28 May 2009

it worked! and then I felt crappy again

With apologies to all the therapists out there, shortly after hitting the almighty publish button on that last post, I felt better. It was so utterly unexpected I almost dismissed it, attributing it to chocolate or some other source of comfort, but no, it was the blogging. For reals.

I decided this wasn't some grand conspiracy after all. (JT, I must have missed a dose of paranoid pills!) I wasn't nearly as pissed off with Mr Clumber or the kids or anyone within a 100 mile radius. It was good.

Then I got a phone call that my Aunt Edith passed away yesterday morning. Pffffffffffft. She was 94 and had lived a pretty remarkable life, but that doesn't mean I am not sad. We are lucky to have had some great, albeit brief, visits with her in the last few years. She met Mr Clumber and both kids, and I got to tell her about my work with the Girl Scouts. She liked that.

I'm off to Maine in the morning so I can attend the funeral on Saturday. Then I will race back here Saturday night so Mr Clumber can make his flight Sunday morning. Two weeks of flying solo, whoohoo! Yeah, maybe not so much. This is not how I planned to rest up, but it will be great to see immediate and extended family, some I have not seen in years. I wish it were under different circumstances, of course, but this is how we have to roll sometimes.

26 May 2009

not what I signed up for

My blog is about as close as you want to get to me right now. When it rains, it pours. Let's just say there are flood warnings in my vicinity. If I were the Mon Wharf, there would be no parking for months.

It all started last Thursday when CD informed me he'd have to work a bit over the weekend. No biggie, I thought. He squeezes work in at every possible opportunity, anyway. This surely won't be different. (And don't call me "Surely".)

Saturday morning he decided he couldn't come to Gymkhana with us. We had 30 people coming in the afternoon for a potluck so I let that slide. He wouldn't bail on me for that. And he didn't. But jeez-lou-effing-wheeze has he bailed on everything else. 

On Sunday he worked some more, and I amused the kids. Knowing I'd have two hours to myself on Monday morning and would get to meet RedPenMama for coffee kept me going. The pin was stuck in that little balloon as I was about to leave, when CD suggested I needed to take the kids or not go. We compromised and I took Eleanor, but it was hardly the kid-free hours I had in mind. Oliver would have been easier, but he's also better able to amuse himself so I got the short straw kid. In a minor fit of pique, I bought new shoes. 

Then came the annual neighborhood picnic on Monday afternoon. This is the one day a year we all go out on the street, eat, and socialize. We realize we have hibernated all winter, and the older folks marvel at how the little ones (twenty under 10, at last count) have grown in the last year. It's a pretty good time, especially when we divide and conquer the kids. Nope. Not this year. I was on my own. I finally got tired of Eleanor terrorizing Oliver and both of them screaming at the top of their lungs. I took them home, gave Eleanor a bath (I should get combat pay just for that. It wasn't my turn.), and put her to bed. Oliver and I then rejoined the party for a few more minutes. CD at this point had been working nearly 12 straight hours without a break. He didn't even have breakfast before he started working and that NEVER happens. I know he was still working at 2:30am. 

Today he got up an hour early (after getting no more than 3 hours of sleep) and was back at it. He needed me to take both kids to their schools, of course. At this point I was starting to wish he had just gone to California a week early. At least I would know what to expect. He's going to be gone two weeks anyway. After one week, it hardly makes a difference if he's gone two or three more. 

Going to work this morning was a relief. My tolerance had been getting shorter and shorter. A few hours without a kid saying "mummy" every 5 seconds was really, really nice. It was quiet, except for the sound of steam pouring out of my ears. Since I had the car I came home at lunch time to get the dry cleaning and do a few other errands. CD didn't hear me come in and started yelling at me when I came out of our bedroom, thinking I was a burglar, apparently. Big fun.

Finally (at least up until now), my plan to go to a study group meeting tonight was also foiled. I was away last month so I was really hoping to go. 

At some point on Sunday, with what passes for a shit-eating grin on his face, CD informed me his trip to Stockholm in July was approved. This is after we had talked about it, decided it was unlikely he would go, and I registered for BlogHer in Chicago. Silly me, for thinking I would get three days to myself this summer. I'll be lucky to get three minutes. That was my ENTIRE summer vacation. Poof. Now I get 8 days of flying solo instead. Gee, what's second prize? He also made sure to tell me next year he'd probably be going to the Netherlands. So unless BlogHer '10 had a date change, I'll be SOL for that too. This is the same as last year's Dublin trip. I'm going to start referring to IETF as the Intensely Evil Task Force, unless I can come up with something worse. Does any organization really need to meet three times a year? (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Calconnect, too.)

I've been a bitter old bitch for the last three days, and since I saw my shadow this afternoon, I predict it lasts through the summer. I got CD a book for Stockholm today. A peace offering? Perhaps. Or maybe I feel guilty for my bitchiness. It's not his choice, after all. He loves his work but it's clear he's not having fun. In all likelihood, I will get over this. It is just too much all at once and finding a happy place will take time. I even bit his head off as he tried to give me good news about something in August. Inside that cloud, I found the dark gray lining. Go me!

Would love to share more but I've been asked to clear the guest room for him, so I won't be awakened by his getting up in the middle of the night to do more work. How considerate. 

Yeah, I'm gonna be bitter just a leetle bit longer.


23 May 2009

mine mine mine

Go see what Tara made for me! She totally indulges my desire for crafts, and she knows I  have some sort of anti-craft gene and thus cannot fend for myself.

Feel free to give her some encouragement. She should have her own shop, don't you think?

20 May 2009

can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Long time. No blog. Anyway.

It's hardly a newsflash but Sesame Street is on YouTube. This was handy with Oliver when he was younger, as in the days before iPhone. He would watch videos of Elmo singing with a wide variety of celebrities, from Andrea Bocelli to the Goo Goo Dolls. Oliver killed one screen on my laptop but I still thanked MetroDad every day for the tip. (Are you not reading him? Go. NOW! I'll wait, though I know you may not be back for days and you'll probably laugh so hard you'll need at least one wardrobe change.)

Eleanor has now made the discovery. Her favorite for the last couple of weeks has been Put Down the Ducky, also a favorite of Oliver's. Then today we discovered this:

Hysterical. If my kids start asking for celery, I'll know why. And I'll do a little happy dance.

11 May 2009

Pittsburgh Marches for Maddie

Our Team
Originally uploaded by biodtl
Thanks to all who donated to the March for Maddie and our Pittsburgh team. And thanks to Gina for letting me steal the photo. This is what we looked like before the walk got underway, in our killer matching t-shirts.

I was having far too much fun catching up with friends and their kids to notice that three miles was passing by. It sure didn't feel like 3 miles. For a few hours. Then I went to bed early.

For links to lots more photos of our team walking the walk, head on over here.

08 May 2009

as promised

Since y'all so kindly helped me reach my goal for the March for Babies, and put the team in very good shape ($28 away from FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! as of a couple of minutes ago), here are the updates I promised. Fasten your seat belts. It's been a bumpy week.

On Monday Oliver came home with lots of red paint on his shirt, his arms, and a very large patch under his chin and on his chest. Hmmmmm. I didn't understand his explanation but it washed off easily and I forgot about it.

On Tuesday, Oliver went to the doc and got three shots. He does not like what he called "the pens." When you're little, shots hurt and then you cry and then it's over and you forget about it. When you're four, it sticks with you longer, as in days. He's still talking about the pens.

At pick up time I found a note from Oliver's teacher that explained the red paint. It seems the class was doing a painting activity that involved straws. It took Oliver a long time to learn to suck liquids through a straw so it's not surprising that he's proud of this skill. A little too proud, as it turns out. The note described how upset he was and what steps the educators took. It implied he didn't ingest any of paint. Hold that thought.

After dinner Oliver went to the potty. He asked for privacy, then asked me to come back. When I wiped his bum, the toilet paper was totally red. The poop in the bowl was totally red. After about 7 seconds of panic, I remembered the note, the paint, the straw. It all made sense. Then I sent the teacher an email of thanks for the note, as she had just saved us a trip to Children's.

Moving on...

On Wednesday I went to the dentist for my first cleaning in way too many years. Double digits. It wasn't bad at all and I will be a good girl now. Flossing and everything. Six month visits. You know the drill. Pinky swear. 

Then the kids had their appointments. Oliver was doing great until some tartar was spotted on his bottom teeth and had to be removed. He didn't like that much. Worse than the pens, he said. Cleaning postponed, but only momentarily.

Eleanor was next. They never saw her teeth. Ahem. We'll try again another time. While she was being tortured (or so it sounded) Oliver and were negotiating in the waiting room. We made a great deal. He would sit in the chair and let the nice lady clean his teeth if I knelt down next to the chair and let him play with my hair. It was quite a sight, or so I assume from the looks on people's faces as they walked by the room. Mission accomplished however, and Oliver will now happily show you his shiny teeth.

Then the dentist came in to take a closer look. We suspected Oliver had a cross bite, complicated by enthusiastic and chronic thumb sucking. It seems that would be a walk in the park compared to what is really going on. He's got something skeletal and funky with his jaw formation. He's got two extra teeth on top. One is fused to another tooth. We're headed to a specialist in a few weeks. And though we only have three more weeks with his current teacher, she's agreed to help us get started on the thumb issue, bless her heart.

(Still with me? I'm just getting started, unfortunately. I suggest the faint of heart stop here, and that means you, Jenn.)

On Thursday we decided Eleanor needed to see the doc for her eczema. It was out of control and she was scratching herself raw. As a bonus, she also had a nasty cough. CD took her in and doc was worried she might have scabies. (I itch just from typing that word.) I looked at the pictures on WebMD and didn't think she had it but I itched for a couple of hours anyway. We got her an appointment that afternoon with a dermatologist. Right at naptime, of course. We kept her amused until about 30 seconds before the docs (4 of 'em) walked in, when she promptly hit THE WALL that 2 year olds hit when naptime is 90 minutes late. It was the fastest appointment ever. They all looked, did a minimum of poking, one guy wrote a script, and they all promptly bolted in an effort to get as far away as possible from the screaming. I picked up the vat of cream as soon as she was asleep. After two applications, it seems to be working. She's sleeping better and not scratching herself nearly as much.

While picking up the cream I finally remembered to get Eleanor a new hairbrush. We've been having world war III every morning and night as I try to get the knots out of her hair. I've been very close to cutting it all off. It seemed worth a couple of bucks to try a brush before taking drastic measures. This too has been wildly successful. 

In all the craziness I forgot to pick up my veggie crate. Say it with me. FAIL.

On Friday I had to explain to Oliver that his favorite baseball player was given a 50 game suspension. I kept it as simple as I could. He has started telling me he has sad news, or happy news so I told him I had sad news. Manny broke the rules and had to have a very long "sit down". That's what happens to him at school occasionally so I ran with it. We talked about how Manny will be back in July and how long that is from now. He seems to understand and took the news surprisingly well.

Then we all went to the spring fling at Oliver's new school (come the fall). They are being so very nice to us. The head of the lower school came over to greet us. So did the head of admissions, and one of his teachers. For a change, Oliver got over his fear of trying the various games and ended up having a great time. Eleanor joined the fun as well. I love that place more and more all the time.

Alas, it's not over yet. On the schedule for tomorrow:  March for Maddie, CD taking kids to Gymkhana, all of us meeting up at the Spring Fair at Oliver's current school, and me heading back there after naptime to volunteer for a couple of hours. 

Sunday is Mother's Day and our sixth wedding anniversary. All I want is to sleep until noon. Place your bets.

07 May 2009


$104 is all that stands between you and some blogging about red poop, dentists, and a suspected case of scabies. Now really, how can you resist that?

Sponsor my March for Maddie. It just take a second. And no donation is too small. Every dollar makes a difference.

As soon as the team gets to $4000, I'll blog about all that other great stuff.

UPDATE:  Make that $79. I'm totally not holding up my end, folks. 

06 May 2009

broken record?

Only a few more days of this, I promise. It will all be over on Saturday when an intrepid team of Pittsburgh Mums & Dads, some of them bloggers and some not, will March for Maddie and all the kids and parents helped by the March of Dimes. If everyone who sees this blog sent just a dollar, my team would easily clear our $3500 goal. And here's a promise:  As soon as the team hits $4000, I will cease blogging about the walk and get back to more interesting things, like Oliver's red poop or my first dental cleaning in 15 years. Topics not to be missed, right?

Healthy kids...it's something most of us take for granted. It's something I wish every parent could take for granted. I worried a lot through my pregnancies, despite early genetic testing, that something would go wrong. I have continued to worry, of course, but the sleep I have lost is a drop in the bucket compared to what other parents are living every hour of every day. I can't begin to imagine what the parent of a NICU baby goes through.

Won't you take a moment and send a buck, or two, or maybe even ten, to the March of Dimes? That purple badge over on the right side of this window gives you an easy link for sponsoring my walk on Saturday. 

04 May 2009

I never

It seems the older I get, the less I have done. Almost daily I end up in a conversation, real life or electronic, about something else I have never done. Here are a few of the latest:
  • I have never been to White Castle (or "Chateau Blanc" as JT calls it).
  • I have never had a bikini wax.
  • I didn't go to the prom.
  • I have never been to Kennywood.
You get the idea. I'm not at all aiming to create a "bucket list". Clearly the ship has sailed, quite happily in my case, on the prom! And some of this stuff I really have no desire to do. It's interesting to me but not terribly compelling.

There's another meme circulating on books you have read. It was an interesting list of but most of the books from the list I haven't read are not screaming my name. I am comfortable that my representative sample is appropriate for a well-rounded (ahem) liberal arts graduate.

Here's one more. I never had a child with a birth defect. I would like to help ensure that all parents can say that someday.

Can you say you haven't sponsored anyone for the March of Dimes walk? The burgh faithful are marching for Maddie and we are soooooo close to our goal. Please help us get there by sponsoring my walk.

02 May 2009

concrete nirvana

My trip to Eureka! is over. I got home last night and it was great to see the family, of course. The trip was not at all relaxing. I didn't do anything to improve my sleep deficit. So I'm just as grumpy as when I left.

I had a great time with JT, as always. In a change of roles for us, she was the bad influence this trip. She convinced me to skip the banquet Thursday night and we went out for pizza (Imo's) and frozen custard (Ted Drewes). I didn't see much of St Louis other than that evening, but WOW! I know where I'm going if I ever go back. And that's despite being in line behind a couple with an abundance of body art, and behavior that begged for me to tell them to get a room. (Quickly followed by JT telling me of a nearby hotel with garages, so one could have a tryst without detection. The original "no-tell motel". They think of everything in St Louis, apparently.)

The pizza was good, but the custard? Holy moly. I have craved another chocolate banana concrete at least three times a day since we were there. Is there no frozen custard in Pittsburgh? And if I find some, what do I tell them in order to get something that approximates a concrete?