Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Staying Alive

I am surviving the onslaught of guests with the addition of only a few gray hairs. Ok, a few dozen, but who's counting?

Besides the inability of this motley crew to pool enough resources to make a decision on what we might do on a given day, the days have been relatively calm. I made a couple of the decisions and the rest we just threw to the winds. I can deal with that for a few days. My in-laws probably think I am the most anal person on the planet. In fact, I'm not that bad. I like to have a plan sometimes...and then other times I do like to wing it. I just don't like to wing it when we're dealing with, say, when someone needs to get to/from the airport. Or how many people will be staying with us on which days. But with them, flying by the seat of your pants is a way of life. It makes me a wee bit crazy, but then after a few days I just tell myself to let go.

Yesterday was definitely the breaking point. I woke after too many hours of sleep and immediately started excavating my kitchen of clean dishes. To her defense, I have asked my MIL to just leave things out if she doesn't know where they belong...but the plates and bowls and stuff? If you can pull them out day after day, can you not remember from whence they came? I then found that the washer was running with guests' clothing (no problem) but quickly determined that hubby had used fabric softener instead of soap to wash the load. WTF? We have been using unscented, clear detergent in our house since the dawn of time. Fabric softener is blue and scented (I know the irony of it). So, I rushed to spin the load, rinse it, and rewash with actual soap, hoping that none of the clothes were ruined. An hour later, my MIL is relaying the story of how she thought the shampoo in the tub was actually conditioner, went in search of the shampoo, and managed to wash her hair with what she deduced was mens aftershave. ???????? So she had to wash it again after consulting with GFoBIL for help. I'm not actually sure what she found in the closet, because we don't have any aftershave in the house. She thought it was hilarious, and I simply crawled further under my rock.

I go out of my way to clean the house to as great a degree as I can with limited time. My MIL then proceeds to clean the house again while I am at work and announces her accomplishment to me on my return saying, "See, now you have a clean house." And I get offended. I go out of my way to be sure that only the simple bath products are on display to minimize any confusion. When confusion arises, she laughs it off. And I get frustrated. Her intentions are only good, yet I have trouble just going with the flow.

Am I an ungrateful bitch or what?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Chaotic Musings

I may be out of the loop for a few days as many houseguests are descending upon our home. My MIL and FIL arrived on Tuesday and today we add BIL, nephew, and GFoBIL (girlfriend of BIL). All five are staying with us until next Thursday. The only saving grace is that I have three toilets in the house. Yes, one is under the stairs in the basement, but I have to pee a lot, and, well, any pot in a storm, right?

It should be a fun, exhausting, and thoroughly chaotic visit. May even generate interesting blog fodder (I already have the fact that Gabe has been given girls clothing by THREE different people this year...um, do you need to actually SEE the penis, people?)

If I survive, I'll give you the gory details next week.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air

I have a bit of a rant on my mind today. I am so incredibly tired of the fact that every time I enter or leave a building I am pummeled by cigarette smoke. Let me first clarify that I am not suggesting that individuals who smoke should not be allowed to do so. Really, I’m not. If a person wishes to engage in smoking, so be it. I would certainly not encourage an individual to *start* smoking, but I am also the last person who will insist that another individual *stop* smoking. I feel that it is not my business to screen another person's habits.

That being said, I cannot stand the fact if I want to take a lunchtime stroll around campus to enjoy the beautiful weather, I must endure quite a few lungfuls of smoke on the journey. I also work near a hospital and people lean on the “no smoking” signs at the doors while they puff away. It’s a hospital for crying out loud. Give the sick people a break already.

Those who wish to play devil’s advocate to my complaint may point out that my waistline is indicative of the fact that my life habits are not exactly the healthiest. Perhaps even going so far as to tell me that the slice of pie I ate the other day was not the best choice. True- I will agree. But I also do not walk up to random individuals on the street and shove a pat of butter into their mouth. I choose to sometimes eat an unhealthy food. But I do not force another individual to join me.

I have friends who smoke. And every one of them will attest to the fact that I have never once told them to stop. But they all stay downwind or simply walk away when they wish to light up. No one makes a big deal of it. Each one respects the needs of the other.

I have no idea how to solve the dilemma. Smokers have already been banned from most office buildings and public places. Many regions do not allow smoking in bars and restaurants. So where else is a smoker to go than outside into the great wide open? I get it. The “allowed” places are limited. But I avoid the bars and clubs that are smoky. I sit in the non-smoking section at restaurants. I do what I can to avoid situations that I know will be smoky. But I can’t avoid walking outside. It seems that there is no good way for everyone to get what they want.

Rant complete.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Two years ago today my water broke, the kitchen cabinets were installed, and my life hasn't been the same since (and if you think there are not still random kitchen gadgets boxed up in the basement, you are sadly mistaken).

Gabriel, of course, has no real idea what it means that today is his birthday. This morning I hugged and kissed him, told him "Happy Birthday, sweetie" about 600 times, and sang to him on the way to school. And in return I got a lovely scowl (I took a picture but forgot my usb cable- will post later). Perhaps the school party this afternoon will bring him around. One can only hope.

The last two years have taught me that unconditional love is not a myth; that spit/poo/pee/vomit/snot from another person, while very gross, will not actually kill you; and that during all those years I claimed I would never have kids because I didn't want kids because I would be a terrible mom- I was wrong.

Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Look Ma, No Cavities

But damn, the tartar is WAY out of control.

I went to the dentist for my twice-yearly checkup today, complete with cleaning. With the level to which the hygienist had to dig and scrape to remove tartar, I wanted to ask her if she had dropped an earring and was trying to be casual about the search. Good gawd! I know that mouth chemistry is different during pregnancy, but I don't recall the tartar fairy visiting with such a vengeance when I was pregnant with Gabe.

Gabe also had his two-year well-baby visit this morning. All is well. He is completely average on the growth charts, which makes me happy because he always seems so tiny in my eyes. I was always very tall as a child and am now on the high end of average (5’7”) or perhaps that is the low end of above average. But I no longer tower above my peers. As a child, it is difficult to be much bigger or much smaller than other kids your age. As much as I want to promote Gabe’s independence from “the crowd” and give him room to express himself, if he can at least fit in for his size it might reduce the school-day angst. It sounds terrible in my head to be thinking these things (and then typing them), but I guess as a mother, it is in my nature to want to protect my child. To keep him from hearing the taunts that plagued a tall, heavy, red-headed, smart girl throughout childhood.

Yeah, the kid’s a nerd, no doubt about it. And he’s a nice kid. Just this morning when we dropped him off at daycare, he was walking around the room with a toy and another child came up to him, yanked it out of his hands and declared, “Mine!” Gabe was not even fazed and moved on to the next toy. Is he anti-confrontational? Submissive? Giving? How does one react to these situations? Can you really explain to a two-year-old the nuances of standing up for yourself without going over the line and becoming the bully? I guess the best I can do is instill in him the self-confidence needed to get through the schooling years, make the right decisions, and just be himself.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sleep Redefined- Step 2(?)

Battle stations are still at the ready, but I have been winning more than losing on the sleep frontier. A, the lucky bastard, actually got Gabe to go to sleep in his bed without being held on Friday night. I will cut him a break, though, because he credited the evening’s ease on my stellar training the night before. Saturday night he stayed with the grandparents (we had symphony tickets...how adult), and I was told that he slept well. Of course, he also gets to share a bed with grandma when he sleeps over, so that probably helps. Sunday night was another edition of Screamfest ’07. Luckily I was spared, with it being Mother’s Day and all, and tonight I will be out past Gabe’s bedtime, so I get a second night of reprieve. I hope that he is retrained by tomorrow night. Yeah, who am I kidding?

Mother’s Day was an extremely low-key event at our house. Exactly the way I like it. We spent most of the day assembling the screened gazebo for our deck (stupid Chinese instructions), and then proceeded to break in the gazebo by having my parents over for dinner. Gabe thought the “tent” was great and before we knew it was climbing up the corner trellis-like pieces. Gah!

This morning, I read the post on TV and kids over at Jen’s blog. I liked her take on the issue, so if you haven’t read it yet, head over and see what she has to say.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sleep Redefined- Step 1

Last night proved to be a lot smoother than the night before. Was it due to Gabe's obvious exhaustion from getting to bet at 10:30 the night before or because the new system jives with him a little better? Who knows.

I went into the evening with a Big PlanTM. The old evening routine involved giving Gabe his asthma treatment (he sits SOOOO nicely and holds the nebulizer mask himself) while watching a favorite video, transitioning to the bottle (you have to rinse the mouth after treatment, so a drink is non-negotiable), and then turning off the video after about 15 minutes (saying "night-night" to the creature du jour), and then letting him fall asleep on the couch in a dim room. He would get carted off to bed once he was really out for the night.

Lately the plan has been foiled by the fact that even when the video is off and the room is dim, when the bottle is done, instead of handing it to me ("here, mommy") and rolling over with eyes shut, he hands it to me and jumps off the couch to go and play. I was miffed because the plan had given us a step-down from me having to hold him for sleep.

So, the Big PlanTM(as dictated in my head) was to give him his treatment in the company of a favorite video, take him and the bottle upstairs to his room where drinking would be accompanied by two books, and then placing him in his bed and letting him drift off alone.

See- you are laughing at me. Why did no one tell me this perfect plan would not work in one night? Hmmm? What up with the big secret?

Let's now rename the Big PlanTM as the GoalTM.

Step one in reaching the GoalTM went like this:

Treatment with video (smooth)
Bottle with video for 10 mins (concession granted for tired mommy)
Upstairs for two books (smooth)
Two books becomes three (concession made)
Three books is firm limit (protest from Gabe)
Ask Gabe to get into bed and lie down (smooth)
Mommy leaves room (screaming commences)
Mommy returns and promises to sit in chair (Gabe lies down again)
Gabe jumps up from bed and heads for bookcase (sigh)
Mommy holds firm on no more books (screaming and tantrum on floor)
Mommy picks up Gabe and starts rocking (screaming continues)
Mommy explains calmly that it is either chair or bed- no books (screaming continues)
Rocking continues for 10 minutes (screaming starts to die down)
Gabe finally falls asleep (around 8:30)

Mommy celebrates by doing a load of laundry.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Belly Shot

Bethany reminded me that I had promised a belly shot in my last post and then failed to follow through. Truthfully, I kept forgetting to bring in the shot from home, so I went over to a coworker's office and had her snap one a short while ago. I also decided that I hated my pants today, so I cropped it a bit. But you still get the belly (21w3d). I keep thinking that I am just HUGE, and then I see a photo and decide that I don't look pregnant at all.

It has been a rough couple of days. Sleep has become an elusive luxury, and Gabe has entered the terrible twos full-swing. Last night I spent two and a half hours wrestling with him (almost literally) to go to bed. In the process I received a head butt to the bridge of my nose and several body slams. Not fun. He is normally a really, really laid back kid, very gentle- so this new personality twist is quite unusual. I have decided that tonight will be step one of a new bedtime routine because it has become obvious that the old one is no longer working. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 04, 2007

And All That Jazz

I thought you might enjoy a picture of what I look like with false eyelashes, stage makeup, big hair, and more sequins and glitter than should be allowed on a person at one time. This picture was actually taken at our show last fall, so I'm not sporting the baby belly. I have a belly shot at home that I'll post next week (home internet connection is run by very old hamsters).

Oh, and I don't really have a gaping hole where my right eye should be located. Photoshop seems to have randomly cropped it (I cut out my fellow chorus members who might not want their mugs on the internet).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Am I Dreaming?

I can eat cherry pie and lower my cholesterol? Now that's some health food I can really live with!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The silver lining

I suppose that even a second place finish has a silver lining (pun intended). For one, our chorus achieved its highest score ever, a more than respectable 618. For another, our chorus was the only one at competition to receive a full-audience standing ovation at the end of the performance. We are, without question, always a crowd favorite. Were Sweet Ad*line competition American Id*l, we would totally be going home with the record deal. In fact, at the international conventions, our members are always approached randomly with the question, "aren't you the chorus that performed the William Tell at IES?" And yes, yes we were. For those that didn't see us (and where the hell were you, I might ask) the contest in question happened in 2002 at the International Educational Symposium- essentially an international competition for the smaller choruses. And the song performed is a comedy rendition of the William Tell Overture. We do comedy well. Really well. And at that performance we inspired an international audience of 1500 to leap to their feet screaming at the end of our performance. And we ended up in fourth place. But to this day, we are remembered by all. Not too shabby.

I guess what I'm saying is that although our finish did sting on Saturday evening, we know as a chorus what is really important. We have an awfully tight bond as a chorus. We really care about each other. We improved our score, so we're moving in the right direction. And we made a lasting impression on our audience.