Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yay Fun

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I hate nature.

I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say, but really, I am not a huge fan of the Great Outdoors. Sure, there are times when it's pretty. I like to look at clouds and trees just as much as the next person. I enjoy a good dip in the ocean, and I like to look at pretty flowers. I even grow a tiny herb garden (in a big pot). I think what I really hate is the bugs.

Oh, do I hate bugs. They're small and dirty and crawly and freakishly speedy when you try to kill them, and some of them are dangerous. And they have *way* too many legs. Seriously, they gross me out. I get a twisted pleasure from smashing them, knowing that that particular bug will never assault my carpet again.

Carpet, did you say?

I should clarify. Bugs are perfectly fine in their own home, the Great Outdoors. They belong there. That's their territory. I respect that. If I don't like them, I can just stay out of their territory. Problem solved.

However, here in our new abode, the bugs are invading *my* territory. This house, this is mine. Bugs not wanted or welcome. I have tried explaining this to them, but they persist in coming here anyway, which means I have to break out the Dreaded Flip-Flop Of Doom.

Things I have killed in my house so far today (as of 10:00 CDT):

12 roly-polies
3 silverfish
2 spiders
1 rather largish grasshopper

It's actually the silverfish that freak me out the most. They're so... fast. And the legs are creepy. I don't know, but something about them makes me leap up on chairs, shrieking like a 50s housewife. Ugh. ::shivers uncontrollably::

Any ideas on how rid my house of crazy insects without poison? I caught the Bear snacking on a roly-poly yesterday. Blech.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Oh, I am sad in my heart. It's almost my birthday, and this year it's a big one. This is the birthday I do not want to have, for some very odd reason. I've spoken with several of my friends who are also hitting ths milestone this year, and they all say the same thing - this one is totally flipping us out. I can't quite figure out why it is that this particular birthday is throwing me for such a loop, but I think that it might just be the one that has the number that makes you sound like a grownup. Because it's not the husband, kid, couple of degrees, or career that makes you a grownup - it's the *number* that makes you the grownup. I have the strangest hangups.

So, this year I don't really feel like cake or candles or presents or singing. Which is great, because the only people who cared enough to make the journey all the way out here to Middle America are my *parents*. That's right, on this particular big milestone birthday, I will be celebrating with my parents. (Husband and I don't exactly have a boatload of friends out here in the middle of nowhere. We left them all behind with the decent restaurants and readable newspapers.) I really am feeling fairly sorry for myself in anticipation of this sure-to-depress birthday. I was sitting in my car today, listening to Wilco and trying to recapture my youth, and I couldn't remember what I used to do for fun when I was young and single. I am old, ladies and gents. Break out the dentures - I'm going geriatric on this one. And I'll *still* be the youngest one at the party.

To counterbalance the impending suckiness, last night was great. I have a friend who plays in our community band, and they gave their first concert of the season last night, along with the band from the school I will be teaching at in the fall. So, I took the Bear down to the concert to get some culture, and it totally rocked (as much as band of random retirees and bank tellers can rock). The concert was in the park at the end of our street, so I just walked the Bear on down there in her stroller and we parked ourselves on the grass. The bugs were not bad at all, even though the heat index was over a hundred at the time (6:00 p.m.). The Bear thoroughly enjoyed the music, and the concertgoers thoroughly enjoyed the Bear. She's such a people person - she charmed everyone there, and I spent a good half hour after the concert letting perfect strangers hold her and pet her and threaten to steal her. And the tree tops were rustling in the breeze (when there was one), and the sun was sinking behind them, and there were happy children on the merry-go-round, and the band was really quite good, and it was just a lovely little slice of life. I really detest living in a small town, but I have to admit that it was pretty cool. Yay for music - the Bear stood and bounced in place for the entirety of The Stars and Stripes Forever. It was cute. I have a great kid.

As a side bonus, she also discovered the Joys of Dirt. I let her crawl to the edge of the blanket, and she just pulled up fistfuls of dirt and weeds and leaves and grass and threw them in the air. This may sound odd, but she's never played in the dirt before*, and she absolutely loved it. She looked at me like, "Lady, what is this great stuff and why have you been holding out on me? Watch me now as I eat a worm, just to spite you. Ha!" Or something like that. It was pretty funny.

Warning - TMI (skip ahead as necessary)

So, ever since the miscarriage I had in February, I've had this chronic abdominal pain. It feels like strong menstrual cramps, but all the time. Day in, day out. Activity makes it worse, lying down makes it better. It goes all the way around to my lower back, and makes this lovely little Girdle of Pain. I've been ignoring it and drugging myself with prescription ibuprofen, and that's been working for a while. Anyway, yesterday I finally called the doctor because it was really cramping my style (get it? *cramping* my style?) and so today I went in. Let's just say that in over ten years, I have never had a doctor do an internal exam that left me in tears. Literally, I was crying on the table in the little paper gown, and I think the doctor almost cried too, either from sympathy for my searing pain, or from guilt for causing me the searing pain. Anyway, long story short, I have a raging infection all through my womanly parts. You know, if you leave these things untreated long enough, they'll spread. Lucky me! So, that explains the pain in my middle, but not how it got there. If I had had a d&c, it might explain things, but I didn't. I wonder if perhaps something was left in there, and nobody noticed it? Or, god forbid, an unsterile instrument of some sort?

At any rate, me=loaded with antibiotics, going for an ultrasound, freaked out that this is going to create scar tissue on my ovaries or tubes and that we won't be able to have another child... what if this infection was already present, and was somehow responsible for the miscarriage? I hate being sick - I usually don't go to the doctor until I'm at death's door, and then I worry that I really AM at death's door, and get all paranoid. More hangups.

The very worst part of all this? The big yellow label on my antibiotics that says "Do Not Drink Alcohol While On This Medication." Cause I didn't want to drown my sorrows on my birthday or anything.

The Universe is plotting against me.

*Remember, we rent - no lawn.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Ok. I've had just about enough of this crap. How in the name of all that's good and holy am I supposed to get my kid to stop doing the things that she shouldn't do? Like eating staples! And slamming the doors on my antique radio cabinet! And yanking the knives out of the dishwasher! And chewing on my disgusting rubber flip-flops! How how how do I make her stop doing this?

We're childproofing just about everything that can be childproofed, but I have quite a few very valuable old antiques that I refuse to deface, so she's just going to have to learn to stop breaking them. We've cleared everything off all the tables, but she gets into it anyway. There is nothing on the floor of our house anymore (except for those damn flip-flops). And yet she gets into Everything! Constantly!

I'm tired of gently telling her "no" and then explaining why she can't do what she's doing. I'm tired of distracting her with other, Bear-friendly toys. I'm tired of taking things away from her and pulling her off of things.

I don't want to become one of those moms who smacks their kid's hand away from everything - I know that's not the best way to teach them not to do things. But so help me, if I have to spend many more days following her around the house and keeping her out of things she shouldn't be in, I'm going to turn into Judy Garland or Joan Crawford or something.

How do the stay-at-home-moms do this every day? Those ladies have my eternal admiration. I would go round the twist if I had to do this for much longer.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Seek and ye shall find...

Oh, who's an idiot?

That would be me, thank you very much.

So, in the process of moving, we rid ourselves of our guest bed and bought a couch with a hide-a-bed of the same size, coincidentally the same size as our own conjugal bed. I was sorting and sifting and finally located my mattress pad, after going without for nearly a week. I hate beds without mattress pads. Anyway, found it and thought it could do with a bit of a wash, what with the moving and the bugs and the fact that Husband used it as packing material. Washed it, dryed it, and discovered, much to my chagrin, that the material had, well, melted. Cheap, I know. More poly than cotton. I swore for a while and then I went out to buy a new one.

After much inspection and debate, I settled on a decent (so I thought) mattress pad. It wasn't as nice as the one I wanted to get, but I'm a girl on a budget here. Anyway, I bought it and brought it home and discovered (again, to even more chagrin) that it was the Wrong Kind. ::more swearing::

After much arguing, Husband and I decide to keep it anyway (fits our bed, fits the couch, will fit the Bear's bed when she's old enough to fit it herself). Last night we put it on our bed (for the time being), and it wasn't as awful as I imagined it would be.

Then, today, as I was doing laundry (oh, the neverending piles of laundry) during the Bear's nap, what did I discover?

My mattress pad! The Good One! It didn't melt after all!

Turns out, I had melted the way crappy mattress pad from the old guest bed, not my oh-so-nice and cushy one from our bed as I had previously believed! It was there, at the bottom of the laundry, the whole time!

I would me *more* thrilled if I felt *less* stupid. ::sighs::

So, I threw out the melted old mattress pad from the guest bed, am currently washing my beloved fluffy one for our bed, and will keep the Wrong One on hand to put on the sleeper sofa. All's well that ends well, I suppose.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


So, the Great Migration of 2005 is officially over. We are settling into our new (to us) small apartment fairly well. My parents were here for over a week to help with the project, and for the most part they really were very helpful. My father in particular was very helpful - he likes to clean, is big enough to move heavy things, and doesn't comment on things unless asked. My mother, on the other hand, is slightly odd, and can be difficult to get along with at times. (Edited to omit mean things said about my mother - after all, she just did me a huge favor.)

Our new house has bugs - lots of them. Fortunately, they are mostly harmless, and I'm thinking that they will disappear at the end of the summer. The Bear has been eating them, but I'm not too worried. I suppose if she were going to get sick from them, she would have done it already. A little dirt builds immunity, right?

We also have upstairs neighbors who stomp. Loudly. Husband swears that they're just walking normally, but I think they're playing hopscotch in wooden clogs. Suffice it to say I am not enjoying living underneath someone, but it's cheap and hey, we all have to make sacrifices. Like bugs. And loud noises. And no garage. But I digress.

The Bear is adjusting well to life in her new surroundings. She was highly confused and consternated for the first few days, as she tried to navigate around the boxes and figure out what she could actually play with (nothing.) and how to best escape Grandma's clutches and eat paperclips. Then, we moved all her furniture and put it in a new room, which irritated her to no end. Now, she seems to have accepted the new surroundings with moderately good grace. She knows where her room is, and she can trot back there to play whenever she wants, which she seems to enjoy. We've even upgraded her bath from the kitchen sink to the actual tub, and the kid is in Hog Heaven. She has this little sponge, and she constantly fills it with water and then sucks it out, or holds it up to watch the water run out... lather, rinse, repeat.

She started pulling up on the furniture two or three weeks ago, and now she can cruise from couch to table to chair and back again. Also, she's learned to climb onto low surfaces (the footboard of the computer desk, for example) and this excites her greatly. Me, not so much. She has also adjusted her schedule - of her own volition - and now goes to bed one hour later at night, and sleeps one hour later in the morning. This kid, she thrives on routine. She loves her schedule.

I am not adjusting to the new surroundings quite as well as the Bear. Husband and I have been fighting pretty much since the first box appeared, and things show no sign of improvement. I am one of those people who hate Change, in any form. So, naturally, all of life's big moments - getting married, getting pregnant, having a baby, moving, starting a new job, you name it - turn me into a Raving Basketcase. I recognize this. I accept this. To date, I have found no reliable way to circumvent this unpleasant fact of my life. Husband, however, can't figure out why I get so freaked out, so consequently has no patience with me, so consequently loses his temper with me, and so we fight. Almost constantly. About absolutely nothing. Where to put this chair? Let's go fifteen rounds of name-calling! What to do with miscellaneous crap that I can't bear to part with because my great-great-auntie left it to me in her will? Let's lock someone out of the bedroom! You threw it away?! Why?! Let's cry about it for an hour! (When asked, he denied that we fight "all the time." That's crap - if I say we're fighting all the time, then we must be fighting all the time.)

Needless to say, life in our (new) house has not been all sunshine and puppies lately. There are several other factors playing into this, not just the big move, but it's certainly brought many of our worst qualities out into the daylight. I just get so frustrated with him, and I can't quite figure out how to get him to stop being so damn irritating all the time. Yeargh.

Of course, then there are the times when he redeems himself, and I remember why I love him in the first place. Last night, for example, he went out to rent a video and came home with the entire first season of "Gilmore Girls" on DVD. I enjoy my bit of fluff on Tuesday nights, and he started watching with me last season. After I went to bed, he stayed up for another three hours and watched two whole discs (like 6 or 8 episodes) by himself. Because he likes it. How cute is that?! ::collective awwwww::

Friday, June 17, 2005

Checking in

Oh, for a cable modem! The move is officially over, but the boxes will be around for days to come, I imagine. The computer was just set up today, and several other important things are still unaccounted for... more on the move and the new place soon.

I hate moving!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Always in the springtime and early summer I get a little nostalgic for my college days. It's probably because everyone is graduating and I see all the commercials on the TV, but there's this certain smell in the air, when you know it's really almost summer, and school is out... something to do with freshly cut grass and the wind. I can't really describe it - I just know when I smell it that summer has come and school is out until next year.*

It makes me think of my college days most frequently, although there are times when I smell that smell and remember summers in high school, taking trips to the lake, driving down the highway with the windows down because our cars had no a/c, lying out in the grass and holding very still to see if we could feel the earth move. In college my dorm (one of) had one of those trees with the pinky-white blossoms (is it a cherry tree? not sure) out front, and it was the happiest sight for me. I loved that tree. When I see or smell things like these, I wish I was back in college.

Things were so much better then! There was the total freedom to go where you wanted, do what you wanted, when you wanted, with whom you wanted, and nobody to answer to but yourself. Added to that the complete absence of responsibility and it's a heady feeling. Sure, we had the responsibility to do our work, get good grades, maintain scholarships, make our families proud, but no career, no family of our own, no life insurance/mortgage/lawnmower... the freedom I felt back then was amazing. Plus, I was hot! Before the baby, before the deflated breasts, before the stomach skin that won't ever regain its elasticity, no matter how many crunches I do, before the pregnancy acne that left scars on my previously flawless skin, I was one good-looking college chick. I had a car - two doors, no carseats. It was black and sporty. I went to parties. I talked about politics with the president of the College Republicans, for pete's sake! (He was my sparring partner - we loved to argue. What an arrogant jackass he was!) I stayed up late, and slept in late. I ate junk food and fast food. I watched sitcoms and bad movies. I had friends to go places with and do things with. And always, there was that tantalizing freedom... such a sense of possibility.

Now, I work (a lot) in a career I love, but it can be very draining. I'm always tired at the end of the day, but I wouldn't give it up for anything. I like taking care of people and helping them - that's a lot of what teachers do, I think. I have a Husband who can be irritating in the extreme, but also a Prince Among Men when he wants to be. He and I have both changed since our young single days, and I think sometimes we're both a little disappointed that marriage is not as glamourous as we once thought it would be. We have a Bear, and she takes up all of our time these days. Anything remotely fun or exciting we might want to do is put off indefinitely because of her. We've now reached the point when I invite Husband to go grocery shopping with us, just so the three of us can spend some "family time" together. There are too many bills and not enough money. There are dreams we had when we were younger that seem so distant now, it feels like we'll never be able to achieve them. And we're tired - so tired.

Don't get me wrong... I love Husband and Bear, and I wouldn't get rid of them even if I could. We're a family, and that's such a nice comforting thing to have. It's just that sometimes, when the weather is just right, I don't want to be a grown-up anymore. I want to do a little "Quantum Leap" thing back to my old apartment and my old roommates, and I want to open up the kitchen windows on a steamy summer evening and drink a cheap beer and not worry about anything for ten whole minutes.

*That's why I became a teacher - for the joy of the first day of school/last day of school. I love the cycle! (Just kidding. That would be a dumb foundation for a career, although I *will* admit to a well-fed fetish for school supplies.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New blog...

As though moving my entire house wasn't enough, I decided to move my blog. For reaons best left unspecified, I might add. Suffice it to say that I was irritated with the "redesign" at my old site and their newer, better, easier, higher, faster, stronger, whatever update majorly Sucked. So, I packed my baggage and moved over here. ::lays out own Welcome Mat::

I figured it would be easier to move previous posts and just post them over here, rather than linking to them. However, none of the comments came along with them, so now I look like the hideously unpopular geek that I am. I promise, they were there, really! Now they are Lost Forever to the great black hole in the sky, where all the good comments go when they die.

On the Bear front, I discovered a new tooth coming in after this afternoon's nap. That makes three, if you're counting along with me. No wonder she's so, um, temperamental lately.

Conversation overheard in my kitchen this morning:

Me: Hi there, Bear! Do you want some cereal for breakfast?

Bear: [quite distinctly] No.

Me: [incredulously] Well, then, would you prefer a banana?

Bear: No.

So, people, my child's vocabulary has expanded to include "no." Just when you thought it was safe... I'm assuming that she picked this up from me, since I always seem to be telling her no. "No, Bear, you can't eat the cardboard." "No-no, that's not for Bears!" "No, Bear, that hurts Mommy." I say thousands of words to her every day, and the one she picked up was "no?"

I have such bad karma.

Monday, June 06, 2005


So, the Move is on... much like the heat. The Garage Sale is also on, which is stressing me out to no end. I would love to wave my magic wand (teak, eleven inches, nice and whippy) and have all of my worldly goods transported to the New Place. And arranged. And cleaned, too. Alas, I have to do all this shit myself, and I'm not so much enjoying it.

The Bear has developed several new quirks, some of which are decidedly cute, some of which need to get kicked to the curb, and I mean ASAP. She is pulling up and standing now, which is nice. I have twenty bucks that says she walks by her birthday in July. It's really quite cute, the standing. She makes the "I'm so proud of me" face. So. Cute.

She has also, however, decided that bedtime is for losers. Last night, she went down (as per her usual) at 7:00 on the nose. 8:00 comes, and she's wailing in the bed. I go, get her, fix her, pet her, and put her back. 8:30, she's up again. Down again. Up again at 9:00, at which point we decided to just let her have it out. You can lead a horse to water... no sleep for this kid. She was *wired*! I thought it was the teeth, so we dosed her with ibuprofen. Then I thought she might be hungry, so we had a snack. Then, we thought she might be bored, so we played and sang and romped. Eventually, at 11:30, I went to bed and left her with Husband. I have to idea how he got her to sleep (although the Benadryl bottle was out this morning...), but she was up at the usual time this morning, and didn't take any extra naps. What an odd aberration, I said to myself...

So tonight, 7:00 comes and the Bear is laid in her cave to hibernate for the evening. She dozes, then, at 7:30 - voila! like magic! - she's up again. I pulled no punches tonight. We went on a walk, and then we went to play outside where it's really effing hot and muggy. Then, when we came in to the blissful coolness of our recirculated air, she had more milk and went docilely off to the Land of Nod like a good Bear. She had better stay there, too, if she knows what's good for her. I'm so not a night person - I can handle all the crying babies in the Universe until about 9 or 10, at which point I turn into a pumpkin and am not pleasant when my sleep has been interrupted. I need like 10 hours a night just to function and be civil.

Speaking of teeth, these two new ones are very odd. The first four all broke through in like an hour. First there was nothing, and then, poof, the whole top of the tooth was through. The two she's cutting right now are only corners. The corners have been through for days now, but the rest of the tooth doesn't seem to be forthcoming. It seems to be causing her a great deal of irritation, judging from all the biting. Also, I think they're pushing her top two teeth together (she has the Gap between them) and that may also be hurting her. I don't know, but neither of us are really enjoying this dental adventure. I've been sorely tempted to heed my grandmother's advice - just a drop of whiskey on the gums... I would never give my child alcohol, but ye gods is it tempting some days!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Another survey

I would love to take an informal survey, just to see how most people respond to the type of situation I described in my previous ranting.

All ye who stop by and don't comment, feel free to chime in. All opinions welcome. Here goes:

When in the type of dire financial crisis that would necessitate moving to a smaller, less lovely apartment, do you:

A) review your monthly finances to see where you can make cuts;

B) indulge in pints of ice cream to soothe your troubled mind;


C) purchase a *divine* new couch with a sleeper bed inside to replace your hideous tacky old sofa, justifying the purchase because you have to get rid of the guest bed at the garage sale?

What Would You Do?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Grumblings from the home front

Yargh. So what I thought was going to be the Summer of Laziness is quickly shaping up to be the Summer of Suck. My plans to loll about in a little blue pool are quickly being replaced by plans to write curriculum and to move...

That's right. Move. (Beware - ranting to follow. Disregard as needed.)

Why move, you might ask? Why might a family of three find it necessary to forsake their comfortable, if not ideal, amply-bedroomed and bathroomed house-like dwelling (not really a house, but sort of like) in favor of a smaller, less-amply-bedroomed non-house-like dwelling (read: two-bedroom apartment) less than two miles away? Why might these people find it necessary to downsize their domicile at a time when their family is expanding?

Because we are Poor, people. Dirt Effing Poor.

Oh, how I hate to admit that. All my life, I have lived in comfortable surroundings. Not the Lap of Luxury or anything remotely resembling it, but I never had to go without when I was growing up. Sure, we budgeted wisely and definitely didn't live extravagantly, but we were nicely middle-class. I made it through college with no student loans to repay (thanks to my enormous brains, not to my parents' finances). I was thrifty with my money. I had a savings account. I paid my credit card balance in full each month (when I had a balance at all). I didn't spend unwisely.* I had to take out some student loans to finance my grad school, but so did everyone else, and I locked in a very low interest rate. I was living the lower-middle-class High Life.

Considering the massive amounts of debt and poverty that are rampant in America right now, I was pretty lucky. I recognize this, and I'm grateful for everything I had growing up, and for the frugal genes I inherited. This phase of blissful and economical living, saving, getting by, etc. lasted right up until I got married.

Somehow - I'm not really even sure how this happened - we are in Debt. You know the commercial on TV, with the man who has all the nice, pretty things, and says, "How can I afford all this? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!" with this desperate look on his face? That's us.

First there was the move. 500 miles, and who knew I had so much stuff? It would never fit into my hatchback. Someone would have to help... and help they did, to the tune of $lotsofmoney$.

Then there was the housekeeping. No more laundromat - we need to buy a washer! and a dryer!

Then there was the extended unemployment. What do you mean, I can't get a teaching job in January? School already started? Where was I for that memo?

Then there was the unplanned pregnancy.

With that came the baby-related improvements. Your car isn't safe enough. Really? That's ok, we can buy another one! We can't fit two carseats in the back of a two-door hatchback! Really?? That's ok, we can buy *another* one! None of my clothes fit! Really? That's ok, we can buy you more!

Add to that two jobs that pay HORRIBLY and the skyrocketing price of gas (I was commuting almost 400 miles a week) and the outrageous cost of daycare, which we had to pay because we needed my salary, and the bills and the loans and the immoderately high rent on our too-nice-for-poor-people place, and you have our current situation.

Did I mention that my husband, as his contribution to "all his worldly goods," brought to our marriage a hideous amount of debt?**

So here we are, dirt poor, unable to make ends meet. All of which necessitates our moving into a smaller, cheaper place to save on the rent and having a garage sale to get rid of superfluous furniture and various household goods.

Oh, how I hate change. I have spent the last week in a twisted nightmare of nausea and sleeplessness. Change does things to my digestive system that no one can explain. I hate change, it freaks me out. Why can't I just win the lottery?*** I don't want to move... ::commences whining and self-pity::

*I'm really cheap. Such a tightwad am I. Frugal, I like to think.

**Not entirely his fault. Nobody ever taught him to budget or save or plan. Foreign concepts. Thank you, in-laws, for fostering the notion that living beyond your means is somehow ok, and that saving is silly. I'm forever indebted to you. (Get it? InDEBTed?)

***Way too cheap to buy the ticket. Such a catch-22.