Friday, December 18, 2009

Yeah. What She Said.

I love this. One of my friends (thank you Misty!) used this as her Christmas Card this year. You may have seen it before (if you have, DEAL WITH IT!) but I thought it was worth plagiarizing sharing.
Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years. Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting 'Don't eat in the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

MOM...


P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Meredith was staying at Grandma's over night for the first time on Monday night so I could chaperon Sabrina's field trip to the Carnegie Museum on Tuesday.

Apparently she did not sleep well. Correction. They did not sleep well. It is a well-known fact that when a two year old does not sleep well the rest of the household is not permitted to sleep well.

I think my Mother-in-Law fussed too much. I told her to put her in her jammies, give her her books and animals, leave a nightlight on and close the door.

Meredith kept telling her she couldn't see and needed a light on. So Grandma, being a Grandma (read: SUCKER) put the dresser lamp on which is a full blown light up the room style lamp.

Well of COURSE she didn't fall asleep with that on! Around 10:00 p.m. Meredith cheerfully announced "I'm all done sleeping now!"

My Mother-In-Law is a bit of a throwback to pre-feminism. She feels compelled to pick up after, cook, clean and generally wait on the males in her life. (My husband tried expecting me to wait on him hand and foot once. He's still waiting.) Therefore when her significant other arises to work in a bakery at 5:00 a.m. my Mother-in-Law feels compelled to go and make him breakfast.

My Mother-in-Law SWEARS she was quiet as a mouse (she slept in the bedroom with Meredith) and she SWEARS she did not wake her up. But it just seems awful coincidental that Meredith also just happened to wake up at 5:00 a.m.

You might say she was a wee bit overtired last night which may or may not have contributed to her antics here at home. She was in bed by sound asleep at 8:00p.m. when I got back from taking Sabrina Christmas Caroling with her Girl Scout Troop (Chaperoning a school field trip AND Christmas Caroling in one day - do I get Mother of the Year Award or what? Where's that Supermom cape?).

At precisely 1:19 a.m. (yes I looked) I was woken out of a sound sleep by Meredith SCREAMING, not requesting, not demanding, not even merely shouting at me: "I WANT MILK WITH ICE!" (This is how Dave drinks his milk and he's inflicted it on Jamie and Meredith).

Dave got up (she even overcame the Daddy Powers of Superhuman Lack of Night Hearing) and offered her a drink of water which she batted away and continued to demand milk with ice. At which point Dave stated (yelled) "NO!" and "BE QUIET!" which of course just made her freak out more. Big help Dave thanks. And why is that? Why is it that Daddies can simply raise their voice and reduce a child to tears but I can stand and bellow at them at decibels to make ears bleed and they all just continue on as if I were merely commenting on the weather?

So he moves downstairs because it's not fair that he got up with them for all the night waking for the past eight and a half years. Oh wait no. That was me.

I just ignored her terroristic threats as best as one can when one is sharing the room with a small version of Mussolini, until she calmed down enough and said "But I'm thiiiiiiiiiiiirsty." I asked her again if she wanted a drink of water and she said yes so I got her one and she laid down and went immediately back to sleep.

She has no memory of any of it this morning that I can tell.

I am currently setting up the IV line with coffee.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And On The Eighth Day, God Created Starbucks

I apologize for the crappy photo quality. I own what is affectionately called a "welfare phone." It is strictly pre-pay and completely lacking in bells and whistles. Which is just fine with me. I've never found the need for a portable phone that can take movies, play music, speak in 5 languages, cook dinner and walk the dog.

Well, the cooking dinner part might be okay.

I promise you I have made the photo as big as possible without losing all resolution.


Meredith loves this water fountain. She adores this water fountain. It's in a beautiful courtyard in a park-like setting. You can take a short walk down a beautiful brick pathway to a nearby trail where you can walk along the river.

All I have to do is ask "Meredith, do you want to go to the fountain?" and she has a Pavlovian response of cheering, smiles and shouts of "Hurry up Mama! LET'S GO!"

I confess I have my own Pavlovian response to thoughts of this water fountain for a slightly different reason. Oh it's a beautiful place and I love our quiet mornings together (I'm starting to get used to this 2 older kids in school thing) and it's so pretty and relaxing to walk along the river's edge. But if you look closely at the background you will discover my true motivation for visiting this fountain a little too regularly lately.

Yes boys and girls, that's a Starbucks. Coffees, and Frappucinos, and Lattes, Oh my!

This morning we pulled into a parking space and as we got out of the car, Meredith told me, "Mama, I don't want to go to the Fountain House first."

I'm thinking this might be an indication we've been there a little too often.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Can Channel Martha AND The Three Stooges Simultaneously

We love waffles around here. And for Mommy's benefit, they're relatively low-fat and you can add some yummy fruit to them.

I love waffles, mostly when someone else makes them!

But I am positively allergic to mornings and I do NOT cook before noon, so if my kids want something hot, it's frozen waffles popped in the toaster. If I'm feeling REALLY earth-motherly and have had a cup of coffee, I'll boil some water for instant oatmeal (but that's pushing it).

So I think I want a waffle iron. I want to start making my own waffles and stop supporting Eggo frozen waffles. I'd rather just make a batch of my own to freeze. This way I could make them ahead of time and have my OWN frozen waffles. Hell I could even make them all healthy and stuff and add flaxseed and wheat germ and other things that I'm sure would taste disgusting not covered in syrupy goodness.

Did I just say that??? Has Martha Stewart taken over my brain? I told that woman to knock it off. Every time she tries I end up buying expensive gadgets and/or craft supplies that gather dust or get eaten by the dog. Sparkly dog poop decorating the yard just isn't the festive touch Martha had in mind.

Anyway, Martha Stewart Exorcism notwithstanding I still persist in looking at them. However as usual when I research ANY product, I start looking on Amazon, see all the negative (and positive) reviews on all of them and get paralyzed by indecision.

My Dad has a nice one and he makes very good waffles (before you get impressed with the idea of my Dad as Gourmet Chef, I must disclose that waffles is pretty much the extent of his culinary repertoire. Oh, and he can heat up a mean bowl of soup in the microwave.), but it's a round waffle iron.

I don't have one of them there fancy-schmancy toaster ovens, just a standard top loader toaster. I think I need a square waffle iron despite Martha's probable disapproval. Round peg, square hole and all that.

I was looking at this one, but it's EXPENSIVE. However, if it makes good waffles and 6 at a time it might be worth it. As usual, some people love it, some people hate it.

So, what do you love about yours? Hate about yours? Would you buy it again? Oh and of course what kind is it?

Because I still just can't decide on a waffle iron. I'm........................
.
.
.
.
wait for it............
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
WAFFLING

about it.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

I'm such a comedian.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Loss And Remembrance

September 11th, 2001.

I had a 10 week old baby and was still suffering from the shell-shock of new Motherhood and lack of sleep. Little did I know I was about to receive a new blow on that gorgeous September day.

It was to be my first major outing with my bundle of uncertainty. I had a good friend that was a Landscaper with a Greenhouse in Monroeville. We were driving ALL THAT WAY to the wilds of Monroeville (when you have a new baby, a half mile drive can loom large like a journey of 1,000 miles) to meet for lunch and he was going to let me pick out some lovely chrysanthemums to plant in my yard.

It was the perfect day for such a journey; one of those skies that are crystal clear blue, not even a whiff of a cloud. There was a chill in the air that promised a lovely comfortable dry day that would slowly warm with the sun, allowing you to shed your jacket some time around noon. I barely had time for showering back then let alone television. So when my mother called me from work a little before 9:00 a.m. frantically asking if I was alright, I was completely clueless and still blissfully unaware of the terror about to unfold.

All thoughts of journeys were immediately forgotten and I sat cross-legged on the living room floor cradling my child and saw a sight that was so surreal and so unbelievable that it was difficult for the mind to comprehend what it was watching. Planes don't actually fly into buildings on purpose do they? But the fact that this was the second one began to indicate that this was no tragic accident and that indeed something evil was afoot.

My husband was currently working on a roof on a very tall building in downtown Pittsburgh and this brought a feeling of terror into my heart as the horror threatened to become unbearably personal as speculation flew that yet another plane was headed for Pennsylvania.

My phone rang and it was my best friend Melissa in England. We stayed on the phone. A link, a life raft, stretching over an ocean keeping each other afloat as we received blow after crushing blow of bad news. We often sat simply in silence watching the evil unfold. As we tried to absorb the thoughts and terror of the people inside as we watched buildings impossibly fall to the ground.

I continued to hold my child close throughout that day, doing what mothers do and the only thing I could do to make her world safe at that moment. At that moment it was enough and yet not enough in a world that was surely changing right before my eyes.

Blogland will be filled with 9/11 tributes today I'm certain. Mine is just a tiny piece of our collective whole. But we all went through it together. It's one of the things I was most proud of. We as a nation.

We were, in every true sense of the words - United. States. of America.

Republican, Democrat. White, Black, Purple, or Green. Rich, Poor, Middle Class. Didn't matter. We flew our flags from every car, rooftop, flagpole, window, and skyscraper. We were one.

My flag flies again today from my porch. I will hold my children close and remember.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Don't Think I Can Clean That Up With The Swiffer

We have survived the first entire week of school. There was a little crying, screaming, kicking, begging, and anxiety.

But hey. That was just me. Jamie's having a blast.

You may recall Jamie has a severe tree nut allergy. It's severe enough that we have to provide an injectable Epi-Pen to the school in the event of an emergency. So as not to ruin his "First Day of School" experience, and because really, the kid thinks riding the school bus is the coolest thing since Bakugans, I put him on the bus, then raced up to the school in my van to deliver all his necessary medications to the school nurse.

I handed her his Epi-Pen, Inhaler and spacer, all properly and obsessively compulsively labeled in Sharpie marker with his name and Grade, contained in a Zip-Loc baggie ALSO labeled with name and grade. And no. I did not sterilize it. Much.

To be able to deliver this little packet of medication I had to fill out several reams of paperwork; signed, dated, approved by his allergist, pediatrician, dentist, mailman, Notary Public, next door neighbor, paternal and maternal grandparents, five references not related by blood, and quite possibly the President of the United States.

But you know, I'm Super-Mom so this isn't a problem. Emily is even making me a cape. Just need to decide on colors and lettering.

The substitute nurse in the office made me a bit nervous when I heard her tell another Mom that she never works at this school and isn't quite sure where to put things, but I cross my fingers and hand it off.

That day Jamie comes home with two envelopes for me.

The first one says, "Your emergency health contact card indicates your child has a severe allergy response to bee sting, food or other allergen. We do not have medication on hand to treat this allergy. Please provide medication and proper paperwork" with all those same REAMS of papers attached.

WHAT THE FARKETY FARKLE??????

(This is a family show folks, I may have used slightly stronger language in real life)

The second envelope has a second ream of paper with all those forms for the allergist to fill out with a happy little sticky note attached saying "We need Jamie's Dr. to sign these so we can give him his inhaler in school."

Excuse me. My brains just exploded all over the floor.

Does anyone have a paper towel?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just Off The Face Of The Internet

Okay I'm pulling with all my might. I think I have a handhold.....Eeeeenh...PULL!

Ahhhh. Okay. I've pulled myself up out from under that rock. Ahem. Ready? Here I go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tomorrow I'll Just Serve Candy

Did you ever have one of those days where the lack of the proper amount of syrup on the waffles becomes a major tragedy? Complete with tears, snot, and protestations of "But I asked fiiiiiiiiiiiiirst!"?

Honestly those kids would argue over a piece of used chewing gum. The kind you scrape off your shoe and is now gray and has bits of hair and fuzz and grass stuck in it. Can't you just hear it now?

"Moooooooom! It's not faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaair! I wanted a wodge of dirty chewing gum tooooooooooooooooooo! You NEVER let me have what I want!" [cue hysterical sobbing, followed by stomping retreat, completed with slamming of door]

I was thisclose to taking my friend Jackie's advice and sticking three straws in the syrup bottle and telling them to have at it.

But we have averted tragedy and diabetic comas for today.

All in a day's work for SuperMom.

I want a cape. Can I get a cape? It would make the job so much cooler.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Village Called. They Want Their Idiot Back.

My little boy is registered for Kindergarten in the Fall. *sniff*

No really, I'll be okay. I'll stock up on Kleenex though just in case.

In a previous post I explained how our school district conducts a lottery to determine which school kindergartners will attend. I was especially concerned about the school Jamie would attend due to his life-threatening nut allergy. I wanted to be sure there would be a trained nurse on site to keep his Epi-Pen and (God forbid) administer it if necessary.

When I was told, not so nicely, that this condition did not give him any special consideration, and he would not be exempted form this lottery, I got, shall we say, testy? And when I get "testy", I write letters. To the Superintendent of Schools. Who doesn't like to get letters about how his staff is being unresponsive. And let's just say it makes the staff a bit more responsive when I request they put it in writing that they have complete confidence that my child will be 100% safe should he experience (again, GOD FORBID) anaphylaxis at their school.

Responsive enough that I am now in possession of the Assistant Superintendent's personal cell phone number to discuss any and all concerns at any time of the day or night. Well, she might get a little cranky if I call her at midnight the night before the first day of school to tell her I'm feeling a bit weepy about Jamie starting Kindergarten. But you get the idea.

Tonight was the auspicious lottery. I received my letter over a week ago, on official school district stationery, telling me the Who, What, When and Where of the occasion. I immediately pretended to be the keen, organized Mom that I'm not, and noted the particulars on my official Mom's planning calendar. You know, the kind with a column for each member of the family so I can forget to keep track of all their appointments, and instead spend my life searching through my purse for tiny little handwritten appointment cards.

I dashed out of the house tonight at 5:40 p.m. to be at the local High School Auditorium by 6:00 p.m. I wasn't sure exactly where the Auditorium was, but I noticed a cluster of cars in the parking lot and figured that would be a good entrance to try. A pimply faced kid perched on a handrail trying to look cool kindly directed me to the proper entrance and I walked toward the doors.

When I walked into the auditorium and found it dark I was perplexed. I pulled out my cell phone to check the time but it was switched off. I pushed the button to turn it on. Nothing. When WAS the last time I charged that thing? I walked toward a pay phone, not even knowing how much a pay phone costs these days, dug in my purse for the fifty cents (FIFTY CENTS!!! I am officially a geezer by telling you I remember when it cost a DIME!) and came up with four nickels and three pennies.

Sigh. Walked back to my van and plugged the phone into the car charger only to find that my husband did not take the phone with him when he took the kids outside.

So I of course took the logical step of using the super secret personal cell phone number of the Assistant Superintendent. The one whom I had exchanged several polite and some slightly threatening letters with this past Spring. The one whom I wanted to realize that I was an intelligent adult that knows my stuff and won't be pushed around. The one who informed me that the lottery is being held TOMORROW at the High School Auditorium at 6:00 p.m.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

They Know Me So Well

Sabrina: Jamie! Mommy just has to finish her refried bean burrito and then we can go open our Lemonade Stand.

Jamie: Oh no. That's terrible.

Sabrina: Why? She's almost done.

Jamie: Because then she'll fart and chase all our customers away.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Was That Vacation Anyway?

Like most things in life it can be summed up as "Good, bad, and not long enough." But that doesn't make for a very good blog entry now does it?

The drive itself was not as bad as expected. That's not to say it was pleasant. It helped that Dave accepted that he was handling the bulk of the driving, and I didn't have the anxiety of worrying about possibly driving. Besides, the one time that we switched off, which I agreed to because it was two lane roads, we discovered that he stinks as a navigator and he kept missing turns.

I did not take the Xanax. I didn't get to test drive it before I left. I was far too busy packing up five people's belongings. Everyone had underwear when we got there so we'll call it a success. I did however feel a little better having the Xanax on hand as an insurance policy.

I got through the drive with a few prayers to St. Christopher (thank you Eileen for reminding me) and text messages to my own personal saint, Jeannette, who gave up most of four days to keep me occupied sending messages to and fro. We arrived in Myrtle Beach and back home again, in one piece and mostly sane thanks to my two patron saints. They couldn't really help out with the general tendency toward insanity I possessed beforehand.

The beach was, as expected, fabulous. I adore the beach, the sea, the sun, the sand, the surf, the sights, the smells, the sounds. I sat on a balcony sipping wine at night watching the waves practically beneath my feet. We were THAT CLOSE. I watched dolphins breaking the surface of the water every morning from the living room window. I took a walk every morning on the beach and allowed whim to decide if I should turn right or left that day.

On the third day there I discovered my 8 plus year old bathing suits were beginning to lose their, um, OOMPH. I dragged my eight and five year olds to the Beach Shop under the pretense of getting them body boards while I shopped for a new bathing suit. The suit in question could be paired with a skirted bottom or a regular brief bottom. When I chose the skirted bottom the saleslady agreed with my choice and commented that it looked much nicer, plus, "You've got the baby."

Baby? What baby? I left her in the condo napping. How does she know about..........?

Oh. I get it.

There goes my new found self-confidence in my recent weight loss.

I paid for my suit and skulked out of the store instead of reminding her of that classic piece of advice from comedian Sean Morey,

"I do not assume a woman is pregnant unless I see an ACTUAL LIVE BABY emerging from her vagina in front of me."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Maybe A Little Ragged Around The Edges

Eleven years, three kids, one dog, two cats, one and a half fish, two trucks, five cars, and one waaaaaaaaaay too small house later, we are still standing.


Happy Anniversary Dave!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eight

We had a rocky start you and I.

Of all the life changing events that have happened to me; death of a loved one, moving, changing jobs, divorce - none of them altered me so thoroughly as the birth of my first child.

I once described the way I felt after having a baby as feeling like I was in one of those fun houses with all the crazy mirrors everywhere and I wasn't sure which one was actually me. In one fell swoop I went from being a person who identified herself by her mate, her job, her age, to being utterly rudderless in an unfamiliar sea of emotions and responsibilities and (literally) constant wakefulness. I was no longer sure who I was.

I tried reaching out to a few people who might be able to help me and felt even further isolated because it seemed the way I felt wasn't the experience they had. Some women seem to take to motherhood like ducks to water. I was sure I was one of those women. I had been waiting for this baby most of my life. So the fact that I didn't only added to my feelings of desperation.

I know now that my experience was not all that uncommon.

But just like forging metal, our trial by fire made our bond that much stronger.


Happy Birthday Sabrina Beena!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We're Off To See The Wizard

We are leaving early tomorrow morning for Myrtle Beach.

I am armed with:
  • a portable DVD player
  • three - count 'em, THREE iPods
  • a Nintendo DS
  • snacks
  • doodle pads
  • books
  • more Wiggles CD's than my sanity can withstand
  • and most importantly a prescription for Xanax.
I have no idea if we will have wireless there, so you may or may not hear from me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'll Give You Thirty Xanax If You Promise To Leave The Building Now

We're leaving for Myrtle Beach on Friday. I can't wait to be there. It's the getting there I'm not real thrilled about. Two days, locked in a car with a seven, five and two year old is enough to drive anyone over the edge. Last year we didn't even get out of Pittsburgh before someone was whining they were hungry and bored.

Just to make things a little more exciting this year, Sabrina has developed something called Daytime Urinary Frequency Syndrome. I'm not making this up. God knows I wish I was. It's pretty self-explanatory. Basically it means she feels the need to use the bathroom 30-40 times a day, sometimes as often as every 10 minutes. And it's more intense when she's in the car.

I've also developed anxiety attacks while riding or driving on a highway.

Two day car trip. Frequent Urination. Toddler. Panic attacks. Yeah. Good times.

So today was my appointment to see the doctor to discuss the upcoming trip in hopes of some chemical assistance. I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to make the appointment for a Tuesday afternoon right in the middle of nap time, when I had no hope of a babysitter. I've taken all three of them out before, but for my sanity and the benefit of all mankind, I try really hard not to loose the Triumvirate of Terror on humanity. But no choice today, so along they went.

It went well at first. My Doctor has a small children's area in her waiting room with an activity table and two shelves of books. This seemed to do the trick until Meredith announced, "I pooped."

Why oh why, would a doctor's office provide a children's area, but no available changing table in the bathroom? I was called back to the examining room about when I made this discovery, so I figured, "fine, I'll change her on the examining table." Except in an unusual turn of events, the doctor appeared to see me promptly. Alright, other than a suspicious fragrance wafting from Meredith's general vicinity, things were still under control. The children were mostly quiet and well-behaved, charmed by my uncharacteristic willingness to allow them to touch my iPod.

As I sat discussing my anxiety and stress levels and the possibility of a prescription, Meredith quietly walked up to me and reminded me gently that she pooped. I turned to acknowledge her statement.

She brought me evidence.

On her thumb.

Which was now grasping my shirt.

Luckily my doctor possesses both a sense of humor and two children of her own.

She immediately sat down and wrote a prescription; there was no further proof of my need for drugs required.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Excuse Me I Have To Get The Phone. LORD STANLEY IS CALLING!


In the eternal words of Howard Cosell, "When you play Pittsburgh, you play the whole city."

And Pittsburgh played well tonight.

Congratulations Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Champions!

Monday, June 8, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons, Go Find Someone Whose Life Has Handed Them Vodka

The three ring circus that is my life has been particularly chaotic lately in ways both good and bad.

My friend Melissa left today to return to her home in England. It was a whirlwind week filled with laughter, family, love, laughter, way too much food, and a little more laughter. Wine was drunk, knees were scraped, birthday candles were lit and blown out, Ollie's 90th birthday was celebrated with gusto. I will miss seeing Melissa daily and the ability to simply make a local call and talk as long as we like. But on the other hand, the laundry and dishes are piling up around my ears and it will be good to get back to our regular routine. After all, it feels weird when my kids aren't sniping at each other and complaining of one or the other committing the unspeakable act of BREATHING on the other.

At the same time a nastier problem was brewing. Dave alerted me to a small lump on his inner upper arm on Monday night. Since he also had a smallish abrasion on his elbow that appeared to be infected, I was fairly certain it was a swollen lymph node responding to the infected elbow. Dave seems to be one of the few people I know who actually likes Emergency Rooms, so I had to talk him down and remind him he had a regularly scheduled appointment with the General Practitioner the next day and since his arm showed no signs of falling off at that very moment, it was probably safe to wait until tomorrow afternoon.

I forgot to take into account the general incompetence of the Nurse Practitioner that usually sees Dave at his appointments.

Dave and I used to see the same G.P. until Nurse Ratched showed up on the scene. She regularly insulted, patronized, and belittled me at every turn until I had had enough abuse hurled upon me, and sought out a new doctor. The first time we met, she simultaneously hurt my son's feelings and insulted me when she walked in and two-year-old Jamie, being as good as gold sitting nicely on a chair reading a book, looked up and greeted her with a polite "Hi!" She replied, "Tell your Mommy you need a haircut."

She once told me she'd "humor me" when I requested she do a throat culture on the painfully sore throat I had had for three weeks. You know, I don't normally pray for Strep Throat, but in that instance I offered up a Hail Mary for a positive result just to take her down a notch or two.

The final straw for me was when Dave waltzed in to see her with a sniffle or two and waltzed back out with a full course of antibiotics that of course will do diddly-squat for that cold virus he had. When I went to see her a few weeks later with every color of the rainbow coming out of my nose, and a sinus cavity that threatened to explode right then and there all over the examining room, having had said symptoms for close to a month, she coldly informed me I had a virus and she doesn't prescribe antibiotics for viruses. When I expressed that I agree wholeheartedly, and I've never once before requested an antibiotic until I had reached near-death-by-Ebola-sinuses, she actually sniggered at me. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I saw someone snigger.

So I should not have been surprised by her dismissal of Dave's arm. But since she previously generally dispensed medication like candies any time Dave walked in, I was shocked when she stated, without even touching said arm, "That's not an infection. There aren't any lymph nodes in that part of the arm. You have a cyst. We don't treat that here."

By yesterday, Dave's arm was swollen, red and hot to the touch. This time when he expressed a desire to visit the Emergency Room, I was all in favor. He was admitted last night for I.V. antibiotics to treat a severe infection. According to the Infectious Disease Control Doctor, most likely introduced by the small abrasion on his elbow causing the lymph node to swell. You know, the ones that don't exist according to Nurse Wretched, or Ratched.

But you can just call her Stupid for short.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Reality Of Unreality

I'm not a big fan of Reality Television.

I'll pause a moment and wait for you all to ready your rotten tomatoes to fling at me for what I am about to disclose.

I do not like Survivor. Dancing With The Stars bores me to tears. I have never in my life watched a single full episode of American Idol. Extreme Makeover - Home Edition has occasionally caught my interest, but usually only because I happened to be a captive audience on an elliptical machine at the gym. I do not watch Amazing Race, The Bachelor, or its feminine counterpart, The Bachelorette.

American Idol is so pervasive that some of it penetrates my perception. I know Kelly Clarkson won one of the contests. And one of the guys that was on it "came out" a few years ago much to nobody's surprise. But when my friends begin to bandy about names like Kris and Adam I get completely confused, until someone stops and patiently translates AI-speak to me. The only time my fingers might pause on the remote for a moment is to listen to a bit of Simon Cowell snarkiness. If there's one thing I appreciate it's snark. And he does it so well.

There is little to no reality in these shows. I mean come on. If those Survivor contestants were TRULY on that deserted island or swamp or desert or whatever locale they're sticking them in these days, with no modern conveniences or comforts of home, the girls would have armpits like men, dreadlocks on their legs, and those bikinis they regularly compete in would be sporting some untamed bushes.

While I generally don't participate in American Pop Reality Television Culture, I have a few guilty exceptions. I like Paranormal State even though some of the ghostly occurrences are a tiny bit staged, and Ryan narrating sotto voce is often more humorous than suspenseful. I also appreciate What Not to Wear (speaking of snark.....), and I've even been known to tolerate an evening with the Duggars.

But my true love of Reality TV has always been Jon & Kate Plus Eight.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Jon & Kate Gosselin are experiencing some well publicized marital problems. It seems everyone has an opinion on this from their families, to former employers, right down to maintenance guys at the local Motel. Every single person that has ever passed them on the street has an opinion. There seems to be a growing movement of "Team Jon" or "Team Kate".

Just for fun I'm going to toss my hat into the ring and let everyone be entitled to my opinion also.

Does Kate come off as a shrew sometimes, reprimanding her husband as if he was one of her many children? Yes she does. Have I ever done the same thing? Absolutely. Are either one of us proud of it? No. She's stated this publicly.

Does Jon come off as lazy, clueless, or inattentive sometimes. Sure does. And I'll bet he's not real fond of some of his flaws either.

But the reality of their relationship is not what we see on television or in the tabloids. Remember a reality show isn't actually reality. If you saw them all day long going about normal business and nobody ever blew a gasket, or had a temper tantrum, or slammed a door, or walked away from a conversation, it would be a REALLY BORING SHOW. So what we see on television is carefully edited for maximum viewer retention.

Trailers that say, "Tune in for the next Jon & Kate Plus Eight, where we see Kate clip her toenails and Jon wash the van, and the kids all mull around looking in the refrigerator all day to see if something has grown there since last time," just don't pique the public interest.

As for the tabloids reporting Jon cheated, Kate cheated, he's done with the marriage, she spends all her time on the road - let me remind you of an old saying. Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

This is someone's real Mom & Dad. EIGHT someones. These are two real people that fell in love with each other, faults, farts, leaving the toilet seat up, compulsive organization and all - just like you or me. I suspect neither one suddenly developed a new personality since they took their vows. This is a real married couple having real marital problems. And those shoes I have walked in. And they hurt. It doesn't matter what he did or she did, it takes two to make or break a marriage. I've worn the shoes of the betrayed wife. And believe me, those ain't no Jimmy Choo's. But at the same time I cannot say I was 100% blameless in the break up of my marriage either.

All I can say is that in this case, there are Eight Little Faces behind the unreality of this reality show. For their sake, let's give this couple a break and hope they can work it out.

NOT on television. In reality. Where we don't see it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Memory

I am fortunate to have never lost a member of my family to a war. Although we certainly have plenty of veterans in my family. In fact I have a family member to represent every branch of the military.

In memory of those who have served, and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and most especially for the wives, husbands, children, mothers and fathers they left behind, I dedicate this entry.

I may not support our wars, but I unconditionally support every soldier that serves this country.

Thank you.


Eternal rest grant them O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Glutton For Punishment

It's official. We've decided to return to Myrtle Beach again this year. I made the final payment today on a three bedroom oceanfront condo. We decided it was actually cheaper to go to the beach than visit nearby Hershey, PA, which was our original plan. While calculating all the admissions fees for a family of five at the various Hershey Attractions, I realized we would need close to $1,000. And that's just the parks, zoos, and attractions. That doesn't include the lodging and if we wanted to do other spontaneous things, like, oh...say, EAT. At Myrtle Beach, we pretty much just go to the beach every day all day and play in the sand, sun, and surf. Which conveniently enough is free.

Most of you are probably thinking "If this is punishment, bring it on!"

The beach itself is fantastic. I love the beach. Everything about the beach. I crave the beach all year long. I am a child of the water who had the misfortune to be born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, nowhere near the sea. The Mon is great and all, but for swimming? Well. Ick. And we're a little short on beach.

The trouble with being born in Southwestern Pennsylvania is that to reach the ocean, one must either drive very long distances or fly on an airplane. I am not fond of flying on airplanes. Nor is my wallet.

That leaves the Very. Long. Drive.

With three small children. That pee. A lot.

But beyond that, I suffer from panic attacks. I began having these panic attacks when I was about 24 years old right after I plowed my 1989 Pontiac Grand Am into the rear end of someone's Buick on Dravosburg Hill. It wasn't too hard to figure out the trigger for these panic attacks. Every time I traveled down Dravosburg Hill, I had a panic attack. The panic attacks bring on a feeling of not being able to breathe, my arms and legs and face begin to feel strangely numb as if they're being deprived of oxygen and I am certain I will pass out at any moment.

Now the typical advice for someone who suffers a panic attack is to let yourself experience it. Go through the entire panic attack and allow yourself to see that you do not, in fact, die.

The problem with this logic however, is that if I am driving a car at 65 MPH and I pass out, I will, in fact, DIE.

The Dravosburg Hill panic attacks eventually passed (good thing since my son attended Pre-School in Dravosburg three days a week) and I had been pretty much panic attack free until last year on the way to Myrtle Beach.

I had too much caffeine, had been driving way too long already, and as I approached a tunnel somewhere in Virginia, I pulled into the left lane to pass a slow eighteen-wheeler in front of me. I felt confident doing this as there was a big sign at the entrance to the tunnel stating "LEFT LANE NO TRUCKS" Whereupon another eighteen wheeler decided that didn't apply to him and he began to barrel down on my ass at 70 MPH.

I suddenly remembered all about panic attacks.

I got through the tunnel and immediately pulled over on the shoulder of the road much to the surprise of my husband who (quite rightly) pointed out what a stupid place I had chosen to pull over. I explained it was either pull over or pass out and die, and he wisely shut up and got in the driver's seat.

I could not drive the rest of the trip until we reached two lane roads.

Since then, any old highway can set me off. Driving 279 North, which is as familiar to me as the back of my hand, is now a serious challenge. I recently drove Jamie to a birthday party in Monroeville and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels, which are pretty darn tame, set me off so badly I had to fight not to pull over then and there and call Dave to come pick us up. I'm grateful I've managed to avoid the Liberty Tubes since I'm fairly certain the police get cranky when they have to rescue the crazy bitch that parks her car in the middle and refuses to move.

We're leaving June 19th so I think therapy is out of the question. Unless anyone knows of any super-charged ultra turbo head shrinker that can work miracles in 30 days or less (Hey if Domino's can do it 30 minutes or less......), I think I'm going to need to experience better living through chemistry.

Do they make tranquilizers that taste like M&M's?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!

I met Melissa when she transferred to my small Catholic Elementary School in Third or Fourth Grade (she'll correct that detail I'm sure).

Our friendship began in Fifth Grade when the yearly Talent Show was approaching and I could find no one else willing to participate in my goofy dance routine with me. Not only was Melissa willing, she had a big living room, stereo equipment, and a piano playing big brother named Derek.

And so began a friendship that has endured for 30 years, several moves - further away each time (strictly on her part), 3 weddings (mostly mine), 1 divorce (that's mine too), 7 pregnancies (I claim the majority on that one), 2 miscarriages (we split that one evenly), and countless hours of talking, whether in person or via several thousands of dollars worth of long distance phone bills.

When we were in High School, I pretty much lived at her house and did in fact live there most weekends and great parts of summer vacations. Every plane trip I have taken has involved Melissa and/or her family. Her parents graciously invited me to accompany them to Disneyworld when I was 15. When I was 23 I flew to Seattle and stayed with her and her oldest brother Chris and nephew Joshua in their home. When I was 24 and getting divorced we flew to Key West together and had a "Girl's Night Out" that lasted 7 days.

I helped to renovate a house owned by her sister Becky and her husband Kris. I still remember having a "blast" sandblasting the walls of their home. I'm pretty sure we were cheap help - we worked for lunch, but it was a good time nonetheless. We paddled in a blue plastic baby pool with her niece Amy, and her other niece Lisa was probably the first baby I saw as a newborn infant.

Her oldest sister Kathy was and is an AMAZING artist, and I enjoyed her paintings and sketches through the years and was delighted to meet her when she visited occasionally from the Seattle area.

Derek, the brother closest in age to Melissa and I, became a good friend and sometimes over-protective big brother over the years as well. He is a superb piano player and I definitely acquired a love of piano music from innumerable hours of listening to him play piano, sometimes while we all belted out renditions of Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, and countless others. With and without liquid courage.

I began calling her Mom, "Mom" years ago and my kids refer to her as "Grandma Kathy".

So you see Melissa is not only my friend, she is my family. When she moved to England to attend Graduate School, then met a native named Chris (there is some fundamental attraction to the name "Chris" in that family) and planned a wedding, it was assumed I would attend. When I was unsure how I would manage to find the funds (I was single and living in an apartment at the time), Mom and Hank assured me it wouldn't be a problem. Translation = Mom & Hank generously paid my way across the Atlantic and back.

As the date of her (and my adopted) beloved Grandma Ollie's 90th birthday approaches, she and her entire family have made plans to gather from all over the globe. The last time I saw Melissa, Jamie was 3 weeks old. He is now 5, I have another baby, she has an almost 2 year old daughter named Leone, and another baby on the way. It has been FAR too long since we got to gab and laugh 'til the tears run down our faces in the same continent, let alone IN THE SAME ROOM.

I always wanted a big family with lots of brothers and sisters and spent a large part of my youth wishing I had that.

As the time approaches for Melissa and her family to converge and I have reconnected with some of those brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, and realize that Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Hank have been there for every birth, birthday, wedding and funeral, something has occurred to me.

I have had that big family all along.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

What's that you say?

That was last week?

Let's just say thank goodness for electronic greeting cards so that at least my stepmother got a Mother's Day card on the proper day. My Dad hand delivered her paper card when I met him for breakfast Tuesday morning.

So in keeping with my tardiness, here's my Mother's Day post. It's just a little bit late. Didn't your mother teach you that saying "Better late than never"?

Mine wishes she never taught me that saying.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Kitchen Smells Funny - And Other Tales Of A Domestic Diva

This is going to be the title of my book. The one I write someday. Of course then that would be sort of like work and that takes all the joy out of it.

In between reading blogs, checking my email, checking my OTHER email, refreshing Facebook (I undoubtedly have Internet ADD) I ventured into my kitchen to fetch a glass of milk and noticed something smells odd in there.

It is a tribute to my domesticity that I ventured right back out and sat down to blog about it.

Next I think I will tackle the yearly Spring Ant Invasion. I have the world's dumbest ants in my house. They blithely ignore the dog and cat food. They don't even seem interested in any of the crumbs from the kids' breakfast. I have actually watched them walk AROUND a large crumb in their path. In fact they seem to mull aimlessly back and forth every morning until I suck them up with the vacuum cleaner. Perhaps they are suicidal ants?

The truth is, I do clean up in a haphazard lackadaisical manner. My house is neither roach infested (ant invasion notwithstanding) nor dirty, but I do believe that expending any further effort than is absolutely necessary is a waste of my time. I have three small children and to quote Phyllis Diller, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

Besides I have that ever-needy Internet to attend to.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Caution: Contents Under Pressure

Sabrina made her First Holy Communion yesterday and there was a dress. A beautiful dress. A dress made of material exploiting several small caterpillars. An expensive dress.

Yeah Sabrina's dress was pretty too.

As I mentioned previously my dress was ordered in a slightly smaller size. And it thankfully did fit, but the dress required a bit of "assistance." When I ordered the dress, the photo showed it on a model that probably had less than 2% body fat and was badly in need of a cheeseburger. I on the other hand display no such deprivation. So while I knew it had a deep "V" front, I didn't realize quite how much cleavage would be displayed on someone who currently wears a "D" cup.

This dress required some serious undercover engineering.

My current bra wardrobe consisted of 3 nursing bras of varying sizes, none of which fit properly, and a piece that can only be referred to as a Granny bra. Not to be confused with Granny panties. Of which I own several.

Plunging silk dresses and graying Granny bras go together about as well as pickles and ice cream. Which sometimes DO go together, but that's what got me stuck with the nursing bras in the first place.

I considered going braless, but untethered, the girls sometimes have a life of their own. And I figured it would probably be a bad idea to flash a booby at Father John what with that whole Vow of Celibacy thing going on. Instead, I went in search of a bra that would provide support without quite so many yards of fabric as my current bras posessed. Comfort is generally last on the list when looking for one of these bras.

I found the bra I was looking for and was in search of something to smooth out the landscape as well. I tried on an all-in-one type deal that was both body smoother and bra that promised to eliminate visible panty lines and back bulges. It was true that I had no visible panty lines, and no bulges underneath where a bra would normally create them.

Have you ever seen those people that take long skinny balloons that are about 4 feet long and twist them into poodles or other balloon creatures? Well this garment had the effect of rolling any excess fat up to the top so that it looked like someone had wrapped one of those long balloons under my armpits.

Instead I settled on a corset. An honest to goodness old fashioned, 500 hooks up the front corset. And it looked great! I was smooth and bulgeless!

I had high hopes for the day of the Communion. I strapped myself into my new Lycra gear and slipped the dress on. There was some serious porn star cleavage going on. I used no less than 4 safety pins to pin the dress TO the bra as well as pinning it shut. There wasn't a darn thing I could do about the cleavage but at least I knew nothing was going to come busting out at an inopportune moment.

On the way to Church I had a peculiar sensation in my midriff. It felt like the darn corset was getting TIGHTER. As I stood in the pew I felt a sudden snapping sensation and realized it had flipped upward upon itself. So I was now essentially wearing two corsets.

My liver was located somewhere around my throat. Breathing was purely optional as my lungs were now stuffed into my armpits. I tried to discreetly push it back down. But pushing that amount of Lycra back into place requires the strength of an ox and looks a little bit like wrestling an alligator. Neither of which are seemly while your child receives a Blessed Sacrament.

To add insult to injury, I realized my pantyhose were also falling down.

I survived the day with several trips to the bathroom for adjustments and the resolution that from now on, I will wear pants to all dress-up occasions. I have sworn off pantyhose, high heels, front hook bras and all forms of Lycra foundation garments.

On a positive diet note, I was unable to eat a thing, since my stomach was squashed into the size of a pea and relocated behind my spine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Serenity Prayer - Extended Dance Remix

God,

Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, such as the fact that it is statistically normal for a 5 year old boy to still wet the bed,

The COURAGE to change the things I can; specifically the sheets at 3:15 a.m - Preferably without swearing,

And the WISDOM to remember to surreptitiously feel the boy's butt to detect if he's wearing a Pull-Up or trying to get away with big-boy underwear again.

Amen

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Random Rambling

I'm hot. And not in the Cindy Crawford, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Playboy Bunny sort of way.

To quote the Wicked Witch of the West, "I'M MEEEEELLLLLLLTING! I'M MEEEEEELLLLLLTIIIIIIINNGGGG!

The good news is I'm obviously compensating for the 30 pounds of lost sweat with plenty of food and drink because I've not lost one single ounce in the past two weeks. This is some sort of twisted Murphy's Law of diets.

"When one purchases an expensive dress in a slightly smaller size for an upcoming event, one can be certain they will either maintain or gain weight."

Murphy needs to kiss my ass. I'm tired of him sitting on my roof all the time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I mentioned, it's hot. Unseasonably hot. We've reached the high 80's for the past 4 days. This is unusual for April in Pittsburgh, but certainly not unheard of. But Pittsburghers, even ones like me that have lived here all their life, have a limitless capacity for complaining about the heat, the cold, the snow, the sun, the rain, the clouds, the wind, and every other normal climate change that occurs with frequency and regularity in this region.

We also seem to have a need to comment on and discuss said weather ad nauseum.

Obviously.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of my favorite stupid weather comments (I promise after I write this I'm done telling you about weather - assuming I haven't bored you into a coma by then) occurred in 2001. We had a Spring very similar to this one (which of course every Pittsburgher has forgotten about since we also have a limitless capacity for weather amnesia and marvel at the weird weather every year). The reason I remember this particular Spring is because I was pregnant with my first child and pregnancy has a tendency to make me......shall we say, "temperamental" when the mercury rises?

I had just lumbered up the stairs to my office, dragging all 500 pounds of bloated baby belly with me, looking as if I had just left the shower when in fact it was just the sweat that had sprung from my pores the very second I left the serenity of my air-conditioned car. I was greeted by a cheerfully chipper, dry and smiling co-worker, weighing in at approximately 98 pounds, commenting on the heat wave.

Then she said to me with a completely straight face, "You're lucky you won't have to be pregnant through the summer when it's hot."

HELLO? It's hot now, and I AM STILL PREGNANT.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sabrina makes her First Holy Communion this Sunday. We purchased the requisite sparkly white dress, but on the night we tried on 500 different dresses I was too tired to go through yet another 2 hours of choosing an appropriate veil with Her Royal Pickiness. So I, ahem, "suggested" we come back another time to choose one.

Except I waited until yesterday and the stores have cleared away all their First Holy Communion Merchandise, no doubt so they can get a jump on putting out all the Winter Coats.

When I "suggested" we go with a simple white head band or a sparkly barrette, Sabrina calmly and politely informed me that this would ruin her life forever and cause her to be the laughingstock of the class, and spend several expensive years in therapy. Or something along those lines. It was hard to understand through the weeping and melting to the floor.

Did you know that for more than the cost of the actual veil you can have one overnighted right to your door?

Now you know. I'm nothing if not helpful.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As soon as it cools off, I'll wring the sweat out of my brain and resume writing about something that is hopefully interesting and entertaining. Otherwise,

HOT ENOUGH FOR YA?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just Call Me An Ancient "Mummy"

Overheard last night as my Mom put Jamie to bed (my kids call my Mom "Gee." Not as in "gee whiz", but a hard "G" sound as in the horse command) :

Gee, It's okay if I kiss you goodnight really. Because I'm not too old for goodnight kisses. Cause really Gee, Mama still kisses you goodnight and she's REALLY old.

Like, Twenty One Hundred years old or something!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who Is This "Perry" Guy Anyway?

I've tried to find him in the White Pages. He's not listed in any Directory Assistance.

So why does this Perry Menopause dude keep bothering me?

Up until recently I had never even heard of perimenopause. Everyone's heard of the "Change of Life." "The CHANGE." "Men-o-pause." But this "perimenopause" seems like the cruel joke before you get to the punch line. Nobody told me the fun started approximately 10 years before actual cessation of menstruation.

At 39 I thought I had a long way to go before I worried about this stuff. But it turns out that menopause is a process. A loooooooong process. And all the fun side effects of menopause that people typically think of, such as hot flashes, night sweats, loss of, um, lubrication - all start during perimenopause.

One of the first symptoms I experienced was yet another symptom I'd never heard of. Apparently in preparation for menopause, your ovaries will start firing off like an AK-47. I can almost hear the little chants of "LEFT. LEFT. LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT," coming from my nether regions. I can only imagine this is like a general housecleaning before they close up shop for good.

What this translates to is that I get a period roughly every 20 days now instead of the traditional 28. Which also translates to two periods a month.

Do we not put up with enough shit what with the whole boobs feeling like they will spontaneously explode while they "bud"? What about the cramps and the headaches once a month that make you feel like someone stuck their fist in your uterus and twisted? And that's just puberty.

Then you move on to childbirth and, well, let's just say every time my husband told me his vasectomy actually did hurt, I informed him that after he produces a watermelon size object either from his butt or his vasectomy incision, then we'll chat about "hurt". At least I can honestly say the pain of pregnancy and childbirth is worth it because it actually produces a baby.

But all this other female crap? What does it produce other than mess and sweaty sheets that have nothing to do with an orgasm?

Boys on the other hand! When they reach puberty just have to put up with a little voice cracking and hair in new places. Which actually makes them MORE interesting to the opposite sex. We in turn have to SHAVE OFF all that new hair we get. And we all know that their contribution to childbirth involves 15 minutes of actual FUN (well, if we're being honest, it's probably closer to 5 minutes around here).

So much for equality of the sexes.

Another side effect of perimenopause is obviously a desire to bitch and moan about it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stellan

Some of you may or may not have noticed the link I have posted at the right, that looks like this.

Prayers for Stellan


You can hardly be a Mom Blogger without hearing of MckMama. She's sort of a Mom Blogger celebrity as it were. Up until recently I didn't really "follow" her blog. Not because I didn't like it or didn't think she had anything to say to me, but mostly because, as my one reader Kim pointed out, I have a real life, after all, with real kids, and a real husband. And much as I try to stretch out those hours in a day, they remain firmly fixed at 24. So I only have so much time in a day to keep up with my blog and my friends' blogs and the laundry and the kids and the homework and the laundry and the doctor's appointments and the laundry and the dog wanting out again and the laundry and the dog wants back in again and hey just for a change let's go do some laundry.

But I found a link somewhere to her blog a few weeks ago because her youngest MckMuffin has been having some health issues. This poor little guy had health issues before he was even born and nobody was certain he'd make it back then.

But he did.

But now he's fighting a battle for his life again.

Right now even as we speak, beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST, he is undergoing a serious and delicate heart surgery to attempt to wipe out electrical pathways in his teeny tiny (but MIGHTY) heart that are causing his heart to stay in an extremely rapid and abnormal rhythm most of the time.

Every time I think about this, my own heart accelerates in response and leaps into my throat. Because once you have your own child, you can empathize all too well.

So if you are a praying sort of person, offer up a thought or prayer to your God, Goddess, Higher Power or the Universe that this little boy will pull through this operation. And peace for his family.

They are definitely in need of it.

Thinking of you and praying for you right now Stellan.



***UPDATE***
Stellan came through the surgery well. If you click the link you can get all the medical details. The procedure was what the doctor called 65% successful as there were some other issues, necessitating further surgery at another time. But for now, Stellan is alive and resting.

I will keep praying.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Replacement

Sabrina got a stuffed bean bag dog for her first birthday from her Uncle Gary. Since Uncle Gary owned a Beagle at the time named Peanut, and this stuffed doggie was decidedly "beagle-ish" he was christened Peanut.

And that was pretty much the last time Sabrina ever thought about Peanut.

She owned the requisite 9 million stuffed animals. I'll admit, as annoying as they can be (they take up so much ROOM!), I was guilty of buying at least half of them. Though Sabrina always seemed to like each and every stuffed animal when it arrived, she rarely played with them or cuddled them, or even cared if they were there.

Jamie on the other hand, adored stuffed animals and would insist on having them ALL in his crib (a trait I'm sorry to say his little sister also has) so that some mornings we were unsure where JAMIE was for all the surrounding plush and fluff.

As a toddler, he filched Peanut from Sabrina's bed one day and in a rare act of sibling generosity, Sabrina graciously said Jamie could keep him.

It was true love. They rarely spent a moment out of each other's company. Jamie, much like Linus and his blanket, took Peanut everywhere. Every now and then Peanut got too grubby for my taste and he took a bath, causing Jamie to fret and worry and ask for 10 billionth time in 2 hours, "Where Peanut?", up until the very second they were reunited.

True happiness is one boy still slightly grubby, and one doggie, freshly washed and fluffy warm from the dryer.




















I read a story once about a little girl who had lost her lovey. Her lovey was a cheap stuffed animal made by Carter's. This animal probably cost $5.00 originally. But when the little girl lost her lovey and was heartbroken and spent many sleepless nights, her beleaguered (and exhausted) Dad went in search of a replacement.

Except this lovey had been discontinued by Carter's. He did locate it on eBay for the bargain price of $100. Because it was now considered a "Collectible".

This story was enough to give me nightmares. Not so much the $100 replacement cost, but more so the thought of those sleepless nights listening to that child cry for her lost lovey. We all know how I value my sleep. Any parent can understand why that Dad actually went ahead and paid $100 for that replacement lovey. You just cannot put a price on sleep.

Besides, I know for certain, had someone told me sometime during Sabrina's first two (sleep-free) years, "If you give me $100, I can guarantee she will sleep through the night from now on," I would have simply said "Cash or check?"

So when I saw a doggie identical to Peanut, in a Motherhood Maternity store of all places, I snapped him up. Twin Peanut has been residing in a green plastic Motherhood Maternity bag on the top shelf of my closet for the past three years.

Jamie's five now. He still loves his stuffed animals and there is a rotation that goes on in his bed. Favorites come and go. But a few weeks ago, Peanut inexplicably disappeared. We're not sure where. Jamie no longer absolutely needs Peanut to go to sleep, but he sure did miss him. And last night, most likely because he was a bit overtired, he decided he was NO WAY, NO HOW going to sleep until SOMEONE found Peanut.

Out came Peanut's twin from the closet. I wish I could have seen the look on his face when he grabbed him and squeezed him and said, "He's all soft and he smells so GOOD!" Dave had the pleasure, as I was busy putting Meredith to bed at the time.

But I had the privilege of checking on him before I went to bed and finding him happily snuggled with Peanut Jr., sleeping deeply and contentedly, knowing all was right with his world.

Undoubtedly the best $10 I've ever spent.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Promise I'm Not Seeing That Skanky Blog Down The Street

My poor little Blog. I've neglected you. Really it's not you, it's me.

Yeah, yeah, we've all heard THAT line before.

But I swear I'm ready to kiss and make up.

If you'll have me back.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Biggie Size That Wine Please

I may have mentioned that I don't like needles. I would be a very very bad heroin addict. I have no tattoos, not because I don't approve or dislike them, but because they involve needles. Hell I passed out getting my ears pierced. All two and a half times. Including the one I did myself. Which is why it's two and HALF times pierced. It's hard to pierce the other side when you're semi-conscious.

And it's not even a pain thing. I'm pretty tough. I gave birth three times, only one of which had a successful epidural (But I sure as heck didn't want to see that needle they put in my spine). Something in my brain cannot tolerate the thought of an object penetrating or slicing skin. Once you're through the skin I'm cool. I can watch operations on television. Blood doesn't faze me. In college Biology I cut a deal with my lab partners. When it came time to do a Nephrectomy or Hepatectomy on our lab rats, I handled all the surgical details. As long as someone else made the incision.

When I was a child, my Pediatrician (Dr. Milton G. Tall, may he rest in peace) called me "Tiger Mary." Only half affectionately. The other half was genuine fear for his life and limbs. When he would walk in the examining room, he would immediately put his hands up in the classic "I surrender" gesture and say "No shot today." Of course this backfired when he walked in and didn't say it and I commenced to shriek and hide under the table necessitating a nurse to come in and assist my mother in pinning me down to the table.

I have passed on the gene.

Yesterday was Jamie's yearly check-up. I won't give my kids too much information ahead of time. No sense having them anticipate longer than necessary. But when asked the direct question, "Am I getting a shot?" I will not lie. I didn't appreciate being lied to as a child and won't do it to mine.

So he knew it was coming. And he held it together pretty well for most of the appointment, even loosening up enough to tell the Pediatrician about his recent pirate themed birthday party. But as soon as the good doctor left and sent the nurse back in, all bets were off. And as if one crying, shrieking child wasn't enough, Meredith decided to get hysterical in sympathy.

When the nurse instructed me to hold him on my lap with his legs tucked and locked between mine, and a bear hug around his arms holding his left arm as still as possible, I had sudden flashbacks to being on the receiving end of this situation. The nurse offered to get someone to hold Meredith, but I knew that in her current state, a perfect stranger picking her up would only increase the decibels coming from her mouth, so I made the decision to let her cry while I attended to the child with the more immediate needs.

Of course everyone survived, with a bright blue Band-Aid, small dents to my sanity and one minor bruise to my shin.

Happy Meals will wash away a multitude of perceived wrongs. And an Iced Mocha for Mom doesn't hurt either.

If only we could get McDonald's to serve alcohol, the world would be complete.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

There's Always Another Poop Story

I will admit this story was inspired - or rather I should say the memory was triggered - by my friend Jackie at The Other Side of the Fence. She's got a toddler and an infant right now so she's knee deep in it right now. So to speak.

We used to have "Poop Day". Sabrina has always had problems with pooping regularly even though she was a completely breastfed baby. For those of you that find that remark puzzling, breast milk has a natural laxative effect. Breastfed babies usually poop often. VERY often. As in after every feeding. Considering a breastfed newborn will generally eat approximately twelve times a day, that's a lotta poop.

But Sabrina's usual schedule was to poop every third day.

As in, "Is today Poop Day?"

"No, she's not due until tomorrow."

Every now and then she would stretch it to four, and once it was five days. Talk about your mudslide! Once she literally had poop from her neck to her toes. The sheer volume of poop was astounding for a roughly 7 to 8 pound baby. I was seriously beginning to wonder if she didn't store that stuff down a hollow leg.

She also liked to do it in her car seat for some unknown reason. So "poop day" inevitably also meant "disassemble car seat and excavate poop from molded plastic crevices day" as well. Since the cloth cover to her car seat was listed as hand wash (which I promptly ignored) and line dry (which I didn't since I once shrunk a sweater literally down to doll size) that also meant we were grounded for one day in between while we waited for her seat to dry.

I hereby declare it mandatory that all baby accessories should be machine wash and tumble dry. Up to and possibly including the baby.

Another myth those baby books imprinted on my brain was that breastfed baby poop didn't stink. While it is true that breastfed baby poop does not smell like formula fed baby poop (that stuff can clear a room faster than a Tarantula at an Arachnophobe Convention) it is not the rose petal scented stuff I must have been imagining. In fact it was one of the many things I had on my "Mama List" to discuss with the pediatrician at an early appointment. When I worriedly told him that her poop smells bad, he looked at me perplexedly, blinked a few times, and probably thinking this was the punch line to the other 35 odd questions I had just asked him, he chuckled and said, "Well that's because it's POOP."

Enjoy your Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not Suitable For Moms

Nyquil how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Thou takest away my snot, if only temporarily. Thou maketh me to, if not stop coughing, at least sleep through it. (This annoyeth the spouse, but he'll get over it - we'll calleth it "P-A-Y-B-A-C-K" for all the snoring) Thou art a magical elixir that can guarantee my sleep even on the worst nights of cold and flu season.

But underneath those warnings about high blood pressure and MAOI's and prostates of the large variety, they really need to offer a warning that you will become completely incapable of giving a shit about your sick children as well.

I was woken by Meredith at 12:00 a.m. when she threw up a little in her crib. But instead of my usual routine of changing her, stripping her bed and putting clean sheets on - I found it completely acceptable to wipe off her hands and face, strip the pillowcase that was the repository of the offending vomit, and turn the pillow over so the dry side faced up, and tell her to go back to sleep.

Oh yes I did.

And somewhere in my Nyquil induced fog, I recall my other daughter visiting in the wee hours to tell me her brand of stomach flu was producing rear emissions and she hadn't quite made it to the toilet. I told her to change her pants and go back to bed.

I'm telling you, I was aware these things were happening, I just couldn't be bothered to actually get up and do anything about it.

In other words, the label should read, "Warning, the consumption of this medication may temporarily turn you into a DAD."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Five

My poor little man. Your birthday has thus far, been not very festive. You came down with an awful virus a few days ago and have been miserable and fevered ever since. But a shot of Ibuprofen with a Tylenol chaser seems to give you a few hours reprieve, and your brand new light saber, complete with lights, sounds and vibrations, went a long way to restoring your good cheer today.

Jamie you are a joy to your Father and me. There isn't a person alive that is not utterly charmed by your personality. The fact that you're also adorably cute doesn't hurt either.

I would never ever say that I didn't want to have a boy, but I was uncertain how to raise one. Since I am, obviously, not a boy I wasn't sure I could relate to a boy-child. But I am delighted to say that from the moment you were born and I inspected all ten of your fingers and ten of your toes, and held your hand, tiny beyond all belief, in the NICU, I have been completely besotted with you.


























































Happy Birthday Boogie-Boy! Try not to get big too fast okay?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Luck With That Budget Thing

Sorry President Obama I can neither help nor criticize. I can't even balance my own budget. I can however relate to that whole deficit thing. We've been working with a deficit around here for some time now.

Seems I was a bit hasty to criticize last night. I got my weekly fill of Simon Baker deliciousness, my head did not implode, and no rocks were thrown at the television. You did however push it back an entire hour causing me to be very tired and cranky this morning.

Considering Bush made me feel that way 24/7, I'll let it pass just this once.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm A Little Irrational When It Comes To Simon Baker

President Obama needs to address the American People during these "troubled times." I get that.

By the way is anyone else tired of that euphemism? Let's call a spade a spade people - it's called "Your investments have gone down the pooper and don't expect to get that nest egg back any time soon." That's the advantage to being poor like me. No money = nothing to lose.

But can't he pick a night like Friday when the television line up sucks and the worst thing we'll miss is Wife Swap? Which would actually be doing the American People a huge public service if you ask me.

If The Mentalist gets preempted one more time I'm rescinding my vote.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Want A New Drug

My husband is a recovering addict/alcoholic. This post is not about that - that's his story to tell. This post is about my addictions and how they relate.

I often joke about my food addiction, but truly it's no joke. The only thing in my life that comes close to being as addictive a substance to me is my books. And let's face it, an over-indulgence in books just makes you, well.....smarter. Even if it lightens your pocketbook, you can overcome that by buying used books or joining a book trade forum.

But food. Food has been my drug most of my life. Even before conscious memory. Baby crying? Give her a cookie. Problem solved.

I've tried to explain my food addiction to my husband in terms he can relate to based upon his experiences with addiction. But in many ways I believe my addiction is far more difficult to overcome. Not to belittle his achievements, or anyone else who has battled drugs or alcohol, but the first, simplest and most basic rule, and the first thing they tell you in Alcoholics Anonymous or Drug Rehab is "Just don't drink/do drugs."

Easy? No of course not. Simple? Yes.

But "Just don't eat," is not only impractical, it's a bit incompatible with life. If we want to continue enjoying this Earth, humans must consume sustenance. Daily. Three times or more per day.

If you told a crack addict that they had to consume crack at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. daily, and they were only permitted one hit of the substance, don't expect to see them or their money (or yours for that matter) ever again. It's impossible.

Is food equal to crack cocaine? Well it sure as hell doesn't make me as skinny as crack would, but it's every bit as alluring and dangerous to me. The detrimental effects of it may take a bit longer to kill me, but kill me they will. Everyone knows being overweight contributes to heart disease, circulatory problems, strokes, diabetes, the list goes on and on.

And besides the health issues, being overweight is one of the last remaining socially accepted prejudices. If someone's fat it's okay to call them on it. Make them the butt of jokes. Speculate on how much weight they've gained. And don't think I don't already know that half the people on Facebook are "friending" people just to see how fat they got since high school.

So it's literally been the fight of, and for, my life.

Today I have lost 10% percent of my body weight. This is a fantastic achievement for me, yet I still have a way to go. But my eyes were opened today to a similarity between myself and addicts/alcoholics everywhere. And I am amazed it has taken me this long to realize it.

I have to battle this every day, indeed every minute, of my life. I have to maintain my "sobriety." By losing weight and achieving a "goal", I have not been "cured." I will never, EVER be cured. And due to the nature of my drug, and the inability to avoid it entirely, I must accept that there will be relapses.

I have taken the first step. I admitted I am powerless over food and that my life had become unmanageable. I came to believe that a Higher Power (and the Almighty Weight Watchers) can restore me to sanity.

Someday I will rock a pair of expensive jeans. And I will run circles around my Grandchildren.

Even if it is in a wheelchair.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Every Day Is St. Patrick's Day In My World

Today is the one day of the year everyone wants to be Irish regardless of their ancestry. And I'm okay with that. When you're lucky enough to be Irish 365 days of the year, it's easy to be magnanimous. A little advice from an authentic Irish lass when ye're celebratin' the wearin' o' the green today:

Skip the green beer and go straight for the Guinness. It's tastier and more authentic than that thin watery food colored Iron City.


Better yet, a wee drop of Jameson's is good for the constitution.


And yes, my son was named for an alcoholic beverage, wanna make something of it? We Irish are known to be quick tempered. They don't call them the "Fighting Irish" for no reason.


Or best of all, join me for a Bailey's. Is it a drink? Is it a dessert? Do I really care?


To all my friends on this St. Patrick's Day I leave you with this traditional Irish Blessing:

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.


You've got to love a race that can pen a prayer involving bodily harm.

Éirinn go brách or póg mo thóin!