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Archive for June, 2008

It is with great sadness that I announce the demise of our Tomato Giant tomato trees:

This is all that remains of the seedlings that had thrilled me to pieces only a few weeks ago. We had put them out on the deck to get some sun and forgot to bring them back in. We hadn’t watered them in a couple of days but we’d had some rain. The soil must have been very dry allowing the containers to be blown off the table during a storm. I guess it just was not meant to be. But who are we kidding anyway? There’s no way in hell we were going to get our winter stores of salsa and pasta sauce out of these puny things. Note to self: no more purchases from flashy “As Seen On TV” commercials.

The rest of our plants are flourishing, mostly because we’ve had about equal parts rain and sun around here recently. Our peppers have started to pop as have our cherry tomatoes.

I’m hoping next year we’ll be able to forgo the containers and actually plant in the ground. The pool should be pulled out of here within the next few weeks, leaving room for a garden and the wooden Fortress of Delight Nathan hopes to erect for our daughter.

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I haven’t written much about Autumn’s progress with potty training because we’ve been at an impasse for a couple of months. She’s been very good at daycare and will use the toilet like a champ, however at home she screams and kicks and refuses to go anywhere near the potty. I have to get her in the right mood and bribe her with either candy or stickers to even get her to sit.

We had a bit of a breakthrough this week when I had the genius idea to send her to daycare wearing underpants instead of the regular Pull-Up. The first day she had an accident because our daycare provider’s daughter put Autumn down for her nap not realizing the girl was only wearing underwear. The rest of the week went very well with only a couple of accidents. In the evening we had our share of soggy pants, but it seemed Autumn was starting to realize what was expected of her. A couple of times she actually told me she had to “pee pee”, something she had never done before. She also started displaying the physical signs of someone trying to control her bladder; holding herself, jumping up and down and running in place as mommy tries to quickly usher her into the bathroom.

Yesterday was kind of a goofy day potty training-wise. None of us earned marks for achievement because we all missed the boat in one way or another. We took Autumn to the university pool to go swimming. I still put her in a swim diaper because even I have a hard time holding it in sometimes when I’m in the pool. Those swim diapers are crap anyway and really only provide the illusion of protection. At one point during our swim I sat Autumn on the side of the pool to adjust her life vest. As I was tightening the strap that ran underneath her, I felt the warm flow of urine wash over my fingers and thought, “Oh well, that’s what the chlorine is for.”

At some point during the course of our swim, one of Autumn’s Spongebob clogs disappeared. It was crazy. They had been sitting feet away from us the whole time we were there, but when it was time to go we could only find one. I walked around the perimeter of the pool thinking maybe it had been kicked into the water. Nothing. The shoe had disappeared. Nathan has a theory that involves a kleptomaniac four year-old who was in the pool with us at the time. In his mind most children are Children of the Corn.

The missing shoe required us to stop at Payless and pick up a new pair. Of course they didn’t have Spongebob clogs in her size so we settled on Lightening McQueen clogs and a new pair of sandals. It was while we were in Payless that Autumn started exhibiting the physical signs of needing to pee, but I foolishly believed her adamant declarations to the contrary. As the clerk started ringing up our purchases, Nathan picked up Autumn and was treated to a shower of pee pee that soaked his shirt, shorts and the rug underneath us. Lesson number one: do not give a nearly full bottle of Propel to a child not quite in tune with her bladder. Lesson number two: Payless store clerks are probably grossly underpaid.

Nathan was, for lack of a better word, pissed. When we got home, he stormed up the stairs and into the bedroom to change his clothes. “What? Do you think you’re the first parent this has ever happened to?” I asked. He was embarrassed, and rightly so, but I’m pretty sure he was more upset that something like this had happened to him and not me. I’m the mother, the one who is used as a tissue when the child has a runny nose and the one whose pants serve as a napkin when grubby hands need to be wiped clean. I guess it only follows that I’d also be used as a toilet. It would have been fitting, seeing as I was wearing a yellow shirt yesterday.

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Internet, I am tired. Very tired. I’m to the point where sleep deprivation is affecting my home life and my job so I really must find it in me to get to bed early and not stay up until midnight writing today’s blog post. Instead, I’m going to cheat a little and insert a bit of something that has already been written.

A few weeks ago I published a journal entry I wrote the summer before I started my sophomore year of high school. I thought I’d post another one because it was fun, albeit frightening, becoming reacquainted with my teenage self. This time, however, I wanted to post something a little more recognizable. The fifteen year-old who wrote about listening to George Michael and needing a boyfriend to feel validated is someone I probably wouldn’t know today if I passed her on the street.

As I was skimming through the 161 page Word document that is my current journal, I realized how much my writing has changed over the years. Most of my entries are unreadable by anyone’s standards. At least 75 percent of what I wrote was about my weight; losing it, gaining it and hating it. What I wanted was to find something that sounded closer to the voice that winds up on this blog. You know, the one that’s all Sloth and Gluttony and isn’t afraid to admit she weighs more than a Giant Panda.

Interestingly enough, that voice did not emerge until I became pregnant. My personal journal entries were pretty sparse during my pregnancy and I didn’t actually start journaling about the pregnancy until I was half way through it. Sometime in July I decided to open up the Word document and start writing again. It would seem my girl had already become the muse who inspires me to this day, because when I found the following entry I thought, “Oh yeah, I know this woman very well.” She’s the one who started this blog less than a month later.

August 30, 2005

I had quite a few strange dreams last night. In one, I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring. I found it in my bed, but it wasn’t the bed I sleep in now. It was the bed I slept in growing up in my parents’ house. I thought it would be lost forever because my mother lost the stone out of her engagement ring many years ago at the grocery store. In another dream, Nathan and I were helping my uncle sort recycling. For some reason we were at my parents’ again. We were just sorting his trash and wondered why mom and dad couldn’t sort theirs, too. And finally, I dreamed that I was breastfeeding my baby. That was nice. Christopher Plummer was also in one of these dreams as Captain von Trapp, but I have no idea how he fit in or in which dream he had his cameo. All I know is that he was an ominous figure and appeared in the same dream in which I stepped on a scale and had no idea how to make sense of all the spinning dials.

As of today, I have 68 days left until my due date. Less than 10 weeks. I’ve been having trouble with my back since this weekend, the cause of which I think was lugging the vacuum cleaner upstairs. Nathan chastised me for doing that, but if I had to wait for him to do something that I asked, I’d never get anything done. He exists in his own time continuum.

Take the laundry for example. I’ve been toting full baskets up and down the stairs all throughout my pregnancy but was having a problem this weekend because of my back. Nathan asked my why I have to do everything so I told him I don’t like it when he does the laundry because all he does is wash the clothes, dry the clothes and leave the clothes in baskets to wrinkle. He never hangs them up. So he said rather adamantly, “I can hang up clothes!” I said, “Fine, take this basket upstairs.” I started another load and walked upstairs to find him sitting in front of the TV playing his X-Box with the basket of laundry sitting on the couch. “Oh, sure you can hang up clothes,” said I. “You want me to hang these up?” asked he. “I thought you just wanted me to bring the baskets upstairs.” Arrgh! I just wanted to strangle him. Why is it that men lose brain cells once they get married? It’s as though the wedding band has some kind of kinetic power that instantly zaps the man once the ring is placed on his finger. Bye-bye brain. So long independent thoughts.

(2008 Heather has to interject here and vindicate her husband because he is totally not the lazy pile of flesh depicted here. Internet, my husband is a house-cleaning GOD. Let’s just blame pregnancy hormones for these libelous accusations and move on)

We attended a child birth class this weekend. If I thought I had everything regarding the delivery figured out, this class made me realize I knew nothing. I felt as though I was sitting through 9th grade sex ed again while all my beliefs were shattered one by one. For example, I thought the epidural was good. The epidural is something I want, no question. During the class, however, I found out that the epidural actually slows down labor, and once it’s administered you are stuck in bed until that baby is born. Now I am an impatient person and really don’t like the thought of things taking longer than they should, not to mention having a catheter inserted to relieve my bladder because I can’t get up to pee.

I was able to visit one of the labor rooms. It was nice and roomy, but still not some place I want to spend the majority of my day. My only concern now is that I don’t know if I’m physically able to handle hard labor. I haven’t exercised much since I found out I was pregnant. I certainly could not spend 45 minutes on the elliptical like I could before. I guess the best way to handle it is to keep my options open. For all the planning I can do, I’m sure nothing will turn out the way it’s supposed to.

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Nathan (as he folds laundry): You know, a bra has the best job in the world.

Me: A bra?

Nathan: Yeah.

Me: Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll be reincarnated as one.

Nathan: That would be sweet.

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When I Take Your Hand

About five years ago I was listening to the radio on my way home from work when the most beautiful song came on. It was a slow, lyrical ballad sung by a woman with a soulful, smoky voice reminiscent of Billie Holiday. As soon as the song ended I called up the radio station on my cell phone and asked the DJ who they had just played. I felt like Odysseus drawn to the Sirens. I had to know who she was.

“Oh, you mean Norah Jones?” asked the DJ. Norah Jones. Norah Jones. I kept repeating the name to myself so I wouldn’t forget it and within the next few days I had her CD in my possession. That whole summer “Come Away With Me” was the soundtrack of my life and I will never forget hearing “Don’t Know Why” for the first time that day in the car.

Of course real music lovers had heard of Norah Jones way before she hit the mainstream. Real music lovers discover new artists and patronize local clubs to support hometown musicians. I love music, but I am not one to discover new music. By the time I hear a new song it’s not really new at all. It’s just new to me.

I’ve tried to discover new artists by downloading the freebies from iTunes. I’m all about the freebies, but I failed to connect to any of the artists I downloaded. Take Amy Winehouse for example. I downloaded one of her singles a couple of years ago before the rehab and the jailed husband made her an international name. I listened to the tune and thought, “Meh, she kind of looks like Prince but with more hair,” and sent the single to my trash bin.

That being said, you can imagine the incredulity I felt upon reading a message a young man sent me yesterday via Facebook asking me to listen to his songs. “My music appeals mostly to Women between the ages of 18-40, which is the same demographic Women bloggers appeal to” he wrote. He wanted to know what I thought, if I thought my readers would like it and if I would be willing to offer the song for free on my site. I thought, “Aw, jeez. This guy really has no idea who he’s trying to woo here.” Aside from the afore-mentioned music handicap, I have maybe a half dozen faithful readers and a couple of dozen hits to this site on a good day.

But I listened. And I liked. I liked a lot. His style reminded me a lot of Norah Jones, who he claims is a fan of his. This young man, Shaun Barrowes, has got my number. It’s as though he knew exactly what kind of music I wanted to hear and wrote a song just for me. I can’t wait to hear more from him. If you’d like to learn more about the guy, you can check out his blog or his Facebook group. He’s very talented. I hope you enjoy him.

Download: When I Take Your Hand by Shaun Barrowes

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Snap, crackle and pop

I really like my orthopedist, but every time I speak to him I’m simply amazed I let the man slice my knee open and root around my patella with a scalpel. He’s not incompetent by any means. He’s just busy. He’s one guy with one receptionist who works out of an office that smells like a Motel 6. Every time I see him he never fails to tell me he’s been doing what he does for 32 years and every time I see him it’s as though I’m seeing him for the first time. Apparently he sees a lot of patients and my knee problems are no more memorable than the next Joe with arthritic joints.

Yesterday I called to let him know I was ready to start on the Synvisc injections he had talked me into a couple of months ago. I was actually supposed to call him a few weeks ago to set this up but I was a big chicken. The injections involve the 18 gauge Needle of Torture and seeing as my previous experiences with said needle were not pleasant, I opted to put the appointment off as long as possible.

My recovery has not been as speedy as I had hoped. I don’t walk with a limp much anymore, but I still can’t take stairs like I did before my accident. Yesterday I found myself on my hands and knees underneath my desk at work trying to plug my printer back in. Just being on my knees was painful enough, but trying to get back to a standing position was scary. Putting my weight on my bad knee and lifting myself with the good one was too painful so I tried the reverse. As I lifted myself up I heard a loud “CRACK!” in my bad knee that told me I was probably doing something I shouldn’t be doing. I’ve felt a lot of uncomfortable cracks and clicks in the area and thought I had probably put the injections off long enough.

When I called Dr. P’s office it was his friendly voice on the line answering the phone. I talked to him about the Synvisc and the cracks and clicks and he made some concerned noises that made me uncomfortable. “Before we start the Synvisc I think I should check the knee out to make sure you don’t have some scar tissue built up or more damage to your cartilage.” He told me if the clicks were because of scar tissue or cartilage damage, he’d have to go in with a scope again and clean things up.

Of course I went into worse case scenario mode and assumed I was destined for another trip to the operating room. I called Nathan and my mother and nearly broke down into tears both times. “I just want my life back,” I wailed. “I want to get back to normal.”

It seems the angst was for naught because my visit today revealed I’m really not in bad shape. I could be in better shape if I was actually doing the isometric exercises Dr. P. told me to do post-op. He’s a great guy and didn’t yell at me for being so lazy. He sighed, shook his head and told me in no uncertain terms that I won’t get back to normal if I don’t do the exercises and if I expect to take the stairs like a normal person again I have to get on my back and do those leg raises and heel presses.

He’s been in the business for 32 years. He knows what he’s talking about.

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Rocket Pops

All the Linens ‘N Things stores in our area are closing. Nathan and I were lured to our local store by strategically placed signs promising 10-30% discounts on everything. A 10% discount was still not enough to get me to buy the mango corer I’ve coveted since witnessing Bobby Flay use one on Food Network.

We’re trying to curb our random impulse buys and limited our purchases to things we actually thought we needed; a pasta pot with a built-in colander, a shower head and some Rocket Pop molds. The pasta pot turned out to be a flimsy molded piece of tin that might last us a year, if even. It came with a few accessories that made the purchase worthwhile and I guess we’ll be able to easily drain our spaghetti until we burn a hole through the bottom of the pot.

The Rocket Pop molds are great. If you’ll recall, last year Autumn had an allergic reaction to a store-bought popsicle in a tube. At the time we weren’t sure if the popsicle was the culprit, but a couple of weeks ago the girl came home from daycare with a splotchy face that only worsened as the evening progressed. By morning she had some visible puffiness around her eyes and a quick inquiry at daycare confirmed my suspicion; she had been given a popsicle.

Seeing as we only have about three months of popsicle worthy weather around here, the ensuing popsicle ban did not seem like a huge loss. But then I found these molds and a slew of popsicle possibilities presented themselves. So far we’ve only made treats out of Crystal Light which, if you ask me, is not ideal frozen pop material. The result was more of a strawberry kiwi-flavored iced dildo than a tasty frozen novelty. Autumn liked it though. “Mmm. Thank you, mamma,” she said.

Since I’m kind of a freak about laundry stains, I imagine I’ll stick to the pale-to-clear spectrum of flavors for the time being. Autumn isn’t mature enough to manage a quickly melting frozen treat like that and my bed sheets have the strawberry kiwi stains to prove it.

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