Baby Needs a New Pair of Dance Shoes

Posted on 8/31/2007 07:25:00 AM
...cause the zombies took them all.

These videos are both a) old and b) a pure, unabashed attempt to win a contest that these folks are hosting. Here's my rationalization for posting them: The first one is one of my favorite things from The Dormouse's life before I started this blog. So I'm using this lame rationalization to post it anyway because few of my family and friends really got to see it way back when I was a Blogger/YouTube virgin and only knew how to email videos to people who had an account that would accept attachments this large. (I've said on more than one occasion that one of the reasons I started this weblog was because I failed miserably at sharing stuff about her first two years due to my hermit-like behavior and inability to enjoy talking on The Phone - this is a perfect example of such.) The second one should be familiar, if you've been somewhat long time reader, but seems to go along with the theme and therefore gives me an excuse to post the first one, despite it being quite outdated.

And so, may I present the Evolution of Dance as Performed by The Dormouse.

This is Zombie Jamboree, by one of our favorite groups, Rockapella. She was just under twelve months old here and she's signing "more" at the very beginning of the clip. You can't hear it but she's also saying "Zicka?", which is how she used to say "music" back before she could talk 24/7 and never repeat the same word twice (ah, those were the days).

Compare and contrast to this, less than two years later.

(Artist unknown, but a reasonable facsimile can be found in pretty much any Bollywood movie.) If I were a dance/movement therapist, there are a lot of things I could say about her grounding, expression, etc. But I'm not. I'm her mother. And the only thing that comes to my mind as commentary when I look at these clips is, "GOOD LORD HOW DID SHE GROW UP SO MUCH SINCE IT'S CLEAR THAT I HAVE NOT AGED A DAY SINCE THAT FIRST VIDEO WAS TAKEN" and "I DID NOT GIVE PERMISSION FOR THAT TO HAPPEN."

My thoughts: 

Word of Warning

Posted on 8/30/2007 04:34:00 PM
The problem with being Mommy's Cool Friend Who's Willing to Play in the Pool With a Three-year-old Who Doesn't Really Know How to Swim:

Is every so often, someone jumps on your face.

My thoughts: 

Life Lessons

Posted on 8/28/2007 05:35:00 AM
"Momma, I want to tell you something about life."

Me: "Well, this ought to be good. What did you want to tell me?"
"Bumblebee's fly...

and birds sing..."

*in my head I'm already singing "I gotta love one man 'til I die" at this point.*

"...aaaaaaand Little Lions take off their training wheels."

But of course.

My thoughts: 

Signs Your Pregnancy Has Gone On Too Long

Posted on 8/27/2007 12:22:00 PM
So I'm trying to have Dr. Google teach me a little about PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) yesterday and for some reason, Google decided I wanted to look up "Puppies" and automatically changed my search from "pupp" to "puppies" using that complete- the-form feature in the Google tool bar. This, of course, goes completely unnoticed by me.

Then I get this page of 18,300,000 puppy pictures and websites and I sit there staring at the hit results trying to figure out which one to click on, while it takes my brain a good solid minute to figure out that the information I'm looking for probably won't be in one of those links.

But puppies.... cute!

(Don't anyone let me do their taxes or anything for the next couple of months.)

My thoughts: 

Free Winona - Blame Mr. Rogers

Posted on 8/25/2007 08:31:00 AM
A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published this article about how today's college students are more narcissistic than ever before in history. The discussion is about why that is and, true to our nature as Americans, they've boiled it all down to a single solitary issue and identified the proverbial magic pill of blame... it's Mr. Rogers' fault.
"Mr. Rogers spent years telling little creeps that he liked them just the way they were. He should have been telling them there was a lot of room for improvement. ... Nice as he was, and as good as his intentions may have been, he did a disservice."

Speaking as someone who pretty much wanted to marry Mr. Rogers when I was younger and openly wept when he died, I take offense at this.

Putting aside the problem of even trying to measure narcissism, is this really what it's all come down to? Are we really blaming a half-hour television show for our failure to teach our children responsibility for their own actions? I'm not saying I disagree that there's a growing sense of entitlement in our culture, or even that it's a problem. But come on, can we really blame children's programming's attempt to build self esteem on this? For that matter, can we really even restrict the problem to young adults?

Perhaps... and I'm just thinking out loud here... it's our society and it's constant message in every facet of our culture and the media in general that no one ever need take responsibility for his or her actions. Instead, the method of resolution for pretty much every problem we encounter is to just blame someone else and use whatever influence we can manage to scrounge up to avoid the natural consequences of our behavior. If all else fails, sue the bastard. That couldn't have anything to do with it, could it?

Get two years' prison time for lying to a grand jury? Never mind. Your friend, the President, will commute your sentence.
Get caught driving drunk and on a suspended license? People will gather in droves and shout "Our princess is free!" when you're released.
Steal an excess of $5000 from a department store? People will print "Free Winona" t-shirts to support you.

Got a bunch of self-important, college kids thinking they're entitled to free money and grades? Blame it on Mr. Rogers.

I remember a few years ago when they were trying to revive Candid Camera, Peter Funt thought he'd play a prank in a hotel that was being used for a television critics' conference. They took the televisions out of hotel rooms and watched people lose their minds when they showed up for this conference and found that the tool of their chosen trade, expected equipment in every hotel, was not available to them. In some odd twist of fate, one of the people who was registered for the conference happened to be Fred Rogers and they thought they'd get some good footage playing the prank on him and watching him lose his temper on film when he didn't find the one thing he'd expect and probably need for the conference activities.

Peter Funt: *disguised as bellhop* "Here's your room key, but I have some bad news to tell you. There's no TV in this room and all the other rooms in the hotel are full, so we probably won't be able to get one."

Mr. Rogers: *smiling* "That's okay." *tries to take key and enter room*

PF: "Well... um... wait. Maybe you didn't understand me. There's no TV. And we're not going to be able to get one either."

MR: *still smiling* "Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal."

PF: *flustered* "But... um... er... don't you think you need one for a television critics' conference?"

MR: "No, I'll be okay. I don't really watch television that much anyway."

This went back and forth for what seemed like forever. He tried every device he knew to make this man get upset and lash out, but the unflappable Mr. Rogers never once became even slightly huffy. Nothing could rile him when it was just not that big a deal in his mind.

That is the example I want my children to grow up with. Admittedly, they probably won't see it much from me, but it's something to aspire to and if Mr. Rogers helps me just a little bit with that and that's all he's ever done, I think it's more than a worthy effort. Plus, he really writes a mean jazz melody.

Of course there's always room for a healthy dose of moderation; I get that. In our house, we make every effort to remind our daughter and help her understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and each one of us is no better or worse than another, but we are different. We achieve different things because we all have different talents and abilities. To some, things come easy. Some of us have to work harder to achieve those same things, but we all can achieve them in some way. I firmly believe that it doesn't do children any good to constantly be comparing themselves to others. I want my daughter to learn to work hard for what she wants in her life and to understand that there is almost always more we could do, it just depends on how much effort we want to exert. There will always be someone better or smarter and there will always be someone who doesn't achieve in the same way. We have to learn to live with that in life. But constantly comparing and rating ourselves on a scale of "I'm better than Johnny, but worse than Sally" doesn't do anyone any favors - my child, or the children to whom she compares herself. It only teaches us to look for our validation externally.

When The Dormouse achieves something, I praise her. Not because she couldn't have done it any better, but because I am genuinely happy for her. Sure, she could have come up with a more developed story the other day and her artwork isn't going to hang in any showrooms anytime soon, but she worked hard to do that project and I was thrilled. It wasn't some generic "you're great" that some child psychologist tells us parents we need to use as a response. My enthusiasm was unfeigned and authentic.

The rest of the world will tell her soon enough that she doesn't pass muster. I want my home to always be a soft place for her to fall at the end of the day when things don't go her way... and when they do. I want our family to be the one place where she always knows she can come and feel loved. Often, the only place our kids ever get to hear that they're great is from their parents and small opportunities like were readily made available on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I would rather err on the side of too much self-esteem than too little if an error must be made. The rest of the world will crush her dreams soon enough... but hopefully her parents will be there to help her deal with that when the time comes.

I, for one, am grateful to people like Mr. Rogers for helping me understand that.

My thoughts: 

The Making of Tomorrow's Scientists and Religious Zealots

Posted on 8/24/2007 11:44:00 AM
I have funny friends.

We took the girls to see a puppet show the yesterday at this place, where I could probably be happy just moving right into if there weren't so many pregnant women and soccer moms crawling all over it. Aside: I would love to have lived here in the 1890s when it was a health spa/educational venue. I always imagine Matthew Broderick and Bridget Fonda strolling around the grounds while Anthony Hopkins extols the virtues of eating whole grains and getting daily colonics. I imagine John Cusack too, but he's just standing there in a towel, professing his undying love for me. But I digress.

The puppet show was called Dino Rock and some were fascinated by and stared, wide-eyed at the person-sized dinosaur puppets on the stage, while some took the information in the play that tyrannosaurus rex were meat eaters a bit too seriously. I'll leave you to determine which of our kids was which.

Anyway, the wrap-up of the play was a mini "teach the scientific method to toddlers" and the stage actors explained the following to the kids:

"Why do you think dinosaurs went extinct?" *kids respond with all sorts of theories* "You have lots of ideas right? And when we have a question about the natural world, that's how we figure out the answer. We ask questions, we develop hypotheses, and we test them out. It's that easy. So when you see something in the natural world that you don't understand, what are you going to do?"

Monica: "Open your Bible."

My thoughts: 

Thanks, Miles

Posted on 8/22/2007 06:26:00 AM
Taking a break from discussing the minutiae that is my life for some perspective.

Admittedly, I had not heard of this kid before this morning when I woke up at four am to desperately rifle through the medicine cabinet looking for Tylenol. While waiting for it to kick in, I did something I seldom do: turned on CNN. And I caught a tribute to Miles Levin on Anderson Cooper's show.

He's apparently been blogging about his illness for some time here. After hearing the CNN piece this morning, I went on a Google Feast all over the Internet, reading everything I could about the extraordinary young man who wrote this:

“I’d like to share with you a life discovery I’ve had. I’ve always wondered to what extent attitude can be chosen, or how much of it is beyond conscious control, making it more a function of neurotransmitters, genetic predispositions, and the quality of our surrounding circumstances. It’s really a question of nature versus nurture. To those who say we are the captains of our mentality, I say look at people who are depressed. Do you think they choose to be depressed? Depression sucks. They would do a lot not be depressed; almost certainly more than the people who claim that attitude can be self-determined are actively doing to be happy. Most happy people, as far as I can tell, don’t work very hard at being happy. It just sort of works out that way by virtue of their constitution. For the most part, I include myself in that category.

Anyway, there was a recent period a couple weeks ago where I was really struggling with the fact that all my friends and my girlfriend get to go off to college in the fall with the future in their laps while I get left behind to stay at home doing chemotherapy treatment, if I’m even alive to do that. All those friends who were once my community, who kept me plugged into some sort of normal life, will be far away and very busy. I will fade and I will be bored. That was and still is hard. I know I should feel grateful just to still be alive in the fall, but somehow that didn’t help. Is it so much to ask that I too could have college to look forward to instead of either more treatment or death?

This got to me in a way that many things in me life should probably be getting to me but I’ve refused let them, and that’s been the magic of this story. I don’t think I did very many updates during this time because I didn’t feel I had anything to write that was worthy to read anymore, or of 12,000 people’s time. Whatever I had—wisdom or poise or centeredness or whatever–I felt I’d lost. Whereas previously, Miles had been on top of his cancer, now my cancer was on top of me.

This went on for about two weeks before one day I finally decided that it was enough; I needed some time to deal with that disappointment, but it’s enough now and further moping would be a waste of very precious time. I decided that today was the beginning of a change in my attitude, a change in me. I said it aloud. And what I want to tell you in this update is that it worked. I’m back, I suppose. I’m feel back on top of the cancer, and will be to the end. I’ve reverted in many ways to what I used to be—the accepting optimist–but incorporated into that is something new. Precisely what is new has not entirely crystallized yet, but I think the change can be likened to that of someone who has survived a year with one of those abhorrently difficult and unforgiving math teachers. It teaches you to suck it up and get the job done, even in the face of incredible injustice.

I conclude from this successful transformation in outlook that, to a large extent, a person can make the conscious decision to change their attitude–much more so than I previously thought. It’s not effortless; it definitely takes a certain enduring conviction. And in all fairness, by genetic predisposition, some will find simply deciding to be happy easier and some will find it harder, depending on their neurochemical makeup.

But I want to tell you that it’s possible.”

I'm struck by the fact that we lose incredible people in the blink of an eye and often never even realize what a loss it is. I'm glad that this didn't go completely unnoticed in my life today.

Sympathies to his family and those who loved him.

My thoughts: 

My One and Only Parenting Tip

Posted on 8/21/2007 06:15:00 AM
I think if nothing else, this blog has established me as Not the Greatest Parent in the World. My first impulse is to use sarcasm when my kid is sassy, I have a tendency to resort to childish retorts, I hate baby showers, playgroups, and parenting magazines... this list goes on.

But I think recently I've hit upon one of the great child activity tips of all time.

Get yourself on the
Oriental Trading Company catalog mailing list. Not because you need a single thing in there (and... seriously... you don't) but because you will get about eleventy-hundred catalogs a year and each time one comes in the mail, you'll hear this:

"My magazine! My magazine is here! I LOooOooVE this magazine!" *runs around the room, prancing and jumping up and down, triumphantly holding catalog above head*

Then, she will pour over the pages like a day trader reading the Wall Street Journal:

"Look at this!"


"Momma check
this out!!"
this... Is.... AWESOME!!" (Oh and by the way, thanks, Monica, for teaching her that phrase.)

She'll bring it to read in the car. It will keep her quiet in line at the bank. She'll actually sit still while reading it. And then, just about the time that you've exhausted your clear tape supply putting the pages back together after they've ripped and you're ready to throw it out in the neighbor's garbage can when she's not looking, another one will come in the mail, with all new things to look at. All, I might add, free of charge.

It's a gift from the gods, right up there with Achilles' armor and

My thoughts: 

Most Fur Coats Come From Road Kill, I Hear

Posted on 8/20/2007 05:33:00 AM
I am embarrassed to even admit that I stopped to watch this the other day as I was flipping around the television channels. I hate reality television that much. But I happened to come across America's Next Top Model on and, in particular, this scene from the show. Let me just say, I had completely underestimated the entertainment value that show could have. I was rolling on the floor laughing and then immediately went online to find this clip and make the KingofHearts watch it too:

Unfortunately, the girl was eliminated shortly after this conversation happened. The producers should have found a way to keep her around for a few more episodes and they might have had another couple of regular viewers.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 8/19/2007 06:31:00 AM
"Daddy, I'm afraid of my closet."


"I'm afraid of the dark in my closet."

"There's nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light." *flips light on and off* "See? Do you see anything in the light that's not there in the dark?"

"Well... there's no light when it's dark."

My thoughts: 

Water Nymph

Posted on 8/18/2007 05:33:00 AM

My thoughts: 

The Prejudicial Effect

Posted on 8/17/2007 10:00:00 AM
I'm conflicted over even posting this because I don't want to start a Big Thing On The Internet. But there's something I feel like I need to get off my chest. Confession is good for the soul, right? So here goes.

Yesterday, the title company for our house sent a local, independent notary over because they screwed up filing some piece of paperwork for the county. We've been in the house ten years and refinanced five years ago, yet this is the third time we've had to refile this paperwork (which will make it the fourth time we've filled it out) because some under motivated employee somewhere made some mistake that no one can explain. Every year and a half, the title company contacts us again and explains that the form was rejected by the county and if we don't fill this form out again as soon as possible, we may be required to immediately pay out of pocket all the taxes on the home since we the refinance because escrow would not cover it (did I mention that was five years ago?). Why one single form cannot be filed correctly at least one of four times over the course of five years is beyond me, but I'm not all that confident that there's a single competent person working in the government offices of our county or at the title company, so it's not completely surprising. I was told that someone put White-Out on the last form we filed and that was why that one was rejected. Oh that explains everything.

Apparently, it's not that big a deal while we're living in the house (obviously, since it takes a year and a half each time to even tell us that the form was filed incorrectly) but if we were to ever try and sell the house while this form is not... I don't know... pristinely hanging, framed, on the wall of the country finance office, and kissed by a virgin on the first new moon of the year... it may cause a problem and keep us from selling the house. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have bothered to be concerned, but since we came pretty close to moving a couple of months ago and were not aware that this was not correctly done after the THIRD time we filled out the form and sent it back to the title company for submission to the county, I got a little pissy about it when they called.

One lesson learned: If you call people at a title company "incompetent" enough times, they will give you $100 for your trouble and pay for an independent notary to come to your house at their cost after regular business hours because you refuse to inconvenience yourself and take time off work to do this again. Take that THE MAN!

So yesterday, the notary they contacted called me on the phone to make an appointment to come out (keep in mind, she has never met or seen me or my family before) and asked what my address was.

I told her and she said,
"Oh, I grew up in the house across the street from you."

Me: "Really? Small world."

Her: "I still live in your area on Xxx Street."

Me: "Well, you're very close then."

Her: "Yeah... I spent almost my whole childhood in that house across the street from you. My parents were the original owners. It used to be a beautiful house and we put the fence in ourselves. I hear it's a huge mess now and is everything is falling down because they don't ever keep it up. The owners must be Black."

*insert screeching breaks noise here in the conversation*

Nice, huh? This, in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the US. Now, I realize that despite the fact that I'm half Polish and often try to convince myself I don't fall under the "Caucasian" category (and yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds), I look about as white bread as they come. My Irish-heritage-husband doesn't help matters any. But this exchange was completely over the phone. She didn't know me from Adam's house cat, nor had she even spoken to my husband or anyone else in my family to develop an opinion about what we might be, think or look like.

I responded with, "Well, I don't think their race has anything to do with it - the owner is a very nice lady who is older and in poor health. She can't do many of those projects herself and she doesn't have the money to hire it out because of the medical bills."

She was smart enough to clam up at that point and just made the appointment to come by in a couple of hours. But today, I'm pissed I even let her come to my house after that comment. I think I caved under the "you might have to pay five years of taxes if this doesn't get done and now" cloud and lost the presence of mind to do what I should have done in the first place: call back the title company and request a different notary. When I do call back the title folks to report that we are sending the paperwork back, I plan to report my experience to them. This is not their employee, but I think they should be aware that this person they're sending to people's homes is not representing them in a way that they probably want to be seen. Ultimately, it feels like I just didn't do enough.

It never surprises me so much that there are people who think like that out there... what I am surprised by is that those people automatically assume everyone else thinks like they do.

My thoughts: 

Toddler Literature

Posted on 8/16/2007 06:15:00 AM
To keep The Dormouse busy and out of the KingofHearts' electrical project the other day, I stapled some blank pieces of paper together and told her she could write a story. If she told me the story, I'd write all the words down for her and then she could paint the pictures using a watercolor set she'd been itching to crack open. This is the resulting story. And no, I do not know where she came up with the name 'Lippard'. Some things I just don't question anymore.

Lippard Finds a Jungle
by The Dormouse
Once upon a time, there was a man named Lippard.
He was a very young man.
He was looking for so much frogs, but he couldn't find any.
So he climbed up the trees...
He couldn't find any avocados and no fruit. So he went home.
When he went home...
he found...

a banana and grapes. And another snack. It was....
Gummi Bears!
And then he found one more thing. It was a frog.

And then he turned into a frog!
Then he went back home and he ate all the snacks.
The End
What looks like it's morphing into Van Gogh's depressive period is really just the evidence of her having used up the red, orange and yellow paints, but I'm not about to attempt to explain the... ahem... third leg, our hero seems to grow somewhere in the midst of the story. Put another dollar in the therapy jar.

My thoughts: 

The Blackbird of Happiness

Posted on 8/15/2007 06:25:00 AM
Despondent that her brother was fixing to go back home this week, The Dormouse was moping in the car on the way to church last Sunday. I decided to try and get her mind off it by singing one of the songs she learned in preschool this month. It's one of those circle games. One kid gets to wear a hat to start and it goes something like this (to the tune of The Mexican Hat Dance):

Johnny's wearing a hat,
Now what do you think of that?

He takes off the hat
Gives it to.... Sally.

The child with the hat gets to choose the new person, puts the hat on his/her head and the song begins again with the new kid's name. *Repeat over and over until each and every child in the room has lost interest completely.*
She loves the song and has been singing it for days. Needless to say, we're all kind of sick of it.

So, thinking that maybe it would stave off some of the whining coming from the back seat, I started singing the song with her name in it.

"Stop it momma," says the surly Dormouse.

"Stop what?"

"Stop being happy."

I tried to stifle a laugh, knowing that wouldn't really help matters any and she continued, "Guess what, momma, no one's wearing a hat. Don't think of that. Leave the hat on and give it to no one. So there.

My thoughts: 

Hail to the Scroungers

Posted on 8/14/2007 09:18:00 AM
A friend of ours has told legendary stories about his father, who was the king of all the scroungers. He always had some scheme going to get something for free. One of my favorite stories commonly used to illustrate this point was an incident while their family was driving in their van and suddenly Dad saw a shoe on the side of the road. He swerved to the side of the road like Steve McQueen in a 65 Mustang, slammed the vehicle to a stop and commanded the children:

"Get out of the car and get that shoe!"

All whining in unison:
"Daaad, it's ONE SHOE."

"But it's a good shoe!"

It was thing by which they were most embarrassed. Their dad's propensity to seek out free things... not to mention the fact that more often than not, those free things came from the trash. Or at least they were headed that way and he cut them off at the pass.

Call it dumpster diving, call it alley hunting, call it resourcefulness, it all comes down to the same thing: pulling crap out of the trash and putting it in your house. The father on Sampson and Son was his patron s
aint. But sometimes, that... let's call it... orientation can really work for you.

Before leaving his last job, the KingofHearts managed to work out a deal with a colleague. She had a hot tub she didn't want. We had no hot tub we didn't
want. Hey, let's trade! Pretty nice, since he'd given notice already and his last day was less than a week after they'd struck up this agreement. I consider it the only severance package he was ever going to get. The company certainly didn't intend it and just might have stopped the transaction out of spite if they'd heard. So anyway, he came home one night and said, while I was half asleep, "Hey, do you want a free jacuzzi tub? Mrs. NiceLady at work is giving one away but if no one wants it she's just going to throw it out."

I, being the pragmatic, think-every-action-through person that I am, raised my head slightly from the pillow and said, "Hmm let me think about it, ummm... YES! Can we get it now? How about now? Now? Am I being too anxious? ....Now?"

So we rented a truck (because for the first time in our marriage, we no longer own one of those things), three strapping young men to help move it (OK - we didn't rent them, but they owed us), and last month they drove out to pick it up from Mrs. NiceLady. When they got it home, they proceeded through a very Keystone Cops-like series of maneuvers - which amused me greatly - to get it from our tiny driveway, past the narrow corridor which constitutes the 'yard' on the side of our house and up the stairs of the backyard deck, taking out almost all my hollyhocks in the process. But who's complaining? I can replant hollyhocks.

Oh, and before it becomes a controversy, because it already did with my neighbor who, when we told her about this, exhibited shock and horror, screaming loud enough for the dead to hear, "A HOT TUB??!!? You can't get in a hot tub... you'll cook that baby!!" I am aware that sitting in high temperature water for extended periods of time is not the most intelligent of things for a pregnant woman to do. Let me just use the explanation that I gave to her: Um... the temperature gauge does have an "off" switch and frankly, I don't know many non-pregnant people who want to bask in 100+ degree water in the middle of August when it's already 100 degrees outside. Rest assured, I'm only in it for the cool water and the bubbles.

The only reason we didn't fill it up that day and move the refrigerator outside on the deck so we would never have to exit the tub to eat was that the thing required a special voltage outlet to plug in. And we had no outlets - even the normal kind - at all on the deck. So we called an electrician, thinking that was probably the fastest/easiest route and figured we'd pay whatever it cost. Even if it was up to five or six hundred dollars, it'd probably be worth it, because hey, free jacuzzi tub! And you can't buy one of those for $600.

What I didn't count on in my Great Outdoor Outlet Search 2007 was that apparently part of being an electrician in this area means you simply don't want work. I called a bakers dozen; no kidding, I seriously made scores of phone calls and actually spoke to thirteen different people who all enthusiastically agreed to come out and give us a quote. Only three bothered to call me back to schedule a time like they promised. One guy came out, looked at the place and said, "I'l
l call you tomorrow with an estimate." Which, of course, did not happen. We called him back three times and each time he put us off saying he hadn't worked the numbers yet and he'd call us back tomorrow. Surprising to me, but not to KoH, he never did. One other guy came to the house, looked the place over and then quoted us $1500 for running a 50 foot line of cord from the circuit box to the deck on the outside of the house which required about an hour of installation time. The third guy gave me an estimate over the phone without even looking at our place: $2500.

"I'm not sure that's the kind of investment we were thinking of making
in this thing," I said.

Conclusion I've reached: Electricians in the Washington Metro area - even ones that advertise they do residential work and there's "no job too small" - must all be using their business as a front for a drug dealing operation, because they simply do not want your money.

So by this time, KoH is working at his new job and making friends there, one of whom is an electrician. This guy was nice enough to give some advice about how to do it, what we needed to get and even offered to come out and help with the hookup. So last week while the Kingo
fHearts' son was out visiting, (I just realized I haven't ever come up with a name on the blog for him - let's just call him the KnaveofHearts) they put in the line. Now... voila... working jacuzzi tub. Between the rental truck, the pizza and a night in the hot tub we owe our three helpers and their wives, the materials to run power out to the backyard deck, and the chemicals for the tub itself, we probably spent about $450.

Not bad.

This may be where I give birth.

My thoughts: 

Quickened with the Comebacks

Posted on 8/13/2007 08:51:00 AM In:
First a little background: One of the KingofHearts' favorite commercials (yes, he has favorite commercials... and repeats his favorite lines from his favorite commercials ad nauseum - you may all pity me now) is this:

Remember that? I couldn't even remember it was a Snicker's commercial until I just found it on YouTube.

And his favorite line from the above commercial is: "You know what pandas have for lunch? Baaam
BOO." (said with the extra long first syllable and extra emphasis on the last syllable of bamboo).

If I had a dollar for every time that line of the commercial was repeated in my house over the past couple of years, I would be a rich woman, indeed. Ah, to be married to a person with a primarily auditory memory... but that's an entirely different post.

So yesterday, this was the exchange between the KoH and The Dormouse as we were trying to figure out what to have for lunch:

KingofHearts: "Wanna have a little panda lunch? You know what pandas have for lunch, don't you? BaaamBOO."

Dormouse: "Know what pandas use to wash their hair? ShaaamPOO."

My thoughts: 

On Scooters... and I Don't Mean Libby

Posted on 8/12/2007 06:25:00 AM
We went to Wal-Mart the other day with our neighbor. Don't even ask me what I was doing there... I hate the Wal-Mart store in our area and will avoid it at all costs, but the KingofHearts needed a crabbing license and Target hasn't yet ventured into that foray.

While we were on our way there, he was extolling the virtues of the mobility scooter. His wife, who is in her 70s and has respiration problems, had recently discovered that most large chain stores have a small selection of electric carts that they make available to people who lack the stamina to walk around what would in some cultures be called the City of Wal-Mart. His suggestion was that I too should use the cart when we got to the store because he is quite familiar by now with my ability to get winded and begin wheezing while walking from the living room to the bathroom then require an extended resting period before returning. I jokingly agreed with his suggestion in the car, with no intention of ever actually doing it.

Anyway, by the time we got to the store, I had completely forgotten about this conversation and started walking past the door to our intended destination in my usual manner: the most direct way possible and scoping out the area for chairs to sit in along the way. He, however, had not forgotten and stopped, asked the first clerk he saw to relinquish a cart and gestured to me like a knight waving me to the white steed he'd brought to carry me away from the jousting tournament. Now I won't say I haven't thought of doing this about a hundred times in the past few months, but never had the guts to actually go through with it. So I thought, what the hell? No one else is using it and I do feel like I just might pass out before I get to the department I'm looking for in the back of the store. Plus, he insisted. What can I say? I caved to peer pressure. Peer pressure from my 70 year old neighbor. How pliable am I?

Yes, I was this guy. (By the way, I have no idea why this link sometimes works and sometimes just skips over the video I want to play and goes on to the next one, which has nothing to do with scooters... go to Comedy Central and choose the Jon Stewart video "High Rollers" and it will make more sense.)

So here's what I discovered about the scooters. And why, unless you do really (really) need them, they simply aren't worth it:
  • Simply sitting down on the thing makes you feel at least 42 years more decrepit than you are.
  • Able bodied people (and most non-able bodied people) can walk faster than this thing moves at top speed.
  • No slow down button - there's the button you hit to go and when you take your thumb off of it, you jerk to a stop. Suddenly. With no warning.
  • At the end of every aisle and when going around any corner, you need to stop and check for cross traffic. Otherwise you'll run smack into anyone who might be walking in a perpendicular direction. But you can't see further than the basket of the cart, so that sequence becomes difficult.
  • No brake lights - so when you come to a sudden dead stop in order to slow down to merge into traffic described above, no one who has been walking behind you will have any notice of your intentions and will create the pedestrian version of a rear-end accident.
  • Wal-Mart has so much crap parked in the middle of the aisles that you have to get out of the cart to get to the merchandise you want anyway and don't even think about doing anything but making a wide circle around each of the clothing areas, because you will not fit inside. So as long as anything you need is displayed conveniently on the edge of a large walkway, you can get to it. Anything else is a crap shoot.
  • When you do get out of the cart to look at the merchandise you couldn't get to before, you feel all eyes in the store are on you, wondering who that jackass is who can walk but refuses to do so.
  • Also, any merchandise in the store that is stacked higher than waist high will be out of your reach, requiring you to do the above.
  • If you want to back up, even a couple of inches, you are serenaded with a loud beep, beep, beep, which further serves to ensure that all eyes in the store are on you.
  • Your daughter will want to ride on the cart with you and then when you're stopped looking at a shirt to determine if it's the right size, she will grab the cart controls and move it forward, giving you whiplash.
  • She will also randomly grab your hands and change the direction of the cart while you are trying to maneuver store traffic, nearly running down a woman and her teenage son.

All in all, it's a great idea if you don't have any other option, but don't think for a minute that it's the lazy man's way out. Me? I think I'll just avoid Wal-Mart until I'm no longer pregnant.

My thoughts: 

Orange You Glad I Wrote All This Down?

Posted on 8/08/2007 03:46:00 PM In:
The KingofHearts has been desperately trying to teach The Dormouse the concept of a Knock Knock Joke for the past six months with no success. So when she showed such comedic timing and ability with the pickle and banana joke, he decided to give it another try. While the conversation was going on I got a pen and piece of paper from my purse and wrote down as much of what I could. There were actually a few more attempts that I didn't catch, but for the most part, this is a transcript of what was said directly after the joke from this morning's post:

Attempt 1

K: "OK, I have a joke for you. Knock, knock."

D: "Who's there?"

K: "Orange.... oh wait I screwed up that one."

Attempt 2

K: "Knock, knock."

D: "Who's there?"

K: "Banana."
D: "Banana who?"

K: "Knock, knock."

D: "Banana."
K: "No, you're supposed to say 'who's there?'"

D: "It's a banana."

Attempt 3

K: "Knock, knock."

D: "Who's there?"
K: "Banana."
D: "Shut the door."

Attempt 4

K: "Knock, knock."

D: "Who's there?"

K: "Banana."

D: "Banana horsey."

K: "No, you say who's there?"

D: "Banana pickle."

K: "No, say who's there?"

D: "Banana cow."

Attempt 5

K: "Knock, knock."

D: "No, you say who's there and I say knock, knock."

K: "OK, go ahead."
D: "Knock, knock."

K: "Who's there?"

D: "Knock, knock."

K: "Who's there?"

D: "Knock, knock."

K: "Who's there?"

D: "Knock, knock."

K: "Who's there?"

D: "Knock, knock."

K: "Who's there?"
D: "Knock, knock."
K: "This seems to be going nowhere."

Attempt 6
K: "Knock, knock."
D: "Who's there?"

K: "Banana."
D: "Banana who?"
K: "Knock, knock."
D: "Who's there?"
K: "Banana."
D: "Banana who?"

K: "Knock, knock."
D: "Who's there?"

K: "Orange."
D: "Orange who?"
K: "Orange you glad I didn't say 'banana'?"
D: "I like bananas."

Call me crazy, but I think she understands the joke perfectly and is just messing with him.

My thoughts: 

Kid Jokes (vol. 2)

Posted on 8/08/2007 06:15:00 AM In:
This was spontaneously improvised in the car yesterday:

Dormouse: "What does a pickle say when a banana steps on it?"

All: "I don't know, what?"

Dormouse: *deadpan* "Nothing. Because fruits and vegetables don't talk."

My thoughts: 


Posted on 8/07/2007 08:44:00 AM
How many doctors I've seen to discuss my blood pressure in the past week: 2

How many times my blood pressure has been taken in the past week: 8

Highest my blood pressure has registered when taken in the past week: 189

How many times my blood pressure registered high when it was taken: 7

How many times the wrong cuff was apparently used on me: 7

How many doctors took my blood pressure themselves: 1

How many doctors could figure out how to work the sphygmomanometer: 0

How many doctors had to take instruction from me on how the
sphygmomanometer works: 1

How high my blood pressure registered when taken by a physician who now knew how to use the
sphygmomanometer and had the correct cuff: 130

How many doctors have agreed that my high blood pressure is even a problem: 0

How many days I've been assigned bedrest: 0 (for now anyway)

Woo hoo!

My thoughts: 

And Now for Something Completely Different

Posted on 8/06/2007 07:37:00 AM In:
I just realized that there has been a LOT of pregnancy talk on this blog in the past week.

*showers, tries to scrub it all off*

I don't anticipate that will change anytime soon, as I have another appointment today - the appointment I'm dreading because it will probably put me on bed rest at very least - but until then here's Something Weird On The Web to look at. (As if you needed me for this and couldn't find that by just typing the phrase "something weird on the web" into Google.)

I've seen these novelty thumb drives in more than one place (I'm partial to the thumb thumb drive for the irony) but this is just a travesty:

The worst part is that it contains no flash memory. All it does is what you see in the video. The best part is that you can get them in three different breeds.

Still, it's no USB Diet Coke Can Cooler. (Apologies to the Pepsi lover, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean? But I simply couldn't bring myself to drink that stuff!)

My thoughts: 

Doogie Howser Lives

Posted on 8/04/2007 07:44:00 AM
This worries me a little about my upcoming c-section:
A 15-year-old who allegedly delivered a baby by Caesarean section in an attempt to set a record as the world's youngest surgeon surrendered to a court in southern India Wednesday after 10 days in hiding, police said.

...Murugesan told the association that he wanted to see his son's name in the Guinness Book of World Records, Prasad said.
Read the whole story here.

Here's hoping Randy Quaid doesn't have a teenage child and an enthusiasm for superlatives.

My thoughts: 

Hoof in Mouth Disease (vol. 2)

Posted on 8/02/2007 08:05:00 AM In:
Colleague: "Hey, I have some news."

All: 'What is it?"

Colleague: "Jane Doe Pain in the Neck is moving out of the area and she'll no longer be in our region."

Me: "Well, I can't say as I'm sorry to hear that."

Colleague: "And..." *pauses for dramatic effect* "her husband is staying here."

Me: "OK well I am sorry to hear that... I'm not that much of a bitch."

All: *looking at me blinking*

Me: "OK maybe I am, but I'm just sayin'."

My thoughts: 

Of Blood and Benefits

Posted on 8/01/2007 02:35:00 PM
Bright and early this morning, I headed off to the hospital for the shot that I had to wait two hours for but took less than two minutes to administer. It's a simple shot, people! First of all, WHY does it have to be done at a hospital anyway? I'm not sure what has become soooo untrustworthy about OBs in recent years that they are no longer allowed the onerous task of sticking a needle in my butt and sending me on my way. Secondly, what is the necessity of a two hour waiting period for said shot? It's not like they were busy at outpatient care; I saw a total of three people sitting in the lobby and two more came in after me - one was a visitor.

After waiting an hour, the nurse came out to tell me that someone had just gone to get the RhoGAM and it would probably be not more than another hour. I'd have been willing to walk the thirty yards to where the lab stored it's products myself if I'd known it was that difficult to get away. For the most part I was a patient patient because I expected this (patient patient, wha ha ha - I make me laugh), but at one point I suggested they just bring me the needle and the serum and I'd administer it myself. And they might have too, but I don't think the nurse had much confidence in me after our initial exchange when I walked through the door:

Nurse: "How many weeks are you?"

Me: "39."

Nurse: *looks up at me with one, slightly raised, eyebrow*

Me: "Oh wait. 29! I'm 29 weeks! Well, actually, it's closer to 30, I guess. So 30, write down 30." *pointing to paperwork and tapping on desk* "30."

Nurse: *laughs* "Oh sweetie, it only FEELS like 39. So when was your last menstrual cycle?"

Me: "Good heavens, that was like seven months ago! I can't be expected to remember that if I can't even remember how pregnant I am."

So I guess telling her that I used to administer vaccinations when I lived in South America fifteen years ago and throwing out the words 'intramuscular' and saying I happened to know it worked just like Gamma Globulin so I was sure I could just jam it into my thigh then be off to go get some breakfast, didn't mean much in the face of such a damning initial impression.

Other than one or two lingering "conditions", which don't really have much to do with my day to day health, I'm generally a well person. I don't even have a primary care physician - that's how often I see a doctor when I'm not pregnant. So I don't really understand why when it comes to pregnancy, I manage to complicate even the simplest of things.

Last Sunday at church I was sitting down (because I lacked the breath control to stand) waiting for my daughter and a woman who is also pregnant was standing next to me. I don't know exactly when she is due but she appears to be approximately 57 weeks pregnant - I think she may have the gestation period of an elephant. Someone else close by asked her how she was doing and mentioned that she looked really uncomfortable. She contradicted, "Oh, not at all! I have had no complications whatsoever and I feel GREAT!" It was all I could do to keep from giving her the finger, right there in front of Jesus.

I am not one of those people pregnancy treats well. I have a million and one complications and can't even get the whole "making blood" thing right. I have an unusual blood type with a negative Rh factor. Because I was short-sighted enough to not check out my boyfriend's blood donor card for a negative mark next to his blood type before agreeing to marry him, I've doomed myself, and possibly my children as well, to the possibility of Rh disease without a series of shots during pregnancy that provide antigens to keep the mother's blood from attacking the baby's blood should the baby turn out to be Rh positive. (There's your Physician's Desk Reference lesson for today... I graduated from Mini Med School... as I'm sure you can tell.)
When the disease is moderate or severe the fetus can have a more marked anaemia and erythroblastosis (erythroblastosis fetalis). When the disease is very severe it can cause morbus haemolyticus neonatorum, hydrops fetalis, or stillbirth.
What amazes me about all this is the following statement on the Wiki entry:
With the widespread use Rho(D) Immune Globulin, Rh disease of the fetus and newborn has almost disappeared.
It's incredible to me that something as commonplace as a mother and father with two different blood types could cause such serious problems in labor and delivery. Granted, it would only happen if for some reason the baby's blood were to cross the placenta and enter into the mother's bloodstream, but up until even a few decades ago, that was kind of a commonplace thing to happen from what I understand. Now, however, there's this simple jab in the ass that takes a few seconds to administer and since 1968 when the serum was introduced, Rh disease is no longer a serious issue for people in this risk category. During my first pregnancy, when I went through the RhoGAM experience, my mother was surprised to find out what Rh disease was. She'd never even heard of it. I don't want to date myself too far, but I came around right around the time that serum was introduced and my brother well after. I guess it just hadn't made it to rural northern states by then.

I'm not sure where I finally come down on the whole vaccination issue. I've chosen to have my child vaccinated because, for me, the risks of catching one of those diseases - especially in childhood - outweigh the risks of issues that might arise from a vaccination. I know people who do not agree with me on that fact and are currently dealing with issues that quite possibly may have been caused by the vaccinations they allowed their children to receive. I respect their opinion insomuch as it's developed by informed intuition. It's not even as black and white as that because there are dozens of options from choosing only specific vaccinations, to not giving them all at the same time. As with pretty much everything in child rearing, what's right for one, may not be right for another.

What I do know for sure is that I'm grateful for the options that medical science gives us. Growing up, my neighbor had quite a pronounced limp. One day I asked about it and learned the story about polio before Jonas Salk came up with a vaccine. Iron lungs, paralysis, electrotherapy, tendon lengthening, nerve grafting... she was just a child when she was diagnosed; it sounded horrible.

Obviously, I don't think medical science has all the answers or I would be bitching a lot less on this weblog about my doctors. I also believe that there is a place for faith and science to meet - after all, they're not even trying to answer the same questions. But I am acutely keen to the advances in recent years which benefit me as a parent every time I strap my child into a car seat and some older-than-me passer-by tsks and comments, "We never had to do that with our kids when they were young... they all just rode in the car without a seatbelt and they were fine. In fact my newborn slept in the back window of our VW bug and nothing ever happened to her." And what I don't reply with (less because I am polite - more because I am a wussy) is: Perhaps, but there were a lot fewer cars on the road then too. And there was a lot less concrete. And more fatalities when there
were car accidents. And frankly, I'm willing to be inconvenienced just a little bit each time I get into the car if it means my child's brains won't be splattered all over the highway when some drunk guy makes an unsafe lane change because my uncle was a funeral director and hearing just one of those stories is enough to make you a car seat aficionado for life.

We live in an age when there is more information available to us than there ever has been before. This can be good, like when you want to avoid a $150 doctor visit and need a quick Google answer to "how many Tylenol can I take for round ligament pain before I get liver damage." But can also be bad, like when your unborn child has just been diagnosed with some as yet unknown problem and you Google "chromosome disorders" to try and figure out what it might be and realize there are 1,990,000 results
. Ultimately, after all is said and done, I'm grateful to have the option.

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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