who asked ever so nicely for pictures of the new domicile...
First, the front door, complete with the fabulous door knocker that BG's brother and wife gave us for Christmas last year.
The first floor is laid out like this:
Walking in through the front door, to the left is the living room
and the dining room on the right.
Directly in front is the
waiting room foyer
with a niche to the right
and hallway to the garage on the left.
The 2 1/2 car garage houses the Jeep quite nicely
with plenty of room for Mt. Cardboard and our Things In Which To Transport The Boy collection.
Back down the hall to the family room and
which faces the kitchen
and the breakfast nook.
What's that? Something funk-tablu-astic over there in the corner caught your eye? Oh, that. That's just my "new" 1950's George Jetson dinette set. Which is simply the most kick-ass place you'll ever set a cup of coffee.
I'm not kidding.
The boy has a corner for all his downstairs stuff
and has apparently taken to marking his territory.
Heading back up the stairs, the layout looks like this
To the right, from the top of the stairs is the bonus room.
To the left and down a small hallway (a u-turn from the stairs) is what will be the guest room and bathroom. Currently empty, so not much of a picture. The bathroom is straight ahead; the room is on the right.
Directly behind the hallway leading to the guest quarters and to the right is the laundry room. A whole room for laundry! Look closely and you'll see that all this space for that task alone has not caused any decrease in the amount of time that the clothes sit in the washer/dryer. The ruby red color is a treat, though, when I finally make it in there!
Across the hallway (to the left, for those following along with the floor plan) is LG's playroom
with a Jack-n-Jill bathroom
that leads to his bedroom.
Back to the top of the stairs and just a few feet in from the bonus room is the foyer to the master suite.
The door way to the left leads to the bathroom with a
and his-n-her sinks.
And this is the bedroom. Sans curtains. Which might be why curtains are the first thing to go up on the houses down the hill from us.
Room enough for all of you and the young 'uns, so you'uns just give us'uns a holler when you get to the corner. I'll make sure the vittles is ready and the cornbread is pipin' hot.
Let's start this post off by clearing the room of the squeamish-when-womanly-issues-are-about-to-be-discussed.
Gone? Okay, here we go.
I think I may have just had a miscarriage. Not as in "just this moment", but as in
"my period, which is usually a 2-3 day, 6 tampon inconvenience has been unusually heavy this time and yesterday, after a morning of doubled-over-in-pain cramping, I flushed away clumps of something. And then the cramps disappeared and my period appears to be back to normal, leaving me to wonder if I just had a miscarriage."
It's not my first miscarriage-- waaaaaay back, right before Annabelle joined our little family, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I wanted so badly to be pregnant at that time that if it hadn't been for the confirmation of the nurse over the phone I would still wonder if I had just wanted it enough to fool myself into believing I was pregnant. And then I think "Confirmation over the telephone? Of a miscarriage? At 7 weeks?" and wonder if I'm still not deluding myself. But that's a story for another time. I bring it up because there are so many similarities between this event and that one. Changes in my birth control, an unbelievable amount of stress, irregularly heavy and long period, immobilizing cramping, clumps, and then back to normal. Check, check, check, check, check, and check.
But there are differences, too. Differences that give me more pause than the similarities do. I had no idea, no hint, not even the beginning of a question that I might be pregnant until I saw the clumps yesterday. With the first miscarriage, and then again when I got pregnant with LG, I knew. I just knew. Days before clinical confirmation, my hand would find it's way to my stomach and the responding flutter of anticipation was confirmation enough. Notions of pregnancy and motherhood swirled through my head like leaves on the sidewalk. Skittering this way, tumbling back that way, slipping in here and there. But not this time. Maybe because of the move. Maybe because of the way motherhood has swallowed me up, leaving me barely enough time to do what must be done; crowding out those timid little thoughts of possibility. Maybe my life is too hectic right now to have felt those gentle tremors. Maybe it only happens that way the first time, when it's all brand new and there is only a vague expectation of what might come next.
The "after" is different too. The first time around, I was devastated. My heart ached for what was not to be. I felt empty. Vacant. Unused. Overwhelmed by emotion, I whispered the name that I had chosen into the darkness at night and tried not to imagine how life would have been different. I cried. Fiercely. Loudly. Primitively. I howled. I mourned. I healed.
With LG, my emotions were no less strong. From that first tremor, I loved as I never knew I could love. Fiercely. Primitively. Unabashedly. I smiled and dreamed of what was to be. I danced. I sang. I met the darkness of the unknown head-on -- worried, scared, thrilled, amazed, ready. I loved.
This time I feel distant. Puzzled. Removed. Noncommittal. Emotionally barren. There is no sense of loss. There has been no thought of, no desire for more children. Another child would be a surprise, an "accident"; loved unequivocally, wanted just as fiercely, but not planned. So this miscarriage, if indeed it is/was one, should give me no pause.
And yet, I'm pausing. Wondering. Remembering the newness, the softness, the sweetness. The feel of tiny fingers, the tickle of nibbling lips. The gentle, all-encompassing, choking, teary-eyed completeness of drifting off to sleep, babe in arms. Thinking about the what-if that could have been. If that's what it really was.
How's your Thursday?
I'm growing weary of this list. So here's the rest, Reader's Digest-ed. Or Campbell's-ed. You know, condensed.*
For all of you who haven't been playing along, here's the recap:
7. You can't spell "hurtle" without "hurl".
Upon finally arriving in California, waiting for a short eternity at baggage claim, loading all of our earthly belongings onto the rental car shuttle bus and then cramming it into the bread-box sized trunk of our rental car, we folded ourselves in for the final leg of the journey. Google suggests that the drive from Sacramento to Benicia will take approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes. The rental car clock read 4:48 pm when we pulled off the lot. We rounded the corner about 3.3 miles from our destination at 5:52 pm. 3.3 miles to go at 5:52 pm. Yes, those details are important.
Had I the time or inclination, I could probably figure out how fast BG was driving in order to make such good time. I'm sure there's a mathematical equation based on things like the distance, the number of traffic impediments and the speed with which LG proceeded to spew forth all of his stomach contents. That suggested dosage on the Dramamine bottle? That whole "...[take] ¼ to ½ tablet every 6-8 hours..." thing? Turns that you have to take more when the 6-8 hours are up. Otherwise? Everything eaten and stewed in stomach juices, yet not quite digested might just project itself in stunning Linda Blair fashion upon rounding one too many corners at hyperspeed in a car the size of a tuna can. Who knew?
6. A-hunting we shall go...
18 houses. 2 days.
LG and I probably made it through less than a dozen of the properties our realtor took us to. BG was more valiant and staunchly marched through them all. In the end, we wound up making an offer on the first house we saw.
Pretty, no? A little on the ridiculously-large side, but pretty, nonetheless. Oh, yeah, our offer was accepted. So this is the new house. Ta-da!
5. Welcome to California. May we quarantine your stuff?
Yes, seriously. Apparently Philadelphia is a hotbed for the dreaded Gypsy Moth. California, it turns out, is anti-Gypsy Moth."Gypsy Moth free in '53!"An appointment has been scheduled for an inspector from the Department of Food and Agriculture to inspect the following for Gypsy Moth evidence:
"Keep our trees strong and stout! Keep those Gypsies out, out, out!"
Wheeeee! The fun continues!!!!!
- Flower box
- Ladder Huh. The 5 footer we kept in our closet?
- Garden tool Singular?
- Lawn chair Again, singular?
- Wheelbarrow For all that hauling of dirt and manure from one end of the balcony to the other?
- Lawn chair Oh, here's the other one.
- Lawn furniture So why so specific for numbers 4 & 6?
- Lawn mower For the lawn we grew from all the dirt and manure we had to haul.
- Picnic table Fit so nicely on that lawn!
4. Did I mention the Almost Two Year Old?
3. 375 boxes.
And that's just counting the ones they remembered to put little green stickers on.
2. 4000 sq feet.
1.75 tree-houses could fit in this place. If it weren't for Anne's timely advice, I'd still be lost.
1. And finally, the number one reason I've been so bad about posting lately?
I got nuttin. But at least I'm done with this stupid countdown. Somebody slap me upside the head if I start something like this again, please!
*You don't have to laugh. I think I'm funny and sometimes that's enough. This is one of those times.
So the flight to Phoenix wasn't really all that bad, once we got in the air. LG fell asleep about 15 minutes before we *finally* took off (thank you, Dramamine. Suggested by LG's pediatrician, so don't get all "I'd never resort to drugging my kids" on me. And anyways, guess what? You probably would. Or you should be giving "how-to" seminars on remaining oblivious to the comfort of the people around you. Either way, keep it to yourself and we can all stay friends, all right?) and stayed that way for a good 2 1/2 hours of the flight. I'd happily calculate the percentage of the flight that this blissful 2 1/2 hours of sleep comprised, except that would require an advanced degree in Physics and probably wouldn't hurt to have a working knowledge of nuclear thermodynamics. Crossing time zones is bad enough when everyone is playing along. Landing in Arizona, which should be x hours different from where you started, but could actually x or x minus 1 (or it could be x or x plus 1 if you started on the other side of the state), depending on the time of year and where you actually land (the Navajo Nation is down with DST) makes the Changing of the Watches Upon Announcement of Final Descent especially challenging. Just trust me when I say you won't have time to figure it out AND find both of your shoes AND squeeze into the aisle where you have a fighting chance of standing upright before the doors have opened. Personally? I LIKE standing under the overhead compartment with my ear touching my shoulder as those who chose not to reset their watches/wear shoes parade by me with their smug little smiles on their faces. Each whap in the nose of a shoulder strap/rolly-wheel/elbow serves as a reminder of my true superiority. I will not be rushing madly from gate to gate, wringing my hands in consternation. I will not need to gingerly tiptoe up the jetway, scrutinizing every inch of "carpet" for errant screwtips, safety-pins and half-chewed bits of Jolly Rancher. I will not be the one standing slack-jawed under the monitors, glancing frantically from flashing screen to wrist and madly calculating, "Carry the one, add the four...". No sir, with my toes snugly socked, shoed and tied in, I will graciously smile as I weave through the wailing masses, peek casually at my watch and calmly proceed to my gate. I have the correct time. That semi-permanent kink in the neck isn't looking so bad now, is it?
So as I was saying, the boy slept most of the way and was pleasant, bordering on charming while he was awake. We snacked, played on the "puter" (rhymes with hooter, no "s"), watched a little George, and before too long, we were in the midst of the Shoe-Finding-Watch-Setting Cha-Cha-Cha. A mesmerizing dance, if one has time to watch, but we had bags to retrieve, a carseat to unbuckle, blankies to find, watches to set, and shoes to tie. Oh, and a new game plan to form since we had missed our outbound flight to Sacramento, what with all the fun we had on the tarmac in Philly.
So it was decided that BG would grab as many of the bags et al as he could carry down the aisle without permanently concussing any of our fellow passengers and hurry off the plane to find the nice young men in their clean red coats that had been promised to meet our flight at the top of the jetway (per flight attendant instructions reason... 9, paragraph 7, line 8). I would remain behind to gather LG, his carseat, and any
worthless crap miscellanea that had worked its way to the floor. We would meet at the first door on the left past the second hallway, knock twice, and respond "the crow flies at midnight" when prompted through the mail slot. LG, not wanting to miss out on the cloak and dagger fun, decided at that moment to shroud us in a veil of noxious gas.
Stepping quickly over the prone, gagging bodies of our flight mates, BG grabbed our carry-ons and went in search of the elusive Boarding Pass For The Next Flight Out. I quickly changed LG, deposited his bundle of toxic waste into its hermetically sealed package disguised as a plastic grocery bag, and had collected the rest of our belongings into an innocent pile before the customers and crew regained mobility. Unfortunately, we were seated far enough back in the airplane that a fair number escaped before our plan was set into motion. Finally off the aircraft, LG and I found BG queuing with 1,600,000,073 angry fliers and one yappy dog for the attention of the two trainees that the airline had decided to sacrifice to the snarling masses.
Good times, people, good times.
Fortunately, one of them had managed to get the part in the manual where it instructs you to "take your head out of your butt" and began printing and dispersing Shiny New Boarding Passes. The other one followed his lead and began calling groups of people by destination, further expediting the process. Within 15 minutes, we were amongst the lucky ones, waving our SNBP's above our heads like treasure maps, seeking the Gate B5. 45 minutes was all the time we needed to grab a bite to eat, catch up on the scores, and reset our collective dispositions. We were a happy crew, all but skipping as we pre-boarded.
Our boarding passes positioned two of us in row 3 (alas, not first class, but at this point we weren't complaining), seats B and E. The third ticket, BG's, was for row 27, seat D. The nice young man in row 3, seat A jumped over the carseat as I began buckling it in, generously offering to trade for my E seat. True, I might have asked LG if he was feeling any better. I might have handed him the travel sickness bag and used a stage whisper to tell him "It'll be all right, baby. No need to cry. Here, Momma's going to put your toys right here beside you and she'll just be over there." I might have muttered something about how bad the timing was for that stomach virus to be going around just before we left. It's been a couple of weeks now, so my memory isn't completely clear. Miraculously, we wound up with seats A and B.
We settled in as BG headed towards the back. The glint of a Rolex peeking from the sleeves carefully starched white Armani shirt alerted me that the inhabitant of seat C had arrived. Due to the addition of the passengers from our delayed Philly flight, his frequent flyer upgrade to first class had fallen through. When I mentioned that BG had an aisle seat back in row 27, you would have thought I just handed him the Hope Diamond. He beamed his way to the rear of the plane and sent BG up to join us. Funny how traveling with a kid will compel all sorts of people to accommodate you...
Leaning back, stretching our legs in the spacey-spaciousness that the bulkhead row affords, we smiled contentedly and laughed about the snafu(s) of the morning. And God, or fate, or karma, or something heard us.
And the pilot came over the loudspeaker to make an announcement.
Ladies and Gentlemen, blahdy blahdy blipp blipp blippety blah, missing lightbulb, blip blippety blahdy blah. Blah. It should only take 20 minutes, blip blippety blah. Blah blah blahdy blahdy blah blah blip.
. (space left empty because there is no word in the English language sufficient to
. describe the feeling of pulling ones eyeballs out of ones eyesockets)
The 2 hour flight to Sacramento? The one that started just a little past 1pm PDST ? The one that landed at just past 4pm PDST? The one where we got to sit on the plane for an extra hour because it apparently takes the entire mechanic crew of "Good-Ole Airways" to screw in a missing lightbulb? And some of the crew had taken the day off and gone to Nogales to find a good deal on rugs and Cuervo? Crew members they had to wait for to come back and sober up because everyone knows that you can't screw properly when your drunk? That flight?
The flight was delightful. The crew was delightful. The magazines and in-flight entertainment? Delightful. Could be that BG slipped something into my soda as he passed it down to me, I don't know. Doesn't matter. We were finally in the air and nearing the end of the journey that had started nearly 12 hours earlier. They could have released a swarm of hornets, a rabid pack of dogs and made me eat a pound of scrapple and I would have found it delightful. Turns out there comes a point after your head has reached maximum capacity for frustration that it just explodes. Right after that? Everything is, in a word, delightful.
Next time? The journey continues at hyper-speed as BG defies the laws of gravity, physics, and CA posted speed limits in a Pontiac G6 or similar. I'm pretty sure it was the or similar.
Our flight was scheduled to leave PHL at 7:05 am. The trip actually began much earlier that that. Like around 7:30 pm on Saturday night:
- 7:30pm Put LG to bed. Did something related to last minute packing. Realized BG and I still needed to eat.
- 7:33 pm Ordered Chinese food.
- 7:35 pm Sent BG to pick up Chinese food. Remembered what it was that sent me down to the kitchen while I was packing, which reminded me that BG and I needed to eat Bandaids. Because what responsible mother travels without Bandaids? In my defense, I was getting ready to fly across the country and not return for who knows how long and if I didn't remember the Bandaids? Well, then it's either face the dreaded check-out lane for one stupid item or remember to remind BG to bring the damn Bandaids when he comes out. So much better to just bring them myself.
- 7:47 pm Remember that we had a showing for the house scheduled at 11 am the next morning. And that we'd be leaving at 5:30 am for the airport, so there really wasn't any extra time in the morning for anything left undone.
- 7:48 pm Hunted down the elusive Swiffer. No Swiffer cloths to be found (remember the little project I like to call the greening? Yeah, those handy little disposable cloths were amongst the first to be used up and summarily not purchased again. ) Used a couple of rubber bands to attach an old washcloth to the bottom of the Swiffer and headed up the stairs.
- 7:52 pm BG returned with dinner.
- 8:25 pm Remembered that there were 50 gazillion things that still needed to be done, one of which was not watching an old Tivo'd episode of SNL.
- 8:26 pm Admitted (to myself. NOT outloud) that there was no way I was going to get everything done.
- 8:26:15 pm Wept.
- 8:27 pm Wiped up tears with washcloth attached to the Swiffer and called the housecleaning done. Whoever was coming by in the morning was just going to have to look past the housekeeping. Admitted outloud that there was no way I was going to get everything done.
- 8:28 pm Went back to last minute packing.
- 8:55 pm Called for a taxi for 5:30 am.
- 9:00 pm Finished up packing and began lugging bags to the entryway.
- 10:45 pm Called it a night and headed to bed.
- 10:50 pm Tossed.
- 11:05 pm Turned.
- 11:20 pm Tossed.
- 11:35 pm Turned. Repeat in 15-20 minute intervals until alarm finally goes off at 4:55 am. Sweetest sound I've ever heard, that alarm!
The morning was still golden. We made it to our gates with no rush and plenty of time to spare. LG was pretty mellow, although appropriately excited to see the airplane out the windows. We
At 7:20 the pilot announced (say it with me, please? You knew this was coming)
"Ladies and Gentleman, blah blah blah blahblahblah, blah biddy blahdy blah, fuse burnt out, blah blah blah blah blah blah biddy, short delay. Sorry for the inconvenience blah biddy biddy blah blah, blah blah shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
At 8:15 the pilot announced
"Ladies and Gentleman, blah blah blah blahdy blah, blahdy blahdy blah, [someone in Pittsburg] doesn't like the fix, blah blahdy blahdy blahdy, maintenance, blah blah blah blahdidy blah, off the plane. Shouldn't be much longer, blahdy blah blah sorry for blah blah blah.
At 8:35 people began getting antsy and making moves towards the door.
At 8:37 the flight attendants began making those announcements intended to calm the masses. You know the ones in which somehow the announcers forget to disguise the irritation in their voices so they wind up sounding condescending which only serves to further enrage said masses?
"Ladies and Gentlemen. You are more than welcome to get up and leave the plane (if you are sooooo pressed for time that you just can't manage to wait for another 15 minutes. Your time is so much more important than ours.) if you feel that you need to. We have already alerted staff in Phoenix (we warned 'em you were coming, you oh-so-full-of-yourself passengers with your time commitments and other planes to catch and plans that will be "ru-ined" if you don't make your connection.") and they are already working to book you on the next available flights to your final destinations (Believe me, they don't want you in their airport and in their hair any longer than absolutely necessary. Please be advised that if you do choose to leave the aircraft, you must be back on board in no longer than 10 minutes before we are again cleared for departure (You think we're going to give you that time? Hah! Sweat it out. We hope you're running down the jetway as door locks and that you have to stand there, weeping, as we pull away, waving at your sorry asses.)so that we can do our final seat count and get underway. We thank you for your cooperation."The final seat count was made sometime after way-too-effing-late and just before what-the-eff-is-happening-up-there o'clock. I checked my watch at 9:15 as we leveled off in the clouds above Philadelphia. Stay tuned to see what happens when we finally make it to Phoenix!
*Sort of this. Only with two pockets in the front. Silver, not gold.
**The 2005 model. In black and red.
*** Gold, not silver.
**** This is the one I wanted. Mine is similar in size, but doesn't have the fancy schmancy flip-over top. I've been known to click "purchase" before thoroughly reviewing the items in my shopping cart. Lesson well learned.
*****Yeah, the links were starting to bore me, too.
Okay, so it's really one of the cats who has health problems, but how much sympathy would that garner? I had your attention there for a second, right? The rest of this is going to be me whining about the cat, so if you'd like, feel free to wait for number 9. Cat sick. Next.
Still with me? Here's Annabelle's story.
One morning, about 7 years ago, I woke up with an overwhelmingly maternal urge. As in biological clock was clanging non-stop at decibel levels equivalent to Chewbacca being torn up in a jet engine as it revs for take-off. As this was not the first time this had happened, BG was quick to look for the antidote that had worked so well 2 years prior-- a mewing bundle of kitten fluff for me to cuddle and mother. The first one, Savannah, he had found at the local SPCA. This time, having learned last time that I'm not a good candidate for taking to the pound, especially if you are hoping to walk away with only one animal and a minimal number of tears, BG began his search in the classifieds.
Free To A Good Home: Only one kitten in the litter left!And she was exactly what we were looking for, complete with ultra pounce mode that kicked in when you dangled a peacock feather in front of her. The clanging in my head stopped. We two + two cats = a happy, contented family.
Fast forward a few months.
The scene: a bathroom shower, Anywhere, USA.
The cast: A smelly little kitten, two fully grown adults determined to rid said cat of said smell. Everyone knows this is unlikely to end well.
What we didn't realize at the time is how un-well it was going to be before it was all over. It goes without saying that she didn't like the shower much. But we got it done with little injury to human or cat and had her out on the floor, toweling her dry in record time. And then she had a seizure. A stress induced seizure, we found out. Because showering cats? Yeah, that tends to stress 'em. And some cats? React to stress with seizures. Okay. Lesson learned.
Fast forward a few more months.
The scene: somewhere near the kitchen, Anywhere, USA.
The cast: A not-so-little kitten with heinously bad breath and one adult determined to cast out the cat halitosis.
Guess where this is headed? Yup, seizure. Turns out? Cat's don't like having their teeth brushed anymore than they like showers. But this time I noticed that she had these open sores on the inside of her lip. So we called the vet and booked another appointment. The vet hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that he had seen nothing like this in all his
But wait! There's more! Turns out that this advanced allergy can be to just about anything. Fleas, pollen, grass, dust mites, corn, beef, air. And diagnosis was just a one-way ticket to get on board the love cruise we like to call "testing". Have you ever tried to test a cat for allergies? Pause, for just a minute, and consider.
We moved from California to Texas soon after the initial diagnosis and our
Meanwhile, we discovered that she needed monthly steroid shots to boost her immune system, coupled with other shots and antibiotics and I-don't-even-remember-what-else-we-tried to heal the lesions when they occurred. She grew contented with the purr of the engine under her cat carrier as we made our regular trips up and down town in search of a cure.
2 years of fun and frivolity later, we made the move from Texas to Pennsylvania. Where, within 3 months time, the damn cat was miraculously cured. We kept her on a weekly steroid treatment, just to insure that no other mysterious ailment would compromise her immune system and make her susceptible from another (still unknown) allergen attack. She had a couple of flare ups -- small lesions would appear and we'd up the dosage (per doctor instruction, of course) until they disappeared and life would resume it's normal course. And life was good. Especially since she was now eating the $8-$10 bagged cat food again. We could even overlook that she had picked up the annoying habit of not being able to eat any of the remaining food in her bowl if she could see so much as a millimeter of the bottom of her bowl through the gaps in the kibble. Now we could afford to buy enough kibble to keep the bottom of the bowl covered! We could cover the entire floor with kibble and STILL not approach the cost that we were once outlaying to keep our two furry friends fed! Kibble here! Kibble there! Kibble, kibble everywhere!
Which might be why it took so long for me to realize that something had changed. Now this is the part where I worry that the SPCA might show up on my doorstep as soon as the cats arrive and take them off my hands. Suddenly the kibble consumption seemed to be out of control. And the barfing, ack! the barfing. I heave at the thought of the mornings when I would trip lithely down to the kitchen in my barefeet only to have toe meet spew at the bottom of the stairs.
Blame it on the boy, the move, whatever. I just got into the habit of wiping it up and going on with my day. And since our cats seem to prefer toilet water to the nice, clean, fresh water that I put in the porcelain bowl beside their food dishes everyday, I didn't notice one of those classic symptom -- excessive thirst. Which, it turns out, leads to that third classic symptom -- excessive urination. Which I had noticed, kind of. In truth? I thought the reason I was having to empty the litter box more often was because LG had recently discovered that if he turned the trashcan in the powder room upside down, he was at the perfect height to reach the sink. Under which resides the litter box. Good for hours of splashing (and, I thought, scooping) entertainment! Turns out? Excessive hunger, thirst, and urination + old age = feline diabetes. Which? Means twice a day insulin injections for the rest of her life. And? Hooray, special food! And? Those special little pills that I give her once a week? The steroids that keep her immune system nice and strong? Contraindicated for diabetes. Instead, it looks like we'll get to switch something of the once-a-day-horse-pill variety. How does that sound for stressful? You know, for our cat with the stress induce seizures.
Free to a good home. We kept our part of the bargain.
*I swear it was a nice house. It's just that the combination of being built in 1907, with the San Antonio River as your backyard and a pier & beam foundation leads to some interesting, uninvited house guests. We even found a baby opossum on our porch one night that had clearly mistaken the underside of our house for a jungle-gym.
I feel I owe you an explanation. You see, I recognized you. Long before I was close enough to make out who you were, I knew you. The droop to your shoulders, the weariness in your fingers as you raked them through your hair, the frustration in your wrist as you tossed out your barely sipped cup of coffee. Your aura of despair was as familiar to me as the sidewalk upon which our feet stamped out the cadence of left right left right left right, punctuated by the whiz plunk whiz plunk of stroller wheels crossing expansion gaps. All too well I remember the dismay of discovering that no amount of caffeine would replace the sleep I was losing. I remember the tiredness that sank into my soul, pulling my shoulders level with my weary heart and leaving me with barely enough energy to tug at the tangle of knots on my head. I remember wanting nothing more than a shower and 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep, unpunctuated by the crackle of the baby monitor and unbroken by the panic that there were cries I had missed, needs I hadn't met. I remember the barely contained tears that occupied my eyes; the same tears I saw when you turned to respond to me as I approached you. I remember the envy, the disbelief that flashed between us as you took in my unstained t-shirt and unforced smile. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to reach out and give you a hug, to offer you the strength of shoulders that had returned to their proper place. But I remembered the fragility with which I held myself in your position and knew that such a gesture might topple you, stealing from you that last bit of strength, toppling your careful projection of proficiency like a house of cards.
Instead I lied to you. I chirped a cheery "hello", cooed at your sweet little baby, and when you mumbled "She hasn't slept all day", I patted your arm conspiratorially and told you that there were better days just around the corner. I assured you that just as you were pushed to the brink, sure that you could take no more, things would change. That all you had to do was fight the good fight a few more days, weeks at most, and victory was certain. That much I offered to you in good faith, truly believing that we mothers are stronger than we give ourselves credit for and that it really is darkest just before the dawn. What I did not tell you is that with each victory comes a new challenge. That the joy of regular showering will be offset by the frustration of cleaning up after the "dump it!" game at least a million times a day. That the cries in the night will be replaced by a belligerent army of "no", "mine", and "me do". That the memory of uninterrupted sleep is destined to remain exactly that. Crackling monitor or no, you will continue to sleep with one ear tensed and at the ready to waken you at the slightest of murmurs.
What I should have said to you is that things change. You will adapt. You will find strength that you never knew you possessed and discover that you've only scratched the surface of the endless store that lies within. You will marvel at your patience and learn to laugh through your frustration. You will cry countless tears -- happy and sad, proud and guilt-ridden. You will question yourself endlessly, often needlessly. But it is through the questioning that you will learn and grow, a perfect parallel to the progress you watch your child make. There will be days when you revel in how far the two of you have come; days when you wonder if you'll ever make it out the front door.
One day, soon, you'll nonchalantly walk out the door, your not-quite-two year old chattering happily to herself. You'll turn the corner and stop short. There, on the sidewalk ahead of you, you will see yourself. Alone. New. Tired. Already starting to wither. The recognition will take your breath away and you'll quicken your step. You'll hurry to catch up with her, to talk about the battles that you've already been through and how each one has made you stronger. You'll rush to share the insight that you've gained, to pass on the gems of wisdom that you were too tired to use. You'll chirp a cheery "hello", coo at the baby. Then you'll take a deep breath in preparation for all you want to share. You'll pat her gently on the arm, smile a bit conspiratorially, look her square in the eye and lie, lie, lie. The hint of a smile that tugs at the corner of her lips, the fraction of an inch that her shoulders raise, that will be all you need to see to know you've given a greater gift than all your good intentions combined.
As they say, it springs eternal.
I haven't posted much lately, mostly because I've become somewhat consumed with this move and even I am getting tired of the incessant whining that has become my own personal soundtrack to accompany all things move related. There is little to update, but somehow I've managed to turn it into a post anyways. Go me!
- Right now the plan is this: We'll fly to CA sometime around the 21st of October and spend a few days shuffling through the available houses on the market. BG will come back mid-week to tie up loose ends at work and get the house packed up; LG and I will stay, continuing to look for a place to call home if we haven't found one to make an offer on before BG's return flight to Philly. If we have found and made an offer on a house, LG and I will spend our days lazing in the sun, sifting through the sand for seashells and watching unicorns prance lithely through fields of daisies while fairies and sprites feed us grapes and ambrosia under a gossamer canopy held aloft by serenading cherubs. Guess which scenario my money is on.
- The tree house is still on the market. We are waiting anxiously for the results of the two appraisals that were done last week to give us some indication of how much we stand to lose if a buyer doesn't appear in the next 3 weeks. For those of you whose reaction to that sentence is along the lines of "Huh?", here's how it goes: We can either sell the house ourselves in the normal fashion, or, after making a good faith attempt to do so, we can throw ourselves on the mercy of the Evil Empire and ask them to take it off our hands. To paraphrase the immortal Jessica Rabbit, "It's not really evil, it's just portrayed that way." That process has already been set into motion in the form of the two aforementioned appraisers(um, hello! The house has been on the market since April, people. I'd call 5 months of carrying our tissues down to the garage after each and every nose-blow JUST IN CASE someone wants to look at the house a pretty damn good faith attempt. Unfortunately there's been a shortage of Robinsons looking for tree houses in the Philadelphia area.). The Empire will take the average of the figures that they come back with and we have the option of selling the tree-house to them at that price*.
- On Monday the house will be inspected and tested; all of our worldly goods will be surveyed and cataloged. Crates will be ordered**, cranes will be scheduled***.
- Tuesday will mark the beginning of redefining life as we now know it. Meals will be less about nutritional content and more about consuming the remaining non-transportable items in our inventory. What do you mean we can't have rice, string cheese, and maple syrup for dinner? Rice = whole grains, Cheese = dairy, Maple = trees = vegetables. Throw in a few peanuts for protein and how much more balanced can nutrition get? Cleaning products, paints, and any thing remotely flammable will be gathered neatly into a pile in the garage and subsequently stared at as BG and I bounce the query "What the crap are we going to do with these?" aimlessly back and forth between us. With the exception of the wine. The wine we know what to do with. In fact, there's a good chance that taking care of the wine will lead to a solution for the cleaning products et al. Hopefully we will have the sense to wait to act on that solution until the next morning. Laundry will be sorted according to what will fit in the beast bags, prioritized by what we think we'll possibly need before the truck arrives at our new home (which could be a matter of days, weeks, or months, depending on how that initial bullet point up there goes). Trips to Goodwill will be come as frequent as trips to the library, the grocery store, and the park.
- Oh, and to add just a dash of excitement into our chaos soup, BG will be working 14+ hour days until the 9th. Ladies and Gentlemen, to truly enjoy any further programing, you should set your dials to the frequency of W-H-I-N-E! Thank you and enjoy the show.
*Appraisals just came in. Low. So now we can either dispute the results and hope for a better outcome, take the results and figure out how to make up the difference, or hope that the house sells on it's own and that the sale reflects the true market value****.
**This just doesn't fit in a standard packing box.
***This won't make it down these and has to go out this way. "'Ain't no ladder tall enough. Ain't no mover strong enough..."
****Um, yeah, so when establishing the appraised value of our house, we were dinged for things like "Limited street parking". Never mind that we have a garage. And live on one of the rare streets in this city that doesn't require a permit to park on it for more than 2 hours. What I want to know, is where did they draw their comps from? Middleton, Wisconsin? Silly me. I thought they'd use a place with similar square footage or, oh, I don't know, THE EXACT SAME FLOOR PLAN? Something like the one for sale next door that we SHARE A WALL WITH? Apparently? Not comparable.
The fantasy football season has begun (yeah, yeah, we're a week behind. We've got this little MOVE going on...) and tonight my mighty Finger Puppet Mafia took on the SIL's Windy Lou Who's.
The score as of this moment is 116-85.
The Puppets and I shall now hang our heads in shame as we head up the stairs to sleep off the spanking the Lou Who's continue to dish out.
To the locker room, boys... we can do nothing but further damage by hanging out here tonight.
Just an update on the "greening"...
If you look over there ---------------------------------------> and scroll down, you'll find a simple log of how we're doing. I was thrilled to see that the few steps I took made such an obvious change. BG was thrilled with the smaller checks that he wrote to the utility companies. I'm also please to report that Campaign Reduce Refuse got off to a great start -- the first and second weeks of August we only took two bags of garbage to the curb. We slumped in our efforts a little the third and fourth weeks of the month, but still managed to limit our non-recycled waste to three garbage bags per week. So I'm feeling pretty successful. This month the goal is to limit our curbside waste to 2 1/2 bags per week and I am extremely hopeful that our meter readings will drop even further, especially with fall weather peeking around the corner.
I also re-took the Happy Planet survey and although the changes there were subtle, there was change. I'm still trying to figure out how much stock to put in such surveys -- I'm a bit wary of indexes that "calculate" your happiness based on so few questions. And, depending on the time of day, the time of the month, and whether or not there's any chocolate in the house, my responses to the personal questions can quickly shift from one extreme to the other. But it's still a baseline of sorts and I'm inclined to think that despite it's suspect accuracy, it gives me a direction to aim. Here's how my results compared to last months:
8/3/07: 80.1 Congratulations. Your life expectancy is above average for your gender and country. Whether it's eating well, not smoking, getting regular exercise, or just being lucky enough to have the right genes, you're doing something right. However, nobody's perfect and we could all improve our health a little! Aside from getting all the above bits of your lifestyle right, there are some more surprising factors that can influence your life expect - for example, giving up your car, avoiding living alone, moving out of the city or shrugging off stress.
9/4/07: 91.5 Hurray! Your life expectancy is well above average for your gender and country. Probably, you're doing all the major things right - eating well, not smoking, getting regular exercise, and you're lucky enough to have the right genes. Are there any more ways you could make a difference? Some factors that improve your life expectancy are more surprising than others. For example, giving up your car, avoiding living alone, moving out of the city and shrugging off stress.
8/3/07: Your ecological footprint is 6.55 global hectares, or 3.64 planets. This is equivalent to the average in Bahrain. Your ecological footprint is below average for the country you live in. Oh dear! You are using between three and five times your share of the planet's resources, even assuming no resources are set aside for other species. That's well above the world average, and even above the average for most industrialized countries.
9/4/07: Your ecological footprint is 6.18 global hectares, or 3.43 planets. This is equivalent to the average in Ireland, Norway or Singapore. (The rest of the text was the same... my small change, apparently, is still within the "Oh dear!" range.)
8/3/07: Your carbon footprint is 3.14 global hectares, or 1.74 planets. This is below the average for your country (5.84 gHa).
9/4/07: Your carbon footprint is 2.79 global hectares, or 1.55 planets. This is below the average for your country (5.84 gHa).
I find it interesting to note that my over-all "personal Happy Planet Index" number went down a bit (from 30.7 to 30) and that although my Life Satisfaction, Personal Feeling and Personal Functioning scores decreased (respectively 6-5, 6.55-6.08, 6.32-5.99), my ability to function socially went up (4.98-5.03). If this trend continues I'm afraid that in my effort to "do my part", I'm going to live longer, make everyone around me happier, but hate myself while I do it. How's that for incentive?
From an 8/22 draft entitled "coasting":
It's official. Well, official-ish, really, because nothing is ever "official" with the Evil Empire until it has already happened. And then it still might be undone, so don't get too comfy or involved in anything that can't be suddenly stopped or handed over or walked away from. So really, "official" is just an honorary placeholder of a word that describes nothing concrete or certain. Does your head hurt, too? Um. Okay, let's try again.
The shades of officialness of That of Which Naught Must Be Spoken have shifted to slightly less grey; the great Invocation of Total Silence About All Things Worth Blogging (ITSAATWB) 2007 moratorium has been lifted. So, without any further ado, it is with a distinct sigh of relief that I announce to you, dear internet:
We are moving. Duh! Didn't you post, like a million years ago, about having put the Treehouse on the market?
To California. Wait, wait, I want to Google your new location. Was that Road, or Avenue, or Boulevard?
As in the state. Ha ha. You're so funny. You know that "St" is the abbreviation for "Street", right?
On the other side of the country. Um. Er. Okay. You're for real?
Yup. Before the end of the year and probably as soon as the beginning of November.
Please note the upbeat, playful tone. The general excitement overriding an undercurrent of sadness. Excitement at the prospect of reuniting with friends who quickly became family as we started out on our own 10 years ago. Excitement at getting a "second chance" to see and do all the things we didn't see or do because we were too busy doing all those things that keep you so busy when you're young and still trying to impress everyone else and each other and naively believe "there will be time to do that later" but still haven't learned the hard lesson of how quickly "later" comes and goes and before you know it 6 years later you get a call on your cellphone right in the middle of a staff meeting and it's your husband telling you to meet him at such and such steakhouse so that you can discuss the "news" that he just received that will wind up taking him 1,751 miles away to a place that truly believes that the words "State of" were just accidentally placed in front of the word "Texas" and no one has had a chance in the last 162 years to get out that pesky bottle of white out that keeps drying out at the top so you have to really shake it and maybe even chip away at the clump at the top to get the little brush out and make the correction and anyways, isn't it much easier to just adopt the annoying habit of while flying the state flag at the same height as Old Glory? And so you find yourself left to finish out the school year in the new Kindergarten position that you just got shifted over into because the district had to make budget cuts and it was determined that there weren't enough 2nd graders to merit having 4 separate classrooms and since you were the last one hired, your class is the one that gets shuffled to fill in the vacancies in the other classrooms but you were hired as a full time employee so they have to honor your contract before the contact of the long-term substitute who has been fulfilling the role of "teacher" to the 20 not-quite 6-year olds in the classroom down the way so, hey!, let's see how many lives we can disrupt as we shuffle you here, place you there, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around because that's what its all about! Right?
Um, wow. Guess that had been building up in there for a while. Back to the point...
So we left CA in a bit of a blur. Now we had been presented with the rare opportunity to go back. And we're were excited about it. But the excitement was tinged with that familiar hue of regret. Because as much as we tried to use the lessons of the past to our benefit, we knew we simply hadn't been here long enough. We hadn't seen all there is to see. We hadn't heard all there is to hear. There are smells and tastes and textures that we wouldn't get to embrace, to absorb, to saturate ourselves in and take with us as a part of the "new we". Our time here had just begun to brush the outer edges where "guest" becomes "guide", where "hearth" becomes "home". We would just have to take the time we had left and check as many boxes as we could, recognizing that we would have to limit ourselves to the flavors that we could inhale as we rushed from one "must see" to the next.
Please notice that the publish button on that draft was never pushed.
BG's phone would ring over the weekend. My mind raced "Is this it? THE call? Is it official?" And it would be a little more official. Sort of.
An email was received. My heart began to pound "Okay, here it is..." Um, well, kind of. The offer had come in and BG had accepted the terms. But the terms didn't specifically state the date.
Another phone call. Another email. A week... two weeks... And while the tension was unspoken, it was palpable, steadily pushing us both beyond the brink of civility.
Yesterday, BG emailed the Powers That Be and his Hail, Mary! finally brought about the desired response. We have a start date. November 1st. Disclaimer here: Although we have an official start date that has been blessed and anointed in the obligatory frankincense (or is it mir?) by all the hands that must do the blessing and anointing, it is still subject to change. Hopefully by no more than a week on either side or the bag that I keep running to put my head in is going to be in serious need of replacement.
A month and a half.
Imagine waking up in the OB-Gyn's office (did I schedule this appointment? How did I get here? Are my panties securely hidden in the toe of my shoe? Because, omigod, I will positively DIE if the doctor sees my panties!) and receiving the news "Surprise! You're 32 weeks pregnant!" Give or take a week or two on either side, of course. That rasping sound? That's the sound of trying to breath through a trachea that has shrunk from it's normal 20-25 mm diameter to less than the circumference of the point of a needle. That's pretty close to how I'm feeling about all this right now.
To sell, find, and buy a house. Or if we can't find one to buy, find a place that allows month-to-month leases and cats and then figure out which items of our day-to-day life we absolutely need to have with us while everything else, including the boots that you couldn't imagine ever needing in Northern California because, hello, it's California, but then two weeks into having all your earthly belongings that you didn't think you'd ever need packed up and tucked neatly in some warehouse that you couldn't get to even if Google and MapQuest and the GPS in your car were all to suddenly agree on the best route, a freak snowstorm hits and you suddenly realize that flip-flops aren't necessarily all-terrain footwear, but until Target opens and you can tunnel out of your front door, you're gonna have to just deal.
To figure out if we should all go out at once or if he should go by himself or if he should go with the cats or if I should go with the boy or if I should go with the boy and the cats or if we should all go and then he should come back or if we should all go except for the cats and then he or I and the boy or some other combination should come back for the cats or if it's even possible to make a move when there are so many possible combinations or has our life just inexplicably turned into a giant Rubik's cube and we must now fall on our knees and pray to the great Stephen Hawking to come save us from impending doom. Drama much?
It's enough to make this little tidbit from another draft laughable. Melancholy echoes? Fait accompli? Seriously, what was I whining about?
so it begins... dated 9/2
And that's the big secret. Of course, since the eventual outcome has been declared prior to posting this, making this into a big announcement is rather anti-climatic. The wringing of hands and sleepless nights needing someone, anyone, to offer insight and help list the pros and cons of such a life changing event have long since passed (um, hello! What did you think I spent August doing?) and now I'm just left with the melancholy echoes of fait accompli. Unless, of course, something changes between now and then - whenever then is - and all the deep sighs and the opening of The Notebook to scratch out of this or add that on the ever lengthening list of "Should We/Shouldn't We" have been meaningless drama.
Why is the default ringtone on my bluteooth the "dun-dul-un dun dun, dun-dul-un dun dun" part in the beginning of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries? The sense of impending doom alerting me to the fact that I have a call coming in is a bit over the top, if you ask me.
The traditional flower for the 10th wedding anniversary is the daffodil. Pssst... it's August*. Do you think these will do?
Update: As of 10pm on the 26th (just a little over 24 hours since this was originally posted), the number of hits for this particular post has gone from 39 to 65. I remain truly baffled.
Since I posted this last month, I have had 39 hits on the site from Googlers seeking this. Hmmmm, did I just find the ultimate secret to upping traffic without improving my writing? What gives, dinosaur lovers? I get the feeling I'm missing something important here! If you happen to stop by and stick around for longer than the average 4 seconds, PLEASE leave me a clue in the comments.
Wait, wait. Make that 38 hits since someone in Eugene, Oregon got here because S&N came up #5 in his/her search for "child bearing hips hot". I hate to be the one to break it to you, love, but if that's your thing, the middle age spread is going to send you riiiiiiiight over the edge. Rowr!
Oh, and I'm the #9 result when Googling "monologues on insanity". Which sums it all up quite nicely, don't you think?
The Rules:Since we're still operating under ITSAATWB 2007 conditions 'round here, I've plenty of time for the business of memeing...
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
- I celebrated my 29th birthday in Tarangire National Park after having summited Mt. Kilimanjaro the day before.
- I used to insist that my middle name was pronounced "ear-ane-aye" so that it wouldn't sound so old-lady-crocheting-doilies-ish. 5 points to the person who figures the real spelling out from THAT amalgamation of letters. 5 more points to the person who knew what "amalgamation" meant without having to look it up. Siblings forfeit all rights to points because, seriously, if you guys don't know this stuff? Shame, shame.
- Despite the recurrent ingrown toenails, I simply can't bring myself to cut my toenails straight across. And yet? Each time I feel the pain that is an ingrown toenail? I wonder "Why does this keep happening?" Quick! Define insanity again.
- Just about quarterly I get the urge to rearrange all the furniture in the house. I usually wind up frustrated that I can't get here from here and put everything back the way it was after about 2 hours of the adjust-ever-so-slightly-to-the-left-just-a- nudge-to-the-right routine. BG usually has enough sense not to raise his eyebrows when I tell him how busy I've been all day. He always has the sense to duck after he asks that question.
- I simply cannot let the little volume number on any piece of audio equipment rest on a number that isn't a multiple of 5. Have I mentioned anywhere on this blog that I might have some OCD issues?
- Every month I take a little time for a visit from the ghosts of "Things I wish I hadn't done in the past and the people whose lives were quite possibly ruined FOREVER by my thoughtless actions." I lie awake at night trying to come up with an action plan for righting my wrongs, only to discard it because it's just too much like that 8th step and dammit, how do you explain to someone you pissed off in 19-freaking-forever-ago that although you appear to be following the AA program, you really aren't an alcoholic? And wasn't that what high school was all about, anyways? Pissing people off and getting pissed on by other pissers? Let's just say that that week is a long week for all of us.
- I waver back and forth between being naive and paranoid.
- My wedding ring is comprised of BG's grandmother's replacement engagement ring (her original was stolen) and two sapphires that BG chose all by himself at a jewelry show. Also? He had to get the permission from every surviving member of his grandmother's family before he could choose the ring as his inheritance from her estate.
And that's that. My taggees are: Val, Lenka, Jacq, and 'rah. Lora got Amy already and Curmy is embroiled in a debate on the pastime of meme tagging or I'd tag them as well. Which still leaves me a couple shy. Any takers?