Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sniff Sniff

Went by the old house today to get the mail. Couldn't go inside as the baby had only a limited number of transitions to/from carseat that she would tolerate. I didn't want to waste one knowing I had other stops, and I'll be going by the house one more time before the Handing Over of the Keys anyway. But I looked in the front window and was sad... It's all empty and devoid of life. That was our first house, and though I am overwhelmingly glad we moved to this larger, brighter, airier Burbhaus, it's still hard to let go. We brought Delia home to that house. We remodeled the bedrooms. We learned a lot about home ownership there.

But we hated the neighbors and this house is nicer, burby as it is, so I can't really in all honesty get too weepy.

We spent last night unpacking, an activity that will no doubt take us the better part of a month to really complete. (As will typing this blog entry if the cat keeps jumping up here to "assist" me. Emphasis on the ass part, as she keeps sticking her furry little cat butt right up in the screen. It was even more frustrating when I was trying to waste time playing a game.) Anyway I got the books unpacked and shelved -- alphabetically of course, with a nod to those halcyon days spent as a page at the Central Library. Well, the fiction is alphabetical. Other categories of books are a little more loosely grouped and not so rigorously organized. In general. Really, if I could do it all over again, I'd be a librarian...

We are in purge mode, jettisoning all the crap that we were horror-stricken to find had followed us here. I have a generous box devoted to Goodwill or garage sale or whatever we end up doing with it. Otherwise we will find new homes either with friends, family, or in the landfill for other stuff, as appropriate. Naturally only the real garbage will go to the dump. Good but unwanted stuff will be farmed out, swapped, freecycled, or whatever. Donated, if nothing else.

Well, must run and make it look as if I have done something productive here today, which will take some doing since I haven't. Other than pick up the mail, return some fishtank filters that were the wrong size, and keep the baby alive and fed for one more day.

Speaking of the fish, he is the happiest damn diseased goldfish in the world. He's swimming around that tank like it's Christmas every day. Go figure. Go fish!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

All American City

Well here we are in lovely Vancouver. Some moron along the route to our neighborhood from the freeway has a sign posted about how Vancouver was voted an "All American City" some year or other. Like in his yard, up above his fence so passersby can see it. Wonder who votes these things? Republicans, I bet. What does it mean to be an All American City? Predominantly white? Upper/middle class? Does Vancouver invade its neighboring cities in a fruitless yet patriotically vital search for WMD's?

This all makes me think about the military. I mean, we grow up knowing that the US has military bases all over the world, in Germany, in the Philippines, Okinawa, you name it -- but imagine what it would be like to have some other country's military bases here in the States? Like, a British naval base in Florida or something. Or some other non-caucasian nation maybe, like Egyptian or Japanese, just to throw your inherent prejudices into the works (supposing that you the reader are your average if liberal caucasian and not some kind of uber-accepting-down-to-the-marrow type that theoretically exists -- more on this in a moment.) Wouldn't that be strange? Would it feel creepy? So far as I know, no such base exists But there are American bases, filled with mainly caucasian and African-American soldiers, all over the world, in places where white and black folk don't generally live. Something to think about.

About that caucasian thing: I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Black kids were bused over to my school in an effort to integrate us all -- with some success I'm sure, in that we grew up knowing that other people had different skin colors etc etc. But some of the black kids terrified me because they were culturally different in a way I did not understand. And also a few were mean. Later as an adult I lived in a predominantly black/mixed neighborhood and at least once was harrassed in a sort of small way for being white. And heard gunshots pretty regularly in the summer, which had never happened in my youthful suburban existence. I consider myself a pretty liberal, non-prejudiced person, attempt to honor all cultures blah blah blah, but I can't say that I am so comfortable with the whole race issue as to not even see a person's skin color or anything like that. I don't like walking downtown after dark and passing a group of young black men because I'm afraid of being harrassed, more so than if passing a group of young white men (although not much more so, really). So although I feel that I am pretty with-it and accepting, I can't say that I am without some inherent feelings about race. Which I deny when they pop up in my head, which I would never allow to color the way I think of any individual, which I allow are pretty much just leftover feelings from being a nervous white kid sitting next to the loudest and most potentially violent black girl in my grade. But they are still there.

Okay, on to other more mundane topics.

Baby seems to feel better today, only a little whiny, no throwing up, some actual smiling, ate a decent sized breakfast, etc. She's napping currently, which is how I find the time to (gasp!) do something besides cater to her every whim. I should be unpacking but alas, I lack motivation. I will no doubt get down to business eventually, but we are going to Costco with Shannon once Delia wakes up so I'm taking this hour to be frivolous.

Julianna got the office set up yesterday, more or less; put the table together, moved stuff around, cleared some odds and ends out. Books and DVD's remain to be shelved, printer hooked up, etc, but the general layout is intact. This is the office and cattery, the scratching post is set up in the window and the litterbox lives in the closet. Once we figure out a way to do it, the food dish will be in here too, but so far we haven't found the right spot to be a) accessible by cats and not dogs and b) secure and tip-proof. We were going to set it up on the scratching post tree but I fear it will end up knocked to the floor as we have some pretty impaired cats. Wilbur has back/leg issues from an injury when she was a tiny kitten, Beany's caboose is pretty rickety because he's pushing 16, and Slick... well, he's just a clumsy idiot. I suspect we will find a box of some kind and fasten it to the cat post up high where the dogs can't get it, and put the dish in there.

Yesterday I was sent out to coffee. I woke up with a gnarly headache, the baby was whiny and threw up her breakfast, etc. Julianna decided to stay home with us. Then she fell asleep on the couch for two and a half hours. How very helpful! She woke up as I was about to put Delia down for her second nap, and in a very contrite and guilt-stricken tone told me that she thought I should go to coffee and read the paper for a while once the baby was down. Man, I was out of there like a shot... I had a nice brainless time looking at the newspaper, then went and bought the wrong sized aquarium cover (broke ours unpacking) and returned home refreshed.

We pawned off our neon tetra to a friend so now we have just one fishtank, in the kitchen, with our beloved goldfish Lumpy in it. He looks very happy -- swimming around nibbling at the plants, maneuvering his massive tumor between the rocks, etc. It's a good life.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Tummy Aches

Last night Delia woke up at about 12:30am just screaming. I mean shrieking like she was on fire. I got up and picked her up but she didn't wake up and settle down at all, she just kept on screaming. I was really worried... She did nurse but then broke free and starting screaming again. Julianna got up at that point and we changed the baby's diaper and I kept holding her and rocking her. Finally she settled down and started tipping over on me so I laid her down and after some garden variety "I don't want to be in bed" hollering (less than five minutes probably) she went back to sleep.

She woke again at 2:40am, I went to her and picked her up and she didn't wake up really -- just tipped back over on me so I laid her down again.

Finally at 4:40am she woke, sounded just like usual, but didn't nurse with the gusto she normally has when she wakes up -- then broke free and started shrieking again. She kept turning away from me and yelling. Then I turned her back toward me (I was standing up holding her) and she vomited all down my shirt. :( She seemed to settle way down after that, so it's my guess that she has a little tummy ache. We have had a bug here this past week, first J and then me, it was quick to pass and not too severe but it made me feel tired and my stomach was sour and nasty and there were further digestive repercussions but only very briefly after which I felt nearly back to normal within a few short hours. Adding to the situation is that Delia didn't get much of a nap yesterday afternoon as we were at the new house. Today I think I'll be camping out here with her rather than haul her all over the place if she's feeling yucky. Poor baby!

Anyway after changing her and taking off her jammies which were a bit the worse for pukey wear, I took her in to Julianna to deal with while I showered. It's terribly cute, Delia was sort of groping tiredly after the cat, obviously exhausted, so J just tucked her in the bed in her arms and they both dozed off... J has been reluctant to sleep alone with the baby for fear of squashing her as she is a heavy sleeper. But now they are snoozing very peacefully...

I hate to even think about bothering them but the movers will be here in three hours and we have some things to do before they get here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I suck

Ok, in karmic retribution J's Mom offered all on her own, with no further crock-pot wrangling, to bring a vegetable tray -- finger food to go with the easy no-utensils-needed pizza. The perfect answer. I felt like a louse.

Then, just to up the ante and make me feel smaller even than a louse, J's Mom developed an infection on her leg and ran a high fever and had to go get the infection cleaned and treated and is on antibiotics and has to go to the hospital if she runs a high fever again. So I am a mere mite now, and threatening to be busted down to microbial status if anything happens from here. So let's all think meek, wholesome get-well thoughts toward J's Mom, if only to prevent me from disappearing altogether....

T minus 48 hours and counting. We are about 80 percent packed. It's down to the last crappy stuff that's hard to pack or you don't have the proper size box for, like shoes and filing and aquariums with actual fish in them.

We had a minor scare in that J's sister Shannon reported to us that the maid never came yesterday and that the house was full of crap -- mostly a big pile of Goodwill type items, garbage and recycling in the garage. The maid appeared today -- see now I told Julianna I could have sworn I heard Emmy say Wednesday, but nooooo, that couldn't be right -- and various people, maid included, have or are going to haul off all the stuff. So by tomorrow afternoon we will have a clean home free of debris. It was nice of Emmy to have the maid come, not strictly necessary but a nice touch. It will be swell not to have to scrub much. We have our hands full here, as I do not wish to leave a pigsty behind, so we intend to give things at least a cursory vacuuming and so forth. And I insist on scrubbing the toilet etc. Karmically speaking (and I'm all about the karma these days, in sort of a quasi-Christian paying-it-forward sort of way, not so much in an Eastern philosophy kind of way -- cultural appropriation at its finest IMHO) we owe it to the guy, for offering more than our asking price and not arguing over details. Really, aside from the delay in closing this has gone off without a hitch.

Delia is so close to crawling. She gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth, and can now get up to all fours from flat on her belly, albeit with no small effort, but she can do it. She also gropes around in the air with whichever arm is free when nursing, leaving itty bitty fingerprints on my glasses. And she's quite the expert at Bellowing For No Apparent Reason, a very important skill for the pre-pubescent set. And the pubescent set for that matter. Oh hell, most of us do it come to think of it.

You know, the painful part of nursing is bad enough, with the sharp little teeth and me all sensitive and everything. But the part that's really a bummer lately is the roving little hands -- patting, fingering, poking, tugging, pushing, snapping my bra strap, dirtying up my glasses, catching my lip, and pinching. For a while, until I could impress upon her how much I did not appreciate it via grabbing her little hand and saying No, she was pinching the back of my arm so hard she left teeny little bruises. And it's not so easy intercepting her hand across my body with my free hand without breaking her free from me which can be painful. So is it any wonder that although I am glad to nurse her and all that ooey gooey motherly stuff, I face each session with a mixture of stoicism and dread? Man, for a while I actively postponed it for as long as possible, when she was puncturing me with her fangs. She still does occasionally but only on one side and in one position -- naturally the easiest one -- so I am reduced to sitting on the couch, which is uncomfortable for me, and nursing her in the football hold on that side. I guess she must have a little burr on her tooth or something?

Well, got to run. Scraping litterboxes, Oh Joy!!!! And then to bed. Mmmm, maybe a quick shower before bed... wash off some of the littery goodness. As a courtesy to J, who as I write this is snoring on the couch, sleeping off her migraine medicine. I tried to get her to just go to bed but no, she preferred to stay on the sofa. It will take me ages to wake her up enough to get her to bed. *sigh.*

Monday, January 17, 2005

Oh, it sucks to be me...

Bearing in mind that this blog is where I blow off steam sometimes -- nothing that you read here should be taken back to the real world except with a 50-lb bag of rock salt -- I must bitch for just a moment about J's mom JoAnne.

Nice woman in so many ways. Thoughtful and kind. Always wants to help. God bless her.

That being said:

OMFG, somebody hold me back before I say something out loud that I may regret.

Moving party Saturday, many fine friends and family set to help us, including J's parents Larry and JoAnne. We intend to load everybody up, schlep the stuff to the new place, and have a big pile of steaming hot pizzas waiting there with a cooler of sodas to wash it all down. Then we unload and bid everyone a fond and grateful farewell as they straggle home to their usual routines. Everyone happy, many hands make light work, full bellies, contentment, hearts and flowers, kittens and puppies, cookies and sunshine. It's all good.

But! Because J's mom is the queen of the enormous crock-pot, we are trying very hard to fend her off with requests that she just bring a nice salad. And maybe some of those breakfast-cereal cookies she makes at the holidays. Really.

She called the other night and offered to bring chili. Okay, I for one do not like chili, I never have, and I don't want to deal with it on moving day. I would be hungry and unhappy. And J can't eat it for digestive reasons. I sat right there and listened to Julianna tell her we were ordering pizzas. Right. There. Just bring a salad how 'bout, Mom?

She calls back yesterday afternoon. J is napping. I am preparing to go shopping while J and D nap. JoAnne tells me she had talked to J who told her she couldn't eat chili, so how about bean soup? I told her, We're having pizza. We're ordering pizzas. Oh, she says. She didn't tell me that.


Yes, I say, we are just going to order a pile of pizzas and have sodas in a cooler and maybe she could bring a salad? Pizza is just so easy, everyone likes it, etc. Well, you still have to have plates and forks and stuff for salad, then, she says.



But I said, well, pizza is easy and that's what we are doing and if you want to talk to Julianna about it I can have her call you when she wakes up?

Okay, she says.

So I politely say goodbye and go to the store and nearly get rear-ended by some stupid kids because there is still slush and gravel on the road and they were dogging me all the way down 72nd. Luckily (and I will congratulate myself on this for some time to come) I heard the scrunching of the gravel as they skidded and I rolled the car forward a few extra feet and they would have hit me if I hadn't. I'm bloody brilliant. Thank you, thank you, no really, it was nothing.... :)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Ice Is Nice

We had a teensy little ice storm yesterday. It freezing rained in the morning, started to melt, then re-froze and freezing rained the rest of the day so that this morning everything was covered in ice. As ice storms go it was pretty mild, though, not like the one I remember as a kid where there was an inch or more of ice on everything and trees fell and our power was out for five days straight. No, this was melted enough by 1:30 pm today for me to drive to the store where everyone was stocking up like mad, for the mild 40 degree weather we'll have the rest of the week... People are such morons sometimes. The news programs all had a schmuck on every corner reporting: "Yes, Bob, it's icy here." "And over here too, Bob." See now, if I did the news it would be more like this: "Bob, we have ice on everything and nobody's outside driving around except idiots and they are crashing into each other like nobody's damn business. And they all deserve to be in the ditch. So there. Stay home for one damn day and get over it. Over to you, Bob."

Baby has two new teeth -- upper ones right next to the front teeth -- and is on the verge of crawling. Today as I watched in amazement (and spotted her) she grabbed ahold of the rail on the end of the changing table and pulled herself up to standing! As I was yelling for Julianna to come see, Delia just looked over at me with the most gobstruck look -- gobstricken? -- and then got all excited. So we dropped the crib mattress to the lowest position as she is very tall. Then in the bath she was just a hoot, splashing and cheek-walking over to the drainplug and just having a hell of a good time. What an exceptional baby. :)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Oh Thank You Thank You

Thank you, Oh Lordy, Thank you, for the following things:

Thank you that Shannon's baby Jocelyn Annmarie was born healthy if a bit smallish, and that both mother and baby are doing well. Thank you that Shannon even had time for an epidural which she says is the best thing ever, even though Josie was born a mere three hours after they got to the hospital. Six pounds even, and so inestimably tiny in comparison to the robust Delia... she feels like baby kittens feel when you pick them up, so light and fragile...

Thank you that Julianna's Mother never offered to come stay with us after the baby was born. She tried to "invite" herself over to Shannon's house for TWO WEEKS after Jocelyn was born -- without asking Shannon -- but was talked down and stayed only two days, which were only slightly hellish and are over now. I'm sure Shannon is thanking you also.

Thank you for a healthy baby who becomes more and more social and charming and masterful of her body and surroundings by the day.

Thank you that my biggest real bitch about motherhood right now is that her teeth are hurting me when we nurse.

Thank you that Julianna and I were in agreement that the very sweet and energetic Petey needed to return from whence he came. Life is much simpler with only two dogs who are somewhat mature and don't pee on the rug.

Thank you for pretty much everything.

And thank you for listening. That is all.