment / a validation – like, hey, I’ve managed to keep these beings alive for another year! At the time, I didn’t get it (I was sort thinking – shouldn’t their birthday be more about them / their accomplishment), but I’m starting to now. Before she arrived, I was so worried we’d permanently scar her (be it emotionally, mentally or physically!) by this point, that I feel like there’s almost relief that it doesn’t FEEL LIKE we’ve totally screwed up yet. Although she is spoiled and plays us like a piano (look who’s still sometimes waking up at night in no predictable pattern!). But I think she’s mostly spoiled the way babies should be – she’s totally “over-loved” by parents and grandparents and tons of extended family! And, in turn, we, as her parents are totally spoiled by their love and generosity!

But that wasn’t so much the point of this (must be getting into the holiday spirit!). It’s just amazing to me how quickly so much time has passed. I was warned it would – but still can’t believe it. It’s amazing to me all that has changed in the last 9 (and 18) months – to think, a year ago, I was still anticipating her arrival. A year ago was my baby shower where I got so much pink stuff I became utterly paranoid that the sonogram would be wrong and she wouldn’t actually be a girl and I’d be in trouble!

It’s hard to remember my life before her. At times I do long for just a day or two of sleeping in, getting to relax with a book and a glass of wine or having a night out with friends, but mostly it seems like my life must have been a little empty before her because it’s so full of her now!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The time before memories.

It recently occurred to me that we’re in an interesting time. My daughter is 9 months old – so what we do effects her and who’ll she’ll be – but she won’t remember a thing about this time! Seriously. My earliest memories, which are very vague and seem more like photos I’ve seen sometimes than real memories, start around 3 or 4 and stay hazy for awhile. I’m not sure I can remember a think about pre-K and barely remember kindergarten. My husband has a better long term memory than me (but much worse for anything that’s happened since we’ve met!) and can remember specifics from when he was 3 and even some details from before that – but certainly nothing as far back as 9 months!

It was an odd feeling. In certain ways, oddly liberating – we can’t screw her up too bad yet! (Can we?) In certain ways, it makes sense – you really don’t want to remember someone changing your diaper (I think I hope some form of dementia keeps me from remembering on the other end should it come to that) or ‘sucking out your brains’ with a nasal aspirator. Then there’s the scary morbid part that thought – if I died right now, she’d never remember me. (Yeah, way to go down that path.)

But then again, I know that even though she won’t remember it, this is the foundation. She won’t remember whether I came when she cried, but, depending on which doctor you’re buying into, either she’ll remember that she can manipulate me through tears or she’ll remember that she was not left alone. Or if I don’t, she’ll remember that Mom doesn’t just give in because you cry or that she was abandoned. Though I mix and match the two concepts to make the decision on whether to pick the baby up when she cries in the night just as scary as it can possibly be!

Anyway, it all seems odd. These weeks and months are flying by – as I was warned they would! – so that sometimes even my own memories of them seem so strange and vague (especially the sleep deprived very beginning!). They are so important (I think all the doctors agree on that part – that if you don’t follow them exactly, you’ll totally screw your kid up because this time is so important!), yet so fleeting and she won’t remember them. I’m not usually this ‘poetic’ (or corny), but it makes me want to gather them up in my hands and hang on to them. I don’t want to keep her like this forever, per se, but I think I’d like babyhood and childhood doled out in portions over life – so you can have it a little bit at a time and appreciate it. Heck, I’d like that for myself (not necessarily babyhood, but childhood!). My husband suggested this as well, but I realize that the fatal flaw is that you can’t mix it in with teenager-dom – when you probably need it most – because you might throw them out the window during the baby days, as you know you can totally “take them” then.

Time to get our own place!

OK, the countdown is finally winding down! We may actually be in our house in just a couple of weeks. And man is it ever time! Most recently I mentioned to my husband that we needed to put the suitcases away from our trip our few weeks back. He pointed out that we’re moving in a couple of weeks and will need them then, so why bother? And I agreed. A couple of weeks and I agreed! I went in for the logic of – why make the bed, I’m just going to sleep in it later? But the truth is I’m worn down by our tight quarters and can barely care anymore. My only fear – as we’ve made SUCH a mess of the two small rooms where we and the baby are living – is that I’m letting the bad habits (that I’ve spent the last 3 years of our marriage trying to eradicate) set in for good. My husband hasn’t put laundry away in weeks (maybe the 2+ plus months we’ve been here), but I can barely argue as there’s barely a place for any of it to go anyway.

So keep your fingers crossed – I don’t relish yet another move (it’s going to be an absolutely CRAZY week from when the current tenants leave till we get in – think chimney sweeps, hvac cleaning, rug cleaning, floor cleaning, movers, and pretty much any other service man you can think of…), but man will I be happy to be settled!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nasal aspirators, snot suckers and brain eaters

As I mentioned the other day, there’s been a cold (and/or the flu) going around our house recently. My husband and mother in law were hit worst. I was just feeling a little under the weather / tired, but no big deal and the baby had the sniffles. But you know what baby sniffles mean? They mean someone has to get that gunk out of her nose because she can’t do it herself – and so we introduce the nasal aspirator, or as we call it, the snot sucker. She loves it! Just loves it. Who wouldn’t love having some plastic jammed up their nostril to suck gunk out? Clearly the screaming and head thrashing and hands up mean that she LOVES it – right? That’s a true sign of baby love.

It occurred to me that it’s not much fun and maybe it hurts or is uncomfortable, so I asked my husband if he’d ever tried it on himself. He looked at me like I was nuts and said, no, why would I do that? Now before you think I’m totally nuts too, not only is he a man who tried all the baby food (and breast milk!) to see what it tasted like (as did I – except the bananas because I hate bananas!), but he's also a paramedic – so he has to do this to people a lot. And heck – maybe they had to practice it on each other in clinicals or something? What do I know? I know they all had to start IVs on each other (reason number 8000 why I will never be a paramedic. I don’t do well with that when the really skilled practitioners do it. Like I want a rookie!), so it’s not totally unreasonable. But he said no, he hadn’t. So I decided to try it on myself (yes I cleaned it before and after!) and I’ll tell you what – nothing. It felt like NOTHING! I tried shoving it really far up my nostril figuring her nostril is lot smaller than mine, so that would be more comparable. And I did it with the big, hospital issued one, rather than the nice cute little CVS one we got more recently. Now, it’s arguable that it feels different for her. She’s smaller and all that. But sometimes she sits for the little purple CVS one like it’s no big deal (which it is!) and she doesn’t even notice. So I really don’t think it hurts her or causes discomfort.

Which leads me to believe she must think we’re attempting to suck out her brain with it. Sure she’s 9 months old. So she doesn’t know what a brain is. Or more to the point – she doesn’t know where her brain is to know that this would be the right access point. But otherwise I’m at a loss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Closing on the house

The day is finally coming when we will move! We have FINALLY closed – though we still have a lease back agreement for a few weeks after that. Closing went well. We did the walk through the night before – which was interesting, in that all their stuff is still there because they’re not moving yet! They are making some progress on packing – slowly, but surely – but overall, the house still looks very lived in.

Having looked at SO many houses to find ours, it was almost like seeing ours for the first time when we walked through because I was finally able to really focus on what would be ours. I’d mentally moved our furniture into the last house that fell through at the 11th hour, so I was now mentally packing that up and putting it here. There were a few things “missing” that I hadn’t noticed before – like there are oddly no linen closets? But these things are remediable (they’re leaving some shelves for us, but we can get a cabinet down the road – and eventually we’ll just throw all that in to our mega remodel of one day). And there were no big surprises …till we got to the basement.

We were walking through the basement when my husband pointed to the rafters beyond some boxes and said – did you put that snakeskin there? His sentiment didn’t immediately register. What’s a snakeskin? Is it some sealant or covering? No, no. It is the skin of a snake! Literally! The owner said, No! She went on to explain that actually she hadn’t noticed it until the termite inspector came and that she’d freaked out then, but he’d promised her that the snake was long gone. As she said all this, my brain went into overdrive! Snake? Snake?!?!?! There’s a snake in… oh God, MY, basement. Can I get out of this contract?

I stopped my hyperventilating as we continued the tour of the house, but COULD NOT get the image out of my mind (imagine what this did for the pre-closing stress induced insomnia that I’d felt). There was about 6 inches of the tail hanging down – which meant that there was well more than 6 inches up in the rafters to support that part of the weight. Based on the width of the tail – it was a lot more than 6 inches. This was a BIG snake. Now, to be fair, it was a black snake. A completely harmless snake that I’ve seen around here before. My husband reminded me that it eats mice and its presence means that rodents were kept at bay (I responded with – what eats snakes? Ala the old woman who swallowed a fly.). And we live in a wooded area. There will be snakes (that was my husband’s logic. Guess who’s not going in the backyard anymore?).

My final compromise on this was to rationalize that – it’s coming on winter. Yes, the snake is gone now. So my husband needs to go to the basement first and be sure to remove the skin and never tell me how long it was. He assured me that it actually wasn’t very long and I thanked him for his happy lie.

Anyway, despite the snake, I decided to show up to closing the next day and we bought our house! We’ve spent the time since calling movers (don’t get me started), the electric company to change everything over and all those other “grown up” things that we need to take care of.

It’s so funny – I began to realize this being a parent, but now really see it as we buy a house – my parents weren’t actually born grown up. They weren’t born caring about boring things like mold and taxes and savings accounts! Life has snuck up on me and made me responsible and a parent – a grown up. Boring!!

A plague on our house

Be it the flu or swine flu or maybe the black death – a plague has befallen our house! Or, well, yes, still my in-laws house as we are STILL living there. My Mother in law got sick about a week ago with cold symptoms. She was very nervous about getting the baby sick and therefore completely quarantined herself to her room for several days. We changed up our work schedules for childcare and it all seemed OK. Until my husband came home with a cold on Friday morning. He’d worked 24 with his fever spiking at 102.5 in the middle. He’s not one to go to the doctor or admit illness readily, so either he was really worried about infecting the baby or he was really really sick. His flu test came back negative, but, as the test apparently has a high false negative, the doctor diagnosed flu based on his symptoms. (I later learned that all flu currently diagnosed is assumed to be swine flu because we’re not seeing seasonal flu yet and apparently the test isn’t sensitive enough to distinguish.) As the munchkin had been a bit stuffy for a couple of days, we decided she needed a trip to the pediatrician – just to be safe.

Our normal practice on taking her to the doctor is that one of us sits in the car with her while the other waits in the waiting room. When we’re called, we all come in. That way she doesn’t sit in the petrie dish that is a pediatrician’s waiting room. I know this may sound overly paranoid, but our daughter was born in February – smack dab in flu season. I’d had the flu the year before and wound up with quite a bad case (throat so sore the doctor prescribed vicadin for the pain (OK, so even I thought that was extreme), no voice for almost a week, throwing up, IV liquids – all that fun). We didn’t want to risk exposing our 4 day old at her first doctor visit, so the doctor actually suggested this procedure. As it worked and seemed like a good idea, we’ve stuck with it. Anyway, as my husband was sick, he couldn’t come along, so my mother in law took car duty instead and therefore came in to the appointment.

The doctor took one look at my laughing, squealing daughter and looked at me like – lady, you are completely crazy to bring this obviously perfectly healthy child in for fear that she has the flu. I explained that I didn’t really think she had the flu, but she did have cold symptoms and had definitely been exposed to the flu (which is, of course, very dangerous for someone her age). I know, I know! I’m a paranoid first time Mom! But still! Anyway, I was very glad to hear that she just had a mild upper respiratory infection and it was no big deal.

So now we just wait for the rest of the house to recover. My mother in law is beyond any contagion stage (apparently her doctor said that she had the flu, but not the swine flu), so she’s watching the little monkey while I work, but still trying to get extra rest when I’m home. My husband is mostly feeling better (mostly), but still not allowed near her. So he’s been sheepishly observing what he’s referred to as my ‘single parenting’ the last few days as he avoids coming near the baby. And, I have to admit – it’s been exhausting. Even when he does a shift of 24, I’m often left to wonder – how do single parents do it? There are so many things going on at once! Those moments when the baby is dirty and hungry and needs me, but the dog also needs to go out and I’d really like to make it to the bathroom and maybe have some breakfast myself – but I’m trying to pump before I get the baby so we have enough supply! There enough to drive you over the edge – and make me very grateful that that is not my every day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Birthday Present EVER!

My daughter took a TWO HOUR nap yesterday so I got to sleep for an hour and a half in the afternoon!

She sort of took it back last night though when she was up three times... Ugh... I'm back to fully feeling my age after that!