Sunday, August 31, 2008


I got home from Chicago Friday night, and it was a really fun trip. I saw a marvelous film that doesn't have a US distributor, so it's on tour in just a few US cities, went to the Art Institute on a free night and saw great stuff, heard a free Sonny Rollins concert (from a distance-- I didn't want to be part of the crowd, so I did a walk-by listen) in Millennium Park as part of the Chicago Jazz Fest, and had a pizza. One of those super-cheesy-saucy-deep-dishy pizza PIES and it was delicious.

Nonetheless, I was so glad to come home. It's better that I was in Philadelphia 2 weeks ago and Chicago last week because I wasn't as homesick on the first trip but Philadelphia is really boring (sorry, Fuzzy). Chicago is so much fun that it helped distract that homesick feeling that crept up every time I was in a quiet moment.

We spent the first half of this holiday weekend packing, and it looks like we're spending the other half having fun. This morning we took e-baby to a great big playground and she thought it was heaven (I don't take her to enough playgrounds, obviously). After naptime, we went to PIC and LeBon's to eat burgers and play with c-baby and with SammyC who came to town for the weekend. We had a GREAT time, and the girls are just so much fun to watch play together. Or, near each other. Or, in different rooms from each other, as the case may be. E-baby found a way to get grown-ups to cheer for her: she did somersaults (front rollovers) over and over on the living room carpet. Every time she stuck the landing (and when she didn't, too) she'd run into the kitchen where everyone else was and yell "I DID IT!"

We kept her out a little later than usual, and all the way home I was thinking, "It's too bad she won't get much sleep before her full day at school tomorrow" until SNG started singing "Three-day-week-end, Three-day-week-end" and I remembered.

And underlying every thought is the hope that by this time tomorrow, Gustav will have fizzled down and hit land with a splat rather than a bang, and that at least, the levees will hold.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Maybe it was the rocky section of the driveway. Or it might have been the coiled up garden hose. Perhaps it was the 3-4 extra pounds right in front of my center of gravity. Or, it could be that I'm just a spaz. But I was walking from the back yard to the garage to get some paint stirrers for a backyard painting extravaganza, and WHAM! the section of driveway that's rocks and paving stones rose up and slammed me full-on scraping up both knees, both hands, one hip, and one forearm. Within a few hours, most of it was feeling better, but the palm of my right hand is bruised and swollen, and every time I try to stand on my right leg, the knee screams in protest. The knee that took the edge of a paving stone right in that soft spot between patella and tibia. The fact that it has only gotten worse as the day goes on into evening suggests that maybe this is more than a bruise, so I'll probably hit the health care center on Monday and pick up a knee brace before I leave for Chicago.

Fate has this funny way of enforcing the rules with me. In my Delicate Condition, I'm not supposed to lift very heavy things but what are we doing in 2 weeks? MOVING and do you think I'll be able to resist lifting heavy things when no one is looking? NO WAY but if my knee has me hobbling around and holding on the walls for support, then how am I going to pick up that 158-pound TV set? Fate laughs at me "haHA! get out of THIS one, miss smarty-non-compliant-pants!"

I guess everything happens for a reason. And maybe 2 weeks of R.I.C.E. will get me to the point where I can carry a queen-sized mattress up 2 flights of stairs when no one is looking. Muwahahaha!

Oh, and totally unrelated note, one of my cousins and his wife just had a beautiful baby girl. Congratulations to the three of them!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I hate airport food

I am tring blogging from my phone for the first time.

I got to the PHL airport early enough to get some dinner, which is nice. First stop: Cibo. Watermelon chunks. They smelled like feet (trash). Next stop: salad place. Where included in the price of food comes a unique blend of apathy, anger, passive-aggression, and dirty hands from the person making your salad. Yes, you should wash up after you sweep the floor. Next stop: burger king. Where the burgers are made in the microwave. The best they can say about their 'flame-broiled' (last week) patty is that it's 100% beef. They were out of diet coke. Next stop: pretzel place, to buy a diet coke. They only take cash (my conpany requires using the corporate card). I'm probably just extra grumpy because burger king was out of pickles, and didn't tell me so until after they gave me my microwaved cheeseburger. Burgers without pickles are a 100% bad idea.

Monday, August 18, 2008

BIG Breakthrough for the Traveling Mom


No, I don't mean I had some sort of wierd mom's meeting on a party line or anything. I mean e-baby and I talked on the phone! I'm in Philadelphia (AGAIN?!), by the way. Anyhow, we chatted, she told me about her day, I sang some songs, she said she missed me, I said I love her, she said she loved me too, she said she did NOT want to take a bath, that she drank milk from a white cup and water from a purple cup, and at the end she said "Night night" and "Bye-bye!"

The last time I traveled and spoke to her on the phone was in March, and she threw a complete hissyfit. Hearing mommy's voice and not seeing her? It was devastating. But for the past couple of months, she has been practicing talking on the phone with my parents in the evenings, and they sing her favorite songs to her, and chat about stuff. She has spoken to SNG a few times as well, and it's getting more and more "real" for her each time. So we decided to take a chance and let her call mommy on this trip.

Now, for all I know, she threw a fit after we hung up. I have to wait and hear the final report from SNG. But so far I am really happy. This might represent a new era of traveling without my babygirl-- she has a way to know that I didn't just up and abandon her. It's a great feeling.

Not that I want to travel any more than I already do.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Apartment Living for Grown-Ups

The last time SNG and I lived in an apartment was my first semester of grad school. We had a 2-br place with roaches and avocado green appliances to match the green pool that one of the residents liked to swim in naked. That wasn't the neighbor who sold drugs to the neighborhood teenagers-- it was the other guy with the VW bus. I loved that neighborhood. We were next door to a boutiquey grocery store and one of the fanciest restaurants in town.

With this renovation coming up, there will be strangers tromping in a out between 7am and 6pm every weekday. Big fun. So today we found an apartment nearby that'll allow a 3-month lease. We can't move in until 2-3 weeks after the work starts, so we'll stay in our house and then move out. I really like the apartment. It's a gigantic complex, but it seems very community-ish. There are 2 clubhouses with pools, amenities I couldn't care less about (tennis courts, putting greens, tanning beds), and some really nice amenities (a private movie theatre, wireless access in the clubhouse, playground, free cable and washer dryer in all units).

If the house isn't finished by the end of our lease, we'll go move in with Peace and Fuzzy for a little while. They're so nice that they have offered to let us stay with them for the entire time, but as cute as e-baby is most of the time, I don't think I need to subject their generous charity to her (once or twice daily) full-blown, screaming for 20 minutes, temper tantrums. I'd gladly subject them to that for a week or 2, but three months might put a strain on an otherwise unblemished friendship.

So I'm pretty excited about the new place. It's really close to our house and my work. It's also a little bit closer to SNG's work. E-baby is crazy about the little golf cart they have at the leasing office, so I'm sure she'll love living there too. And the best thing about being a gainfully employed grown-up: you don't pay a security deposit on apartments. Who knew?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's like you don't blog for 2 weeks and all of a sudden

I am finding more to talk about this week.

We got more pictures of the sprout today. Cute little nose, little chin, little kidneys. This was an early (13 week) screen for chromosomal problems, such as Down's and others with trisomy-xyz names. Based on the ultrasound all looks great. I'll have to wait a week to find out about the bloodwork. It's funny how just having a test for something can make you worry that it'll be positive.

This evening I handed over our new renovation drawings to the builder (and Scoop, Muck & Dizzy) who said that if SNG can demolish the rear deck by Aug 24, work can start possibly the next day. About a week after that, they'll start work inside, which means major disruption to daily life, but hopefully they'll finish before Christmas. I'd love to have that week off work to decorate the new spaces. I'm not sure what we'll do-- stay here, move in with Peace and Fuzzy, get our own place, combination of all three--but we'd probably better decide soon.

Next week I'm back on the road (Philadelphia) and the week after as well (Chicago). SNG and e-baby will have lots of pizza.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Creepy Preschool Television

SNG decided to let e-baby watch some TV today, and he was getting tired of Signing Time and Bob the Builder. So he tried some new stuff from the preschool on demand channel: Blue's Clues (cute show, but, meh) and then BoohBah. Have you ever seen BoohBah? I am horrified. There are slasher films that leave me feeling warmer and fuzzier than this show. It is definitely the creepiest thing going in children's TV. E-baby got lost in the infantile acid trip train wreck before I insisted that SNG turn it off. For my own mental well being.

Update on Us

* My cousin Partner In Crime and her family have officially moved to Raleigh! Hooray! They are getting settled into the new house, and c-baby will probably have a dozen new playmates by the week's end. Let's hope she gets back to sleeping normally by then, too.
* As though Mother Nature wanted to send out a special welcome to PIC and co., we had a cool front pass through over the weekend. At 8am today, with clear blue skies, it was 59 degrees. When we have lows in the 50s in mid-August, I am reminded the REAL reason we left Texas.
* I booked our plane ticket and hotel for Fish's wedding in November. And I got a hotel with a 2-room suite for a paultry 50,000 Hilton points. On the phone with the reservation agent, she said, "Hmmm. Halloween in Covington, huh?" and she really liked the idea of a Halloween wedding. But it's an All Saints Day wedding. Still, maybe the guests can go in costume anyway?
* We got the drawings for our renovation! There are still a few edits to make, but we have more than enough to get the permit, which means work can start as soon as the builders (and Scoop, Muck, and Dizzy) are ready.
* To help with moving out of the house while construction is going, we've found temporary foster homes for some of our bigger furniture. SNG had a brilliant idea to have the living room sofa, 2 chairs, and 2 ottomans re-cushioned and upholstered, and have the dining room chairs tightened and the webbing/seat cushions replaced. I found an upholsterer for the former, and an antique expert for the latter.
* Tomorrow we get new pictures of the sprout. 13 weeks down, 27 to go. That sounds a lot worse looking at it in print.

If anything else is going on, I've forgotten it. Oh, I wore a maternity shirt to work for the first time today. I don't need to yet, but when else will I get to wear all those cute, sleeveless shirts if I don't wear them in the summer? And when else can you get away with wearing a bright pink sleeveless babydoll, empire-waisted shirt with flowerly eyelets than when you're preggers?

Friday, August 8, 2008


With more than a little trepidation, I am working from home this afternoon to let the cable guy in. To switch our phones to cable. There are two reasons we're making the change: the local service is cheaper, and the long distance is free.

I have blocked the move for a long time for reasons of my own. The first is just that I've never liked the idea of having EVERYTHING in our house dependent on the same power source. In our neighborhood there are no natural gas lines, so our hot water and heating are on electric. The cell phones are on local towers, which have generators, but could go out in an outage. For reasons I don't really understand, the phone lines and the power lines are orthogonal, where outages are concerned. I've never seen both go out at the same time. Cable, however, does seem to be tied to electricity. Oh, and we live in the woods, several miles on foot from the nearest store or the hospital. With a lot of trees. Trees that break and fall in ice storms, putting the power out. I'd feel like a castaway if it were January and the power went out and our cell phones eventually ran down to no battery life and you get the idea.

Another reason I have hesitated to switch to all cable all the time is Time Warner's customer service. It's not that they're rude, or even incompetent. They're just ridiculously, unbelievably SLOW. The fastest I've ever reached a human on their lines was 5 minutes, but usually it's between 15 and 30. I once waited almost an hour. To talk to someone. Add another hour on the phone, 3 more people, a 4-hour appointment for a technician, and a drive to the local cable office to actually solve the problem. I've never had that trouble with the phone company. Probably because our phone has *never* gone out as long as we've lived in NC.

But, we're dumping a total of about $70 a month on local and long distance phone service, versus a 2-year locked-in rate of about $30 for the cable. SNG and I have promised each other a generator for 3 years now, and maybe this is the year we'll actually buy one. Or not, since we haven't had an ice storm in 4 years anyway.

I know that I'll hurl curses in the air again and again over Time Warner Cable's horrendously slow customer service, but in the meantime we'll sock away the cost of 2 pizzas at Lily's a month and maybe that'll be worth it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who that? What this? Where that? How do that?

We have officially entered the toddler-twenty-questions phase. Sometimes it's cute. Sometimes it drives me up the freaking wall. Every person and animal must have a name, in e-baby world. So, that random child in the crowd, in the background picture of a book?
"Who dat?"
"That's a little boy."
"What's dat little boy's name?"
"I don't know."
"What's dat little boy's name?"
"I really don't know, sweetheart."
"What's dat little boy's name, mommy?"
"Babylamb, he's just some little boy taking a walk with his mommy."
"What's dat little boy's mommy's name?"
"What's dat little boy's name?"
(pointing at a dog on other side of the page)"Who dat?"

Besides the 20-questions, E-baby is getting better at singing songs, and blew my mind by singing the entire ABC song from "A" to "Sing with Me" last week. OK, she skipped "s" but otherwise it was spot-on.

In the next few months she'll be moving up to the 2-year old class. I'll be glad, because she has definitely outgrown this group. She's the next thing to a T.A. in that room of one-year-olds. The 2-year-old class will present new challenges and I'm excited to see what that will bring. The main thing on my mind is potty training. After potty training comes... the big girl bed! And after that, who knows? Driver's license? Part-time job?

As if to prove my point, after her bath this evening, she was frustrated that SNG and I were talking and not really watching her shenanigans, so she got right in front of me (I was sitting on the floor), put her hands on either side of my face, leaned in and said, so quietly,
"Mommy. Listen to my voice. Mommy, listen to my words." Followed by an intense now, are you paying attention? gaze. Aaaaaand, then more Bob the Builder theme song.

Yes ma'am. You do know how take charge of the situation.

Here are the Marquette pictures. Enjoy!