Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Basket by the Door

We have a basket by the front door that is to be used for keys and cell phones. It was my brilliant idea (of course), so I’m always a bit fanatical that it’s being utilized correctly. What this means is that when Bub forgets to put a set of keys in The Basket by the Door, I must search for them - which I will do for a grand total of about 15 seconds because – after all – if they were in The Basket by the Door, I wouldn’t have to search at all. So, after an excruciating 15 seconds of searching, I resort to questioning (aka badgering) her as to the whereabouts of the lost keys. This usually happens at 5am or another unreasonable hour when I’m trying to rush out the door to work. The conversation goes a bit like this (with me speed talking and Bub groggily talking the whole time):

ME: Where are the keys? I need the keys. Where have you put the keys? Are you awake because I need the keys.

BUB: Huh?

ME: KEYS! I need the KEYS! You know if they were in The Basket by the Door I wouldn’t need to wake you up and bother you. I could just go to work. You really need to use The Basket by the Door. That’s what it’s there for. So, where are they? Are they in your bag? [Under breath] because they certainly aren’t in The Basket by the Door.

BUB: [Rummaging] I can still hear you. I’m asleep, not deaf.

ME: I’ve got to go. Where are the keys? [Sarcastically] Oh, thank you. I love you. Please use The Basket by the Door from now on. Bye.

So, when Bub called me this morning and asked me if I had the keys, I of course replied “No – look in The Basket by the Door” to which she came unglued because, of course, she had already looked there! So, as I looked unconcernedly through my own bag, I thought little of the problem because she surely has lost the keys, how could she be so irresponsible, and [GASP!!!!!] Holy cats! The keys are NOT in The Basket by the Door, they are in my friggin bag! And, I’ve carpooled! AND, it’s not like we live 10 minutes away! We live almost an hour from work! AND, she needs to be to go to the store and be to work in less than two hours!

Uh-oh. I’m in trouble, and so is Bub! Without these keys, she not only has no way of getting to work on time, but also no way of driving anywhere with the boys. Needless to say, she is HOT. No, wait. She is LIVID. No, wait. Her HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE. (Although, I must give her credit. She didn’t curse very much while on the phone with me. She’s making progress. I cannot vouch for the moments immediately following our conversation, though.)

I made a hasty phone call to Good Friend who just works down the street who agrees to let me borrow her car. So, I jump on the bus to Friend’s work and pick up her car. Then, I speed home as quickly as I dare. As soon as I turn onto our street, the gas light of Friend’s car comes on. Oh, great – something else to deal with. (No fault of Good Friend since she hadn’t planned to make a trip 45 miles away this morning!) This, in turn, threatens to finalize the previously mentioned cranial explosion but only AFTER she wrings my neck.

So, we fly to the gas station– me flustered and driving the boys and her in Friend’s car surely cursing the day I was born. My next brilliant idea is that I can go to the store for her after dropping the boys at grandma’s house. This way, she can get to work on time, and the supplies will arrive shortly thereafter. Apparently, I expected her to read my mind because when she didn’t immediately agree to what I was saying, I shouted at her in the gas station parking lot. (In my flimsy defense, she stomped off in anger, and I was already humiliated that I had breached The Basket by the Door etiquette. AND, she knows that I hate being wrong or making mistakes…. I know, not a good excuse to lose my temper.)

So, after gassing up, we both speed into the city and go our separate ways for a few minutes. I drop the boys at grandmas; she heads to work (and makes it in the nick of time). Then, we still need to swap cars, return Good Friend’s car to her, and I need to get back to work ASAP (via bus – ha ha) because I still had tons of documentation left to do before a big 2:30 meeting.

Lessons learned from this fiasco:
#1 - We’ve had this vehicle for over a year with just one set of keys. We mean to get them every time we go to the store, but we seem to forget every time. We will be getting them this weekend FOR SURE.
#2 - I will never nag Bubba again about The Basket by the Door.

Little Angel

Quite frequently when we walk the dogs, we go to the cemetery ½ block from our house because Gus’ joints are just not what they used to be. A short walk is about all that he can handle, but he still has fun getting out and (barely) getting around.

One of our two little loops in the cemetery passes by the gravesite of little H.G.K., and each time I pass it, I feel a little bit of guilt and sadness.

H.G.K was conceived at almost exactly the same time as our guys. His parents had tried and tried to conceive, and they were elated. However, H.G.K. came early – a month earlier than our boys, so at about 30 weeks which is pretty darn early. So, he was going to face some preemie challenges. But, the alarmed doctors whisked him away very quickly, and then returned to tell his parents that things weren’t going great. Little H.G.K. had holoprosensephaly which just brings a litany of problems PLUS his organs were all mixed up! He wasn’t expected to live past a couple of months.

But little H.G.K. fought for eight months bringing love and joy to his parents and family before his little heart had had enough. They gave up everything that they had to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I was never lucky enough to meet H.G.K. in person because, as you can expect, visits were closely monitored so that nobody could inadvertently make him sick. However, even in pictures, I could see the beauty in this little boy. He had the most tender eyes I’ve ever seen. Even though he never babbled and couldn’t really laugh much, he expressed everything through those beautiful brown eyes.

So, here I walk, past his little gravestone with our healthy and happy and crazy boys. We had hoped for one and got two. We tried six times - many, many times fewer than H.G.K.’s parents. I know that they do not regret their time with their angel and that they are happy for us, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty that we have so much when they have lost so much.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shock collars?

Today, a lady on the bus was telling me stories of raising her twins. She scared the bee-jeebies out of me!

18 month old kids climbing chain link fences; two year olds maneuvering the garage door to sneak out of the house; three year olds letting the family dog out of the house and then going to look for it; four year olds “cooking” beans which resulted in a fire on the stove.

The good news is that she is nice and seems sane, so there is hope for us yet! However, I’m wondering if I should invest in some shock collars as the boys are getting extremely mobile and smarter by the minute. Do they make shock collars for kids or do I just need to go to the pet store and alter them to fit?

On second thought, maybe I should get a shock collar for HER! She’s freaking me out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Difference #29 - fingernails

Is it odd that I'm noticing these little things?

Peanut's fingernails are long and slender and don't grow very quickly. When they do, they are kind of thin and really sharp.

Meatball's fingernails are short and kind of square and grow like crazy. They are thick and sturdy.

Either way, I could just kiss them over and over.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mowing the lawn SUCKS

So, I mowed the back yard with the push mower AGAIN today.

Let me start by saying that if I were a religious person, mowing the lawn would be against my religion. Few people know that one of my life goals was to NEVER mow a lawn - ever. (Sometimes I don't like to set the bar too high...) Of course, Bubba ruined that six years ago when she forgot how to ride a bike and broke her leg in five places. Dammit! I had to mow the front lawn for the rest of that year. She continued to mow the back because she could prop her cast/boot up on the front of the RIDING lawn mower.

I'm NOT a lazy person. I've accepted the fact that I must mow once in a while. I'm learning to cope with it. I've considered mowing medication, but my insurance doesn't cover it. ;) It's just that the big back yard has a short, steep hill, and it's not easy. It takes more than an hour.

Almost a year ago, the belt broke on our riding mower. We asked our fix-it guy if he could help, and a belt was purchased within days. However, it's been sitting since then.

May: "What do you want for your birthday?" The mower fixed.
August: "What does Bub want for her birthday?" The mower fixed.
Sill not fixed.
I don't think that we ask too much, but maybe we do. However, I can't help to think that if I were someone else (like The Golden Child), the mower would have been done long ago.

So, I pushed and pulled the mower all over in the heat and dripped sweat all over my glasses and bitched under my breath the entire time. There were even some tears because I just feel like I'm invisible. We've asked several times in addition to the birthday requests. I'm not going to beg.

I am going to just go get the belt and do it myself. I have the manual; I can read. I fixed the bathroom sink just fine, so I'm not completely incapable. Just pissed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Cuteness Quotient

And, no - this is not about our absolutely adorable boys. It's actually about me. Maybe if I put this in writing, I'll be able to better see the problem. (Deep breath)

About ten years ago, I applied for a promotion that I didn't get. Looking back now, I understand that I wasn't ready for it. The company made the right decision. I was promoted a year-ish later after I made some changes and purposely placed myself in situations for more exposure, experience, and challenges. So, it all worked out well.

HOWEVER, at the time that I was denied the original promotion, a well meaning (?) co-worker asked me if it was because I didn't score high enough on the CQ. I had no idea what she was talking about. Introducing.......... The Cuteness Quotient! [SLAP] After all, the woman that received the promotion really was very cute and spunky and outgoing. Me: not so much. I'm pretty reserved, a bit introverted, average looking, and perpetually chunky. I was devastated for quite a while.

Fast forward to today as I sucked in my stomach - again - to do up my slacks. I'm not enormous, but on the BMI chart I hover on the border of overweight/obese. (Yuck.) What really irks me is that I've completed five marathons! I'm definitely not one of those people who can just wake up one morning and run 26.2 miles; I trained! Hundreds of miles in preparation over the course of five years! Most people would look better - not the same.... Most people would take that finally chugging train and ride it into skinny, good-looking town, wouldn't they?

It's ten years after the original Cuteness Quotient remark, and I basically look the same - except 38 instead of 28. I would suspect that the Dr. Phils of the world would say that there is something emotional to this - something psychological - something fear based. They would probably be right. So, what is it that keeps me here? What am I allowing myself to get away with? What part of myself am I denying? What am I afraid of?

I plan to find some answers - finally.
(P.S. My first response to myself after re-reading this: "Ug. Soul searching is just so exhausting." HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!??!!?!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NICU reunion

We went to our first NICU reunion over the weekend. It was nice. The food was fine. The nurses were almost non-existent! That's the whole reason that we went! We wanted to see the nurses who helped our boys during their first month of life. We wanted to thank them for taking such good care of US, too! We only saw two of them, and we had to call the NICU and specifically ask that one come down. That was disappointing. But, we did get to see our FAVORITE nurse (Auntie Rose), so we were happy.

We also got to see a couple of the other parents/kids who were in the NICU at the same time. There were a lot of people since our NICU was one of the top two in the entire state, so trying to find anyone that we had made a connection with was difficult. So many kids go in and out of that place every year, and as your child progresses (or sometimes regresses), they are moved from place to place - sort of like "graduating" from intensive care to constant care to frequent care to monitored care. So, it was hard to form too many friendships with other parents. However, we did see Baby G and his parents who managed to make friends with almost everyone since he was in the NICU for 101 days.

Can you imagine?!?! 101 days spent at the hospital. 101 days of pumping milk without ever have the baby latch. 101 days with more than 2/3 being incredibly stressful and full of uncertainty that your child would ever go home. Well, they are an amazing couple, and Baby G is doing great. He's 18 months now, but since he was so premature, he is gestationally only 13 months old. He'll always be a small kid; at birth, a dollar bill covered his entire torso!. He'll hit developmental milestones (walking, talking, crawling, etc.) later than other kids for the first two years of life. After that, he'll be hard to stop.

So, today I'm grateful that we only had a few super-scary moments. (Necrotizing Enterocolitis is NOT a cake walk. It affects 20% of premature babies and kills half of those!) I'm grateful that our stay only lasted 34 days. I'm grateful that we had such awesome care. I'm grateful that Baby G is thriving. I'm grateful to be a mom.

Friday, August 8, 2008

First Family Camping Trip

Long post - you've been warned.

We took our first camping trip as a family last weekend. We camped with the G&L parents group. So much to say about this...

Two little tiny people whose combined weight is only 45 pounds should NOT require SO! MUCH! STUFF! They had more clothes than we did (which, if you know Bub, is remarkable). There was an entire bag devoted to only diapers and wipes. Then, we had the big plastic tote full of toys, an entire cooler housing milk, the playpen, two extra sleeping bags, and the stroller. OH WAIT! With the foam mattresses for the old ladies, there was no room for the off-road stroller! Yikes! So, we crammed in the mall stroller which, not surprisingly, sucked on the dirt and rocks. So much stuff was crammed into the back of the truck that the dogs had to ride in the front. Liz sat between the car seats, and Gus sparwled on the front seat between the grown-ups.

Comfort is becoming an issue. Bub and I are getting too old to sleep on the ground. (OK, mostly Bub, but I wouldn't complain if we had an air mattress or a camper.) Not only were we crammed into cab of the truck with the dogs, but the AC pooped out. (Well, it probably has something to do with the "repair" of the front bumper so that the truck would pass inspection. It was bent out of shape by Bub's "interaction" with a pole at a gas pump. It was bent back into shape by my dad who, after trying everything he could imagine by hand, decided to ram it into a tree a couple of times. Well, it passed inspection....) The missing AC wouldn't really have been an issue if it hadn't been 105* on the drive down and if we hadn't been stuck in rush hour Happy Valley traffic. Side note: At the end of the weekend, we found out that Uncle Rawhide's camper is all spruced up. We could have taken it.

We were very happy to finally get there and get set up. Goddess bless the other parents who played with the boys while we unloaded everything. Here we are finally relaxing.

Nightmares. We sort of warned everybody about Peanut's nightmares, but even I wasn't prepared for him to wake screaming SIX TIMES in one night. Everyone was so sweet the next morning. We offered to move our tent further away from the group, but - again - goddess bless them all, they wouldn't have it.

Fishing - although it was good for one person of the group (21" brown at Cleveland), it stunk for us. I still don't have a license, and probably won't for a couple of years, but Bub was really disappointed with her (lack of) results. It was relaxing and beautiful, but we really like to CATCH fish. She did catch an albino trout for the first time. It was creepy! Then, she dropped it in my lap, and I screamed like a little girl.

The dirt was plentiful, and when you are learning to walk, you tend to fall a LOT.

Peanut is still having issues with wanting to eat much of anything at all. Yogurt remains a constant (thankfully), so he ate a decent amount of it. Of course, since we couldn't possibly take the high chairs, I basically spent meal times chasing him around trying to stick a spoon in his face. You can't really see the dirt here, but if you look closely enough, you can see yogurt on his eyelash.

We didn't spend a lot of time with the parent's group, though. Partly because we fished. Many of the parents just relaxed, and there were a lot of ATV rides and rafting/floating. Frankly, Bub doesn't understand this. Camping = fishing, and she couldn't get it through her head that everyone DOESN'T fish.

The other reason that we didn't spend a lot of time with the group is that we really don't know anyone that well. For Bub, this has never been an issue. She can strike up a joyful conversation with a weeping willow tree if necessary. Not me. It takes me a while to warm up to people. So, to everyone who was SOOOO very nice, thank you. We'll continue to come to the Friday park nights and the monthly get-togethers and eventually, I'll make intelligent/witty conversation with you. OK - truth be told, it may just be regular old conversation.... Thanks for letting us crash (and scream through) your party.

On a final note, the boys and I watched the finish of the 10k@10k race. I was going to run this race before I sprained my toe the weekend before. (It still hurts too much to run.) We were lucky enough to meet up with my aunt, uncle and cousin for some great conversation as the runners crossed the finish line. The winner finished in less than 36 minutes. That's less than 6 minutes/mile which isn't record breaking (but it is fast) plus, realize that more than the first two miles are completely uphill (5%-ish grade) AND that the elevation ranges from 9100' to 9700'. (Gasp!) Oh, and Mr. Freakishly Fast Runner finished five minutes ahead of the next person. Wow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Farm Animals

A few days ago, the boys and I were reading a book about farm animals. Of course, I was making the noises and asking "What does the ____ say?" I was overjoyed when we ALL started making animal noises!

I will say that the cow noise comes off as Booooo more often than Moooooo. Sometimes, it's just Mmmmmmmmmmmm. But at least it's consistent when we point to the cows.

The cat noise isn't exactly a Meow, either. It's more of a high pitched squeal, but in defense of the boys, our cat (named Puppy) doesn't ever meow. He just walks around squealing like a leaky balloon. So, the boys are great impressionists.

The dog noise is a whole body affair, which cracks me up every time. They sort of pop their torsos up very similar to the "Sunbeam" song except with a barking noise.

There wasn't much imitating of the rooster noise. I would make the noise (Er-er-er-er-er... guess you had to be there) and Sam would try to do it too. He would croak out "Aaah-aah" and then cough and sputter. Ben decided that it was too much effort.

The weirdest reaction was to the pig noise. I was not just saying oink (because what pig really does that?). I was making the snorting noises and everything. After a couple of snorts, Sam would start to giggle and laugh and laugh and then grab his right foot and stick it in my face.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I check out certain blogs on a daily basis and - on my bitchiest of days - find it an affront that the author hasn't bothered to post something witty or thought provoking or mundane in order to please blog stalkers like me. Damn them! Do they dislike me? Is it a conspiracy to disappoint me? Don't they realize how I depend on these updates to keep me sane and in touch with something that resembles reality?

Then, I realized that I only update on a weekly-or-so basis. Hypocrite. Of course, it's unlikely that someone is sitting around desperately wishing that I will post anything at all, but still............