Monday, May 29, 2006

happy summer

It's summer! It is! It is! Time for a BBQ! Time for the beach! Time to retire the black shoes! Ha!
Our downstairs neighbors, they of the thump-thump bass through the floorboards at baby bedtime (I have never been so pissed to hear Ani DiFranco in my life -- Goddamn women's empowerment shite) invited us over for a BBQ last night. They have a new puppy, and with such an inducement I felt I could leave VH1's 100 top celebrity break-ups and my sleeping child to mingle a bit. We brought the baby monitor down, not that you need it really in our building. We can hear pretty much everything. The third tenant was there too, a lovely single mother with twin 9-year old girls. The only oddity I can report there is a proclivity for gardening under our window while smoking Marlboros (the mother, not the girls). It could be worse. Anyway, we went, we ate salmon, we cooed over the dog (a sweet border collie mix), we chatted in that stilted way of mismatched strangers wishing they had a LOT more alcohol. Still, it was kind of fun, which probably says more about our ridiculously circumscribed social lives post-Gabriel than anything else.
Today, I am going shopping for a dress to wear to the two weddings we have to go to in the next month. I haven't bought a dress or anything vaguely form fitting in, oh, a year and a half. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Houdini in a smooth black pelt

Our cat, Sammy, has left the building. In the five years that he has graced us with his presence he has led a fairly sheltered life. He's actually been a total inside cat who very occasionally slips out to frolic in the grass. And then eat enough to produce a mighty hairball. Once, though, we didn't notice he was gone until we heard this hissing, spitting roar that started out low and grew louder and louder until it dropped suddenly like a train whistle gone by. I looked out the front window to see Sammy locked in mortal combat with one of the neighborhood denizens, rolling across our lawn like a tumbleweed. After recovering our cat, uninjured, we vowed that we would be better about keeping an eye on him, as he clearly was a sissy boy, unsuited to the harsh realities of life out of doors. He seemed relatively content in his small sphere, kicking litter out of the box with panache, eating his Friskies and then hurling upon the bed.
Our move to a new house seems to have rattled his poor little brain. Suddenly, he's dead set on getting out. Perhaps he sees himself as a kitty Magellen, destined to discover great things behind the juniper shrubs. In anycase, a quick block with the foot is no longer sufficient to impede his progress. He waits and darts like black lightening, the little shit, usually when I'm holding the baby, or carrying a sack of garbage. He waits until I am distracted and slow and then he takes advantage. I actually followed him and scooped him up the first 10 times he tried this. I brought him back up the steps and then endured his demented yowling to go back out. But yesterday he ran out and I just let him stay. I cannot beat the cat. Well, I can, but he's remarkable impervious to anything that doesn't actually flatten him.
A gang of kitties lurks outside our door, crouching in the junipers, each ready with a rusty purr when we walk up the steps. There's Feisty Red Cat, Snowball, and the Doppelganger, a black cat the very spitting image of our dear boy. Our arrival engendered a certain curiosity on the part of the feral feline posse, as evidenced by the small puddles of cat urine they left on our steps. I was filled with trepidation (and hope) that Sammy's first encounter with them would send him scurrying back inside. It was not to be; I watched Sammy hiss and yowl at the big ginger tom until he actually backed away. I realized that all the while I thought we were protecting our kitty from the big scary world, we were actually protecting the world our neutered, diminutive but nevertheless very alpha male. Our nine-pound wisp of smoke is the baddest cat in the whole damn town. I'm a little proud of my bully.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Be afraid.

Newly minted ACLS provider here. Only had to remediate once. Ha. Seriously. I have no patience for these asinine multiple choice exams. So I came, I stuffed tubes into a dummy, I took the test, the nice man pointed out a question or six I missed and off I went, while the serious students sweated it out for another 40 minutes. Card in hand. Makes you feel good, no? Safe. Actually, to explain my rush, I have a question for you. Have YOU ever done CPR while breastmilk runs into your bra? No? Then I will not feel guilty, even if my goody-two-shoes nature is writhing from the shame of it all. Though we are at T-minus 5 weeks and counting until the great Return, we have still not figured out exactly how to keep the baby nourished and hydrated during the day. He has no interest in bottles, cups or bongs of formula or breastmilk. He will "drink" small amounts of diluted juice out of a sippy cup, but really what he does is take it in, taste it, grin, and then let it all gush out onto his bib. Gabriel's a nursing boy, and that's really it for the moment. Maybe Dawna Fantastic and the daycare ladies will have an idea about it. These last two days, I tried pumping with my ridiculous little hand pump. In my car. At lunch. But I only got a couple ounces before deciding to give up before the security guards rode over in their little club cars to ask me what I was doing. A friend is sending me her Medela (I keep wanting to write Mendela) pump, so I will get serious about this pumping thing toute de sweet. Gabriel seems to be embracing, once again, the idea that food is for eating so with any luck by the time he's actually at daycare, he won't starve to death. I do wish, now, that I had actually made an effort to get G to take a bottle, way back when he was a baby. Too late now he's so old and crotchity and set in his ways.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

sunday jetsam

I am still feeling crazed and unsettled in our new life. I have hope that it will get better. Someday. Soon.
This morning, we went down the street to a very good diner and bakery. Because we are suburban holdouts, we drove. But so did lots of other people. The parking lot was crowded with cadillacs and SUVs. I'm kind of the environmental antichrist. I've totally rationalized all my bad behavior. Today, I thought, the baby's not feeling so hot and will probably fuss after not very long. So let's take the car and maximize baby happy time for when I'm clinging to my coffee cup and stuffing pancakes down my gullet.
Gabriel is getting over a cold and starting to sleep again. I hope. He also has a godawful ugly boil on his leg, and has come to associate his changing table (actually a dresser with a purple bathmat on top) with hideous things like my squirting vile keflex into his mouth and changing the dressing over his oozing, crusting owie. I tip him on to his back and he cries, poor little guy. I don't know how he got the skin infection. It started out as a tiny little bug bite and blossomed into something pretty horrid. A commentary on my housekeeping? It IS the house of filth, you know.
Actually, Gabriel's become extremely opinionated in general the last few weeks. He has decided that he does not like to eat solid food. We had been having such fun at mealtimes, scooping up cereal, sweet potatoes, applesauce, peas. But no more. He went through a period when all he would accept on a spoon were prunes, but then there were a few unfortunate diaper incidents (and one unfortunate carpet incident) and then we ran out. Probably for the best. So he's not eating anything, now. Except breastmilk, of course. He nurses like a fiend.
I'm just blabbing, really. M's on the floor playing with the kiddo and when I get off the computer, I'll have to figure out something constructive to do. Sigh.
I have a class all day tomorrow at school. Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or ACLS because without an acromym, you're nobody. M will be at home alone with Gabriel all day long. For the first time. Send them good thoughts. They'll do great. I will be struggling to intubate a dummy, but they'll do great.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

an interlude of pure terror

Have not blogged in days. MIL sitting right behind me, but just can't stand it anymore. Can I tell you about a funny thing that happened yesterday? Well, MIL agreed to watch G while I went out to lunch with a friend. Yay! So nice! And when we had finished lunch, I checked my messages (did not hear phone ring!) and found a message marked URGENT. From home. Listened to MIL say something very like G fell and hit his head and I think you should come home right now. Oh my GOD! I called home. No answer. I called M at work. No answer. I called home again. No answer. So S and I raced home at an average speed of approximately 85 miles per hour on clogged freeways, over hills and one congested tunnel to find...Gabriel sitting up on the floor playing with toys smiling up at me and MIL sitting there looking somewhat frazzled but, do I imagine it, ever so slightly triumphant. The real story: G was sitting on the floor playing with a box, lost his balance and toppled over, clunking his oversized melon on the floor. He cried about 5 minutes and then went back to playing. While I'm sure MIL felt bad for baby and was even a little freaked out something might be wrong, I'm really just puzzled by this particular judgment call. Maybe I'm somewhat lackadaisical in safety department, but I'm pretty sure that if I were watching someone's kid and they had an accident involving heads and floors and tears and a swift return to normal, I'd tell the parent about it, but afterwards. And why didn't she answer the phone? "Well, I thought I heard it ring, but when I picked up, no one was there. Maybe I should have tried to call you again." YES! Because in my panic I hung up after 6 rings and envisioned an apartment abandoned for an ambulance ride to the children's hospital.
I'm so so so glad that Gabriel was okay. And I'm glad she's concerned with his cerebral function. I'm just thinking that, "wow, you scared the shit out of me for no good reason, and I can't help but think you may have enjoyed your role at the center of this quasi medical crisis." M took her out for the evening and before she left she said to me, "Do you think you should set the alarm so that if he sleeps longer than a certain time you could wake him up?" Umm, no, no I don't.
Deep breath. The Visit is almost over. And everyone is just fine. Happy happy. Joy joy.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A big day for M

Today, M graduates from business school. It has snuck up on us, darting around obstacles such as moving and daycare that have distracted us of late, to pounce on us now, a sunny Saturday morning. M's mom flew in late last night after much ado (she was supposed to come the day before but got sick! But not really sick! Just vomitting her head off because she took her medications on an empty stomach? Good Lord!). M and MIL have driven off to the campus. I will follow when Gabriel wakes up from his nap. After 3 days of sleeping like a human being, last night he "slept" like the infant-of-old. Could he possibly be feeding on my stress? Gee, what a thought?
Anyway, I'm drinking coffee and washing my dress because it smells like mold. That was one of the most heinous things we discovered upon moving. Our old house was incredibly moldy. Not just here and there around the tub, but in the walls and carpets. And in the shoes and clothes. And probably our mattress, but we left it to air in the sun, so are tolerating it for now as we have no money to buy another. SOOOO glad we are out of there. If we can keep the asthma monster away, I will feel like we've won the parenting lottery. Not through our own efforts, but by sheer dumb luck.
So I have a goal for MIL's visit. It is to not freak out and say something I'll regret. Gabriel woke up this morning at the usual time, around 6, and started his babbling and cooing with random shouts and shrieks. I think of it as him warming up for the day. He's usually content to burble for 10 minutes or so, and when I felt like it was approaching the critical moment of no-longer-being-fun-and-where-the-hell-is-this-mom-person-anyway I got up and went into his room. To find Grandma leaning over the crib filled of toys talking to her grandson. Why did this annoy me? Probably because I'm a control freak when it comes to my son. But we have our lovely morning routine, see. I go in and he SMILES and we talk and change a diaper and blow a raspberry or two. When I walked in, he looked to me like, "who is this lady?" He hadn't seen his Grandma for 4 months, and while gamely assuming all was well, he had a distinctly puzzled look. I know, I'm making far too much out of this. It's sweet that she went into him. I probably got to lie in bed an extra five minutes because of it. So I just smiled, changed his diaper and handed him back to grandma. I can do this. I am a nice person. Usually.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

could it be? is it she?

By george, I do believe we may have found the daycare for us! M and I went on yet another daycare interview this morning. We knew it was a home daycare in a nice part of town, but as we drove up into the hills, the houses got larger and larger and I was tempted to turn around, thinking, "all right, we'll never be able to afford anyplace up here so we should just not torture ourselves by maybe liking it." But we persevered! And it was so lovely! The daycare owner, Dawna Fantastic,* met us on the porch and actually remembered our names from the intro phonecall last week. We walked inside to meet 6 or so little guys in various stages of crawling and walking. One of Dawna's assistants came up and whisked Gabriel away. I waited for him to cry, but he didn't. He played with toys and watched the other kids and hardly looked for me at all. The house is, as stated, large and lovely, but in a homey, child-friendly way. We just sat and talked about the kids and Gabriel and their particular set-up, all the while Gabriel was enthralled with the teachers and babies. I had already decided this is where I wanted Gabriel to be and was so scared to ask how much it was. But I did, and oh, my god, she's NOT charging an arm and a leg. It's still expensive, of course, but it's less than our rent, which was really our big cut-off. There was another day care I really liked that I visited with my parents right before the move. This was a lady just starting out in the daycare biz, but she had teenage kids of her own and I got a really good feeling about her. She was charging, though, $10 per hour. Let's see, 9 hours a day, five days a week, four weeks a month works out to, holy crap! Anyway, Dawna had one spot available and we said we'll take it and the minute Gabriel wakes up from his nap, I'm driving down there to leave a deposit. I feel positively giddy! She gave me a hug as we were getting ready to leave and I nearly cried. I am actually hopeful for the first time that this returning to school thing will NOT be a total disaster.

*Almost her real name!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

doo de doo

In a blatant procrastination gambit (mother-in-law arriving tomorrow! house still ashambles!) here are a couple of photos.
The first is the peekin, of course, looking better in mustard yellow than I ever will. Tant pis.
The second is a fascinating shot of the lint I removed from our new house dryer upon moving in. (And by way of explanation, no, I don't usually photograph the nasty bits I find in the corners, but this was so very gross, and there was no one else here with whom to share the astonishment I felt upon confronting an alpaca or two worth of fuzz left to linger in the dryer). My mother, bless her heart, did a load or two of wash, wondering why it took two hours for two towels and a dishrag to dry. Following removal of lint-beast, dryer works great. Yee ha!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

city mouse

In the last couple weeks wherein I have been disconected from my beloved computer, I have composed in my head many little blurbs for this blog of mine. I can't think of them now, only the sillier themes: the fascination I have with other people's filth as I scrub out a cabinet and dispose of used insulin syringes, the bizarrely delicate baroque (or is is rococo) chandalier over the table in the wood paneled dining nook.
There have been a few agonizing moments over the last couple weeks. Moments in which I covered my head with my hands and realized that everything was totally fucked up. Like the first night in our new apartment, when I brought Gabriel into his new bedroom and realized that I could not only hear, but feel the music coming from our downstairs neighbor's apartment. My mom, dad and M kept telling me, it's going to work out, it will. And I met their assurances with a stony, "I just don't see how." But in a way, you see, it did. Gabriel wasn't sleeping anyway. And having bass pounding into his skull while trying to fall asleep didn't seem to make much difference. He fell asleep while the music was playing and woke up 6 times after they turned it off. So there you go.
But let's talk about how great it is to be back in the city. It is great. It is fun to go out and walk around and actually see people. There's the lake. There's a whole bunch of neat stuff we haven't even discovered.
The little city mouse is awake now. We must be off for our afternoon constitutional. See you later!