August 31, 2005
Baby Update

Another ultra-sound and pre-natal visit today, trying to pin down the due-date so we can schedule surgery.

The blood-pressure is still a little high, but the doctor thinks I can postpone treating that until afterwards. Which is good.

The extended-sugar-test came back borderline, but I won't be wasting my time seeing a dietician. I vomit too much to stick to a planned diet. Still, "borderline" is kind of good.

The 4-D ultra-sound determined yet another due date. (And, yes, the 4-D is a REALLY cool ultra-sound) My doctor is about to come unglued trying to schedule surgery (which scares me, because nothing scares him, and there was no way to hide his subtle alarm today). Too early is bad, because the baby is a preemie. Too late is bad, because ...

The ultra-sound also showed some placental irregularities in location and shape. The baby is fine, but there will be serious problems if I have labor instead of a c-section.

I'm not on bed-rest, but I'm on the 30-30 system now. Thirty minutes up, thirty minutes down. A little extra magnesium to take the edge off. I have a list of "symptoms" that require immediate calling in to the office.

If you're the praying kind, this is a good time to start. And keep it up until I'm blogging about what irritates me about hospitals! Thats a sure sign I'm feeling better.

August 27, 2005
Do You Know What Your Kids Are Thinking?

Backstory: We just started sending our boys to a private Christian school this year because home-schooling is difficult right now. Its not the BEST educational option, but its the best-right-now option. They seem to really enjoy it. Very small class size, good teachers, nice children, individualized curriculum. I can live with it, too. For now.

On Friday afternoons, its time for Bible-stories and craft-projects. This week they learned about the Garden of Eden. Last night after dinner, out of the blue, Lee asked "How did the Devil get in that snake?" "What?" "The Devil, in the snake. Was it alive, or did he find a dead one and then climb in through its mouth?"

I answered "Ummmmm....Well.... I don't know. But the Devil can sometimes change the way he appears, so maybe he just made himself look like a snake. The Devil is good at trying to trick people. The best way to avoid being tricked is to compare stuff to what God tells you in the Bible."

The boys looked at each other, and then whispered to me. "We have a plan on how not to be tricked by the Devil." They nod conspiratorily, having obviously discussed this already. "We. Know. Animals. Don't. Talk!" They lean back in their seats, smug, as my mouth drops open. "Well, thats certainly true" I stammer, trying not to laugh.

Later, after the boys are in bed, I tell my husband the story. He laughs while getting a wild look in his eyes. "Of course, animals COULD talk if I attached one of the walkie-talkies to the dog's collar! Bwahahahahaha!"

Maybe I should quit worrying about the kids, and be more concerned about what my husband is thinking!

August 26, 2005
Update To Location, Etc

Last night, Ron came into our room around 4:00am to chat. Actually, he came to chat with the person sleeping closest to the door ... which is NO longer me.

So my husband did the chatting, and then stared at the ceiling for hours and hours as he is completely unable to go right back to sleep.

Around 7:00am I heard the alarm. Around 7:09 I heard the alarm again. Followed by a groggy "tell me when you get out of the bathroom 'cause I need to hop in the shower". I woke up the boys, and frosted the cupcakes for class-snacktime. Yes, I used sprinkles.

Around 7:25 I suggested gently that perhaps my husband should hop out of bed. He agreed, and then uttered "unless you're going to take the boys?"

It was the tone that got me. The glimmer of hope-but-not-really in his voice. Much like a small child that hopes to avoid school due to an unexpected snow-storm in August.

I smiled as I flipped off the lights. He deserves a freak snow-storm at least once in his life.

August 24, 2005
Location, Location, Location

This morning a friend commented that I seem much more relaxed and happy the past few weeks whereas my husband seems a little ... stressed.

That would be because he actually HAS lots of stress right now. Yet, could that be all of it? Afterall, I have lots of stress too.

Then, it dawned on me. I didn't need a nap yesterday. Sure, I'd have liked one but I didn't NEED one desperately. And there in lies the answer.

If I get hot (or tired), my blood pressure spikes dangerously. Which is a shame, because I enjoy heat. Hot air, hot water, hot chocolate. Especially after those few winters up North. It used to drive my husband insane.

Now, I must have it freezing. Cold air, cold baths, cold milk. Yes, I'm chilled to the bone. But I'm not vomiting and collapsing. I think thats a reasonable trade-off.

A few weeks ago my husband had a brilliant idea, as he lay there on our bed bundled in a down-comforter while the vent created an artic wind aimed at his toes. We could switch sides of the bed! Then the vent would blow cold air on my happy toes and he could sleep by the door which lets in slightly warmer air from the hallway.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. (Cue the music to Jaws ... dun-duh, dun-duh, dun-duh)

Then came the shocking revelation that the children don't prefer Mommy in the middle of the night. Rather, they prefer WHOEVER IS CLOSER TO THE DOOR! Yes, it was a blow to my ego. But now that I'm getting sleep I find that small things don't bother me as much. And its probably better for the baby. And its probably better for my heart. This is Heaven.

I'm in a good place, literally!

August 22, 2005
Donut Tile, aka Tile That Makes My Husband's Eyes Roll

I've spent multiple hours in the local tile shop recently, looking at samples and catalogs and bonding with the employees. I've come to some conclusions.

First, Cassie is a fabulously well-behaved child. I've occassionally had my doubts, but exposure to truly horrid children at the tile shop has reinforced her image as a perfect angel, both in the minds of myself and the employees.

Second, in ten years no one will be making beige tile. While it may be all the rage right now, there's only so much beige a country can take before it just feels ... grimey. People looking for subtle sophisticated tile will be left out in the cold, looking in at the happy people with happy-colored reasonably-priced tiles. I keep this image in my head to console myself over the fact that right now I'm out in the cold, with NO pretty tile.

Third, anything can be had for a price. Which leads us to The Donut Tile.

I first saw The Donut Tile in an Anne Sacks catalog. As soon as I saw the image, I was staggered by its perfection for the "rainbow" bathroom. It was simply ... perfect. The colors were brilliant and clear, a myriad of shades and tones and tints.

Each tile was three distinct colors, each tile different from the tiles near it. Imagine a solid colored tile. Imagine a donut on that tile. Imagine the donut hole is a different color. Imagine hundreds of them creating a swirl of color as the surround for a tub/shower. I was mesmerized. I kept going back to that one image. I asked the employee to get a price-quote for me. As you're reading this on a monitor, I suspect that you're sitting down. Which is good. I was sitting down when the employee came back with the price.

That fabulous spectacular tile is ... $52 dollars. Per tile. Which makes it $468 per square foot.

I asked if I could borrow the catalog overnight so I could show it to my husband. The clerk almost choked. I pointed out I had absolutely NO intention of paying that for tile. Ever. How would I be able to sleep nights? But I wanted my husband to see the perfect tile. And to scan the image so I could show it to the tile-guy to see about having something similiar custom done. Or so I could do it myself with ceramic paint.

Even before he knew the price, my husband's eyes rolled up when he saw the picture of The Donut Tile. Admittedly, he managed to control the raised eyebrows. And didn't even flinch as he offered the sincere opinion that "well, its certainly something you would choose". Note: let me point out that I've chosen conservative neutral tiles for all the other bathrooms. In a completely acceptable price-range, as its neither my goal to bankrupt us nor to blind him.

As I have no real desire to take up ceramic painting at this point in my life, I've begun exploring other tile options. For example, there's no reason pool tile can't go in a shower. Pool tile comes in truly vivid color. REALLY shimmering and bright.

I can already tell that I'm going to drive another tile-guy to drink. So far, I've pushed two over the edge. There aren't that many left in town. Sometimes, I wonder about their stability in the first place. Surely I can't be the only thing that makes them mutter darkly in their sleep. Although, I have noticed that shortly after finishing my site the King-of-Fools closed up shop. Sure, he said it was because he was really really busy with his day job but ya' gotta wonder. I'm noticing a pattern!

August 17, 2005
Lucy, Percieved To Be In Danger Of Divorce

Out of the blue, Ron announced a few days ago that he hopes he doesn't get divorced when he grows up. I reassured him that he probably wouldn't, that it would depend on himself and who he married. He pointed out that he better marry someone that complains not as much as I do! I asked what in the world he was talking about, and he replied that I complain about the new house every day. (A few months ago we talked about how there was no need for him to worry about us getting divorced because we don't fight all day every day like Jimmy's parents.)

Let me point out, he has NO concept of actual whiny complaining personal fighting. He actually can not imagine the fighting that happens at Jim's house. It is beyond his concept of reality that parents would call each other names, and say really bad bad bad things about each other. Thats good, that he's clueless. Its bad, that he thinks we might be on the brink because we discuss and disagree about the house almost every day (often while really laughing, and sometimes while making jokes because you either laugh or start crying). Its good that he gets to see us disagree and compromise and get through it like normal people, this will serve him well in later years. Its bad that he worries. Its good that he tells me he worries, so I can reassure him.

I found out that the only other boy in his class is about to have a divorce. His mother just left the family last week, for no apparent reason (post-partum depression?) and the boy is a little freaked.

We continued the discussion with a focus on the right kind of girl to marry. Yes, I know he's only 7 yrs old, but he brought it up. He's decided that its important to marry a girl about your size. I think he means age, but I didn't push it. I countered with, the most important thing is to marry a girl that is nice both to you and others. He suggested that Hannah is nice, but that he will meet lots and lots of girls in his life. We decided that was a VERY good way to approach girls. He can afford to be a little choosey.

August 16, 2005
Perceptions of Lucy

We're starting a slightly different than planned series on Perceptions of Lucy, which will eventually morph into the previously mentioned series on perceptions of self versus others.

We'll start off with "Lucy, Percieved To Be Stupid".

The wipers on the van broke a little more. Previously, they had stuck in the "up" position when finished wiping instead of settling down near the edge of the hood. It didn't bother me, and they were still functional, and it takes time and scheduling to get them fixed, so I let things go. (How's THAT for a run-on sentence!) Incidentially, the estimate to have them fixed at the dealer was $80.

Yesterday, I slammed the door which caught the wiper in the door and mangled the wiper-blade (but not the wiper-arm, just so you know). I figured the repair would be about $100-$120 dollars. I dropped it off at the dealer, who said he'd call with an estimate. Later, the call came to the house with the estimate ... for $550. Thats right. About $550. I told him I'd have to call my husband. Who said -- no. Well, there was slightly more emotion than that when HE said it. I called back to the dealer and said "no, I don't think so" to which the man from the service department said "well, there's diagnostic time involved which you'll still have to pay. $62." I told my husband that one. He called the GENERAL manager for the dealerships and pointed out very calmly and very quietly and very politely that he was in no way pleased that the service-guy was trying to fleece his wife, having percieved me as someone who knew nothing about her van. Then, over the course of the next few hours ... a miracle occurred! Now the estimate is for $150. The dealership has graciously decided, from the goodness of their heart, to pay for the rest of the repair out of their own pocket. Um-hum.

Note: It's worth noting that my husband is a lot like God. I live my own life, making choices (occassionally the wrong ones) and eventually come across something which I either can't or won't deal with. Then I look around for help. There they are. Ready to take on the world for me, as soon as I ask.

Its also worth noting that I love him a lot like God, too. I have complete faith that he loves me and would never intentionally hurt me, that he's always got my best interests at heart. Even when I don't agree with him, and even when he doesn't do exactly what I want, and even when I simply don't understand what in the world he's thinking, even then ... I still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's the best thing ever.

August 11, 2005
Dog, Dead or Not?

We went to the farm/house-site this afternoon, taking two vehicles so that I could come home early if I got too hot. Which I did.

Cassie came home with me, but the boys and the dogs came home with my husband. Almost. He just now popped his head in the door to say that he left the farm with two dogs and arrived here with one. My poor sweet puppy is lost, and probably maimed/dead if he jumped out in traffic. And my poor sweet husband is out trying to locate him.

[Deleted long bitter tirade about how this is all my husband's fault for refusing to restrain the dogs in the truck.]

So, here I sit. Wondering if my dog is dead, or not. Looking desperately out the window. Really really really freaked out. On the other hand, its not like my husband lost one of the children. There's certainly THAT to be thankful for.

UPDATE!!!!! My poor sweet much maligned husband came home with the dog, who did not even have the grace to look sorry. Apparently, where he jumped out was closer to the site than to our current house so he went back to the house-site to wait for a ride home. He's a very clever very naughty dog, who is NOT maimed and/or dead!!!!! Yea!!!!!

August 09, 2005
Life Interupts

I was going to post a the first in the Perception Series this morning, but the Stairwell Fiasco has come back to haunt me. In a nutshell, the architect made a huge mistake in the scale of the stairwell. It had to be shrunk considerably to fit in the house. Considering it was one of my most favorite features, I didn't take it overly well.

Which leads to "what does overly well mean to you?". The contractor called the house looking for my husband. Subtly wouldn't tell me why, just really needed to talk to my husband. My husband called me from work, saying he'd swing by the house and pick us up since he thought I'd need to see the site before we made a decision. I'm sure the contractor flinched when he saw me ooze out of the truck. (I have to slide off the seat because I'm too pregnant to leap and the truck is too tall for me to step) Perhaps he thought I'd cry, or scream, or beat him senseless.

I did none of those things. Mostly I was just stunned, and a bit sarcastic. And perhaps a touch depressed. We all agreed on the best acceptable solution, rather easily I might add since what is necessary is ... necessary. Accept it and move on. Which is what I did. Move on. While they were talking, I moved on to look at the butler's pantry (my other favorite thing) which I hadn't seen yet because I have to avoid heat and the weather has prohibited me from being out there all the time.

I'm really proud of myself for not shrieking like a banshee when it dawned on me that the stove and dishwasher wouldn't fit on either side of the window. As it was, I might have made a sound that summoned both my husband and the contractor to the spot. A change in appliances will still make the area work, although it will no longer house the exact configuration I wanted. Life happens. A few deep breaths later, I was almost ok. It will all be ok.

And our contractor has learned some valuable lessons: I will not scream at him, neither will I cry, nor will I thump his head like a watermelon.

Yesterday I was afraid he'd had a sun-stroke when he called the house looking for my husband, and volunteered that they needed more dirt and did I want them to dig it out of the backyard and make my husband a pond (which he wants). The contractor actually giggled while suggesting that he could add ducks or geese! This is SO outrageous because they know they have to backfill the backyard to raise the whole area about four feet, or I will have a stroke.

Anyway, while my husband drove out to the site to discuss dirt sculpting, which I trusted him to decide with only the suggestion that he not dig up the field of daisies and poppies, they discovered another problem! THE WINDOWS IN THE STAIRWELL WERE ORDERED FOR THE ORIGINAL PLAN AND WON'T FIT!!!!!

This morning instead of writing a thoughtful and philosophical piece on individual image I'm completely obsessing about the windows. Do we change the window size, or do we change the window size and orientation to solve another problem that I had previously accepted as unfixable? How long will it take to get the new window order? Why hasn't the rep from the window company called? Why did the banana cross the road? Ok, that last one is from Cassie who has been telling me crazy jokes all day.

Maybe I'll be coherent and thoughtful tomorrow. Maybe not. Tune in tomorrow!

August 08, 2005

Over the next week, I'll be posting a series on image. I've realized that several ideas I've been mulling are related by the common thread of perception of the individual by both self and others.

August 07, 2005
The Mommy Rebellion

We're sending our boys to school next week. There's just no way to do a good job homeschooling while sick and moving. I'm not thrilled, although I'm not as hysterically upset as you (and everyone else) think. Its a good small private school that only goes four days a week and gets out early. Sure, I'd rather be homeschooling, but its just for one year.

I've been confronted with some rather ugly school situations already. There are extra-super-strict regulations for uniforms, everything from underwear to lunchboxes. Having gone to a strict private school (non-catholic) myself, I understand all about the necessity and benefits of conformity for a calm serene learning environment. However, I also understand the limitations of rules to thwart technological advances.

Thus, today is the first day of the Mommy Rebellion. I would call it the Parent Rebellion, but my husband only shook his head and suggested that perhaps I wasn't setting a good example for the children. Which I don't understand because the children will never know. I don't rant in front of them. Besides, you'd think my husband would like for me to embrace new and exciting technologies!

Lets begin with gym shoes. They have to have laces. In effect, not slip-ons. No velcro. No zippers. HOWEVER, I found a pair of slip-ons with laces-but-no-ties at LandsEnd. With sweatpants, the teacher may never notice and my boys can continue their enjoyment of slip-on tennis-shoes. I LOVE internet shopping! Worst case, I'm forced to buy cheap lace-up shoes locally for gym and the boys can wear the slip-on sneakers the rest of the time.

Another battle engaged today is the conflict over warm lunches. The school is too small to support a full-scale warm-lunch service. Everyone packs their lunch. The odd part is that there's a microwave for the students, but they have to earn points to "buy" the priveledge of using it. I think students manage to use it about once a month. The rest of the time, they eat cold-ish lunches and water because they don't have access to a refridgerator either. (Personally, I'd think they could afford a fridge for each room if not for each child, but thats just me)

They don't realize it yet, but I'm a Mommy-With-Skills. First, the cold part. Insulated lunch-bags coupled with frozen cold-pack inserts. Which I already have, for use on long car-trips and in diaper-bags. Second, the hot part. Hmmmmm. I could feel the answer floating around the corners of my mind. Thermos! The old-fashioned industrial-vaccum-steel kind, the kind that keep food seriously hot for hours and hours! Which are harder to find than you think. Once again, let me just say that I LOVE internet shopping!

Colored pencils. The boys must have colored pencils, but only the twelve-color package. This year, Crayola came out with the standard pack of twelve colored pencils improved by technology. Now the pencils are "twistable", in effect mechanical.

This post is not to say that the administration at the school is ... unsuitable. They're very good people, who do the best they can. Which is generally acceptable. I just find that they approach technology and innovation timidly, with fear and wonder. And coming from me, THATS really saying something!

August 02, 2005
How To Dump Your Girlfriend, But Not Really

Sam and I have known Norman our entire lives. We love him to distraction. He's a GREAT guy -- a career in special-forces ended by a training accident, almost 40, charming, funny, smart, well-educated, well-traveled, ruggedly handsome. He's a catch! Which leads to the problem of women trying to catch him.

He doesn't want to be caught. As the youngest of several children its possible he has "issues" about being pampered, but we're pretty sure its just that he's horrified by the whole idea of being trapped behind a white picket fence. He's the kind that wants to wake up, decide to go to ... anywhere, and just go. Not that he actually does that often, he just wants the option. Which leads to ... unfortunate ... situations. In effect, the girlfriends.

Norman's always had a tendancy to date twenty-somethings, regardless of his age. He likes graduate students. More mature than undergraduates, not as burdened with daily life as graduates with "real" jobs. The problem is that invariably the graduate students graduate, get real jobs, start subscribing to BrideMagazine, and lose 20 pounds with their eye on the perfect wedding dress!

That makes him get this odd look in his eyes. See, he's too soft-hearted to just dump them. They might cry, heaven forbid! So he comes up with these unique plans. Did I say he's smart? I meant to say he's brilliant!

Once his girlfriend put them on a diet (obviously prepping for the soon-to-be-planned wedding). She lost twenty pounds. He gained 30. She dumped him. He worked out twice a day and was back in fighting shape in six weeks.

Another time his girlfriend prompted him to get a "real" 9-5 job in the town she would be working in after graduation and suggested they move in together. He decided to become a long-distance trucker. She dumped him. He had neglected to tell her he would only be a "trucker" for a few months that summer to help run his brother's trucking company while his brother was sick.

So I wasn't surprised when Sam called me so hysterical she almost couldn't breathe. Once she regained her composure, she had a fascinating tale to tell. We'd thought the current girlfriend was doomed for about a month, but we had no clue how he'd do her in.

Apparently, she decided they needed pets together. So she got them hamsters, the kind that look like Lassie except they're rodents. Norman has really gotten into it. He named his "Taffy". He carries pictures of the rodent in his wallet. He bought a little leash for it, and some little clothes. Who knew they even made that stuff! He walks Taffy around the apartment building, even to the grocery! (This is TOTALLY outside Norman's previously known behavior). Then ... he grew a goatee, shaved his head, and started wearing the stylish pink shirt his sister bought him last year.

Sam was tipped off to the big-plan when he announced at dinner, with GREAT satisfaction and smugness, that the girlfriend's parents now think he's ... gay! They've been working on her night and day, trying to get her to reconsider her attachment to him!

Talk about outside-the-box thinking!

August 01, 2005
Things I Will Not Be Blogging

(1) While I was on vacation, it dawned on me that my entire family is crazy. Not in an axe-murdering criminally insane kinda way, except for that cousin who's adopted, which I only point out to reassure you that his inherited mental illness is in NO way related to my bloodline. I'm talking about the charmingly-eccentric-way-until-you-have-to-actually-live-with-them-then-they're-fullblown-nuts.

(2) My Dad and his pet cow. Ok, I'll probably be blogging that one later.

(3) Ikea, and my non-trip to Atlanta.

(4) The dead cow, the lunatic construction worker, and the incorrectly sized stairwell. Not to mention the wall in the wrong place.

(5) My husband's family. They're as crazy as mine. I'll note that he pointed out that perhaps, just perhaps, I'm evalutating relatives while having wild mood swings. Well, THAT doesn't mean that I'm wrong!

7:17 AM

So I'm already in bed and my husband sets the alarm for the following morning. I ask what time he set the alarm for, wondering if I'll be awake or not. See, occassionally he wakes a few minutes before the alarm and gets a jump on the day by taking an early shower. The problem being that he's awake, but barely, so he forgets to turn off the non-ringing alarm before hopping in the shower. I'm sound asleep when the alarm goes off, and off, and off, and offfffff. I resist getting up to smack it because I know he needs to be awake. By the time I realize he's either already up or dead, I'm very fully awake and can't go back to sleep. But thats neither here nor there ... 7:17 is a perfectly acceptable time to set the alarm (as opposed to 5:00), kind of.

Think about that number ... 7:17. What kind of person sets the alarm for 7:17!?! It should be either 7:15 or 7:20. Because thats the way life should be. You should set the alarm for a specific time, not just some randomly close number you arrive at by hitting the fast forward button on the alarm until its CLOSE to the time you should get up! Its an alarm, it should be precise. By "precise" I mean that it should be rounded to the closest acceptable multiple of 5. Setting the alarm for a randomly chosen 7:17 is ... is ... is ... unAmerican! He might as well be FRENCH! Yes, yes, thats definitely something the French would do. I don't even know how he can live that way!