Saturday, October 31, 2009

Domo arigato

Well, the robot costume was a hit. We finished the helmet portion today by gluing some "buttons" (actually painted bottle caps - this robot costume brought to you by Yuengling) onto it and letting them dry. Incidentally, I learned something new - perhaps if y'all are the crafty type you knew this already - rubber cement and styrofoam don't mix. The noxious chemicals in the rubber cement totally dissolve the styrofoam into a sticky puddle of goo. Lesson learned. Elmer's glue used on styrofoam helmet.

Lemme back up a minute, give you the play-by-play on the robot costume (I'm pretty proud of it, actually - I enjoyed working on it with Nolan and it was fun to see it take shape.) We started about a week ago with a trip to first Lowe's and then Ben Franklin Crafts. Nolan had some very specific things he wanted - red "fuzzballs" and two "straight wires" for the robot's antennae. We got red pom-poms and silver pipe cleaners at Ben Franklin, along with some acrylic paints and paint brushes. At Lowe's we procured silver spray paint, an eight-foot section of dryer vent, silver "metal repair" tape (I had no idea such a thing existed!) and rubber cement.

We began with the body of the robot. We had TONS of boxes of various sizes, as you might expect, but it seemed best to go with a smallish box, one just big enough to fit Nolan's body. I wanted him to still be able to see where he was going and have a relatively easy time walking, so we picked a small book box. First we taped the box shut with the metal repair tape and cut a hole for his body/legs and a hole for his head:

Then we made some armholes and attached a couple lengths of dryer vent for the arms.

(Nolan was very patient. I had to periodically call a halt to the proceedings to go find things like wire cutters for the dryer vent and a pencil to trace where the holes should go. One of the most frustrating things about moving is when you KNOW you've seen something in one of the boxes you've opened but you just can't find the frickin' thing. Nolan was very good about laying on the floor playing with Legos for 15 minutes or so while Mommy went in search of her tool bag or the contents of the junk drawer.)

Then we took the box and the styrofoam six-pack cooler we used for the helmet out into the alley and spray-painted them silver.

(Something about that picture makes me want to waggle my hands frantically by the sides of my face and shout, "It's the wrong trousers! They've gone wrong!")

They had to dry for a while, so we painted bottle caps and baby-food jar lids (saved over the past few weeks) with the acrylic paints. These were going to be our buttons and dials.
Once the buttons were dry, we rubber-cemented them onto the robot body.

Then I cut the face portion out of the helmet so Nolan could see through it.

We stuck the antennae through the top of the helmet and glued some buttons onto it, too.

You can't see it very well, but the buttons have numbers painted onto them - 11, 33, 44 and 55. Not sure why he requested those specific numbers, but that's what they say.

That was this morning. (I am a Grade A procrastinator in all things, but I think this time at least I have a semi-excuse: we just moved, dammit!)

Here's the finished costume:

We got some nice early trick-or-treating done and were home by 5:30. We started giving out candy at 5:45 and were completely cleaned out by 6:30. Oops.

Nolan got lots of compliments on his costume.

I'd write more, but I'm totally fried now. I'll leave you with Miles in his "costume."

Hope you all had a happy Halloween!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The distant future, the year 2000

Nolan wants to be a robot for Halloween. We're going to make his costume this time (contrary to every non-crafty bone in my body) instead of buying a pre-made one. I figure, how hard could it be, right? It's not like there's ONE acceptable way to make a kid look like a robot. Last year, when he wanted to be a giraffe, I was like, 'Yo, costume catalog, here I come.' Because everyone knows what a giraffe looks like, and if you fuck it up, your kid is in for a lonnnnng night of "And what are you supposed to be, sweetie?" over and over and over again. I will happily pay $39.95 so my kid can avoid that fate.

But not so with a robot. There are many acceptable forms, shapes, sizes, and finishes for robots. It's not too hard to recognize that when a child rings your bell on Halloween wearing a silver spray-painted box with some bottle caps glued to it, he is supposed to be a robot.

We have been working on the "design" of the robot, and Nolan has sketched out some ideas. His first attempt ended up with the robot looking inordinately sad, for some reason:
(The figure to the left of the sad robot is Mickey Mouse, in case you were wondering...)

I asked him why he drew the robot looking sad and he said, "I didn't TRY to draw him sad, Mommy, he just turned out that way."

We've been talking a lot about feelings recently. Nolan knows we're moving again soon, and although we've tried to emphasize to him that it's only our house that will be different, that he will have the same school and the same friends and the same playgrounds and all that, he is still pretty anxious about the whole thing. Not that I blame him. I'm pretty anxious myself.

So I totally over-analyzed the sad robot and was like, "My child is so upset that even his drawings are subconsciously coming out sad!" Never mind that Nolan has basically just started even trying to do intentional representational drawings.

So he drew another "design" for his robot costume:
(He tried to draw it in green because that's my favorite color, but then realized that since this was his robot costume, he should draw it in red because that's HIS favorite color. Note the buttons on the front of the robot's body and the very deliberate smiley face the robot has.)

So now I'm afraid because I made such a big deal about the sad robot, Nolan's going to think that it's not okay to show when you're feeling sad. Sigh. It's so easy to over-think things as a parent.

I will post pictures of the finished robot costume once it exists. We are not going to even attempt to start it until after the big move (which is next weekend) because I figure we'll have so many boxes at that point that we'll have plenty of room for error.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She wears high heels when she exercises

Every now and again, while I'm tooling around at home or in the car, for no particular reason, I am struck by the fact that we live in Richmond. Virginia. We live in Richmond, Virginia. It's like when you repeat a word over and over and over again until it starts to sound like it's not really a word at all. I was driving back from my fiddle lesson tonight, and on the way back over the bridge I saw the whole city laid out next to the water, lights on in the dusk (coming earlier and earlier now, alas), and was struck, once again, by the weirdness of the fact of where we live. Not that the city of Richmond itself is weird, but that we, our family, have ended up here, of all the places in the world. I was riding along in the car with the windows down, looking at the lights, wind blowing through my hair, saying over and over again, "We live in Richmond, Virginia. We live in Richmond, Virginia."

We are getting more and more settled in as time goes by, of course, but I am struck by the differences between here and many other places we have lived.

In Princeton, the streets are all named after trees - Walnut Lane, Maple Street. They cut down the trees and then name the streets after them. In Boston, the streets are all named after either presidents - Adams, Washington - or again, some landscape feature that was despoiled when the street was created - Granite, Quarry, etc. Here in Richmond, although you also get the trees and the presidents, they also name the streets after the Native American tribes they stole the land from - Matoaca, Kanawha, Seneca.

We have a highway called the Powhite Parkway, for which our running joke is that that's where the po' white folks live. What also screws me up is when there's a street name that is exactly the same as one from a place we've lived previously - there's a Commonwealth Avenue right near our house, and every time I drive by I think of Boston.

(Fun fact from the Useless Trivia Girl: I have now lived in three of the four states in the Union that are actually Commonwealths, not states - Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Can anyone name the fourth? No fair Googling...)

We are also lacking in good radio stations here in Richmond. There is one independent station and one college station from the University of Richmond...and that's about it. The rest are either generic classic rock (I can only listen to Free's "All Right Now" so many times, thank you), aggro "nu-rock" alternative stations that play crap like Staind and Adema, or those robot stations that advertise themselves as playing anything, but which are really a pre-programmed list of stuff, some good and some very, very bad. We end up streaming a lot of KCRW and WXPN on our internet radio at home, but in the car you're basically screwed. Thank you, 6-CD changer.

Here, a "VT" sticker on someone's car doesn't mean Vermont, it means Virginia Tech. "LAX" doesn't mean Los Angeles International Airport, it means lacrosse. "OBX" is outer banks. I thought a lot of people here were New Orleans Saints fans until I realized that that sticker on their cars is also representative of two of the local private schools' mascots, also called the Saints.

Nothing opens before 10 am on Sundays. Except the churches, of course. We tried to go out for brunch one Sunday, showed up at the restaurant at 9:25, saw the sign on the door and turned around and went home for cold cereal. Nolan will not wait 35 minutes at a restaurant, no way, no how.

So we're adjusting. Some times I feel that we are definitely finding our way and becoming part of the community, and then sometimes...not so much.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I got damaged, I lost myself in you

Some Thoughts On Breaking My Ankle:

-I really need to come up with a better story as to how it happened. I mean, how many times in my life have I wiped out snowboarding? At least it could have been something semi-righteous like that. "I was walking" is just so...lame.*

-I guess I will have to revise my "25 Things" list on Facebook, because one of the things was "I've never had a cavity or a broken bone." So much for that.

-Have you ever wondered if my hair would do dreadlocks? I can answer that for you, and the answer is...Yes. Quite easily, in fact. All I have to do is not wash it for a little over a week (I was taking spongebaths instead of showers), and it starts to spontaneously dreadlock.

-Apparently, if you're going to break your ankle, this is the way to do it. A Weber Type A transverse fracture of the distal fibula/lateral malleolus, a typical avulsion fracture, nondisplaced (no surgery or screws necessary, thank goodness).

This is much better than tearing a ligament, because bones, once healed, are basically as good as new, while ligaments can get scarred and much less flexible after they heal. You learn something new every day! (Insert your own "lucky break" pun here.)

-I am not a good invalid. Terrible, in fact. We have home health care aides coming in to help us during the day while Kevin goes to work, and while they are generally very helpful and nice, I hate hate HATE having to ask for help. So I try to do things myself and stupidly risk falling and injuring myself again, or I just sit here on the computer, morose and cranky. (And sad that I can't pick up my boys!)

-Crutches suck. Particularly when you are breastfeeding. That whole armpit/upper breast area is quite sensitive, and stumping around on crutches can be excruciating. Thankfully, there are medical supply rental places in Richmond, and I rented one of these babies. It makes getting around a wee bit more tolerable. (The only drawback is our long narrow kitchen makes turning around practically impossible. I feel like I'm doing this.)

-I am married to the greatest guy in the world. Kevin has been Busting. His. Ass. for the last two weeks. Even the health care aides helping during the day does not really cover all the stuff I usually do, so when he comes home at night from nine hours at his regular job, he's finishing the dinner prep and cooking, cleaning up after dinner, giving the boys their baths, getting them in PJs, et cetera. Every night. He's also been getting up at night with Miles, who is only intermittently sleeping through the night. So I expect him to be nominated for sainthood any day now.

But other than that, we are all doing well. (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?) Nolan is "reading" street signs like crazy and will shout them out to you as you drive along. "No U-Turn!" "Right lane must turn right!" "No Parking!" Miles is cooing and rolling over and eating rice cereal. Kevin is loving his job and looking for a way to start playing tennis again. And I am counting the days...

Thanks for reading.

*So yeah, I was walking on a bike path with Nolan on his bike and Miles in the Baby Bjorn. Thankfully, Kevin and another friend (her son was riding his bike with Nolan) were with us at the time. If I had been alone with the boys it would have been a much bigger problem. So we're all walking on this asphalt path that's built up about 3 inches above the ground, and I couldn't see my feet because of the Bjorn, and I stepped right on the edge of the path with my right foot. My ankle rolled down and outwards, I felt a "pop!" and I went down. I tried to roll to my left side so I wouldn't fall face down on top of Miles, and I ended up taking the brunt of the fall on my left knee. Miles unfortunately still bumped his head, but at least I didn't squash him completely. So I'm laying there screaming, "Take the baby! Take the baby!" and Kevin got him out of the Bjorn. He was crying, but then he smiled at Kevin right away, so we knew he was going to be okay. Our friend helped me up and I hobbled to a picnic table to sit down. She got me some ice from some nearby picnic-ers, and we got my shoe and sock off to look at the damage. I knew it was bad when it happened, since I couldn't put any weight on it at all without shrieking pain from my ankle. When we got to the ER (and the doctor confirmed that Miles was okay) and found out it was broken, I wasn't surprised at all. Bummed, yes, but not surprised.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

[Insert theme from "The Odd Couple" here]

Nolan and his baby brother.

Miles and his big brother.

Yes, we have no jealousy issues!

Nolan came downstairs on this particular day dressed in plaid shorts and dark socks. All he needs now is to move to Florida for a canasta game and the early bird special at Denny's.

Jen, that's the "Terra Cotta Warriors" shirt you sent him...

And here's baby Miles at two months:
He's still not sleeping very well, but we think we'll keep him...

Thanks for "reading."

Friday, April 17, 2009

And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all

Happy Easter! Only five days late. Hey, you gotta take what you can get from a mom of a preschooler and a six-week old, am I right? Of course I'm right. Don't talk back to me, you!

Here's more pics (aka the lazy blogger's way of filling up a post):

Nolan's Easter Egg hunt. The Bunny was good to him this year, and wouldn't you know, that thoughtful bunny bought candy that Mommy can't stand, Spree and Smarties, so there is no risk of her eating all of the candy out of Nolan's basket. Thank you, Easter Bunny!

Nolan and his little brother. He's getting better about holding Miles - at first he wanted nothing to do with having the baby in his lap. He would give him kisses while someone else was holding him, and "hug" him while he was in his car seat or bouncer, but if you suggested he sit down and hold Miles on his lap he was like, "I don't think so." Now he'll do it, but not for very long. Which is fine, since we're still a little unclear on the concept of "gentle."

Miles' first Easter. The Bunny didn't bring him anything except for a hat, hastily shoved into big brother Nolan's basket, because the Bunny realized at 10pm the night before that Miles not only didn't have any presents, he didn't even have his own basket. So the Bunny quickly grabbed a hat purchased at Target earlier in the week and smushed it in there with Nolan's kite and wiffle bat and balls. Ta da!

We are slowly, slowly achieving a new version of normal for us. KB returned to work this week after a week off (huzzah!) and Nolan started a new preschool this week since the other one wasn't working out so well. (More on that whole drama later.) Miles is growing, eating, pooping, sleeping and doing all the things a six-week old should be doing. At his one month check-up he was 11 pounds, 6 ounces and 23 inches long. (At birth he was 8 lbs 11 oz and 21.5 inches long.) So he's gained almost three pounds and grown an inch and a half in a month. No wonder he's nursing every hour and a half!

We are all well, just a wee bit sleep-deprived and scruffy.

How are you?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A tummy without you just wouldn't be right

Miles' umbilical stump fell off this morning. He officially has a belly button!

That was the happy surprise this morning when I came down from the bedroom. The not-so happy surprise was that the refrigerator isn't working. I swear, we must have some kind of bad kitchen appliance ju-ju surrounding us in a cloud that follows us around the country. So now we have lots of quickly-growing-warm foodstuffs sitting out on the kitchen counter, along with the cooler and the insulated shopping bag out on the porch packed full of all the meat and dairy. Thank god the freezer is still working, what with my hard-earned four bags of pumped breastmilk in there, not to mention the freezer meals I cooked so we'd have some quick things to eat after KB's mom leaves next week.


But anyway. The good things, must focus on the good things.

"I Lost 30 Pounds in Two Weeks! Ask Me How!"

Yes, I've lost a good share of the pregnancy weight, thankfully. The swelling from all the IV fluids they pumped into me during the delivery is finally going down and my feet and hands have returned to a normal size. (My feet totally looked like this up until a few days ago.) Yesterday I peeled off the Steri-Strips that were holding my incision closed, and it looks pretty...okay. I guess. All the nurses who checked the incision in the hospital were like, "Oh, that's a great-looking incision! You'll be back in your bikini in no time!" and I was like, "Back?" It's itchy as all hell, but it's not swollen or infected or anything, so that's good.

Miles is still eating like a champ - we haven't had any of the latching-on problems like we did when Nolan was a newborn. He's been sleeping okay at night - not great, but not horrible, either. I'm typically getting one longer stretch of about 3 hours each night, and then the rest of the night is the same every hour and a half of feeding as it is during the day. So far KB is off the hook for feeding since we haven't introduced the bottle yet, but one day soon...

We go back to the pediatrician tomorrow to confirm that he's gaining weight and thriving, but I'm not too worried. I think I'm-

Argh. I think I'm going to cut this post short, seeing as how I started it two weeks ago and haven't worked on it since then. I can't even remember how I was going to finish that sentence.

Here, I know what you want:

There. That should hold you for awhile...

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just as long as I'm in this world, I'll be, I'll be a light of this world

Well, here he is at last:

Mr. Miles Bradford Hoover, born at 10:57 pm on March 1st, 2009. He weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 21.5 inches long. Big boy! Mommy had a C-section after 35 hours of labor, which was a major bummer, but I am choosing instead to focus on how lucky we are to have such a beautiful, healthy baby boy in our family. You will get a full gory play-by-play one of these days, I'm sure, but for now, let's just think positively, shall we?

He is a fairly relaxed and groovy little dude - he usually only cries when he's hungry, which is about every hour and a half at the moment. He took to breastfeeding like a champ and hasn't really given us any major problems so far. Maybe he's trying to make up for the harrowing delivery.

Nolan seems to be doing fine with his baby brother so far. He got to take pictures of Miles in to school for show and tell, and he likes to kiss and pat him on the head. (He also likes to "help" me nurse Miles by patting my boob to make the milk go down into Miles' mouth faster. Yeah.)

We can't get over how much Miles looks like Nolan when he was a newborn. (I guess most newborns look alike, don't they? - like angry, befuddled old men.) He is slowly starting to differentiate, but at first he was totally Nolan 2: Electric Boogaloo. With the exception of his fingers and toes, that is. He's got some craaaaazy long skinny fingers and enormous monkey toes. Check it out:
When he was first born his big toe was even farther away from the other toes. He looked like he had baboon feet, like he could use that big toe as an opposable thumb, almost. So I've been calling him Miles Monkeytoes.

Sweet baby.

More baby pix soon!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let's get this party started

Hi! Let me introduce myself. I'm Sadly. Sadly Mistaken? Remember me? From my last post? The one where I said the baby was most likely coming soon? Yeah. He's not here yet.

I guess I'm already making the classic parental mistake of comparing the first kid to the second kid (or in this case, the first pregnancy/labor to the second one) in assuming that just because I've had some spotting and some contractions like I did with Nolan, the baby is imminent. Just because his due date has come and gone, just because my mom has already been here for four days, just because I am desperately, desperately ready to be done with this pregnancy, I shouldn't assume. You know what happens when you assume, right? You end up awake at 4:30 a.m. four days past your due date watching Beyonce's Single Ladies on YouTube because you can't go back to sleep and your befuddled mind can't think of anything else to do.

I know what it is. I'm supposed to be getting my new MacBook soon. Like, maybe tomorrow (according to FedEx tracking, that is). Doodle's just waiting for it to arrive and for me to get all excited about playing with it and being able to stop using KB's computer, and THEN he's gonna show up.


We'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear

I think Doodle's arrival is imminent.

I was reading back through my post about Nolan's birth and some things that happened that time around about two days before he was born happened yesterday. (Bodily function type things - if you really want to know exactly what, please feel free to re-read that post.) So unless I am sadly mistaken, I think there will be a baby soon. Like, in the next forty-eight hours.

Watch this space.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

People, people, we got to get over before we go under

First things first: Nolan is fine. The surgery went off without a hitch yesterday, he is back at school today and all is well. I continue to be amazed at what a sanguine kid we are raising. I don't know how my hypochondriacal-ass self ended up with such an incredibly unflappable boy.

We kept him up late (for him) Monday night, he slept in (a bit) Tuesday morning, played with KB for a couple hours, and generally wasn't too bitchy about not being able to eat or drink anything. (We had previously prepped him with the explanation that the dentist would be giving him some medicine so he could fix his tooth, and if there was any food in his stomach it could make him very sick. He seemed okay with that.)

We went to the dentist's office at 10:30 and they gave him a little cup of medicine with Demerol and other good stuff (chloral hydrate maybe? I kind of blanked there for a bit, because while he was taking the medicine I was signing a form that said I understood that there was a [very small but definitely still there] risk of SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH with the anesthesia. That'll give you pause.) in it to make him drowsy. Then we got to hang out in the waiting room for about 45 minutes while the drugs took effect. Sorry I have no video goodness for you, Broc - we have no camera at the moment, so YouTube fame shall have to wait. But he was generally very floppy and cute and drowsy and kept saying, "Mommy, my head is too heavy for me to hold up."

Then the doctor's assistant came out to get him, and when she took him out of KB's lap and carried him back through the waiting room door it was all I could do not to tackle her and run away with him. Thankfully, I restrained myself. The actual surgery only took about half an hour, and then they were calling us back to get him. He was sitting in the assistant's lap looking very flushed and tired, but he seemed in good spirits. We got to quiz the doctor on all our post-op concerns, and he was very reassuring, almost blase about it all. The newly stabilized tooth should hopefully last Pickle another year or two, and the adult tooth behind it looks pretty healthy, just a little crooked from the injury. We got a souveneir x-ray to take home with us, and Nolan got a bunch of stickers and a balloon.

We went home and made him a strawberry milkshake, and then he slept for five hours straight. We woke him up for dinner, he ate heartily including ice cream for dessert and then didn't want to go back to bed. So he was up late again, but he still woke up at 6:30 this morning. Perhaps he shall take another nap today...

So he's good. I am immensely relieved, and I feel like now Doodle can come whenever he wants and I won't care because this giant nerve-wracking experience is behind us.

In other news, we decided to do our part to support the crumbling US economy and buy a second car. I was kind of bummed out about it, because we'd done so well for so long with one car, but the public transportation options here in Richmond are sadly pretty limited. KB rides his bike to work as often as he can (which is usually when he works downtown, about 2-3 days a week) but there's no safe way for him to get to his other worksite on the bike. The second car will eliminate a lot of the stress and hassles caused by us having to drop KB off and pick him up on those days - we were eating dinner late because I'd have to stop whatever cooking I was doing to go get KB, and then Nolan was getting to bed late. Or we'd be out at the playground and I'd decide to just drop by to see if KB was ready since we were already out with the car, and then KB would feel all stressed if he wasn't done with work since we were sitting there waiting for him. You know, that kind of crap.

So we are now the proud owners of a used 2007 Honda Accord, a nice, safe, reliable family sedan. We've moved Nolan's car seat over to the right hand side and put Doodle's new car seat on the left side. We have yet to transfer the James Brown and Jazz for Kids cds to the Honda - we'll see how long we can hold him off.


I keep meaning to mention how, when we were watching Obama's inauguration on TV, Nolan asked me if they were going to play "Funky President." This is hilarious, I think, but not so unlikely when you consider that that is the only song he knows with the word "president" in the lyrics, so all the talk of our new president this and our new president that surely brought the association to mind for him. I responded that I thought that would be cool, but that they probably wouldn't. And, sadly, they didn't. But it would have been cool.

(I also thought, during Obama's speech when he was talking about soldiers who had given their lives for our country and he listed various places and then mentioned Khe San, somewhere out there Walter Sobchak was going, 'Right on!')

So, yeah. No baby yet. We'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Look at my circumstance (and the bulge in my big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big)

Whoooo nelly. I am tired of being pregnant. I am the largest, most ungainly, bloated, swollen giantess in the world. Pretty soon I will be affecting the earth's rotation with my own gravitational pull. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, my hands are puffy (they look like the "man hands" from that Seinfeld episode.) I have outgrown all but my most gigantic maternity pants, so I am wearing the same five pairs over and over and over again. And doing frequent laundry. I haven't shaved my legs in months. Once I put my shoes on in the morning, I don't take them off again until that night, because I'm afraid I won't be able to get them on again if I do.

Yeah, I'm ready to be done with this. Not that I'm necessarily ready to have a newborn yet, you understand. I just want to be over the pregnant part.

We took a tour of the maternity ward at the hospital where I will be delivering last week, so I've at least scoped out the territory. My mom is coming down on the 21st to stay for two weeks, and then KB's mom comes on March 8th to stay for two weeks as well, so I will thankfully have some help on hand for that first few weeks. I am frantically cooking and freezing food (let the nesting begin!) to be reheated later on. I have washed all the infant clothes in the infant laundry detergent, set up the cradle/mattress/bumper sleep center, and washed and sterilized all the bottles and breast pump accessories (oh, joy) and pacifiers. I have packed my suitcase for the hospital, laid in a supply of size one diapers (they are so tiny!) and arranged for a cleaning person to come once a week (yay!) for a while.

AND YET. There is more to do. I forgot to buy wipes. Our friggin' car needs a new catalytic converter, so we have to go in sometime next week (when the part comes in) to have that replaced.

Worst of all, Nolan has to have dental surgery next Tuesday. Remember last summer? Our vacation in Canada? Nolan fell on a rock and hurt his tooth? The blood and the screaming and the maternal guilt and the cheap Canadian emergency dental care? Yes. That tooth that we thought wouldn't die? It's dying. He went to the dentist last week, they took x-rays, it's not good. They're going to "clean out" the dead root tissue and try to stabilize what's left of the tooth so he can keep it another year or two. He basically is going to have a pediatric root canal. So he has to be sedated, which means no food or drink for twelve hours before the surgery, scheduled for 11 am. That's going to be a fun morning. "No honey, you can't have any juice. Mommy and Daddy can have cereal, but you are not allowed. Trust me, it's for your own health and safety. Really." Plus I'm probably going to need to be sedated in order to let him go INTO SURGERY. My three year old son, having a root canal. Give me a call and let me know where and when I can pick up my Mother of the Year award, I'll be there.

And, as you already know if you are my Facebook friend, my poor laptop was killed in a tragic accident earlier this week. KB, for reasons known only to himself, left a glass of water on top of a teetering pile of Montessori-related paperwork directly next to my TiBook while he looked in the closet for a towel. The water glass fell over. Onto my computer. Which proceeded to pop and sizzle and generally make noises like the short-order cook's griddle in a diner. We mopped it up as best we could, I gave it a few days to dry out and tried to boot it up, but it will only give me The Grey Screen of Death. Of course, I had not backed it up onto my external hard drive since, oh, October or thereabouts, so I don't know exactly how much writing and how many photos I lost. Sad, really. I got that computer in 2001, and have only replaced the DVD drive once and the battery once. Otherwise, it was the same piece of equipment. You gotta love Macs. And, on the plus side, I get to pick out a new one in the next couple weeks.

You know, in my spare time.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Good thoughts going out to Lucy, who was scheduled to have her little girl via c-section on Tuesday the 10th. Hope it all went well! Send pictures!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there

Hey y'all.

(Let me just interrupt myself [only two words in! a new record!] with the first of what is sure to be many parentheticals to say this: I was saying "y'all" waaaay before we moved to Virginia. So don't let me hear any crap from youse guys hassling me about my usage thereof and its significance of my being somehow corrupted, language-wise, by The South. But I did learn something new: Apparently, "y'all" is the singular, while "all y'all" is the plural.)

We are doing fine. Sorry if we've worried anyone with my lack of posting. Things are getting down to the wire with the pregnancy (less than three weeks to go!) and KB and I are working like crazy to have as much settled as we possibly can in our lives so things can come to a screeching halt (as they will, whether we're ready or not) once Doodle makes his grand debut.

What kind of things, you say? Nothing very interesting, unfortunately. A lot of bureaucratic crapola, really. Things where you look at your to-do list and go, "Is this why I got up this morning? Really? To inform our auto insurance company of our new license plate number? To make a dentist appointment for Nolan? This is my grand mission in the world today? 'Take car for oil change?'"

We got a renter for the house in Princeton, which is a good thing, income-wise, but a pain in the ass otherwise. I'm hoping things will smooth out once we get over the "getting started" phase and having a tenant becomes more of a routine thing. I swear, we talk to our property manager/real estate agent up there more than we talk to our friends and family. Not that she's not a lovely person, but it's getting kind of old. The refrigerator up there broke (for those of you who are keeping track, that's four major appliances to go kerflooey in that fabulous space-age kitchen in less than a year) and we've been going back and forth with our agent, the repair place, and the tenant, trying to get things fixed. It's a part-time job, really.

Down here in Virginnie we are slowly assimilating into the local culture. We decided to join the Unitarian Universalist church (a.k.a. the Unie-Toonies) and went to our first service this past Sunday. It was pretty awesome. The sermon, delivered by a lesbian minister, was on Charles Darwin and his contribution to society. That's my kind of religion! They have lots of local service/charity work that they're involved in, and they give classes in Bhuddism, yoga and Wicca. I'm looking forward to having a connection to an open-minded spiritual community without all the Jesus and the Guilt and the look-upon-his-bloody-visage-he-died-a-horrible-painful-death-for-your-sins and the glaven. (Can you tell I was raised Roman Catholic? Is it that obvious?) So the Unie-Toonies are pretty much the maximum amount of religion I can handle without having an allergic reaction.

That being said, I have also joined a support group run through a nearby Presbyterian church that is for women who have recently moved and need...well, support. It is a little more Jaheezeus Christ than I would ordinarily have in my life (which is, you know, none) but I find that the group leader does an excellent job of keeping things very open and neutral and not proselytizing or trying to convert people. It is mostly just a varied group of women eating snacks and talking about how hard the transition period is and helping each other find ways to make the best of it. I figure beggars can't be chosers. I do occasionally have to restrain many of my natural impulses toward eye-rolling and snorting (and quoting Chris Rock), but there are definite pay-offs, in the form of recommendations on where to find the best New York-style pizza, or how to get a discount at the drug store. Is that cynical of me? Well, so be it. I am also trying to "pay it forward," as they say, put some good karma out there, by helping bring dinners to another woman in the group who recently moved and also just had a baby.

Nolan seems to be settling in fairly well. We have met a couple of other mommies with boys around his age and had a few playdates, and he's enjoyed himself immensely. Things are smoothing out at his school, too, although I find I'm having a harder time getting used to it than he is. It's a fairly parentally hands-off school philosophy, Montessori is, and I guess it's tough for me to give up that much control. I drive him up to the school in the morning and a volunteer helps him get out of the car, and then I drive up at noon and a teacher helps buckle him into his seat. I never even get out of the car. I don't see or speak to his teacher at all unless I call her at home, which I have a hard time doing. Nolan is not the most forthcoming about his days (what three-year-old is, really?) and so I find myself obsessing over the littlest utterance from him. But they (Montessori) are all about building self-reliance and independence and such, so I guess that's good. We're still investigating other pre-school options for the fall, and we have a classroom visit tomorrow, so we'll see. The jury's still out, in my mind.

KB is enjoying his job, which is nice for me to hear. He comes home every day talking about how much he's learning, how much he's enjoying himself, how many interesting cases he saw that day. It's a definite relief. He's working long hours right now, mostly because he's just getting started and the other doc in the MSK service finally got to take a vacation (he'd been the solo attending since the person KB replaced left six months ago), but things should hopefully settle down a bit soon.

We are toying with the idea of buying a second car, because right now he is only biking/riding the bus to one of his work sites - the other one Nolan and I have to drop him off and pick him up, which isn't such a pain right now, but when Doodle arrives it's going to get more difficult. We just fought for so long not to buy a second car (and having one car is enough of a pain in the ass) that it's hard to admit we need another one. Not to mention expensive. And polluting. Sigh.

So I guess that's all I got, for now. I promise to keep you posted on Doodle's progress. Please let me know how y'all are doing. I know I'm not the best at keeping in touch, but I always love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 05, 2009

How many times must we say, this kind of inflation cannot kill us


We're here, we made it, we're not dead.

And in truth, we are better than not dead, we are settling in fairly nicely.

Today is Nolan's first day of school at his new pre-school (only one this time, so no need to distinguish between English school and Chinese school) and KB's second day at work.

We had about a week to unpack after we moved in on the 15th, and then we spent six days with my dad and stepmother up in Delaware for Christmas - got to see lots of family, which was good, and our visit was actually quite relaxing. They had all the Christmas accoutrements set up so Nolan got a proper holiday. We weren't around all the half-empty boxes so we didn't feel bad about not working on getting things unpacked, and we were able to vegetate a little bit. Dad and Ann (aka Grandma and Pappy) took Nolan for a ride on the "Christmas Train" to look at lights on the 23rd, so KB and I got to have a Date Night. Probably our last one for a while. Then we drove back down to VA and had another week to continue to get settled before KB started work.

And now, it seems, we are into The Swing of Things. There's still lots to do, of course, but now that Nolan has started school I feel like I have some of my own time back again (for another seven weeks, that is) to do what I want to do. We talked over the last month about how Daddy was on vacation from work and Nolan was on vacation from school, but as you might suspect, Mommy doesn't really get a vacation. Mommy does the same things she always does. Such is the way of our world right now.

The move itself was about as painless as these things can go, really, which was a pleasant surprise. The company we picked, while not the cheapest, was very professional and organized. Nothing was damaged or lost that we've been able to discover, and we've pretty much at least opened (if not fully unpacked) every box, so I think we're in the clear there.

Over the last several times we've moved, I've noticed that the process of moving causes your belongings to undergo a sort of churning, whereby items that you probably had forgotten you owned and don't really need somehow end up in the top part of a box of other, more important things. You open the box that says "Office" looking for your external hard drive and find instead random items the movers threw in to fill up the box.

For instance:

-One tape cassette of R.E.M.'s "Life's Rich Pageant" with no case or paper cover in evidence.

-One "Hollywood" snow globe with miniature actors, director and cameraman that used to sit on my desk at H.B.O.

-One can of Meltonian shoe polish in bright green, the exact shade of my Doc Martens, which have not been polished in years.

-One "Afro Chops" novelty wig given to KB for his 40th birthday last October.

-One mini Zen calligraphy board

-One wired-together human skull (this would be more disconcerting were it not for the fact that KB is a doctor)

-One rubber duck bath toy

-One canister of "Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults" word magnets

-One Polaroid close up attachment kit #583 for the Automatic 100 Polaroid Land Camera

Why are these things out on our kitchen counter right now? We don't know what to do with them. They belong somewhere, we're just not sure where that somewhere is right now. They are the odds and ends, the forgotten extras, the items you keep because you're sure that you will use them at some point, you just don't know when (or if) that time will roll around. Meanwhile, the items you really need to find, like the sugar bowl and the band-aids, continue to elude you.

Such is moving. Every time we do it, I'm certain that THIS time we've separated the wheat from the chaff and only kept what we really, truly need, and every time I'm surprised.

But we are here, we are safe, we are not men, we are Devo. I hope you all had a Happy New Year and a fabulous holiday season.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Thanks for reading.