Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I Done Do'ed It

WI (Weigh-in) at Fat Losers was great -- lost 3 point something pounds, for a grand total of 25.8 so far. There hasn't been a week yet that I have not lost at least 3 pounds. This breastfeeding thing, it's the best!

Took FI on a little shopping excursion today. I am sorry to admit, but we went to WalMart. I was on a mission for socks... BH needs a particular sort of sock and I haven't been finding them any of the places I normally shop. I was expecting it to be packed with parent/offspring groups shopping for school supplies but it was fairly quiet, for WalMart. During workday hours it's the domain of the elderly... So FI was admired by one and all. Had her in the Snugli facing out, she fell asleep while chewing on my thumb. Then hiked over to the coffee place (all the while quite paranoid that those bastards at WalMart security would tow my car if they saw me leaving it in the parking lot) and sat for a bit having a mocha and looking at the paper while FI snoozed peacefully in my lap.

Saw an interesting column about a family who decided to depart from the materialist way of life and spend one year not buying things. They only bought things that would be depleted by everyday living, like food, laundry soap, etc. No durable goods. I think it sounds interesting. They said that when the year was up they did not rush out to buy, buy, buy as they thought they might. They had just gotten used to finding other ways to meet their needs, like borrowing, trading, or doing without. They did also spend money on meals out and activities -- just not goods.

I think I'd like to try it sometime but not til after we get the treadmill... And not buying gifts for family at Christmas wouldn't fly... so we'd have to think about it. I would probably create some categories that were non-negotiable like BH has to have decent work clothes, etc. But we certainly don't need more DVD's, video games, tools, (and in my case) art/craft supplies, etc. It would be interesting to work with what we have... Or modify it a bit and create a sort of itsy-bitsy allowance for things. Heavens! A budget?!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Heavy Sigh

Well, we handed her off to her new person, who seems quite nice. She lives in a very funky old building in North Portland, not an area I'd live in personally but it's the sort of place hip young folk of today live. She has a rescued greyhound (who was wearing hilarious pink socks on his back feet when we saw him, to keep him from scratching this place on his neck) and another cat, and wanted a companion for her cat because he seems lonely. She made us cookies... so we drowned my sorrows in cookies on the way home.

When we left poor Banshee was huddled miserably in a bathroom cupboard, terrified. I wanted to crawl in there with her... My chest felt heavy all day afterward, and still does a little. But we called last night to see how she was and her new person said she was still in the bathroom but was grooving on some skritches and was rolling around on the floor, so it looks like she will be okay.

But I miss my little kitty.

There's a part of me hopes she won't adjust and we'll get her back, but then the piss wars would begin again so I know it wouldn't really matter, we'd just have to hand her off again. So I really just want her to be happy in her new place, and I'll think of her and get all verklempt sometimes.

Slick is next on the block, he's been kind of depressed since Banshee mysteriously disappeared (from his perspective). We found him spraying the couch... we didn't know he sprayed. He'll be a great pet for someone else... I never had the same attachment to him that I did for Banshee, he's a little more independent and kind of a big gomer, but I'll miss him too.

Almost time for Fat Losers! Better get dressed. Fat free Fudgsicles keep me on the straight & narrow... What keeps me from losing like I should is that I haven't been a) tracking well, b) drinking enough water, and c) exercising.

The exercising part is due mainly to FI, who still is not a big fan of the stroller, and the Snugli we have makes your back want to snap in half after about a half mile of walking. So I ordered a Mayawrap, not the classic wrap but this smaller sling thingy, in the hopes that it might help. Also once she can tolerate life a little better I'm hoping to make an arrangement with the neighbors across the street, that maybe Violetta (older lady babysitter who lives with them now) can watch her for an hour or two at a time so I can sneak up to the pool or go for a bike ride.

Meanwhile I'll just have to muddle along.

But as for the not tracking and the not drinking enough water, that's purely my fault and I need to get off my ass and make it happen.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


We leave in about a half hour to drop Banshee off. I am so sad. She will be confused and scared, and Slick will be so lonely without her.

I know in the grand scheme of things this is hardly a blip on the screen -- she'll go to a good home, she'll be well cared for, she'll get over being scared and confused. Slick will go to a new home as soon as we can find one, and he'll be okay too. But we have had these cats for three years, we got Banshee when she was three weeks old, so tiny she slept in my overalls pocket. Slick was a sad, greasy stray when we found him outside. They have been together nearly all their lives. And loss always hits me the hardest. It's the constant in my life, separation from those most dear to me for whatever reason. When I studied abroad I was numb with the grief of being so far from everyone I knew, even though I knew I'd be home in a few months... And so it's a deeply personal issue for me. I feel so bad for doing this... but it's got to happen.

Friday, August 27, 2004

One Down

Tomorrow we take Banshee (the peeing cat) to her potential new home. Someone from BH's work heard about our kitties and wants a companion for her cat, so we decided to split up the lovebirds. I hate to split them up but it's hard to find a home for an adult cat, and hopefully she will bond with her new friend and be happy.

We will still have to find a place for Slick, as without Banshee he will be even more gnarly to Wilbur. But Slick is a very calm, personable cat, very handsome and robust, and other than harrassing his elders has no real bad habits (for example, has never been known to pee anywhere inappropriate).

I didn't want to take them to a shelter, it was killing me, but this cat pee thing has got to stop. So I'm very glad that we have an option. She really is the most delightful cat and with luck will not pee anywhere strange in her new home. But today I went into the bedroom to lay the baby down and found Banshee and Slick curled up together, we call it "love in the afternoon" when they do that, and I had a pang at the thought of taking her away from him. I know that he will wander around the house looking for her after she's gone. :(

Lit a virtual candle today for an old friend of Cate's who has lost one triplet and faces the imminent death of a second one. I can't imagine. I was so distraught when I thought I'd lost Delia at 15 weeks, I can't imagine the anguish of giving birth to a sick baby, watching him go through surgeries and procedures, then losing him anyway... My heart just breaks for her. There was a sick baby born at the hospital when we were there having Delia and it really brought it into focus for me how lucky we were that she was born hale and hearty.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Cat Pee Hostages

Woke up to the sound of a cat scratching in the corner of the bedroom. It was Wilbur. Did not find new pee there, but got all paranoid and got up to clean litterboxes. Found pee on the floor in front of the box in the kitchen and the ones in the basement... Have issued ultimatum to BH (not really but did express that I could not take even one more day of cat pee) that we must get rid of the two youngest cats ASAP, ideally Friday. The pee problems are escalating. It's because Slick torments Wilbur, then Wilbur in desperation pees somewhere she shouldn't, then Banshee is so painfully stupid she thinks that if there was pee there one time, it must mean it's totally okay to pee there from that day forward, even if it's right in front of the clean, inviting litterbox.

To date:
SE Corner of living room -- saturated, carpet ruined
S Corner of living room by hutch -- saturated, carpet ruined
Corner of bedroom by cabinet, once only
Baby's room, once only
Bathroom, to the point that we now close the door at all times
Basement, in front of litterboxes
Corner of mud room -- saturated, linoleum ruined
Both couches (though this was because Beany had bladder infection) -- ruined and will be disposed of eventually

It breaks my heart but I have reached the point where I can't take the pee anymore. The anger and despair over our house stinking like a litterbox now overshadows the heartache at the thought that Banshee and Slick will be scared and alone in some strange place. I don't think we can give them to anyone we know, as they will pee in their new home and that will just make their new owners hate us. I think we have to give them to a no-kill cat shelter... They are a bonded pair and so far as I know, they will be kept together and placed together.

I just want to cry but I can't live like this anymore.

It doesn't help that I didn't sleep well last night and then had a hard time getting FI down tonight too. She seems to be extra screamy lately when she gets tired. I was so deeply asleep when Wilbur woke me... and now I'm too upset to sleep. :(

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

When It Rains

It's freaking pouring lately. Making up for lost time, it's been so dry and hot... It's fabulous.

As always, blogging in the wee hours. Baby sleeping, wife sleeping, everyone sleeping but me. I've been kind of insomniac lately, waking up and dorking around on the computer for an hour or so most nights. It's kind of worrisome in a way, in that generally if I'm having trouble sleeping it's because something is wrong, but I think this stems more from the general worries of having a new baby and not something more acute. Plus I have learned it may be the only real chunk of time I get in a day that is mine and even then can be cut short at any moment...

Yesterday finally got some stuff in the mail by walking to post office with baby in front pack. She can hold head up well enough to ride facing out and she grooves on it, particularly if she can get ahold of your fingers and cram them in her tiny mouth while you're walking. I sent some stuff up to Nome and also threw that quviut in the mail for fellow blogger Cate to play with. Not a minute too soon as I found our two younger cats mauling it the other day after I had cleaned up the living room a little and set it down where they could reach it. They were quite interested in it though they haven't molested the itty-bitty fur slippers from Nome that have been sitting on top of the piano for a couple of weeks. The dogs would have those slippers in furry little shreds if they could reach them, but the cats don't seem interested. Huh.

Much has happened lately. We are buying a Vanagon, for starters. Old family friends of BH have it up for sale. Garaged its whole life, meticulously maintained, newly rebuilt engine, only driven to church on Sundays etc. Okay just kidding about that but it only had 150k on it when the engine was rebuilt in February. It's freaking gorgeous.

To get the cash for it we are cashing in my 403(b). It will get us enough to buy the Vanagon and pay off all our credit cards, (of which we have only three and it's not like we have tons of credit card debt) and then we can stuff all that money we were spending on interest into savings, Roth IRA's, and college fund for little FI. Now that we've paid the car off, all the debt we'll have after this will be my student loan and the mortgage. I am rubbing my grubby little paws together in anticipation of socking away money -- have never been much of a saver and am quite interested in experiencing having money around and not touching it. Not that it won't be a challenge but after my entire life of mismanaging money, I'm ready to make the change.

Speaking of making changes, I'm keeping up the good work with Fat Losers, I mean Weight Watchers. I have lost 22.6 pounds to date, in about five weeks. This whole breastfeeding thing is da bomb... And I have kept up my interest in triathlons. Seems pretty ambitious for someone who a) has never been terribly athletic, and b) has the flattest feet in captivity. But the more weight I lose, the better my feet feel. I can now walk a couple of miles and not be so sore afterward that I can't think straight, as was the case in the past. The orthotics I have now help, and so does wearing better shoes if I'm doing more than just hanging around the house too. BH asked what I want for my birthday (in about two weeks) and I said, running shoes. We are getting a treadmill too! Once we have saved up a bit. BH has wanted one for the longest time and now I am seeing the value in having one too. Run in the privacy of our basement, away from the watchful eyes of our neighbors... At least until there is less of me than currently, so there won't be so much jiggling.

FI is doing well. She has discovered her feet, and sticks her little legs in the air more often. She grabs her toes and stares at her hand and foot. She has been pretty screamy this past couple of days though, and when I try to get her to sleep by bouncing on the exercise ball she conks out much more quickly than usual. Maybe this is the 3-month growth spurt they talk about. She's about that age now. We also reached A Milestone today -- I set her down on the bed after getting her to sleep, and she didn't wake up and start screaming! Usually I have to get into bed with her and even nurse her because she wakes up and starts having a conniption, but twice today I got her down without getting into the bed too. So we will practice this during the day and get a room-darkening roller shade for her room because it's so very bright in there, and eventually move on to laying her down in (gasp!) the crib! At least during the day for naps.

I do like co-sleeping, for a lot of reasons, primarily because she's so hard to get to sleep otherwise and so desperately seems to need to be held and cuddled at night. This is a 180 degree turn from how I felt about it before giving birth; I was very anti-bed-sharing.

Uh oh I hear her on the monitor. Time to go...

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It Could Be Worse

Friend Munka having some troubles. Husband PrickBoy has evidently been fooling around on her... Some woman called her house and asked her if she was happily married, to which M replied Of course, and the woman said Are you sure, and it turns out that PB has been telling this woman that he and M are getting a divorce (which wasn't the plan as far as M knew) and the woman's phone number appears on the cellphone bill every single day for a whole month, and maybe longer, M just couldn't get online to see last month's bill. PB's been pulling this "not coming home, not calling, not answering cellphone or returning messages" thing occasionally this past month too. Like that doesn't send up enormous red flags. He does travel for work but there's no excuse for not calling if she is expecting him home... obviously he's been fooling around, why else wouldn't he call or answer his phone, unless it's because he's hiding something?

So I may go down there and keep her some company later if she wants me to. Don't want to be in the way but she sounds pretty freaked out. Said she told him she wants some answers today or she's putting the house on the market tomorrow -- and we thought she had no backbone! Go M!

BH came home early yesterday, think my post freaked her out. We just spent relaxing afternoon/eve watching movies and talking and playing with baby. No need for freaking out, we will be okay... We never really go to bed mad (okay, irritated once or twice but never mad) and that's the main thing, not to let things lie too long, and we love each other so it'll all work out. This is all just stressful stuff, that's all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More Baby Blues

Haven't yet let completely go of idea that I might get a break in the evenings. Really do think it's not possible to expect a consistent break period every evening as there are other things for both of us to do, i.e. make/eat/clean up dinner, visit with each other, feed/medicate pets, take out garbage (on Monday nights), water plants/lawn, change sheets, wash/fold/iron clothing, etc. Wife and I both suffering from angry feelings about this, me from wanting desperately to have short break without baby in arms in evening, wife from wanting household chores to get done earlier so that bedtime is not horrible rush and from frustration that baby is more comforted by me so if I hand her over, baby will just yell at wife which isn't fun for either one. Arguing about it brings up feelings in us both that are old, and which are not dissimilar: feeling like you're not important, that you don't matter. Then I feel like a selfish immature jerk, and I am ashamed and yell because I'm upset, and then cry, because I cry very easily sometimes. And then she feels like she's making me cry, and she's always the bad guy, and then I feel even more immature, and it just spirals right into the toilet.

I keep saying, I wish I could go back to that year that I spent basically fucking around, and do it over: organize things, establish a menu system, take care of the house. I get overwhelmed and think I can't do it and then I just don't do anything. What is this fear of failure thing? Is it really a fear of success? Why wouldn't I be able to maintain a modest home, take care of two other people (one of whom is very small and doesn't need things like ironed clothing or dinner on a plate)? Why did I waste so much time when I could have been making our lives smoother and better? She brings it up when we are arguing; she's still resentful of it. It was a slow burn for her, she says, my disregard for her and for our home and our lives, and now she can't let it go. She's trying, I know she is, and I'm trying to make it up to her, but I can't really with the baby always needing to be held and so forth. When I have free time (what precious little there is, when the baby naps, which is infrequent) I usually shower and feed myself, and once that's done I try to pick up around the house a little or pay bills or whatever needs doing at that particular time, and then bolt down here for a few minutes of email and blogging and surfing and whatever. There is no way for me to embark on some big organizing project unless someone can come entertain the baby. And then when BH is home, we're so overwhelmed with the day to day stuff that when there is time for her, she has to decide between major cleaning (like rearranging furniture and cleaning the rug) to make me happy and the house more livable, or taking time for herself. And she wants to please me and always puts herself last, and then later she gets so burned out from not having any time to just sit and not feel pressure.

I have this urge when stressed to try to sneak out of doing things, to bolt downstairs. I think sometimes it's justifiable -- need to shut head off, and can do laundry while on computer -- but sometimes it's just to get away from all the things I feel like I can't do for one reason or another. I am an avoider. A depressive avoider.

So I guess what I need to do is kiss regular, programmed me time goodbye, catch it where I can get it (get up in middle of night, try to get baby down for naps, etc), and lower my expectations for now. She's not going to be like this forever. I will eventually be able to grab a half hour here or there, or do something at the table while she plays with toys on the floor, or whatever. Right now I can't even make myself something to eat or go to the bathroom while she's awake without either carrying her or having her scream at me, unless by some miracle she will get entranced by her bouncy aquarium seat or the Baby Einstein video. And I'm not very good at not complaining or not feeling overwhelmed, and I take up all the room in this relationship with my complaining and my overwhelmedness. So not only do I get all the fun parts of motherhood, (which ain't really all that fun sometimes: breastfeeding makes you leak everywhere, and it's tiring that the baby only wants you and not anyone else), but I make so much noise about the parts that suck that it's all about me all the time. And poor BH gets the short end of the stick.

I know we can get through this but it's just damn hard. I feel like there are so many things I need to change about myself, and so many things I have screwed up and need to make up to her, that I can never really get it all done.

But I have to try.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sunday Go To Meeting

We went to church today. Waverly United Church of Christ. The minister from that particular church is the one who married us in March, so we figured it would be a good place to start. UCC seems to be one of your more liberal, groovy types of churches.

BH grew up going to church whereas I only went sporadically; she attended a UCC for part of that time so it's familiar to her. I was an erstwhile Methodist, even got confirmed into the church but then realized in my early teen years (when evidently most churchgoing youth will stray if they're going to) that I had little or no idea why I was a Methodist vs. any other type of Christian, and also that I disliked many of the people at the church, particularly the horrid lady who badgered you into going to Sunday School (or had to know exactly why you weren't going). So I stopped going.

Why go back to church now? For starters, to protect our young one from other "Christians" who would claim that God doesn't love her mothers... And for community, I think, and for spiritual needs. We don't talk about them much, we're not that sort of people, and it's so uncool amongst the hip young crowd -- lesbians in particular; it's like if you're a lesbian, you must also be pagan, belong to the Green party, eat vegetarian, wear hemp clothing, etc etc. Not that I have anything against that sort of thing, it's just not who I am. Hemp is itchy, I like meat, etc.

Uh oh, FI awake. Not surprising, she dozed off at 6pm last night and it's 8am now.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Midnight Oil

It's 4am and I am wide awake. Thought I'd do some laundry rather than toss and turn and irritate offspring and spouse...

Going to an Attachment Parenting play group today. Need very much to meet some other parents of infants... and would like to be a good parent. Rather afraid my hot temper will get me in trouble with baby, don't want to be snappish horrible shrew and cause child(ren) to hate me in my old age. Or young age for that matter. Have already become more patient; find self not getting quite so angry at baby when she screams but rather talk gently to her and hold her even closer. This in part due to spouse who is the very soul of patience most of the time. Also when mercury rises see headlines running through mind about terrible things parents do to their kids and recoil in horror at thought of generating such a headline myself. No baby deserves such a thing. Breaks my heart to think of it...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Baby Einstein

Okay, I know you're not supposed to park your baby in front of TV, but if you must, Baby Mozart is the way to go... FI was screaming and nothing I could do for her was helping, i.e. she was clean, dry, fed, etc. Even bobbling her on exercise ball was not cutting it. I fired up the DVD and she immediately was mesmerized by the images and the music... Set her in the swing and she was rapt. Now she has dozed off.

Am I a bad mother?

I think I would be if I was letting her watch "GI Joe" or similar... but surely comfortable images of puppets, toys, mobiles, etc. set to lovely music is not so bad? It certainly saves my sanity at times like these.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Karmic Retribution

Whatever I did to make it so that my MIL would come and bring her yappy nasty little drop-kick dog, I'M SORRY! It'll never happen again!!!!

She is upstairs napping on couch while 4yo nephew languishes in boredom. Am unable to contain anger at this state of affairs so stopped downstairs for brief respite in front of machine. Unavoidable really, as alternative is to snap and behave poorly.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Baby blues

Having to do some soul-searching lately. Became parent to especially screamy infant at exceptionally late age, for me anyway: 36. Set in my ways. Unused to constant responsibility and impossibility of sneaking off for any length of time except at the expense of another (i.e. wife must watch baby or baby must scream tiny little ass off). Wife willing to watch baby at times, but difficult to juggle wife's needs among my own and baby's... This is all such a huge, huge adjustment.

List of personal faults:
1. Selfish. Constantly craving "alone time."
2. Peevish. Unable to "roll with the punches," i.e. accept that baby will scream incessantly without, and sometimes in spite of, constant bobbling, rocking, bouncing, dandling, etc; complain out loud frequently of same, leading to negative mood in house.
3. Thoughtless. Wife feels like second banana constantly because I fail to make her feel special. And this is not needy wife constantly demanding attention. I mean, I fail to fulfill minimum requirements.