Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Squirrel Update

It appears that Squirrel has implanted himself into my parents’ lives. (He is sort of like a virus that way.) My mom and sister visited this weekend, so I got to hear some nice Squirrel Implantation stories. Originally, the plan was to keep him solely in their kitchen, behind a baby gate, with his little doggie crate. Within weeks, he was sleeping in my sister’s room and the baby gate had mysteriously vanished. But they discovered a little chihuahua “tootsie roll” a few days ago (a wee poo) so it was back to the kitchen with him. Well, for about a night. Now, he and Ollie the Jack Russell Terrier are sleeping in my parents’ room at night. My dad tries so hard to be a doggie disciplinarian, but he’s almost as much of a sucker as I am. I think it gets worse by generations. My grandmother nightly fed her Pit Bull warmed ice cream from a spoon. There is no hope for my daughter at all. She’s bound for flea bites and stained carpet.

My sister, Sara, has even begrudgingly acknowledged that she likes his presence. Squirrel just needs a warm body and he will quietly sit on your lap for an entire evening. A small warm sighing chihuahua can be very addictive. It almost makes up for the “tootsie rolls.”


No, the green is bad. Must repaint.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Pee and Paint

So question... when is it finally time to throw away the peed-upon positive pregnancy test sticks? I dreamt of seeing that second line for so long, that when I finally got one (or rather, SEVEN, since I tested on every brand available at WalMart), the sticks became trophies to me. After taking glamour shots of them for my photo album, they've been sitting in my medicine cabinet in a little plastic baggie, growing more yellow by the day. It's pretty nasty and they should really be discarded. But I've developed an emotional attachment to them, so it is difficult to think about chucking them.

Jason painted the baby's room last night. I spent weeks picking up paint samples and finding the exact shade of green that I wanted. I finally went and bought the paint this weekend, feeling so proud of myself. So he painted last night. He paints extremely fast and thoroughly (I think house painting is his spiritual gift) so I walked into the room three hours later to examine the walls. I just about fainted. It was green. Really really glaring green. Not an ugly pea green or anything, but not the faint whisp of green that I had been imagining. I was horrified by my complete misjudgement of paint color (I usually get it right.)

I went to bed and sat there and tried to say nonchalantly, "Well, I'm thinking that maybe a light colorwash would be nice over it..." Jason saw through my charade and sighed, "Just go pick a different color and I'll do it again"-- which relieved me greatly.

Today at lunch, however, I walked in the room and flicked on the light, waiting to feel the stomach-churning horror again. But I didn't. Maybe it dried lighter or maybe I have different flavored contacts in, but I sort of like it today. I think it will work. I am going to paint little pink flowers on it and I think it's gonna look pretty cute.

...you know, now that I typed it out, neither of the above items make for much of an interesting story. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


I have seen some changes in myself since this whole thing began. I don’t know if they are hormonal or sticking changes. I don’t even really know if they are good or bad changes.

For one thing, I feel more confrontational. Sometimes I am quite aware that it’s just hormones, like the time I was waiting in a long line at Subway and it suddenly seemed a marvelous idea for me to go inform the workers that the line would go faster if each of them would get their lazy butts in gear and work more than one station at once. (I’m sorry, but when there is a line of twenty people, you should have the ability to spread mustard AND work the cash register.) I was so enraged by their ineptness, it also seemed a good idea to call the Subway headquarters and complain about the workers at this particular restaurant. But even in my hormonal state, I still knew that I was just hungry and managed to keep my rage to simply glaring at the lazy cash register operator (and after I got food in my stomach, all seemed right with the world and I forgot about my planned rage-induced phone call to the president of Subway, Inc.)

But then, a coworker of mine recently falsely reported something that I had supposedly said to another coworker. The old me would just simmer and stew about it. But in this instance, I sat there and really thought about it. I decided that if I truly felt all that slighted, I would just go talk to her when she got back from her business trip. But I realized that I honestly didn’t care about the incident, and I got over it. (If it happens again, though, I will say something. And I don’t give a rat’s ass if it rocks the boat.) I know it’s basic psychology 101, but life really is easier when you are honest with people. And if it’s not important enough to make an issue, then let it go.

My friend Kyle, who sat next to me for two years, mentioned the change in me recently. He said, “You used to be like one of your cartoon characters. Sort of a cloud over your head because people walked all over you. Now...you are kinda feisty and don’t put up with it.” So I suppose that’s good.

Ironically, the other thing that has changed is that I don’t feel like arguing anymore. I’ve sat through many political discussions recently and didn’t feel the inclination to say a dadgum thing. I quietly sat and equally listened to my father’s liberal views one weekend, and my father-in-law’s conservative views the next, without any interjections on either side. When someone says something stupid, misguided or even just misinformed, I don’t feel like correcting them or ripping them a new one (which, of course, I would do passive aggressively.) I just shut my mouth. It takes too much energy to argue.

And one last thing...I seem to have lost all ambitious and creative drive. I go to work, do the dishes, fold the laundry, watch “The Daily Show,” play my electronic Solitaire game in bed and that’s it. I have come to the realization that I might not “amount to anything” in life. This little life of mine might be it. All those projects that I have so steadily worked on over the years might just sit on the shelf, collecting dust. And that doesn’t really bother me for some reason. Well, sometimes it bothers me that it doesn’t bother me, but that’s where I am.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Pregnancy Related Babble

So it happened to me again. But I think that I am at least developing a sense of humor about it. Karen and I went to Target on Saturday to research Diaper Genie vs. Diaper Champ vs. The Odorless Diaper Pail vs. Tied-Off WalMart Sack In A Trash Can (it's a fierce debate, truly it is.) A lady with a baby overheard us as we poked at the Diaper Genies. "Those are terrible," she said. "Get a Diaper Champ." We continued to have a nice discussion with her on poop and odor and disposal, and then wandered off.

About ten minutes later, she found me again and said, "Listen, I gotta ask... You can't be pregnant. Are you?" "Argh!" I yelled in mock agony, as my sister buried her head in some Amy Coe bedding, knowing the lamenting that was to follow. "Believe it or not, I am halfway through my pregnancy." She was stunned, and I actually thought that she was going to start pulling other shoppers into the baby aisle to examine my stomach. I swear, I was the eighth great wonder of the world. Come one and all, to see "The Pregnant Chick With No Tummy"! Bah.

Well, whatever. Jason got to feel some kicks last night, though. She usually wiggles and squirms when I crawl in bed at night. She was doing it, so I slowly reached over and put his hand on my stomach. She immediately socked it to him. He was very impressed, for about five more minutes, then went straight back to watching some documentary on winged migration. Which, by the way, I hated, because I CANNOT STAND to see those realistic documentaries where animals get shot or killed, such as in real life. Give me those old Disney 60's "Peter the Prairie Dog" shorts any day. So to avoid watching poor birds get sucked into toxic sewage at a Romanian smelting factory, I watched my stomach move. Sort of funny, considering that in any other circumstance but pregnancy this would put me in a ward with the rest of Jason's clients.

Jason is already turning into the overprotective father. At lunch yesterday, we went to McDonald's and he eyed me suspiciously as I slurped on my drink. "Is that a Coke?" he asked. It was, and I assured him that I only have one every few weeks, I promise. "Hrmph." said he. Later we went out for a birthday Mexican food dinner with my sister and her fiance. The lady asked for our drink orders and I gave Jason a pleading look. "Absolutely not. You already had caffiene once today." I begged (I hold no bones about it, I am a Coke addict but have managed to stay clean for my whole pregnancy.) "That's it!" he pronounced. "You aren't allowed to have my baby." I settled for a nasty ass Sierra Mist, while Evil Karen and Evil Bill enjoyed their Mexican Cokes (from bottles, no less) right across the table from me.

...you know, I vaguely worry that my blog has turned into Pregnancy Babble Central. But honestly, this stuff is mainly what is going on in my life. So I suppose, babble on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bad Places to Be

My brother-in-law is a marine biologist who periodically makes trips to the ocean to collect core samples (Don't ask me what this means. Everyone in the family says it very matter-of-factly but I don't think they know either.) Anyway, guess where he is this week. Guess guess guess. On an OIL RIG outside of MOBILE, ALABAMA. Talk about the worst possible place to be in the current Hurricane Ivan circumstances.

Apparently, though, I think he just got evacuated out on a flight from Pensacola.

Part of me, the little dark side of me, thinks it would be exciting to see what a hurricane was like. But then, I get freaked out during tornado weather here in Tornado Alley, so methinks I wouldn't like it too much.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


I forgot to tell you guys! The baby kicked me on Sunday. We were at a service at a huge Baptist church in our area (a friend of mine calls it "Six Flags Over Jesus".) I was listening to the sermon and bam! Definitely a kick. So I guess my child is a Bible-thumping (or womb-thumping) Southern Baptist. Either that, or she's a Lutheran and was pissed off that the service was going too long.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Drive-In

I went to the drive-in and saw "Mean Girls" on Saturday. I love the drive-in. It is the great equalizer of people. In the dark, nobody can tell if you are sitting in a Lexus or a Pinto. It doesn't matter if you are the Queen of England, if you leave your lights on, you will be honked at. Whether you are driving an 2004 Eddie Bauer SUV or a 1974 VW Bus, you still have to park in the last four rows. Everyone listens to the same crackly radio channel to hear the movie. If your kids are being brats, you take them to the same pathetic rusty playground in front of the screen. And during intermission, you scamper to the same bathrooms as everyone else and wait in the same long line, desperately peering around the corner every couple of minutes to catch the little cartoon from 1959 that tells you if you have seven minutes or two minutes to get that "delicious bag of mouth-watering popcorn" from the refreshment stand before the second feature starts.

They also always play a 1985 M&M's commercial that totally cracks me up. It's the one with the goofy song about "holdin' on to that M&M's feeling" and has those kids in high tops, jean jackets and leggings dancing in the streets, eating their M&M's. If we are just staying for the first feature, I still usually make us wait through the intermission to see that commercial. Ha ha ha.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Random Thoughts While Driving

Sometimes I really miss those obnoxious family traditions from my youth. For instance, we had this horrible "Happy Birthday" record, that can only be described as sing-along disco. Mom insisted on playing it on every birthday, at 6am, at full blast. I hated this record. I thought about destroying it every birthday. Now I sort of miss it. (Although she still sometimes calls on birthdays and plays it into the phone.)

My dad's entire extended family have a distinct way of waking up the house in the morning. You stand in the hall and sing, "Everybody oughta get UUUUUUUP! Everybody oughta get UUUUUUUP!" Not too bad? Except imagine that every time you sing "UP," you go up the scale one completely awful pitch at a time, louder and louder. Essentially, after a point, it just becomes caterwauling at the top of your lungs. I sort of miss this, especially when my cousin Mark would do it, because he had achieved almost legendary status in the Off Pitch Contest. Dogs would practically howl along with him.

And last, but certainly not least, there was my family's way of serving mashed potatoes. You literally throw the mashed potatoes at the empty plate, from as far as you can possibly get, to see how flat you can get them to stick. It was a real hoot, until someone got inevitably hit in the eye with mashed potatoes. Or as my mother says, "Well, it's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out."

I guess there comes a point in adulthood when you have to start your own obnoxious traditions which your children will hate...until they become adults and start their own.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Warning: Pathetic, Hormonal and Bitchy

I’m super sensitive and emotional right now. WIth the return of some of my morning sickness (oh yes, it’s intermittently back, by the way. And a special shout out to my mother who informed me this past weekend that, she was afraid to tell me this, but she was sick for her entire pregnancy with me), I seem to have gained the gift of irritability and weepiness. Which leads me to this stupid and petty post, that, believe it or not, I am writing while holding back tears. I am aware that my pathetic-ness is due to hormones. But awareness still does not change the pathetic-ness.

One thing I’m finding that I am highly sensitive about is my size. I have actually been slightly sensitive about my underweight since seventh grade when Loi Le, who sat behind me in PreAlgebra, tweaked my shoulder and called me “anorexic” (which I never was, just mousy, boney and skinny.) Now 18 weeks pregnant, I am still not showing at all. Not in the slightest to the outside world. I had even lost weight, yet again, at my last OB appointment. I seem to have hit a resting spot, belly-wise, for quite a few weeks now, that is somewhere after being comfortable in my own pants but way before actually wearing maternity pants. And forget maternity shirts. My regular ones have ample room. But the thing about maternity pants, that they don’t tell you, is that you’ve pretty much got to wear the maternity shirts with them. Normal shirts don’t cover up the ugly paneling at the top of the pants. So even if I do slide over to the maternity pants, I’d have to wear the shirts, and it would be simply laughable.

There are four of us due around the same time at my work place. Two of them have been wearing maternity clothes since the first trimester. The other one, due five days before me, came walking into my work area this afternoon, definitely showing, in her new maternity clothes. After she left, I almost started crying (ridiculous, yes I know, but I already informed you of how pathetic I am. And I never ever cry, which points to my hormones even more.) It doesn’t help that two separate people told me this morning, “I can’t believe that you are even pregnant!” And my husband and father-in-law teased me for being so “huge” after I undid my pants button at lunch.

I am also sensitive about the fact that I haven’t felt any kicks yet, despite knowing full well that I am pretty lucky just to feel wiggles and taps at this point. I’ve even tried bribing the child with a Edie’s Lime Popsicle if she would just kick me once.

I think part of the problem is that I have always hated feeling left behind. I HATED being the last kid to be picked up after an event or practice. I would beg my mom to please please please be on time. Not that she was bad about that, but she was a typical mom and sometimes she was on time and sometimes she wasn’t. I hated sitting there, on my french horn case, trying to look like I was having a good time waiting by myself. What 13 year old girl has a good time waiting by herself? And I was desperate to not be that last girl in my class to get her period. Thankfully, I was smack dab somewhere in the middle. When choosing teams, I prayed to please please please get picked before the embarrassment zone. And with infertility, you can multiply the “left behind” feeling by about a hundred. Every pregnancy announcement was me sitting on my french horn again.

My mom didn’t show with me until she was about six or seven months along. She says that she remembers it feeling difficult, also. She went to a Christmas party in her first maternity dress and the hostess made a big deal about it being baggy on her. She told me, “At least that’s less pounds to take off after the baby comes. Your weight might end up being all baby.” True. But if one more person makes reference to my lack of bumpness, I am going to sock them one.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Living in the Now

I’ve gone from zero to ninety in the Accrument of Baby Clothes department. I visited my folks this weekend and my mother, sister and I ventured over to Kohl’s to check out baby clothes. The summer infant clothes were 80% off, so there was no turning back for the three of us, especially my mother. She’s already dreaming of Easter bonnets and white lace socks. I now have a big closet full of baby girl’s outfits, with little matching hats and bloomers. I swear, the child will be able to wear a different outfit every day of the month and not duplicate it. She’s already much better dressed than me, and she’s still gestating.

My dog, Squirrel, is doing really well at my parent’s house. He’s missed me terribly, of course (or so I’d like to think), but it’s got a pretty happy existence over there. He has a dog brother, Ollie (or actually his “uncle,” if you are from a freak of a family like mine and refer to pets as brothers and sisters), and they enjoy chewing grass in the back yard and stealing each other’s Doggie Dingos (which are tiny rawhides that are like crack cocaine to canines.) He gets to go for a walk twice a day and has a little bed that matches Ollie’s. I still really miss him, but I think that I am okay with the current situation.

It’s hard not to want to get ahead of yourself with this pregnancy thing. You find yourself constantly focusing on a point in time that is months down the road. I never used to spend my Septembers concentrating on the next February. I was in September and that was that. In my first trimester, I was focused on making it to “the safe zone” (if there actually is one). Then I was wishing that I would hurry up and be able to find out the gender. Now I am staring at my belly and thinking, “Well, let’s see, my sister is getting married on October the 16th so I will surely be showing by then...” Looking at my winter maternity shirts, waiting for that first kick, wondering how big I will be at Christmas....

But I need to appreciate where I am now. I am getting regular sleep. I am still squeezing into normal pants. I have minimal responsibility in my life. If I want to go to read books at Barnes and Nobles and drink (decaf) coffee for six hours, well, I can technically do that. There will come a day, when I am as big as a house, that I will remember fondly the day of non-elasticized pants.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Stench of Modern Medicine

I went to go visit a friend of mine in one of the local area hospitals yesterday. She just had her baby boy by C-section. It's a nice hospital. They've tried to make the maternity area pleasant and open. However, as I walked through the halls, I realized that, as nice as it was, it was still a hospital. And trust me, I’m not put off by hospitals. My dad was a doctor, so I’ve been wandering the halls of hospitals since I was little. I learned pretty early that there are happy areas of the hospital (maternity ward, sick children’s play room, gift shop), solemn areas (CCU, ICU) and get-out-of-the-way-and-don’t-peer-in-the-rooms areas (ER, psychiatric ward.)

Anyway, I was walking through the halls of this particular hospital, thinking, “Well, maternity wards certainly have come a long way” when I was hit by a very familiar smell. The smell of hospital food. I was a candy striper during my junior high days, and it was our job to deliver the food to the patients’ rooms and “water” them (refill their ice bucket and water pitcher.) For some reason, all hospital food, no matter what you are eating, smells the same. One whiff and suddenly I was a 13 year old girl cautiously opening doors, hospital food tray in hand, praying that whoever was on the other side of the door had their clothes on (I had walked in on several naked 90 year old semi-comatose men. Cue the cringing facial expression.) The food has a very distinct odor. Like if you were in a slightly altered dimension, it might smell good. But here in the real world, it smelled of steamed collard greens and funky meatloaf. About five years ago, when I landed myself in the ICU for nine days for pneumonia, the food smelled the same. Actually, that was how I finally knew that I wasn’t going to die. They started serving me real food, instead of a dripping IV, soup and lime jello (or other things you could possibly sip through a straw without taking off your oxygen mask.) I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll live because they obviously don’t see me as a waste of perfectly good hospital food.”

The smell reminded me that, as much as you dress it up with birthing rooms, wide-screen TVs and colorful wallpaper, a hospital is still a hospital. As nice as it is, you still just want to get in there, have your baby (or have your tonsils removed or recover from that case of malaria or whatever) and get out.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Tickled Pink

It's a girl!

We went in this morning and the doctor could tell pretty quickly. She was spread eagle across the screen (not exactly a shy child). He kept looking, just in case, but he said that he was 99.9% sure it was a girl, and he's rarely wrong. He said that he never says 100% when it's a girl, but he would almost venture to give us a 100%.

I am very excited. More excited than I thought I would be. When he said, "Girl", it didn't surprise me at all, for some reason. I think God has been emotionally preparing me for a girl for several weeks now. I was working on the baby's scrapbook the other day, picking papers and stickers and such. After doing a couple of layouts, I realized that I was creating a very feminine album, with lots of pink pages. It's amazing how much gender knowledge can motivate you. Two days ago, I couldn't even think about baby clothes or nurseries. Today, I'm thinking of colors and curtains. My sister has some pretty grand nursery plans. She wants to create a Rivendall Elf Nursery. We'll just see how far that goes with the husband.

Jason is happy, also. Of course, he's walking around muttering "More women. Geesh." (He's been dealing with my sisters and I for quite a few years now.) But I think he's pretty down with it. His father jokingly told him that they are going to either lock me in the Tower of London or chop off my head, so har har har.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Sugar and Spice

Confession. I really like "The Thong Song." It was just on the radio, and it occured to me that I hadn't really heard it since I got married four years ago. That was during the time of lingerie showers, where thongs were showered upon me for my honeymoon (which, by the way, haven't been used since, due to their evil wedgifying nature.) I think I like the song because Sisqo sings it with such conviction. He sings "Let me see that thong!" with the same intensity as a Celine Dion tune.

I find out tomorrow if, four years from now, I will be buying paper dolls or Tonka trucks. Yep, the big ultrasound. Boy or girl. People seem to ask two questions. "What are you hoping it is?" and "What do you think it is?"

First question...hmmmmm. I'll admit. In the beginning, I had strong boy leanings. For several reasons. Firstly, I didn't like any girl's names. Everything was either too girly or too dowdy or too trendy. My family gave me thousands of suggestions but most made me cringe or want to barf. Maybe that was the morning sickness, though. Anyway, I have a good solid girl's name now, so that's not an issue. Secondly, I had all sisters. I mainly grew up with friends who had all sisters. I know girls well. Boys, I don't know. I have no expectations for a boy (frankly I don't even know how to dress them. Overalls? Hats?) This "clean slate" seemed very pleasing to me. Plus, I hate to play tea party.

But lately, I've been noticing the sweetness and softness of little girls. The little hair bows and kitchen sets. I started thinking back on my own childhood and realizing that, wait a minute, I never played tea party. I don't know if God is suddenly preparing my heart for a girl, but if so, more power to Him. I truly feel neutral on the gender issue. I am Switzerland.

Besides, as my husband so delicately puts it, what are you gonna do about it anyway, shove 'em back in? I knew a girl at my company that was desperate for a girl. The doctor even told her that's what she was having. She soon was swimming in pink baby items. Around the seven month mark, they did a last minute ultrasound, and what do ya know. Penis city. She was devastated. She adjusted, of course, and loved her son after she met him. But I just found it odd that she would become that in love with a specific gender.

Second question..."What do you think it is?" I know people who swear by female intuition. One friend of mine heard a statistic that mother's first instincts are 80% correct. But here's the deal...you've still got basically a 50% shot of your intuition being correct. And 50% chance of it being incorrect. I guess I started calling El Wiggle Worm a "he" from the beginning. It just came out that way. So I suppose that I got "boy vibes." But how on earth can you really know? Your nose widens? You crave salty foods? You carry the baby low? You start to grow horns from your head? It's all fairly ridiculous when you think about it. However...I will admit that many of my friends' first gender instincts were correct. So stick that wherever you'd like to stick it.

Well, I'll let you guys know tomorrow.