Monday, December 28, 2009

The Blue Blanket

Every little kid has their comfort object. I don't exactly remember what mine was, probably a variety of stuffed animals. Sam's is her pink blanket, it is fleece on one side and silky on the other. We have four of them.

As adults, I've realized that we have our comfort objects too. I love my Little Pillow, which was given to me as a gift as a not-so-little pillow when I was in middle school. It is just big enough now to fit in the crook of my arm when I sleep. One of my friends has a teddy bear. She won't travel with him, in case she gets into a car crash she doesn't want him to burn up. And Workaholic has his Blue Blanket.

The Blue Blanket was the comforter that his parents bought for him when he moved away to college. It's a full-size comforter, so it just covers our king-sized bed from corner to corner. No hanging over the sides here! We have tried NOT sleeping with the Blue Blanket, but it just isn't the same.

I have to admit, when I first met Workaholic and he told me about the Blue Blanket, I was skeptical. I mean, yeah, I like my comforter too, but just how great was this thing? (In case you were wondering, YES, it was after we were married that I got to use the Blue Blanket for the first time. OK, maybe not.) And for a while, after I started using it, I was annoyed because it is ONLY a full-sized blanket. And I like me some room when I sleep. (translation: don't touch me) I even forced Workaholic to use a completely different comforter for the first 3 years we were in our house. The shock! The horror!!

But over the years, I have come to appreciate the power and wonderfulness of the Blue Blanket. It just wraps around you like a cocoon and is just heavy enough and not too warm. It has this delighful not-at-all gross smell, even after you wash it. Fonz loves it too. Here is a picture of him with both the Blue Blanket and my Little Pillow.

The past couple of nights, I've been in bed first, which is unusual. And I wrap myself up in the Blue Blanket, fully expecting Workaholic to steal his part when he comes to bed. But for some reason, he has conceded it to me. He uses the comforter which actually fits on our bed, allowing me full and maximum usage of said Blue Blanket. And I have had a couple of great nights sleep.

I think he has come to realize his Blue Blanket is greater than him. Meaning, he has to share. He was OK with sharing with Sam when she was very little, I love this picture of them cuddling together when she was only a few weeks old. (and yes, I am aware of the SIDS risk, and I was right there the whole time, and after I took the picture, I moved her to her crib.)



I am a little worried that soon, I'll have to start sharing the Blue Blanket. At least we have no doubt she is our daughter...





Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dreams and Reality

So I've been extremely tired lately. It might have to do with the stress of Christmas and getting everything done in time, or it could have to do with every time I lay down in bed, my mind starts spinning and I create these awesome blogs filled with wonderful and witty things to tell ya'll. And then, eventually, I fall asleep.

A few days before Christmas, I had a dream just before I woke up about my boyfriend Drew Brees. (For those of you who don't know, Drew Brees is the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and he went to Purdue, and led us to the Rose Bowl.) (And also let me make it clear that he really isn't my boyfriend, and I don't even stalk him, I just try to keep up to date on how the Saints are doing this year. Which, BTW, they are 13-1!) (I just think that "my boyfriend Drew Brees" rolls off the tongue so easily. Let me put it on the record by saying that I know that he is married to his college sweetheart, her name is Brittany, and the only reason I know that is because they have their names on a building next to the football stadium.) (And yes, that does make me a little jealous that they have enough money to give to get their names on a building.) (And yes, I am happily married, and even if my boyfriend Drew Brees wanted to run away with me, I'd tell him no.)

I went to Purdue when Drew was there, and was only a year older than him, and we both were in the same school. I only saw him once or twice around Krannert, but it was awesome. And then there was this one time at my friend Tom's apartment, and he was in a hot tub, and I was standing outside the hot tub, and I think I said "hi." It was the. most. incredible. moment of my life. (except, you know, the obvious ones, like getting married and giving birth) Ironically, that was the same party where I was listening to a certain football jock (not Drew Brees) hit on a friend of mine. And he mentioned (or was bragging) that he was in the flight program at Purdue. And he was going on and on about how great it was to fly the jet. And he doesn't know that I know that flying the jet is for the best of the best in the flight program, and the reason I know this is because my dad had been a professor there for, oh about 30 years. And I was pretty impressed that this certain football jock was smart enough to fly the jet. And so I was like, "Oh hey, do you know so-and-so?" (you know, my dad) And this jock looks at me, and is like, "Yeah." And I'm like, "That's my dad!!" All excited that I made a connection with good-looking football jock. And then he turned around and walked away. WTF??!! Come to find out that Mr. Good-Looking-Football-Jock was just saying that he flew the jet, and he wasn't smart enough to do it, and I totally called him out on it without even knowing it. I totally ruined his game. Oops. Oh well, I guess that's what you get for being an asshole.

Anyway, so I had this dream about how Workaholic, being the awesome husband that he is, somehow set up a dinner with me and him and Drew and Brittany. And I was sooo excited for this dinner. And Drew and Brittany walk in, and sit down at our table, and have another couple with them...some other football guy and his wife or girlfriend or escort. And I was so nervous, I didn't say a thing the whole dinner, and all of Workaholic's effort's were in vain because I looked like a dumb ass. Looking back, I now know that I probably can thank the good-looking-asshole-football-jock for ruining my mojo. Even in my dreams. So long story short, Workaholic and me and Drew and Brittany are NOT best friends, but he is still "my boyfriend Drew Brees."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Excuse Me...Death? Really...I've Had Enough.

I try not to do sad blogs more than once in a row. I mean, that’s just depressing, and I really don’t like to be that depressing on here. But then I thought, you know, Fuck. That. Because it is the holidays, and sad shit has been happening, and as much as I do this to sort of keep my family and friends updated on my life, I also use it as an outlet. I have a headache from trying not to cry today, so I have to get this out. So if you don’t want to be sad, just click over here.

Death has been surrounding me lately. It started a few weeks ago, although at the time, I didn’t realize it was the start to anything. If you can’t tell, I am pretty close with my in-laws. They are pretty great people, and they take great care of Samantha. Since they’ll watch her at least once a week, I talk to them rather frequently. So when I heard that the best man in their wedding died around Thanksgiving, my heart just broke for them.

The natural progression of life sort of states that you have to bury your parents and grandparents. It is very sad, and often will have profound impact on you, but it is to be expected. Burying a child is never expected and never acceptable. What is just awful is when you have to see your friends suffer through an illness and then pass away. Especially friends that you have had your whole life. People who know secrets from when you were kids and doing stupid things like swimming in the community pool in the middle of the night and getting chased by the cops. There is something to losing a friend that makes you look twice at your own mortality.

About a week ago, we realized that Buster was in his final hours. We were able to let him slip away peacefully and hopefully as painlessly as possible. He was surrounded by those he loved, but that was another heartbreak for my in-laws. A couple of days after Buster passed; the family was again surprised by the death of my FIL’s close friend. The two men were vacationing together in Florida. While it was his friend’s time, it doesn’t make it any less painful or gut-wrenching.

This is where it gets even worse. (as if that is possible) I got to work on Monday morning to find out that one of the men who works here wife passed away suddenly on Friday. She was only 55, and they have two college aged sons. All I could think of was that these 3 men have to get through the holidays without their wife and mother, and then have to get through each next holiday without her. To bury a parent may be expected, but that doesn’t make it any less painful. And for the husband, he is so happy all the time, I can’t imagine the sadness that now envelopes his life.

The next day, my very good friend Jennifer had to let go of her yellow lab, Buck. And my other very good friend, Dr. Nadene, who was gracious enough to come up and help us let go of Buster, was the one to help Jennifer. Buck and Buster had a lot in common. People often underestimate the effect that pets have on our lives. But Buck was there through moves and divorce and sickness and sadness. Buster was there for long-term sicknesses and deaths, and he was there when all the boys moved out of the house, and back in, and then back out again. In short, those two dogs were there for my friend and family through thick and thin, good and bad, every. single. day. When you feel like no one else in the world cares about you, they will come up and put their chin on your knee or give you a hug and let you know that they love you. And in the end, sometimes that is all you need.

I found out this morning that a woman named Rose who used to work for my company passed away Monday from a 4 month battle with cancer. She was one of the first women who I interacted with when I started here, and was always super nice and helpful to the new, young kid. While she hasn’t worked here in about 4 years, I feel for her family and friends who have lost a terrific lady.

I also found out this morning that one of the young men who works not far from me in our office lost his father. This guy is younger than me, and I can’t imagine losing either one of my parents at this point. And then a woman who works here also lost her brother-in-law. She is an incredibly happy and upbeat person, and to see her sad just reinforces how death affects all of us.

I know that death happens every day, and I may just be noticing it because I am looking for it. But I really don’t think so. I have been fortunate in my life to never lose anyone close in age to me that was also close to me. I am the youngest of 27 grandchildren, and we are all still alive. And all of my cousin’s kids are also still alive and healthy. And now those kids are starting to have kids, and so far, knock on wood, they are healthy. So I am not sure how I would react if I lose someone close to me like the people I’ve listed above. I’d probably just curl up in a ball and cry. I know I’d hug my boy and girl and dog. I think I’ll go home tonight and do that anyway.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Good Bye Buster

Last night, we had the very sad task of saying good-bye to my in-laws 11 1/2 year old chocolate lab, Buster. As you get older, you realize how you are older than you think you are when things like this happen. For the lifetime before I met Workaholic, he spent his summers at his parent's lake cottage. It was on leased land, and one of the rules was NO PETS. (I know, I know, the horror!) Anyway, the summer after I met Workaholic, his parents made the decision to move to another cottage across the lake. It was still on leased land, but this time, there was no dreaded NO PETS rule. In fact, it seems like it was almost encouraged. Everyone over there had a dog.

They moved in to the new place over the 4th of July weekend, and in August they bought an adorable little chocolate lab puppy. They debated between naming him Buster and Elvis, but Buster won out. He was to be my youngest to-be-brother-in-law's dog, but over the years, we all realized that he really was my father-in-law's dog. They would "talk" to each other. Buster would often set his chin on my FIL's knee, and then do a little groan-y howl, which was reciprocated by my mostly deaf FIL. Back and forth they would go, until Buster got what he wanted.

I met Buster when he was about 12 weeks old, and the first thing I remember is how he had a love of running away. He adored being off-leash, and proved himself completely untrustworthy of sticking around his own house. His first day home, he ran right over the edge of a pool and sank. Good thing someone was there to fish him out. Granted, he was following his new little buddy, (who also happened to be his savior that day), but it sort of foreshadowed his tendency to let his heart lead the way.

This proved to be a challenge his entire life, as just last month he wandered out my back door, down the stairs, and visited our friends 6 houses down. He got there, but couldn't get back, so he just lay down and waited in the front yard until we came to get him. (My MIL once got a phone call while she was in Florida.... "Hi, we have your dog." It was my neighbor across the street! Oops.) He was on a NSAID and a narcotic for his arthritis, was on Phenobarbital for seizures, and he had benign tumors on his tail and under his belly.

But all of those things were just the physical part of Buster. The best part of Buster, what made him who he was, was just his awesomeness. People who didn't even like dogs loved Buster. He was calm, sweet, and just asked for your love and affection. And while his ulterior motive may have always been for you to give him peanut butter, he really like the pats too. Because there were three things Buster truly loved in this world. Running away, his family, and peanut butter.

Buster was a smart cookie, as he could open screen doors, knew what "Go get your peanut butter" meant, and knew the actions leading up to a car ride or a boat ride. If he saw a suitcase come out, he would sit in the front seat of the car for hours so he wouldn't be left behind. (He was the only dog I knew whose owners had to turn on the air conditioned seats in the summer because he wouldn't get out of the car!) If he saw coolers and towels, he opened the screen door and ambled down the pier to the boats. He would wait to see which boat was the chosen one that day, and then would board it and take his assigned seat in the front. Or the back, or wherever he wanted. (He was over 100lbs!)

The thing is, no one minded having Buster around. Some dogs can get annoying...they smell, or they beg for your attention, or they jump. But Buster just greeted you (albeit with a nose to the crotch) and then went on his way. If he felt he had not had a sufficient amount of peanut butter that day, he might throw his bone at your feet, (or on your lap) and give a little whine. He knew the difference between "Say please" and "Speak!". He didn't care if little kids crawled all over him, pulled his ears or tail, or stuck their fingers in his mouth. He just basked in the glow of a child's love and later gnawed on his peanut butter bone.

So today is a sad day. (Granted, the past couple of years took their toll on our old man. He moved more like an 80 year old veteran NFL player than an 11 year old pretty-well-medicated dog.) But his spirit was always there, and love always radiated from his eyes towards his people. We'll miss you Buster. We'll miss you swimming in the lake, jumping off the pontoon boat, pooping in the water (shh...don't tell anyone!!), and sneaking off to the Yacht Club or the Hayes'. We'll miss you barking to be let in the house, or out of the house, or rolling over for a belly rub or to be vacuumed. We're just going to miss you. I know you are waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge for your Timmy, and while you wait you have all the peanut butter you could ever want. Rest in peace, old man.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Last Boat Ride

Just because it is 25 degrees outside doesn't mean you can't go on a pontoon boat ride, complete with Christmas tree...




Friday, December 4, 2009

Almost a Hoarder

I’ve had so many things going on in my head, it’s been impossible for me to pick one thing to rant about on this here blog. But last night, Workaholic decided it for me. Let me give you a little back story…

In August, we re-did our mortgage. It wasn’t a full-on refinance, but we added my name to the loan and adjusted the rate. After getting over the carpel tunnel from signing our names 6000 times, I realized that we needed to go to the county courthouse to apply for our homestead and mortgage exemptions again for our property taxes. I insisted that this must be Workaholic’s job, since his schedule these days is a little more flexible than mine. He called me yesterday morning, panicked because he couldn’t find the deed, which is what he needed to take with him to the courthouse.

After a while, he ran out of time, (and the house…leaving poor Fonz outside ALL DAY by himself in 35 degree weather) and decided to look for the deed later when he had more time. Which turned out to be last night.

I have to admit, I started the ball rolling by simply filing away a few bills that had been sitting out on the desk. But then I was joined by my husband who, I always knew in my heart, but just got confirmation, is a hoarder. At least he doesn’t have the condition to the extent of people that you see on the TV show, because he got a bug up his butt last night to throw away old stuff. Here is the trash pile…which is still sitting in this exact spot on the floor, as I took this picture this morning.


I am happy to report that no children or animals were hurt in the process of cleaning the office, and we did find some CDs of pictures from when we were both much younger and thinner. (and they confirmed what I never believed…I was hot!!) Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to load these pictures onto facebook and here. (watch out anyone who knew me in college) Until then…I’ll work on making Workaholic clean up the mess while I play on facebook.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Almost 11 Month Update

Samantha Update:
She weighs 18lbs. 4 ounces and is 27 ½ inches long. That puts her in the 20th percentile for height and weight. She also has been wearing lately a pair of 3-6 month jeans, and the sad thing is, they still fit her. They are not like my jeans and drag the floor.

She has taken as many as 4 steps, but usually she isn’t all about walking. She is really good at standing on her own, and bending down and picking things up and then standing back up. Last night, she tried to walk from the chair to coffee table, and she fell forward and hit her head on the edge of the coffee table. Surprise! No wonder she doesn’t have the confidence/desire to walk.

She also, thanks to her cousin Anna, learned how to drink from a sippy cup last weekend! I watched her…Anna threw her head back and took a big swig, and then handed the cup to Sam, who threw her head back, and somehow magic happened and she gets it now. It really is very exciting. She is really into throwing the cup on the floor from the high chair and laughing at how high and loud it bounces. Sam also learned that if she holds her arms out, that means that she wants to be held. And she also learned that pointing at things means something…as in, “I WANT THAT NOW!!!!” Thanks Anna.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sugar and Spice and not so Nice

Folks, I am not kidding when I say that if I die of a heart attack in my 30s, Purdue football/basketball is to blame. Why can’t they just blow teams out?? Why must they win/lose in the last 5 seconds of a game??? At least the men beat out Tennessee last night in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because I really don’t like Tennessee. Now on to a completely unrelated topic.

Some people, (and by some people I mean the girls that I work with…you know I love you!), have mentioned that perhaps Samantha needs to start wearing a helmet. All the time. Because she tends to hit her head. A lot. When she first started moving around, and by this, I mean rolling over, she fell off the bed. Twice. In one weekend. On my watch. Oops-y. She got over it pretty quickly.


And a few weeks ago, she decided that she wanted to go down the stairs. The problem with that is that she has yet to learn how to go down the stairs without going head over heels and then whacking her head at the bottom. This was NOT on my watch. Then over the weekend she whacked her head on the wall, simply because she lost focus and fell over. (I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the previously mentioned falls) The other night she fell forward and hit her face on a cardboard box, which apparently hurts a lot worse than it looks. And yesterday morning she fell off the bed again. (this time it wasn't my fault, I swear!)

The reason why I mention this is because she has taken her first steps! She took one little one last Friday, and then right after that, she took two more. And true to our nature, we began pushing her to try again, and true to her nature, she got pissed off and sat down and cried. Workaholic had her all yesterday afternoon and he said that he saw her take two tiny steps. Maybe the hitting of the head has knocked some sense into her, as she is quite careful about letting go of one thing until she can almost reach another. But we are super-proud and excited/sad that our little girl is growing up.

That is my happy news. And here is where I rant. Because COMCAST-you are on my list. Actually, you are on SANTA’S naughty list. Because you suck!! Here is my story in a nutshell. (a really super-duper, large nutshell) I decide to switch from AT&T phone to Comcast phone to save money. I call, and the customer service person was SO NICE and SO HELPFUL. We set up an appointment to switch the phone, take away a DVR, and give me 2 cable cards. Which I need for my TiVo. And yes, I am switching back to TiVo because COMCAST DVR SUCKS. So they know that I hate their DVR and want to switch to TiVo. And they know that I need, from them, 2 cable cards, in order for my TiVo to work. (as in, the TiVo won't work without them) And you know what they did? They sent out a guy to switch my phone and take away my DVR without giving me the cable cards! And he couldn’t just switch the phone, because he couldn’t do just a partial work order. (I spoke to a very nice customer service again who confirmed that the cable cards were on the work order, the guy just forgot them or something. What-ever) So away he was sent. We didn’t allow him to touch anything, because he couldn’t do the whole job.

If you know anything about me, you don’t fuck with my TV. (sorry for the language mom) But seriously, don’t. fuck. with my TV. I was calm about it though, and set up another appointment. Because my TV was not affected. And Workaholic was here for the second appointment, and the guy called to say he was coming, and Workaholic asked him if he had 2 cable cards. The answer? No. Hmm. Workaholic told him not to even bother coming. But they guy confirmed that he could easily switch the phone without affecting anything else, and he did that and set up another appointment for the cable cards. (keep in mind that these are 2 little things that easily slide into the TV and there is no need for the cable man to actually BE HERE) Any-hoo…I go to turn on the men’s basketball game last night, and guess what didn’t work? MY DVR. That’s right, Comcast fucked with my TV.

What. The. Hell. Not cool Comcast, not cool. I know you don’t want me to go back to TiVo, but if you had a quality product, we wouldn’t have this problem. And I am pretty sure that it is against the law for you to sabotage me like this. So give me my G-DAMN cable cards!!!

There…I feel better. Everyone knows this, but it is just a warning out there for everyone. Comcast customer service sucks. They are nice on the phone, but the follow through leaves much to be desired. Don’t worry folks, I will be reporting them to the Better Business Bureau, and I fully intend to get something for free for the minimum of two unnecessary appointments and additional hassle. I have already paid for my TiVo service, a service I can’t use until Comcast holds up their end of the bargain. And this isn’t even the end of the story. I’ll let you know next week if they finally get something right. And if they don’t?? I will not be Mrs. Nice Girl anymore. The O’Connor in me will come out. And I promise you, it won’t be pretty.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jinxes

I think I am a jinx. I am not kidding. I was able to make it to a whopping 3 Purdue football games this year, and each of them were lost in the 4th quarter. Two of them were lost in the last. thirty. seconds. Talk about heartbreak. One of the home games that I missed was O-H-I-O State. Which we won. I mean, kicked the living-you-know-what out of the Buckeyes. An away game that I didn’t attend, but did 2 years ago, was the Michigan game. Which we also won. (but two years ago we got our butts kicked all the way back to West Lafayette)

And then last night, I was watching the Colts game. Because I like me some Peyton Manning. And I turned it off in the 4th quarter with about 9 minutes left to go when dear Peyton threw an interception. And then I decided to turn it back on to see what the final score was…and Bill Belichick had just gone for the 4th down at the Colts 30 yard line and not made it. So the Colts came in and scored and won the game in the final ticks of the clock. Just amazing. To quote someone on facebook, “Do you believe in miracles???” Had I turned it on before the 4th down was played, they probably would’ve gotten the 1st down and the Colts would’ve lost the game.

Luckily for the Purdue women’s basketball team, I was only able to attend the 2nd half of their game on Sunday. It was Sam’s first game at Mackey Arena. I can promise you, it won’t be her last. She got to sit with grandma in her fifth row seats near the home team, and it only took about 5 minutes for the cheerleaders to notice her and begin flirting. The cheerleaders, not her. Because the poor little kid was so overwhelmed by the bright lights and fast play and the cheering and the BAND, OH MY THE BAND. I haven’t been to a men’s basketball game in a few years, but the Purdue women’s band is awesome. They have so much fun and are SO LOUD. I feel bad for opposing teams, especially little ones like Western Illinois. Anyway, the cheerleaders loved her, and she loved them, and I think that she’ll be OK returning. At least, I hope. Because I promise, we’ll be back. Go Boilers!! (oh geez...I hope I didn't just jinx the whole school)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Day of Honor and Remembrance

On April 7th, I “met” Heather Spohr. I say “met” because her and I have never had a conversation or seen each other’s faces in real life, but I started reading her blog. I’ve talked about her daughter Maddie here before. April 7th was the day that Heather and her husband Mike lost Maddie.

Maddie was born premature and spent 68 days in the NICU. And then she came home and got stronger and healthier and bigger, and then one day she caught a cold, and a couple of days later, she died. Heather has been sharing her life with the world ever since that heartbreaking day. And today would have been Maddie’s 2nd birthday. Ever since April 7th, I have been introduced to a world where not every baby comes out OK. Not every baby comes out even alive. There are no guarantees in life, and one of the saddest facts of life is that not every pregnancy ends well.

I know that there are a lot of good causes out in the world. Especially today, Veterans’ Day, you stop to appreciate what you have. You have freedom of speech, and freedom to demonstrate and freedom to bear arms, and freedom to raise your child how you wish. There are many parents who never get to raise their children how they wish. They don’t get to celebrate birthdays and kiss them goodnight and teach them how to climb up the stairs or swing a baseball bat. They have to parent a child who is in heaven. I can’t imagine how difficult that job is.

Heather and Mike are doing the best they can to honor Maddie’s life and her memory. Since they spent so much time with her in the NICU, they have created a foundation to help parents of NICU children. They also support the March of Dimes, since Maddie lived past her first day of life with drugs and research developed by the March of Dimes.

I have chosen today, Madeline Alice Spohr’s 2nd birthday, to be a Friend of Maddie. It is as simple as donating a NICU pack to help give support to one family after the birth of their baby. A baby that, I am sure, they would love to see grow up tall and strong, to celebrate birthdays and climb jungle gyms. So today, November 11th, consider becoming a Friend of Maddie. Or consider donating to the March of Dimes. Or you could support your local children’s hospital. You could do it for Maddie, or another baby that you know that maybe didn’t get to see their 2nd birthday. Or you could even offer up a simple prayer, a prayer for all babies who don’t get the fairytale beginning that every parent hopes for.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Mother's Plea

Dear Samantha,

Do you remember yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, when you didn't feel good?

When you had a temperature somewhere between 102 and 104, and we gave you the yummy Tylenol and the grape Pedialite and let you lay on us all day?


Do you remember how we rocked you and sang to you? And how you took naps and slept for hours and hours on end because daddy bought the Vicks that goes in the humidifier in your room so you could breathe? And how you first puked on daddy, and then on me?

Do you remember? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Because now it is my turn. I don't feel good. I just want to take a nap and not wake up until tomorrow.

But, and this is a BIG BUT, you aren't taking your super-long naps anymore. And what is worse, you are teasing me. You cry and whine and lay your head down on the floor and lay on me with your pink blankie, making it seem like you want to go to sleep. But when I put you in your crib, you just cry. And that, sweetheart? Is not fair.

Here is the thing. I can't sleep unless you do. I mean, I know that you and the Fonz have made great strides in the past week, what with you taking his bone out of his mouth as he is knawing on it and you poke him in the eye, and you crawl over him in an attempt to get closer to me. But then he stands up and scares you and you cry. And I have to come to your rescue. And while you have mastered the art of going up the stairs, you have yet to grasp the concept of going down. And I just can't trust Fonz yet to stop you from going down if you really wanted to. So that is just one of the many reasons he is not yet ready to baby-sit.

So please, please dear child, just lie down and take a nap. I'd really appreciate it.

Love,
mommy

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Swine Flu Update

I think this is going to be a looong winter. It is October. And Samantha has already had a double ear infection, and some sort of fever illness. I don't know if she actually had the flu, or if it was just a reaction to the H1N1 vaccine. Yes, I am that parent whose kid had a cough, just a teeny tiny cough, and got her vaccines, and of course, she got sick.

It started almost immediately, but the fever didn't kick in until the next day. It last about 2 1/2 days, and now she is OK. A little whiny, and a lot snotty, but OK. But guess who she coughed all over while lying on his chest? And guess who didn't gargle with salt water or Listerine and probably didn't wash his hands before he ate? And guess who is sick now? (If you ask him though, he doesn't have the flu, just a fever, aches and a cough. Whatever.)

So that has been my weekend. So far, illness has ruined at least 3 weekends for me this fall. I am getting a lot done around the house though, so whatever. If you can't tell, I am not really feeeling all that inspired to write something witty or funny, or even try. I'm just updating the world on my sickhouse. Hopefully I won't come down with anything. But if I do...the laundry is done, the bathrooms are clean, the floors are vacuumed, the house is dusted, and there will be food in this house!

(Isn't is sad how as you get older your everyday goals change? I remember when my goal used to be to get out of bed before my parents got home from work so they didn't know that I slept all day. Ahh...how times change)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear Anyone In Charge:

In case you haven't noticed, when I get upset, I like to write. When I get upset about something that is going on that elected officials can do something about, I write to them. Below is a letter that I wrote to Senators Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar, Rep. Pete Visclosky, the entire Lake County Board of Commissioners, Indiana Senator Karen Tallian, Indiana Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, and Governor Mitch Daniels. I don't think I am asking too much...although I apparently don't know how to keep things short.

Dear anyone who will listen:

I am writing to you regarding the recent distribution of H1N1 vaccines in Lake County. There are several problems with this that need to be addressed, and hopefully lessons can be learned for the future.

A friend of mine has a 23 month old son who has a genetic heart defect. He has had 2 open heart surgeries. Her cardiologist highly recommended that her son be vaccinated. She was given a toll free number, 888-H1N1-BUG to call. She called the number on Wednesday October 14th, and was told that the county was in possession of the vaccine, but was deciding how to distribute. She was promised a phone call no later than Thursday October 22nd, telling her where and when to go to get her son vaccinated, and that he was on a high priority list.

By Monday October 19th, she was getting very anxious. If her son contracted the virus, it could attack his heart and kill him very quickly. Or it could settle in his lungs and attack his already compromised immune system. Another friend of mine and I also called the 888-H1N1-BUG on Monday. We each have children under a year old in daycare and wanted to vaccinate them. We each spoke to a very nice man who took our name and number and told us that they had two H1N1 specialists returning people’s calls. That same day, we each received a return phone call, from a very nice woman. We were told that the county had the vaccine, but they only received about 20% of what they were expecting. The initial plan was to set up clinics in schools, but they didn’t receive enough to do that, so they were formulating a back-up plan. We were each told that there was to be a meeting on Tuesday the 20th to prioritize the doses that they had. We also were told that we would receive an e-mail no later than Thursday the 22nd telling us when and where to go.

On Tuesday the 20th, my friend with the son with the heart defect was becoming even more anxious. She called the phone number again, and this time was told that within 24 hours, she would receive a phone call and e-mail directing her what to do and where to go. Wednesday morning, the 21st, another friend of ours at work got fed up and took his 2 year old son to the government complex to see if he could get more information. He was able to get the vaccine for his son and called my friend whose son has the heart defect. She immediately left work and was able to get the vaccine for her son after an hour of waiting. There was only one person at that time administering the vaccine. Around this same time, an e-mail went out from the people that we had spoken to from the 888-H1N1-BUG telling us that the clinic at the county complex would be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 9am-3:30pm. My friend who was promised a phone call received this e-mail, but not the promised phone call. And her son was in no way prioritized.

I was fortunate enough to have wonderful in-laws who agreed to take my daughter first thing this morning. They got to the government complex around 8:45am. They went in the east entrance, and there were no signs or anyone to tell them which way to go. They asked the security guard. They had to up the escalator, and there was a line. So they got in line. Fortunately, the person in front of them guided them down the hall, through an office, and on the extreme other end of the office, they had to get a number. This scene was repeated over and over, as each new person who came up the escalator got in the line, not realizing that they needed a number. The office was full of people, so after fighting through the people to get a number, they had to turn around and fight their way back through the people, go back down the hall, and get back in the same line. They waited in the line for more than 2 hours. When it was their time to get my daughter vaccinated, there were only three people administering the doses. They were given a card, proof that she had received the vaccine and on what day. They were told that she needs to return in 30 days to get a booster. However, they have no idea if there will even be any vaccine available at that time. Also, on Thursday the 22nd at 12:40pm, the Northwest Indiana Times reported that the clinic will not be open on Friday, as stated in the e-mail many people received.

I am sorry for the length of this letter to this point. However, I hope that my friends and I experiences will help improve the process next time. First of all, the county told the Northwest Indiana Times that they had contracted out the phone calls. However, the vendor did not tell the county of the promises they were making. Also, it would appear, the county and the vendor are not on the same page as to when the clinic is going to be open. I am not sure if the county and the vendor communicated at all.

Secondly, the county knew that they told the general public that they had these vaccines and the first full day would be Thursday the 22nd. However, they were not prepared on a multitude of levels. They could have had signs leading up to the courthouse and in the lobby directing the way. Once people got off of the escalator, there should have been an employee directing people, or at least a sign explaining that the first step is to obtain a number. Also, why would you have to go down a hall, past a huge line, into an office full of people to get a number? Why could they not have moved the number dispensing machine to the top of the escalator? This would have made much more sense and caused much less confusion and crowding.

Thirdly, many of the people whose children received the vaccine have additional questions regarding the H1N1 virus and the vaccine. These questions include, but are not limited to: How important is it for my child to receive a booster in 30 days? Will they still be protected if we cannot get them the booster? What are the possible side effects of the vaccine? Who all (including adults) should receive the vaccine? What are the symptoms of the H1N1 virus? At what point should I call my doctor or take my child directly to the hospital if they start showing symptoms? These and other questions could have been addressed in an informational pamphlet that could have been made available at a table either in the lobby of the government center or in the open space at the top of the escalator.

Finally, there were only three people administering the vaccine. You cannot tell me that the county could not have hired a dozen or two nurses for 3 days to help distribute this important vaccine. They knew that the public was and is extremely concerned about this pandemic. There is a rumor, whether true or not, of a perfectly healthy child in Lake County who contracted the swine flu and is now on life support.

My in-laws reported that everyone in line was orderly and no one was becoming disruptive. However, they were done by 11am. I am sure that people who arrived later and had to wait more than 3 hours with small children had their patience wearing thin. In my and many other people’s opinion, the county has really dropped the ball. We understand that they received much less vaccine than they originally planned. However, they had almost a week to come up with a new plan. And the new plan seemed to be to wing it. I expect more out of one of the largest counties in our state. Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Please pass on our displeasure and do what you can to help the distribution of the next round of vaccines go much smoother.

Thank you for your time,

Sincerely,

Gail O’Connor


I definitely encourage everyone who had an experience with this clinic today to contact your representatives. We should not stand for such inadequacy in government. Especially where our kids are concerned! (Tracy...I'm talking to you! 4 hours??) You can e-mail them directly from the in.gov website here. I also encourage everyone to leave their thoughts in the comments section, you can put your name, or be anonymous. The more people who speak up, the greater chance we have of something productive coming out of the frustrating situation!

Final Update

Yay!!! Sam got her swine flu vaccine!

Lake County is soooo organized and proactive, they announced on Wednesday to the entire Region that children aged 6 months to 5 years could get the shot on Thursday and Friday. And then they totally were not ready for the influx of people. I mean, come on, they had three, count them THREE, people actually giving the vaccine.

Of course, I didn't have to wait in line for 2 hours or have to deal with any of this. Why? You ask? Because my OH-SO-AWESOME in-laws went for me. I was terrified they would run out by tomorrow afternoon, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law couldn't say no when I asked. I mean, I guess they could have, but they didn't. So yes, I owe them BIG.

We do have to go back in 4 weeks to try and get her a booster, and yes, I will be doing that myself. And I guess my poor little girl cried and cried, so I do feel badly about that. I am happier that I didn't have to see that than not having to wait in line.

So everyone, if you get a chance, get your kids vaccinated. I know that this is this year's version of the flu, but it seems to be spreading very quickly and is very dangerous especially to young children. Remember, wash your hands, don't touch your face, and I also heard gargling salt water or Listerine twice a day will help prevent you from getting sick too. Or drinking hot liquids. Stay healthy everyone!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

H1N1/Insanity Update

UPDATE****

I was finally called yesterday afternoon...we are on "the list." I should hear by Monday if we can get her the vaccine in the first round, and when/where we go to do that. Yay!!! Turns out I DID give them the right cell phone number. I am NOT crazy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Not My Day

Do you ever have those days where things just don’t sway your way? It seems that the month of October has been that way for me…at least when it comes to doctors. For some reason, a lot of our doctor appointments fall in October. Workaholic and I each go to our general practitioner for a yearly well check, I have my bi-annual dental appointment, and Samantha’s 9 month check-up was this month. It started off bad when the day of Workaholic’s and mine appointment with our GP was cancelled because she was sick. When I called to reschedule, it was 4 weeks before we could get in again. AND, they are now out of the flu shot.

When I booked our trip to London, I seriously considered not going that particular weekend because that was when Sam’s appointment was scheduled. I really want her to get the flu shot. But I figured no biggie, we’d be able to get in and go another time. So I called and it was 2 weeks after the original appointment before we could get in. I wasn’t too thrilled, but I figured there was nothing I could do. So I made it for today. When I got home last Friday, there was a message on our machine asking if we wanted to keep the appointment because many parents were not bringing their well children into the office due to the spread of the flu. I fretted all weekend, and asked many people their opinions, and decided to go. I had made arrangements to go in late to work, and everything was set. And about 15 minutes before I was to leave, my phone rang. It was Sam’s pediatrician’s office, asking to reschedule because her doctor’s son is in the hospital. (I didn’t ask why, figured it was the flu.) However, when I asked if she would be able to get her flu shot when we came in on Friday (the day we rescheduled again), the answer is no, because they ran out. Great. Her doctor does recommend getting the H1N1 vaccine, but I was basically told “good luck getting it.” Our county has it, but hasn’t decided yet on how to disperse it.

So I get to work, and my friend gives me the phone number for the H1N1 vaccine info for our county. I call, and a very nice man took my name and phone number and said that they had 2 consultants working on the list, and they would definitely give me a call back. I gave them my work number, figuring I wouldn’t stray too far from my cubicle and they could always leave a message. A couple of hours later, I told another friend at work that she should call about her son. So she did, and within an hour or so, she had already gotten a call back. I haven’t gotten a call yet! So I fret again, and decide to call back and explain my dilemma. In talking to the nice, but obviously now frazzled man, I ask him if I can give a different phone number. I’d like to give him my cell phone. And so I rattle off some numbers, and after I hang up, I realized that I think I gave him a mixture of my cell and home phones. Are. you. kidding. me. (Apparently, “they” are having a meeting tomorrow to prioritize who will get the doses of the vaccine that they have. I would really like my 9 month old who is in daycare to be on that list.)

Let’s recap. Not one, but two appointments with our GP had to be rescheduled. Had we gone to the original appointments, we’d have been able to get the flu shot. But now, no. Sam’s appointment that I was stupid enough to reschedule, canceled. And had we kept the original, we’d be able to get her the flu shot. And the list that I think I am on for the swine flu vaccine? Probably got knocked off of it due to stupidity.

Fortunately, Workaholic never goes far from his phone. So I convinced him to call and get on “the list”, and hopefully they will call him back, and get his e-mail, and we can at least try to get Samantha from getting too terribly sick this winter. I really really hope that the rest of the month doesn’t continue like this. Two more weeks.


***OH!! And the weekend I decide to SKIP the Purdue game?? They BEAT NUMBER 7 O-H-I-O STATE!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????

Sunday, October 18, 2009

London in Pictures

Here are just a few of the photos we took...

My sister, me, and Workaholic at the pub Checquers, in the Bull Shit Corner. (seriously, look at the plaque in the right-hand corner of the picture!)


The three of us in a self-portrait next to one of the cute phone boothes they have all over place.


Me in the same phone booth.

Workaholic striking a pose across the street from Buckingham Palace.


My sister, me, Workaholic, and his uncle and his wife. Many thanks to them for an enjoyable evening!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

London in Words

We’re home! I was happy to be on vacation, although I am not going to lie, every morning I wanted to just lay in bed all day and watch TV. But we would get up, shower, and head out on the town. Walking. After the first day, we did not walk very quickly, mainly because I couldn’t. My short little 25 inch inseam legs just couldn’t keep up with my sister and Workaholic. That and the pain in my calves, and shins, and feet. So I typically walked behind them, and every once in a while, they’d turn to make sure they didn’t lose me in the sea of people on the sidewalks of London. We walked and walked, to the point where even my sister had had enough and wanted to jump on a bus. It didn’t matter what bus, any bus, anything to get us off of our feet.

We had a great time, I loved being with my sister, who I really only see about once every 2 years. She is kind of a nut, and was ecstatic to be in her favorite city in the world. (at least that is what she says after a couple of glasses of wine) We went to the Tower of London, (where they used to behead people), Westminster Abbey, (where the bury people), and St. Paul’s Cathedral, (where Charles and Diana got married). We went on The Eye (a huge ferris wheel), went to Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, saw The Globe Theatre (where Shakespeare’s plays were performed), walked on London Bridge and Millennium Bridge, went shopping on Bond Street and Oxford Street and Covent Garden, walked through The British Museum (where Brits show off everything they’ve stolen from everyone else through the past 1000 years), The National Portrait Gallery (Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, etc.) and Tate Modern (Andy Warhol & more Picasso, as well as lots of other weird art). We saw Big Ben and Parliament, and Downing Street (where Prime Minister Gordon Brown lives) We saw lots and lots of the red postal boxes and the red telephone booths, and the last day we were there, Workaholic and I walked the length of Hyde Park (twice) and visited Princess Diana’s memorial.

And the pubs. I wish we had actually visited more pubs, but they didn’t seem to be exactly where we wanted them to be when we were in the mood for a drink. We went to the Guinea, The Hung, Drawn, & Quartered, Checquers, something about Marlborough, and something else about Boxing. There were a couple of more, but I don’t remember their names. One of them was even on our map, which we didn’t realize until after we left. I generally drank wine, because I just couldn’t stomach Guinness, and Workaholic had one bad night with sake. We had dinner with Workaholic's uncle and his wife, who were kind enough to treat us and introduce us to the "Bull Shit Corner".

All in all, we had a good time. It was best just seeing my sister and hanging out with her. I haven’t spent that much time with her in years. So a big THANK YOU to American Airlines for giving me 3 seats to sleep in on the way there and the way back, and Grosvenor House in Westminster for being a 5 star hotel and still giving me my employee discount. Someday…we’ll be back!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jolly-O!

Hello from London! Yep, we made it here. And since Workaholic can't sleep, he paid for the internet, so here I am.

American Airlines, I heart you. Seriously, I really, really do. Because for the lowlow price of my one coach seat, I got, well...4. Three in a row so I could almost completely stretch out and take a 3 hour nap, and one to leave my stuff on. That one uncoincidentally was next to Workaholic. AND, AND...I got to watch "Paul Blart-Mall Cop." I mean, really, could a flight get any better?? (he was a little whiny because we didn't have our our individual TVs in the headrest in front of us, but, come on...4 seats???)

I also had some weird dreams about flying and Samantha and other babies on our flight (even though there were none), and Workaholic and a girl that was hitting on him. I woke up more than once during our flight panicking because I didn't know where Sam was. Then I remembered she wasn't supposed to be there and I plopped my head back down on my 2 American Airlines pillows and snuggled back under my American Airlines blanket and went back to sleep.

Allrighty...we really should be getting to bed. Big day of touristy stuff tomorrow!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quick Update

I’ve got so much I’d like to write about, but not much time. So I’ll just give you a quick update of my head.

Jon Gosselin…you should be ashamed of yourself. Think before you act! And while you are at it, think for yourself every once in a while.

We are leaving for London on Thursday. I am super excited, but not nearly as excited as my sister who is meeting me there. I am also super nervous about leaving Samantha for 5 days. What if she forgets about me while I am gone? Right now, I am the definite favorite in her life. I hope I’m not scarring her by abandoning her at this critical stage of her life development. (notice, that worry isn’t stopping me from going)

I spent hours this weekend cleaning and organizing my house. A partial list of everything that I put into storage is 6 bins of clothes, 2 baby bathtubs, a travel swing, a full-size swing, a bouncy seat, a Bumbo seat, 2 floor playmats, 2 file boxes full of paper that doesn’t have anything to do with me, a computer monitor, and the cradle. I also cleaned my bathroom, dusted and vacuumed the whole house, and made dinner. Important to note that the most amazing part of the weekend was the fact that I made dinner. (One thing I do not understand is how you can follow your mother’s recipe to a T and it tastes almost nothing like when she makes it. Not fair. I think it’s sabotage.)

I gave Fonz a bath and he got his teeth cleaned on Friday…so until he starts eating the poo from the backyard again, his breath no longer smells like shit!! AND, he smells like Suave Ocean Breeze. However, he does have an ear infection, so he’s got that goopy ear fur. Yucky.

I don’t understand for the life of me how on God’s Green Earth Purdue lost for the 2nd weekend in a row in the 4th quarter, on the 4th down, with less than 30 seconds left. (apparently someone else does though) Maybe in a couple of years we’ll win a game. Such goes the life of a Cubs/Boiler fan.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Published!!

OK, so that might be exaggerating just a bit, but my name IS in the Lafayette paper.
That counts for something...right??
http://www.jconline.com/article/20091003/OPINION/910030310/1098

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A picture from this past August when we went surfing for hours on the boat. Sam is just cool like that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Intuition, Schmintuition

I was talking recently to a girl I know who has a set of twins. And she was lamenting on the fact that she wants one more, but doesn’t want one more. How she is going back and forth in her head over whether or not to have another child. Which I was actually pretty shocked at, because the twins were, “Hello, surprise!” and I thought for sure she would never take that risk again. So I tried not to discourage her, you know, by telling her how I met a woman last weekend who had twin girls and they wanted one more and got twins again, this time a boy and a girl. And she said that oddly enough, she wasn’t worrying about having another set of twins, it was the whole, “having three kids and being outnumbered” thing. She said the not worrying part was intuition.

And that got me to thinking. That mother’s intuition? The thing where a mother doesn’t need Lassie to tell her that Timmy is stuck in the well? Because she is like Sally Field on Brothers & Sisters and just knows that something bad is going to happen to one of her kids? I don’t have it. Let’s see. I totally thought I was having a boy. When the daycare told me the other week Samantha had 2 loose stools? I figured it was due to her cold. When my mom told me that she had 2 explosions of poo in her crib on Saturday and had been whiny all day? I thought she may have had too many prunes the day before and that maybe she was pissed at me for ditching her to go to a football game. And on Sunday, when she only wanted to be held by me and felt warm to the touch? I guessed it was a virus and we’d give her Tylenol to help her get through it.

By Monday, the poor girl was downright dejected. She wanted to be held all day, and would only sleep lying upright because of the snot in her head. When I thought a bath would help to cheer her up and a warm one would feel good and help drain the snot? Yeah…that was the night her fever spiked to 101. It was only that night that I started to wonder if it was a little more than a virus, that perhaps she had something some nice antibiotics would take care of. (I also did not think to put her back in the tub, this time with cold water) Fortunately, I had listened to my mother and made an appointment with the doctor for Tuesday morning. And it took all of 5 seconds for the doctor to look in her ears (after waiting for 45 minutes in the waiting room) to confirm that poor Samantha had not one, but TWO raging ear infections. The wax in the right ear was actually melting because it was so hot. (I don’t know if this is normal, because not only do I lack intuition, I also lack an MD)

She is on her 7th day of bubble gum flavored amoxicillin, the same stuff I got when I was a kid, and I am not sure if the mox will be enough to kick the raging ear infections. Because she is still snotty and needy and whiny. And that? Is not my kid. I’m a little nervous about trusting my intuition on whether she is just teething (one more did come in on Saturday!!) or whether her ears hurt and she is trying to say, “DAMNIT MOM…MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!!” She goes in next Tuesday for a 2 week check up. (I’m trying to at least allow myself some common sense and listen to the other mothers around me.) The good news is that this illness seems to have taught her the meaning of mama. As in, she stands up in her crib when I attempt to put her down for a nap, holds her arms out to me and yells, (with pathetic big, fat tears rolling down her chubby little cheeks) MAMAMAMAMAMA!! Or when I walk away from her to go to the bathroom, she crawls after me with the same pathetic, big fat tears sobbing MAMAMAMA! And once? Just once? She looked at me, then my mother, and sobbed DADADA. As if she was like, “Screw you guys, I want my dad.” Good luck kid…I’m not sure what kind of intuition he has, hope it’s better than mine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crazy? I hope not.

A few weeks back, I went to the doctor and he mentioned that I might have a touch of OCD. I thought this was hil-arious until I started thinking about certain things that I do, and to be honest, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Does this affect my life? If so, how does it affect it? Do I need to be worried about this? Can I change my behavior? What parts of me are to be blamed for this off-hand diagnosis?

So I just now decided to google OCD. And fortunately, I don’t think I am clinical. I just don’t have all the symptoms, and especially the part about doing something to prevent a dreaded event. I just do things, well, because that is how my mind works. I don’t think the world is going to end or anything.

Samantha has been sick lately, and so I have been home more in the past 3 days than I have since before Memorial Day. And my house is driving. me. insane. Because it is trashed. I have someone come and clean every 2 weeks. So it isn’t “call CPS because the house is unfit for human habitation”…yet. (My beloved person who cleans has to have a HIP REPLACEMENT, and so she won’t be able to clean for at least 6 weeks. I am counting on 8-10, if not longer, but we’ll see.)

I was lying in bed last night, writing this blog in my head, as a way of going to sleep. You see, I have to make a list of the things I want to do in order to be able to allow my mind to rest. (Xanex works too, but my doctor wouldn’t give me that because it is too addictive…geez!) I thought I might allow you a little insight into why my house is still trashed, and to see if anyone else has the same insane, irrational way of thinking. (PS…I am currently eating Rolos for breakfast)

I have at least 5 bins of baby clothes and maternity clothes that need to be put out of sight, into a storage area of some sort. (when we were building our house, I was VERY insistent that there was lots and lots of storage, because women like storage, and I am a woman, and we were hoping to sell the house to a man and a woman…and since most women have at least a little say in things, storage is important.) However, I can’t decide exactly WHERE I would like this storage area to be, and I have those thingys that come in shoeboxes that are supposed to help keep things fresh, but you have to do something to them to get them to work again, but I haven’t done that and am not sure what “that” is, so I don’t want to put the boxes away until I can put the thingys in there and am positive where I’d like to keep them. PLUS, I need to pack up another bin of clothes that Samantha has outgrown, AND burp cloths and such, except those should go in the newborn bin, but that one is full, so I need to empty it out and reorganize it. And she really hasn’t outgrown the clothes YET, so it would almost be premature to pack up another bin. I might run short on clothes.

Fonz swam a lot in the lake this summer, but something was different, and the lake made him stink. Like shit. And typically we didn’t get a chance to give him a bath before we headed back to the lake. So the landing where he spends most of his day is dirty. As in, you can see the dirt on the carpet dirty. And even though we have given him baths, he still smells a little. Like shit. Because even though he is clean, he lies on the landing and reabsorbs the stinky lake smell into his fur and then continues to smell like shit. I have a bottle of carpet cleaner that I BOUGHT one time when I got my carpets professionally cleaned. So it is the same stuff they use, or at least that is what they tell me. But do I use it to clean the landing? No. Because I am convinced that the carpet needs to be professionally cleaned again, and I won’t follow the directions and probably screw up my carpet since I tend to scrub when it says to blot.

We also have a lot of baby stuff that Samantha doesn’t use anymore. Lots. Big things, like…swings. And travel swings. And baby bathtubs (of which there are 2, I am still confused as to why). And bouncy seats…although I might keep one of those out, because I just found out that you aren’t supposed to feed a baby a bottle flat on their back, apparently that is the leading cause of ear infections. And all last week, I fed Sam her bottle on her back while I got ready, and VOILA…she has a double ear infection. Go figure. Anyway, I digress. So I want to put all of this extra stuff away. But I can’t decide where it should go. And how it should be packed up. I mean, if I just put it into a closet, do I need to wrap it up to keep it clean? And how do you wrap up a full size swing? And speaking of closets, we have lots of them. And since we are busy/lazy people, if we see things out and we have guests coming over who we don’t want to see those things, we will throw them in a closet. So most of our closets are full of random crap that I am not even sure what it is or if we even need to keep. So really, if I am going to put this stuff in a closet, I need to clean out the closets and get rid of crap from our college days. OR, I could put it in the crawl space under the hallway leading in from the garage, but there are all kinds of empty boxes and stolen photo albums and things from the wedding that I have thrown in there. So THAT needs to be cleaned out as well. And the last time I was in there, I whacked my head pretty good and broke the light bulb since the space is only 4 feet tall. So I need to replace the light bulb and find a hard hat.

Also, I don’t have pictures of Samantha hanging up in my house. WHAT??!! You say? What kind of a mother ARE you anyway??? Here is the thing. I have lots of pictures hanging up. Many of them are from our wedding. And I spent a LOT of money, not so long ago, on those pictures. So I am not real keen on just putting new ones in and tossing out the old ones. And I’ve got other pictures in frames, but my family or Workaholic’s family are in them, and I like to be reminded that it is not all about me. I do have family that I love. So I bought a couple of new picture frames specifically for Samantha. And I put pictures in them! And asked Workaholic to hang them! And they are still lying on the couch in our room! Where they have been for 6 months!! Yes, I could probably figure out how to hang them myself, except here is the thing. I am married to a CARPENTER. I do think that should have some advantages, right??? Like, having someone else hang up your pictures?? So they won’t fall down when the door slams because you have too many windows open and it is crazy windy outside?

There are other things are bugging me about my house, but those are the biggies. And some stuff, I am just weird about. Take my wood floors for instance. I am a firm believer that mops are gross. And that the proper way to clean a wood floor is on your hands and knees, with a rag. But who has TIME to do that?? And the energy, and the back pain! So yes, my floors get cleaned by my cleaning lady, and I could give a shit how she does them. But if I do them, it has to be the right way. Weird, huh?

After looking at my list, and my excuses, I am thinking that this isn’t a list of OCD things. This is a list of Gail being lazy. If I put those boxes away, it would be out of sight, out of mind. I wouldn’t lie in bed at night, like I do now, wondering how to get those thingys-from-the-shoeboxes reactivated. But it is just getting me to do that…put those boxes away, or break down the swing and make a decision on where I would like to hide it until it is needed again. It is physically hard. And then I wonder if it is just a touch of OCD…like my doctor said.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy? Getting there. Clean house? Not so much.

Over the past 8 months or so, my emotions have been a roller coaster. There have been slow ascents, and deep valleys and sudden, rushing downward spirals. I remember when Samantha was maybe 4 weeks old, crying to my friend Dr. Nadene on the phone. I almost couldn’t breathe or speak, just telling her how I felt like life would never be the same, and would I ever be able to have FUN again? (I did not get the “high” that many new mothers speak of…I wish I had, but I didn’t.) The responsibility of raising a child had hit my like a freight train, and I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Mine alone. Yes, I had a supportive husband who helped in whatever way I needed. It’s just that he wasn’t there during the day, and he needed to get up early in the morning, so I typically did all the night feedings. He wanted to help, but didn’t always know how to help, and so I often wound up doing many things myself. (or at least feeling like I did)

That has since changed. He willingly and happily does feedings and bathtime and generally whatever I need help with. (Except laundry…for some reason, I do all that. It’s a control thing. As in, he in no way has the skill to appropriately put clothes in the washer and add soap and turn it to on.) Yes, of course, there are things that I would LIKE to be done, but I also don’t help myself in those situations. Sometimes it is all I can do to feed and put Sam to sleep, everything else just seems to be overwhelming. (which is why my house is the definition of clutter right now) (leaving town every weekend is not helping at this point…but that won’t stop us) We are enjoying life right now, and if some things fall to the wayside, so be it. We try to spend as much time with our little girl as possible.

A few weeks ago, I realized that things were not right. I just wasn’t happy. And I am not talking about over the moon happy, or even not happy with my life happy. I mean, hard to get out of bed, anything could push me over the edge, HATING myself unhappy. On the outside, I smiled and joked with people at work, although I did definitely try to hide in my cubicle. Certain things just overwhelmed me, and I would shut down. Nothing made me happier than NOT getting out of bed. But I had to, day in, day out. I was talking to my good friend who has an infant as well, and I was telling her how I felt, and she said, “Oh Gail, you are making me sad.” Meaning, she was sad for me, that I was feeling the way I did. And THAT was my AH-HA moment. My friend, who was so infinitely happy about her child, was sad because of me. That? Was fucked up. So I went to my doctor, and he put me on the new medicine Pristiq. And you know what? It is helping. I can get out of bed in the morning, I smile more readily, and I look forward to the future.

So I was talking recently to a friend, one of those friends who you really don’t talk to very often, but you are kind of in the same place in life and will occasionally run into, and so you talk. The subject turned to baby blues and depression. I readily shared that I was on Pristiq. I am not ashamed of it, and I am happy that it is helping. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with taking medicine if you need it, and when it comes to depression, science has proven that genetics and hormones and chemical imbalances are the culprit. Yes, sometimes life circumstances become too much, and you need a little help to get through a rough patch, but more often, you were probably predisposed to depression. It’s not like it is something that you can help, that you have control over. Sometimes, folding that load of laundry is just. too. difficult.

It was my friend’s response to my admission that caught me off guard. Maybe it was the wording, maybe it was the tone. It went something like, “So what’s wrong?” As in, what is so wrong with your life that you feel the need to medicate yourself? This question really caught me off guard. Sure, my life isn’t perfect. But no one’s is. That isn’t why I felt myself spiraling. The mix of hormones and life change sometimes makes people’s emotions go down…not up. And when they stay down, for more than a couple of weeks, it is time to get some outside help.

Being diagnosed with depression, for some, is a relief. It helps to explain things. And the doctors will tell you that it isn’t your fault, it isn’t something that you can control. In fact, for some people, when a doctor asks the questions and then says, “I think you are depressed”, the natural response is, “Well duh.” However, that doesn’t mean you don’t feel as though you have failed. Failed in what, who knows. Life, I guess. But therein lies the stigma of depression. You can’t will yourself well when you get depressed. You need help. Help to learn how to deal with life and also help to control what is going on inside you.

Eight months after I had my daughter, and 5 ½ months after I have gone back to work, I feel like life is starting to normalize. I have a beautiful baby that any mother would be happy to parent, a great home and a wonderful husband. We both have jobs, and cars, and can put food on the table. I can finally start to feel the joy that everyone else talks about. Finally!! (And maybe, just maybe, some day soon, I’ll get my house organized. But don’t hold your breath. I don’t know if there are ANY drugs that strong.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Death, Life, and Miracles

Yesterday, I was feeling all scared about the idea of having another child, because of the change that a new baby brings to your life. And even though I have been through it before, I think bringing a second child into this world will be almost more difficult than bringing the first. All of the sudden, I can’t hand off my baby to my husband and go relax; now I will have to hand off both babies. And while he is dealing with a screaming tantrum with one, I have to be taking care of another. Yes, so goes the life of parents. Doesn’t make it any less scary.

And then I woke up this morning. The Today Show and Meredith Viera reminded me that today is September 11th. That awful day, 8 years ago, when my mom came into my room and said, “Two planes just hit the World Trade Center.” And I thought, “What is the big deal?” Thinking that the pilots of those small planes would surely get into a lot of trouble with the FAA for flying so close to buildings. And then, I turned on the TV, and me and Peter Jennings became fast friends. I didn’t change from ABC for the rest of the morning. I called everyone I knew, those who I didn’t call, called me. I remember watching the towers fall...ABC had cut away to Washington for a moment and when they came back, you couldn’t tell what had happened. Peter thought there had been an explosion at the base of the South tower, not realizing that it had collapsed. And when they showed the replay, he just was silent. As was everyone else.

I remember looking at the footage of the South Tower, and thinking, “Oh my God, all of those people are trapped in a collapsed building, they will never be able to reach them in time to save them. Surely people are hurt and bleeding and they are going to die a long and terrible death.” It took me a couple of days to realize that those people had died a terrible death as ABC had cut away to the Pentagon. That moment changed me. It impacted the decisions I made in my life, especially over the next several months dramatically, and not always in a good way. I lived for the day, instead of thinking things through. I was quite unstable for a while there, not sure of my life or what was going to happen in the future.

I was thinking of this as I got in my minivan to drive Sam to daycare and myself to work today. As I turned on 101.9, The Mix (in Chicago), and Eric and Kathy are having their 10th Annual 36 Hour Radio-thon for Children’s Memorial Hospital. For those of you not from the Chicago area, Children’s Memorial is a great hospital for kids. They do a lot of research, and take great care in coordinating the child’s care with all the doctors involved, and focus on the parents as well. They take on the rare and deadly diseases that other hospitals give up on. Eric and Kathy have this fundraiser every year, and every year they have parents tell their heartbreaking stories of survival and loss. And every year I listen to the stories and every year, I wind up crying on the way to work. This year, the stories made me think of blogs that I read, from Heather who lost her Maddy; to Hope’s Mama, who lost her daughter while she was in labor and had to deliver her sleeping; to poor Mirne, who has lost not one, not two, but three children.


And I remembered something. I don’t want to say that I realized something, because that would imply that I’d had an epiphany of some sort. I simply remembered that a child, every child, is a gift. And to have a happy, healthy child is an even more amazing gift. To have a good, uneventful pregnancy like I did, (except of course for the stabbing pains in my ass…but they were worth it) to have a labor which was appropriately painful, and to get a healthy, happy, beautiful daughter is a miracle. All children are miracles. I will try my hardest to keep this in mind when Workaholic and I continue on our journey of being parents. And when I forget, just whack me in the back of the head…and maybe then, I’ll remember. There is plenty to be scared about, but the risks are worth the reward.




(this was taken about 8 months ago...but she still looks just as angelic when she is sleeping)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Too Good Not to Share

This just made my day....THANK YOU Northwest Indiana Times!!

Student claims roommate put pot in brownies
Police: No charges will be filed because there were no brownies left to be tested


LAPORTE COUNTY A Purdue North Central student apparently didn't know what hit him when he ate brownies he claims were laced with marijuana. Too delirious to attend some of his classes the next day, he contacted LaPorte County police who investigated but made no arrests.


LaPorte County police Chief of Detectives John Boyd said when officers arrived there were no brownies left to have tested, so the allegations could not be proven.
"There was no evidence that a crime took place," Boyd said.

Police said 18-year-old Stephen Burns reported that about 10 p.m. on Sept. 2 he returned to his apartment in the 1800 block of South Fountain Drive, across from the PNC campus along U.S. 421. One of his roommates made brownies and told Burns to "help himself," police said.

Burns told investigators he consumed four brownies and soon began "feeling weird." Police said Burns said he never used marijuana before and asked his roommate what he put in the brownies.
The roommate tossed a small bag of marijuana on a desk and told Burns that he put "weed" in the batter, police said.

Burns told police he was still high the next morning and missed some of his classes.

Investigators talked to the roommate, who denied baking brownies with pot. He said it was part of a psychological experiment that involved telling Burns that he put marijuana in the brownies to see if telling him would cause him to act under the influence.

To Baby or Not to Baby

Yesterday, we went to a funeral. It was a sad affair, one in which Workaholic and I got to see many family members (on his side) that we typically don’t see very often. There isn’t a reason why we don’t see them other than everyone leads busy lives. Anyway, a couple of his cousins asked if we are ready for kid #2. I’ve had a couple of other people in the past few weeks ask me the same question, so I thought I’d address it here.

And then I got to thinking. You know, that is such a normal and natural thing to ask. But really, it’s actually a very personal question. I mean, basically, you’re saying, “So, you two doozin’ it?”

What if I’d had another miscarriage? (yes, I had one, at 7 weeks, a couple of months before I got pregnant with Samantha) What if I was pregnant…but I wasn’t ready to tell anyone? What if we are trying, but it just isn’t happening yet?

Am I supposed to handle this with humor? Because, really…I am NOT that quick on my feet. I used to tell people that Workaholic and I were trying really hard…like, twice a day to get pregnant. (a couple times of that and people quit asking). But the real answer is, yes, I want more kids. And yes, I do want them to be pretty close together. Both Workaholic and I do. The problem, you ask?


Samantha is such an easy kid. And by easy, I mean, cake-like easy. (like box brownies) She only cries when she is hungry (but boy…if she is starving, look out!) or if her diaper is wet (even this is starting to fade) or if she is tired. But if you watch her, you can tell that she is tired before she actually starts to cry. She has been this way pretty much since she was born. So the unknown of what kind of kid I am going to get the next time around scares me. Rephrase…terrifies me. What if I get a kid who is colicky and needy…the type of kid where people see us coming and go, “Oh no…here they come.” I mean, my patience isn’t that great, and while life has for sure changed since Sam came into it, I would definitely say that she fits in the little box that Workaholic envisioned she would fit into before she was born. (it’s about the size of a carseat) What if I get another red-headed girl?? (it’ll take us two days to name her!)

So I guess I’ll have to take my chances. Hopefully we’ll get a good kid, and if not, we’ll just beat the good into him/her. We should probably look into having another child relatively soon, but right now it is just another thing on the list that Workaholic and I are procrastinating. If anything changes, well…maybe I’ll let ya’ll know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Baby Bars

Have you ever seen that movie with Reece Witherspoon "Sweet Home Alabama"? (what am I saying...if you read here, of course you have seen it!) You know that part where she walks into the bar and sees one of her old girlfriends and is like, "Look at you! You have a baby...in a bar!" That? Was me on Saturday night. (and no, I was NOT Reece Witherspoon in this story)

Saturday was our friend Greg's birthday (Happy Birthday, Father Greg!). So my in-laws and a group of their friends (I guess technically Greg is my in-law's friend, but that is just semantics) decided to go out for dinner. We went to this restaurant near the cottage that also has a bar in it, and on certain nights, they have a band. We thought there would be no band on this particular evening, but boy, were we ever wrong.

The first band was this weird, folksy group. It was good dinner music, if not a LITTLE LOUD, and partly in a foreign language. (Portuguese anyone?) The second band was actually a guy, on a guitar, and he was pretty good. I think it was around this time that our friend Bobby took Sam out to the dance floor and spun her around it a few times. When he stopped, he went to hand her back to Workaholic and she started banging her legs against his legs. She wasn't ready to stop!! By the time the third (yes, third) band took the stage, I'd had a couple of Bud Lights, and had resigned myself to the fact that if I couldn't go home, I would at least have a good time.

I don't know what song it was, but I started dancing with Samantha. And she loved. it. She just sat back, flirting with anyone who flirted with her (which was everyone), not crying, not fussing, and overall just having a good time. I always joke that I have the easiest kid in the world and she is a good partier, but she really is! Workaholic, I am sure, was sitting back shaking his head at me, because let's face it, I can't dance. A pathetic sight, I am sure. And one of my brother-in-laws was there too, probably shaking his head as well. Oh well, who cares?? We had fun.

Around 10:30, yes, that's 10:30 PM, we thought it would be good to leave. We had a designated driver, Samantha stayed awake for the whole ride home and her bath, and then was OUT. Workaholic later told me that he wanted to leave because at some point, we become THOSE people who have "a baby...in a bar." Just like the movie.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Six Pack and a bottle of Pucker, Please

Last week, I got a picture text message from my oldest nephew. It was of an empty watermelon liquor bottle. And my first thought was, “Oh dear God, please don’t let the first time he gets drunk be off of watermelon Pucker.” (Yes, he is 19 years old and a sophomore in college, and yes, I do believe him when he tells me that he doesn’t drink. He’s an athlete on scholarship, and for some reason, just isn’t into the whole underage drinking thing. Maybe it’s because he has seen his 11 year his senior aunt tipsy at Thanksgiving a little too often. Can you say drunk-dial your nephew’s girlfriend?) (and it wasn’t even Pucker, it was a brand that I’d never heard of, but I could see WATERMELON plastered on the front of a pretty label)

Any-hoo, I asked him to please tell me that wasn’t his evening the night before, and he clarified that he went to a party and his friend gave him the bottle. (and reiterated again that he doesn’t drink) Whew! Getting drunk off of any kind of Pucker-type alcohol makes for a killer hangover and a desire to never. drink. again. (however, he did think to send me the picture of an empty liquor bottle, so again, maybe I should re-think drinking in front of my nephews)

The picture made me flashback to my freshman year of college though. Not the Pucker, as by my freshman year I was WAY past getting drunk off of sweet 15% alcohol beverages. But something that happened probably the third week of freshman year. (this was before the resident advisor was shot and killed by one of the guys on his floor who just happened to be a coke dealer, so things were a little more lenient back then)

The summer before I left for college, I had decided that I wanted my dorm room to have an alcohol-theme. And the ONLY decoration I could come up with, besides writing on my loft, was empty liquor bottles. So we proceeded to save mementos from our nights out, and don’t even ask me where I hid them from my parents, as I couldn’t even begin to remember. I probably told them that they were my friends though; I tended to blame most things on my friends. They were the bad seeds. (sorry guys) I remember having a bottle of Aftershock (you know, that red stuff with the crystals in the bottom that you could eat?) Absolut, Bacardi, and who knows what else. I proudly displayed them on the top shelf above my desk; I couldn’t normally reach that high anyway, so it was useless to me. (pretty sure my roommate was scared of me when we met and I put up those bottles, but she got over it and decided she liked my friends)

After a few weeks, a couple of my new friends from the dorm got caught sneaking beer in. (it was a six pack!!) I wasn’t there, I can’t remember what was going on, (oh wait, now I remember, I think I was juggling dating three different guys…don’t recommend that) and I don’t really even remember the drama of the aftermath of the girls getting caught. I just remember that they went in front of the disciplinary board and while one of them cried (yes CRIED) and got out of making any restitution, the other one was punished and told that she had to make an anti-drinking display case. After some brain-storming with some of us on the floor, the bright idea was born to use my empty bottles in the display case.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I remember walking down the hallway of my dorm seeing the head lady walking with a cardboard box full of empty bottles. Which happened to look just like my bottles. Being the blond that I am, I thought not much of it, and the next thing I know, my friends are all up in a tizzy because the head lady tore apart the display case and my friend got in even more trouble for using alcohol in an anti-alcohol message board. Guess the idea wasn’t so bright. So what I wanted to know is… where were my bottles? I worked hard for them, both to buy and to empty. (At that point, it probably took 2 hours of working just to BUY one of those bottles. Not going to say how long to drink one.) I went to the receptionist, who just happened to be an old friend of the family who had known me since I was just a few days old. She was the one who got me my awesome roommate, instead of a crappy roommate, and got me on the even awesome-er 2 West floor. After complaining to her for a minute, I walked away, resigned to having to find a new theme for my room.

Next thing I know, I am called down to the head lady’s office and given a big long apology. (Apparently, having an alcohol themed room was against the rules in the dorm, even if the bottles were empty) I got an apology voicemail that was approximately 5 minutes long from one RA, and an apology gift basket from someone else. Meanwhile, my poor friend is on probation for bringing alcohol into the dorm and our other friend got off scot-free. Turns out the friend of the family went to bat for me, and pointed out that my stuff was stolen (by the head lady) out of the display case and I was just an innocent bystander and poor. little. Gail. My friend who got in trouble still can't believe that SHE got in trouble while our other friend cried and got out of it (yes, she did learn a very valuable lesson) and that I got apologies and gift baskets. These days, you get kicked out of the dorm on the first offense, and there probably aren’t any more parties like in the “olden days.” As much as you can party with a six pack.