Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Months

til Christmas! Yep, can you believe it? Man, I love Christmas. Yes, it sneaks up on me because I'm Canadian and after 16 years STILL cannot deal with Thanksgiving being like, 5 seconds before the most joyous of all holidays. So I just wanted to help everyone out in case this wasn't on your radar. Or if the malls hadn't started decorating yet like they have here. CRAZY! Before Halloween! I will have a problem buying scented pine cones and cranberries to string in July. Oh, I'll do it, but I will have issues with it.

So, um, we've been busy here. Things are a bit better now that Jenny is feeling much better (albeit giving me grief for being gone to Boston for a week). I was able to handle discovering a dead car battery at 7:40 am with poise and a call to AAA instead of cursing and Southern Comfort Cheerios. I swear I will have some hilarious pics of Jelly posted soon (vague, yes, but well-intended). And I have sadly mistreated the Scientist, so I need to give an update on that.


One week from Saturday is Vegas! It's just nuts. I can't believe I'm home only two weeks before leaving the Bean again. At least it's technically work travel so I can't feel TOO guilty. And then, two weeks after that is Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving (yes, I am keeping it on the books, screw the credit card). And I made my first Christmas reservation today - 'Milk and Cookies with Santa' at the local community center. So freaking cute. Tis the season for everything to get really, REALLY busy. Cause you know, we're all just sitting around watching our stories and eating our kids' Halloween candy.

How cute is this?
(Answer: SO cute!)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jellybean = Rockstar

Just a quick update for all the FOJies out there - Jelly did AWESOME. Like, crazy ridiculous awesome. The surgery took like 11 seconds, she was PISSED OFF when she came to but once home was up and about within the hour. Eating, sleeping, playing, totally like nothing happened.

So, yay :-).

More later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Do

But why, Jellybean Mama? Why are you so stressed? What is making you lie (lay?) awake nights, other than your possible bad grammar?

I thought I’d share today’s Reminders list to provide some perspective. And also because I hate leaving such a depressing post as the last thing for you to stare at until next week. I know it will be fine, I know I’ll find a way to get my shit together and my head above water, I know everything will work out and this time next week I’ll have had a few drinks and a few good night’s (nights’?) sleep and I’ll have a better outlook.

  • Move or provide coverage for tomorrow’s scheduled conference calls and edit out-of-office message; update any relevant documents required for the meeting status updates
  • Finalize and submit at least the key deliverables for tomorrow’s deadline; work late tonight to get as much done as possible, then message manager that I will not deliver the remaining items on time and outline plan for completion/how to avoid this next release cycle. Update resume.
  • Pack for next week’s business trip; drop off jacket at Dry Cleaners if time
  • Finish prep for Monday’s Annual Review and Tuesday’s Retrospective Team Meeting
  • Check in Sunday morning for Monday's flight
  • Complete, print, sign and date a Medical Consent form for caregiver
  • Pack bag for Jelly for next week and take to caregiver; include outfit for school picture day next Tuesday
  • Pick up donation items for preschool since I didn’t sell any @#$% cookie dough for their @#$% fundraiser (due last Tuesday) and I don’t want to be That Mom
  • Drop off and pick up post-op prescription
  • Complete pre-op paperwork
  • Pack bag of items for surgery (blanky, books, Ernie and Mickey, socks, sippy, Pull Up and underpants)
  • Call for surgery time after 2p; message friend who will be going with me once I have the schedule (Edit: Ha, and let her know where it is! See what happens when something isn’t on my list?!)
  • Get any groceries/items for post-surgery (soup, juice, popsicles, vodka)
  • Give caregiver a copy of post-op instructions for next week
  • Remember to take prescription and blanky to caregiver’s Monday morning
  • Re-schedule post-op appointment (work conflict)
  • Remember to not give Jelly anything to eat or drink tomorrow before surgery. Do not eat or drink anything in front of her so as to avoid being shanked.
So, um, yeah. That's why my head hurts right now.

Thanks again for all the well-wishes and happy positive comments, blog friends.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Week of Mondays

You know how when you wake up on a Monday, there’s a brief second as the last vestiges of sleep dissipate, when you stretch and yawn in a land between dream and reality – then, with a sudden sick feeling, you remember. Monday. You have to rush, you have to plan, you have to pack and dress and drive, there are timelines and deadlines and urgencies. If you are retired or work on the weekend, the day might not be the same for you or you may start to feel the panic and then get to luxuriate in relief, but you know what I’m talking about. The crushing, bone-wearying chatter that you know won’t quiet again until Friday.

If asked, I’d probably say I like Thursdays. Thursday means tomorrow is Friday, and that the whole weekend is open with possibilities. Friday makes me a little nervous, like I’m not appreciating the time I have or using it properly, and Saturday means the best part of the weekend is already over. Sunday is 12 hours of reminders that the following day is once again not your own, so what’s to like about that?

The past week and more has felt like one Monday after another, with a moment of calm wakefulness followed immediately by a nervous turn of the stomach and a laundry list of worries. Yes, ‘doing laundry’ is, in fact, on the list. As are about a dozen deliverables for work that I’m definitely not going to have ready for Friday, not including prep for the big meeting next week. The mortgage payment hit at the same time as the daycare check, then I was told I was late paying preschool tuition. The Ta had to cancel watching Jelly nights next week because of work, so I owe another daycare check. And this afternoon I put $578 on a credit card, just a small portion of what will be owed in a few days.

Jenny’s ENT appointment was yesterday morning, where the very nice Doc Brown told me yes, little Bean would need to have the teensiest of holes cut in her ear drums. He was mousey and mustached and made me feel very at ease, but it was still a Bad Thing to hear. Also, Jelly had to have the creepiest hearing test (scary toys in opposite corners of a tiny claustrophobic room – a terrifying rabbit that lit up and played cymbals, and a horrific bear that lit up and played a drum). But the staff were very nice, and my ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ bag from my youngest sis made an excellent conversation piece, so we were told we’d get a call to schedule the surgery and off we went.

The call came within a few hours, and despite the fact I’d gone over my calendar four times to try and find good dates, there was no good answer. The sweet Doc Brown only operates on Fridays, and that didn’t leave me with a lot of options. So then it became a question of what we would have to compromise. And then it was what we would give up. One of the hard things about being a parent is making the unpopular decisions, but one of the truly shitty things about being a parent is making the decisions that are lousy for you. Jelly has been sick for months, in pain off and on. Not sleeping. Her behavior has radically changed. So the surgery is day after tomorrow. The Yo Gabba Live tickets, purchased months and months ago for this Saturday’s show were sold to a friend, the hotel room cancelled, the third weekend trip in a row called off. I will get on a plane to Boston for work on Monday morning with extra guilt and worries. I will once again be in debt, Christmas plans will most likely be cancelled, and damn it, it made me furious to read the stupid hospital brochure where it advised to have both parents at the surgery, “so that one could drive and one could tend to the child”.

I’m not very rational right now because Jelly has not been sleeping. It’s been a few weeks now, where she’ll creep into my room in the wee hours, or wake for the day long before the sun appears. I am doing my best to NOT FREAK OUT because there is no other parent to tend to the child, so I need to at least pretend to be the strong one. Lots of nice people have told me it will be fine. I am reminding myself that I am lucky to have an awesome network of supportive friends and family, so I won’t be alone in that waiting room. I am reassuring myself that other people must take endless hours off work for sick children and appointments at times that are not ideal for their managers, and they don’t lose their jobs. I have to come up with a better way to keep it all straight – the house, the job, the budget, the commitments. I’m doing everything in a fog right now, including parenting.

I’m just so tired of Monday.

*I will post as soon as I am able to let you guys know that The Bean is totally fine and that I was a moron for being so worked up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Totally Tubular

Sooooooo… how’s your day going? I just got back from yet another pediatrician adventure, where I learned (shock! gasp!) that BOTH of Jelly’s ears are chock-a-block full of fluid. Since what we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, I now have a referral for the local Ear Nose & Throat Nice People (the ENTNP). I am going to refer to them as Nice People in a very optimistic manner, because hopefully when I call I’ll be able to get in right away, and get her on the schedule right away for EAR TUBES.

Tubes. Whenever I’ve heard that word from other parents, it’s been followed by ‘avoid them at all costs!’. I’ve heard more horror stories about ear tubes than bad things about bottle feeding (just kidding there, we all know that nothing is more evil than giving an innocent baby formula). I am freaking out a bit. You know how to tell I’m freaked out? I called the biological father. Yep. You know how he knew I was freaked out? He ANSWERED.

It was not a long conversation, so don’t fall off your office chairs or out of the driver’s seat or into the pool (hey, I don’t know where you do your blog reading, I don’t like to assume). I asked if he had problems with his ears as a kid, or if he knew of any family history. I just don’t know where the heck this is coming from – this would have been her FIFTH round of antibiotics since July. What kid gets ear infections in the summer? Oh, right, one who lived in the pool. Do I feel guilty now about taking her swimming so much? Why yes, as a matter of fact I do, thank you for inquiring.

Quiet answered that no, there was no likewise no history of ear infections in his family, and that he’d been just fine as a kid. I very politely thanked him for taking my call (still massively traumatized that he’d actually answered), wished him a pleasant evening, and hung up. So, either he didn’t look at caller ID (no chance, since I called his cell), he deleted me from his Contacts so he really didn’t know who I was, or he isn’t going to be totally incommunicado. So I’m oddly reassured. But, you know, still guilty about the whole swimming-in-the-dirty-lake thing. And for every single time I’ve splashed her. And also for all those baths. Damn you, cleanliness!

Please, PLEASE if you have had experience with tubing a kid, let me know. But say something reassuring, not ‘OMG it was HORRIBLE they fell out/got infected/exploded and the child DIED’. Because I would rather not hear that. I would prefer hearing something like, ‘OMG it was the BEST thing that could’ve happened and the child had no more pain and learned 3 languages and listens to EVERYTHING I say now’. I’ve had some FB friends post things like this that made me feel better already, so I’m back down off the wall, but I’m still looking at it. I called my parents, who put things into perspective by telling me to calm the hell down and think about what it would be like if I were having tubes put in her heart. Or if it were like 100 years ago, and it went untreated and she went deaf or got meningitis. They also reminded me how lucky I was that it was outpatient surgery, since they had to leave their eldest daughter as a baby overnight, alone, in the hospital, and when they got back the next morning she had lost her voice from sobbing and her legs were black and blue from kicking at the crib bars. Isn’t that freaking SAD?! And there’s why I don’t like hospitals, if you are a psychiatrist.

But still. My Jelly girl. Surgery.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Thirst

Ok, kids, here's fair warning that it's time for a serious post, so if you would rather come back another time to look at pics of me trying to sew a Renaissance Faire costume for Jelly, or hear about the awesome homemade Mac 'n Cheese I made for dinner last night, I understand.

My first drink was most likely as a toddler, slipped to me by either my father or one of my uncles, who still think it’s hilarious to give small children cigarettes, alcohol, and crystal meth (ok, fine, everything except that last one). It was the 70’s, and taking pictures of babies in stupid-looking hats with a stogie was acceptable, even encouraged. This is what the world was like before people had Frontierville to keep them occupied. My second drink was nipped from a crystal decanter my dad kept on the formal dining room table. Strictly for ornamental purposes – the crystal was lead. And the alcohol was scotch. I shudder thinking about it, but I felt very naughty at the time, dancing around to my Paul Lekakis single on the record player when I was suppose to be watching my youngest brother and sister (who, thank you very much, have very fond memories of those impromptu slightly-drunken-lead-poisoned dance parties).

I got a little more serious about the whole thing when I started waitressing, and everyone in my small town assumed I was of age. I had a few drinks now and then at the odd corn roast, but it was the street dances where I really threw down (I had you at ‘corn roast’, didn’t I?). And, more often than not, threw up. I was young and underage, and only knew to order what the big kids were drinking, which was usually Rye ‘n Coke. It was the wilds of Ontario, remember, so it was either that or Molson Canadian.

My parents have always been very lenient about us drinking; my house was the place to get loaded before hitting the bars. My dad was usually right there doing shots alongside us (and sometimes, still sitting there when we got home). If you can inherit a taste for the bottle, I definitely got it on both sides. The folks have likewise always been very responsible drinkers, and encouraged the same. My dad had a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rule when I was in high school that I never fully appreciated; if I got into a situation at a party and needed him to come get me, he wouldn’t yell or force me to spill the details, no matter what. I only had to call him on two occasions, but it was a very smart rule for a parent (whose kids were largely terrified of his wrath) to make. I plan to do the same thing with Jelly, who hopefully will likewise be terrified of me beating her senseless if she does something stupid.

At the tender drinking age of 19 I went off to college. My roommate and I may not have had money for luxuries like bread and shampoo and schoolbooks, but we had a fully stocked bar. I learned that I really wasn’t crazy about beer, but oh man, I loved the girl drinks. If it required a blender, fruit, umbrellas, and no less than 14 assorted exotic and overpriced liquors, it was put in my watering hole. It was during my second year of college that I learned Drinking Can Be REALLY Bad. There was an incident involving stolen cocktail glassware that could have been even worse than it was (we liked to shove highballs in our coat sleeves, and there was a fall, and lots and lots of broken glass very close to important veins). There were other incidents, too, although less life-threatening; some curling iron burns, some green pastrami that definitely should not have been consumed, exclusion from several local establishments.

After graduation I found myself in the fine state of NC, and my then-roommate enjoyed the drink just as much as I did. Because we worked in daycare and made approximately 75 cents per day, we did a lot of ‘pre-drinking’ to save money at the bar. If you know NC you know that nothing is convenient; we had a drive that was taxi-prohibitive, which, if you’re smarter than me, you’ve already figured out meant a slightly buzzed drive to go clubbin’. And, as logically follows, an extremely drunken drive back home. How do you know you’re too drunk to be driving? Take my quiz and find out.

  1. You can’t find the car in the parking lot, and have to wait until everyone else has left.
  2. You have a designated ‘pull over and vomit and/or urinate’ location in a nice suburban neighborhood halfway home.
  3. You have to evade a police checkpoint, not because you’re worried about failing the breathalyzer (which you totally would), but because you have a large ceramic burro in your lap, stolen from the nearby Mexican restaurant.
  4. You think it’s a good idea to follow other drunk strangers to their house for a make-out session, and steal frozen chicken from their freezer.
If you are nodding your head sagely, thinking ‘Yes, yes, I have done all these things’, well, I am kind of embarrassed for you. You may be seeing a pattern here of drinking and stealing stupid things. I am much better about that now. Mostly.

Around this time was also when I had my first official blackout. It was very scary for a control freak like me. I could remember bits and pieces, but there were whole chunks of time that were just – gone. And there were some extremely regrettable activities that occurred during that obliterated time. I swore I wouldn’t drink that much ever again.

The next time I drank that much again it was at a work function. I was in charge of Sales Training at the one company I worked for, and a big part of that involved taking the team out to party. This was my first introduction to expense-account-drinking, which takes things to a whole new level. It’s almost like you have an obligation to drink – everyone else is doing it, it’s free, the stupid Sales people are utterly unbearable to be around if you don’t. There was some dancing on the bar, and I left both my driver’s license and credit card there, and there was an embarrassing Marriott glass elevator encounter with one of the male reps, Mark Who Was Totally Hot.

Then. I drove home.

I woke up the next morning, fully dressed complete with shoes, in my own bed to the shrill sound of the phone. I had made arrangements to meet one of my employees before work at the local automotive shop, where I was planning to leave my car for an oil change appointment. It was now 3 hours past that time. My recollection of the previous night’s drive included lots of grass and gravel under my tires, trees very close, and the occasional missed stop sign. Then, nothing. It was the last time I ever got behind the wheel drunk. I was very, very lucky.

In the early days of living with the guys, we’d occasionally have a few drinks but nothing too crazy. Loud and I went out a few times, but nothing like what I use to do. Now that I’m a mom I’ll go out once in a blue moon and have, well, a Blue Moon or two, but I am very aware of my limits if I’m driving.

I tell you this story because I think about drinking a lot. There are a few bottles of wine cold in the fridge right now, an icy bottle of Limoncello in the freezer, some Amaretto above the stove with the tea, and some reds on their sides in the dark of the pantry. If you wanted rum I could offer you 5 different kinds; vodka, 3. Liquors cover the common fruits (apple, banana, blueberry, melon, orange, cassis, raspberry) and the not-so-common fruits (lychee, guava, kiwi ), nuts (hazelnut and cashew), plus coffee and chocolate and honey. There are several schnapps including root beer and butterscotch, after-dinner aperitifs including vermouth (both sweet and dry), port, sherry, madeira, and marsala, and staples like brandy, gin, sloe gin, and tequila. More exotic temptations, ordered online, range from Pimms to Green Tea, Pink Lemonade to Sweet Tea. There’s beer for visitors, champagne for just in case, and convenient pre-mixed beverages like canned Bloody Caesars and frozen individual daiquiris. I’m pretty sure there’s Southern Comfort and Jack Daniel’s in there somewhere, plus I keep a little Glenfiddich around for my dad. And that doesn’t include the mixers and accessories – various juices, soda and tonic waters, nice fat green olives, swizzle sticks and straws, colas and flavored sugar and salt rimmers, fresh citrus.

I think there are probably people who worry about how much I drink. I think there are probably more, now that they’ve read this list. The truth of the matter is, I very rarely indulge. There’s something about just having it that is comforting, like I’m totally prepared for a mass Pina Colada emergency (yes, I have both the frozen Bacardi canned mix as well as coconut milk and pineapple juice). When I’ve had a really tough day, I can tell myself, ‘Ah, almost quittin’ time, I’ll really throw back then’. What usually ends up happening is, well, not that. Maybe a small flute of ice wine, on the extremely rare occasion I make it into the tub without Jelly and Dora. I think that my past experiences make me very nervous to drink by myself with Jenny in the house, and that’s a good thing; I know that one perfectly frosted dirty martini isn’t going to make me pass out with all the stove burners on and a ‘Welcome, kidnappers!’ sign on the door, but I know that sometimes when I have one, I would like another one. And another.

I hear the stories about the soccer mom loaded at three in the afternoon, smashing the minivan. My friends joke about putting away a bottle or two of wine by themselves to unwind. When I burned my hand quite badly Sunday afternoon, my first instinct was not to reach for the painkillers but for a Cosmo (which ended up being very smart, since holding the icy glass was the only thing to give me relief). I’ve never been tempted by drugs, and hate taking even prescription medications. I’ve heard that alcoholics sometimes force down the drink, but it’s not like that for me; I’m not compelled by it, I’m driven to it. The promise of a warm, fuzzy feeling, the satisfaction of clinking cubes and a flavorful refresher, the hope of a happy distraction. I sometimes think that if things were a little bit different, my drinking might be more like my nail-biting; always present, impossible to control, shameful, and unhealthy. I struggle with how to model responsible, sensible behavior to Jenny. But I think a good first step is talking about it.

Anyone else really, really like to drink, but doesn't? Anyone who doesn't really like to drink, but does? Lemme know. I promise I won't be judge-y on this one. Everyone wants to escape something.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Was Never This Popular in High School

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by an awesome blogger (interesting yet confusing info here - who the hell likes to UNLOAD the dishwasher, instead of load it?). Like so many of these crazy things, I apparently have to share seven things about myself, then nominate seven other bloggers.

Seven Things That Are Mostly Kinda Lame About Me

  1. I’m left-handed
  2. I have dual citizenship
  3. I have a natural immunity to Hepatitis-B
  4. I bite my nails, horribly, below the nail line, but can't quit
  5. My favorite number is four
  6. I love salt
  7. I’ve done professional voice work

Seven Blogs That I Read Almost Every Single Time They Are Updated, Except When I Don't

  1. My Little Slice of Mommy Heaven, who is so impossibly different yet the same as me in a zillion ways. Also, I think if I were to have a stalker, it'd be her, so that's pretty sweet.
  2. Motherhood is Not for Wimps, because Damomma taught me that it IS possible to be an awesome mom, even if no one else sees it or thinks so
  3. Baby For 1, another single mom making her own way one really hard day at a time.
  4. Scattermom, a real-life friend who is stubborn, manic, driven, and creative - just the way I like 'em. Also, I want her eldest to marry Jelly. He's too sweet for words.
  5. My virtual friend at The Next Few Steps, whose honesty makes me want to reach through the internet void and give her real hugs, not just text hugs.
  6. The stay-at-home dad over at Sweet Juniper!, who alternates between hilariously creepy children's book reviews, weird street-fruit recipes, and winsome stories of his adventures with his kids. I want to hang out with him, even if he is a damn hippy.
  7. Tales of a Batty Nurse, who I don't have much in common with except for understanding that all-encompassing, desperate drive to have a baby of your own, and who I admire deeply for her plan of action.
So, uh, there you have it. Two posts in one day. Don't get use to it. And thanks for the nomination! You like me, you really like me! (hey, one person counts, shut it)

A Cool and Sunny Monday

Just a quick little 'Happy Monday' post. Man, I am LOVING these cooler mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Northerner much? I feel more awake and focussed, and I get fewer headaches. Stupid heat. It's so strange, one day it was 97 and the next day it was 67, and that was that. I guess I can probably deflate the toddler pool, huh? I did manage to clear out my local Dollar Store over the weekend, they had all kinds of summer toys on clearance. I got all the little boats and balls that JR kept trying to steal from other kids, that I didn't realize were so CRITICAL to toddler pool play.

It was a pretty good non-beach weekend. Miss Bean was in a bit of a mood, which I am blaming partially on the cold and hacking cough she's still dragging around, and partially on the fact that she is just so darn, well, two. Lots of whining and dawdling and 'look how cute I am as I say 'no!'' that just doesn't cut it with a Very Mean Mama. So lots of fights. But we also found a fun new local farm, complete with requisite bounce house (you know how those cows love to bounce), made it halfway through the Sing-a-Long 'Beauty and the Beast' showing at the local theater, finished the playroom (mostly), and dug out some Halloween stuff.

Two weeks from today I'll be back in Boston for work. Sigh. Performance reviews. Blergh. More talking about how I need to step up and be more of a leader. I don't wanna be a leader, I want to keep my head down and do the minimum to get a paycheck, why can't my boss just accept that and go develop someone else? But, how cool is this - we're doing a team activity that Wednesday that doesn't suck! We're taking the whole day to do a Boston Food Tour, starting in Chinatown and ending in Little Italy. You know what that means - Dim Sum for breakfast!! Omg, I cannot wait. I've worked for my company for 5 1/2 years and have never once gone into Boston proper, so it's doubly exciting. And Jelly gets to have a sleepover party at The Ta's, so she will hardly notice I'm gone.

I'm trying to decide if we are camping next weekend. I have a feeling it's another no-go. It was just really, really nice to be at home this past weekend to get stuff done. Staying home next weekend could mean curtains. And a Renaissance Faire outfit for Jelly! (see, I told you I get an over-inflated ego from minor successes).

Look! I SEWED!! I am a 1950's housewife ROCKSTAR!! Um, I mean 1850's.

We've had some rain, but Jellybean doesn't mind one bit.

It was the place to be.

A lovely fall day to re-enact 'Children of the Corn', everyone's favorite kid's movie.