Saturday, January 31, 2009

The week in review

Monday: I don't work on Mondays, so S. and I had a lovely day at home together. My husband is always looking for a new house to buy, so he can have a project. So my daughter and I went to the bank to get a pre-approval letter for a loan, in case we find a property to buy. There are a few contenders and we're waiting to hear back on one offer. But, my wonderful girl was fabulously well-behaved in the loan officer's office for the 40 minutes it took to fill out the paperwork. I was very impressed and so were the ladies at the bank. Snow started falling in the evening, so I stayed up too late, thinking that we'd stay home the next day.

Tuesday: I woke up to less than an inch of snow, and even though there were predictions for more (and sleet and freezing rain), there was no way I could justify staying home from work for that small amount of snow. So, S and I went to daycare and work, respectively. Once I got to the daycare, there was about 4 inches of snow (and they're only 10 miles away from home). But, daycare was closing early, due to the weather, so I only stayed at work until 12:30. Of course, the freezing rain started at 10 am. And I got to daycare at naptime. Waking my daughter up from her nap is a baaad idea. Oh well, early to bed again for her. Again, I stayed up too late, wondering if it was going to snow enough for me to stay home from work.

Wednesday: This time, I woke up to 6 inches of snow. Hurray! I called in to work and got ready for a day off. Then I remembered that it was trash day. So I put S. in front of the TV (she loves her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), and started shovelling a path down our extremely long driveway. The snow mountain was in front of the house, instead of in front of the driveway, so I only had to dig out the 2 foot pile left by the plow. We went outside around 9:30 to start shovelling the driveway, and I couldn't get the child to go back inside. She loves to play in the snow! I finally dragged her back inside. We had some lunch and then she refused her nap again. So, back outside for more shovelling. She got another early bedtime, which was good for me, because I was busy taking the online Jeopardy test. Don't know if I passed, but I was definitely closer this time than last time.

Thursday: Sad day...had to go back to work. I had an agency request some additional work on a case, which was supposed to go to court next week. Other than that, the day was mostly uneventful. Oh wait, I think this was the day that my husband told me that his sister had her baby. He told me she had a little girl, but didn't elaborate any further. Guess I'll have to call his mom to find out the specifics...but it's The Evil Chad's wife, so I'm not in a hurry on that score.

Friday: Work again. I finished the work from the previous day, and called the agency with results...only to find out that the defendant in the case had pled guilty the previous day. Hey, thanks for telling me. I love to put everything aside to do your work and then have it be ALL FOR NOTHING! I love to waste my time. There's nothing else I could be doing, after all. It's not like I'm working cases from 6 months ago, or anything! AARGH! See blog title for actual reaction...

Saturday: Another lovely day off. The snow is melting. Mountain Dew is on sale at K-mart. S. cooperated at her swim lessons for the first time. She loves swimming, but she is cautious around new people. Even though I'm sitting right there, she is unsure of the teacher, since she's only seen her a few times. But, today, she only had a token protest and then sat right down on the edge of the pool. Now she's even napping! Hurray!

Even though I've had all this time off, my house is a disaster and I will be forced to get off my ass and clean it. Instead, here I am on the computer. Updating my blog, reading other people's blogs, wasting time on Facebook...oh well, there's always tomorrow. So, if you all wouldn't mind doing me a favor and not writing anything I can read, I might actually get something done around here!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. He will be at work, out of state, and we will be missing him. Happy Birthday to my love, who is decent, hard-working, and loving. We hope this is the start of a great year for him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In which I am disappointed and heartened at the same time

Email exchange between my husband and me this morning:

Me: I gave up caffeine for nothing, but at least I can finish that bottle of Merlot now...

Him: Damn it!

Just when I think I'm selfishly forcing what I want on my husband, he surprises me. He likes to tell me that babies are what I want. That he would be perfectly happy never having had kids. I know this is true, as I watch him constantly try to divest himself of belongings. To sever attachments so he is free. To travel to the ends of the earth, for a mission, yes, but also for the thrill of discovery. But then I see how quickly he fell in love with our daughter, and how he loves her now. I see that he is disappointed too. He usually keeps his feelings too close for me to tell what's going on (which is why I am frequently so irritated with him...I never know what he's thinking!) so I think that it is just me.

With our first pregnancies, there was no problem at all getting pregnant. I estimated my ovulation date, and we tried to make a baby. Whenever we tried, fertilization occurred. Two times out of three, there was no baby, but the beginning step was easy and always successful. Here we come to my main fear. How much work will it take to have another baby, and how far am I willing to go? I know that, since my eggs are already 40 (thanks for counting age at delivery, OB's of the world), I should not be expecting to get pregnant easily. But I do, because that's how it has been in the past. And each time I don't get pregnant, I have to confront the fact that there may be obstacles.

To date, I have been facing these facts alone. But today, even though I got that BFN, I know I'm not alone in my disappointment. I do have a companion on this journey, even though he pretends to send me along on my own. When we work together, we can really accomplish the things we want to do. (Um...well, as long as there are no issues about methods or who's in charge - since we're both a couple of stubborn know-it-alls). Thanks to my husband, even in my disappointment, I find my hope renewed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A trip to the zoo

Have you heard of squeaker shoes? They're shoes for beginning walkers that have squeakers (like a dog toy) in the heels, supposedly to teach kids to walk on their heels instead of their toes. They weren't available here until recently, but my sister had purchased some in China for her daughters when they were there. She had a pair that were too small for daughter #2, so she sent them to my daughter.

A year ago last fall, I took my daughter to the zoo. We have a great zoo and I like to go pretty often, but I think this was only our second trip. She was just starting to walk, and the only shoes she had were squeaker shoes. We were going through one of the habitats that included a bunch of different animals, like warthogs, elephants, hippos, and cheetahs. It was a perfect autumn day...temperature in the upper 60's, sunny, and pleasant. I was pushing the stroller along the trail, and we came to a rather flat, straight, and not very occupied section. We stopped to check out the cheetahs. They were all lolling about, sleeping in the sun. There was one sitting upright, keeping an eye on the neighborhood. My daughter seemed uninterested in the cheetahs, but she was getting a little antsy, so I put her down to let her walk for a while.

Off she went...squeak, squeak, squeak...she turned around to look for mommy and smile. Squeak, squeak...Mommy notices that all of the cheetahs have abandoned their sleeping and are sitting up and looking around...squeak, squeak...uh-oh, maybe these shoes have the same effect on cheetahs that they would have on dogs...squeak, squee-time to get back in the stroller before those cheetahs think they've found lunch!

On we went, quickly, down the trail. Those cats were definitely looking for the lunch cart. We went on to watch the frantic elephants...there was a baby elephant that was only a few months old. He and his mom were separated from the male elephant. Mom and Dad were not very happy about the separation, and were making increasingly aggressive attempts to get to each other through what appeared to be electrified fencing. It was a somewhat disturbing trip...further visits have been more peaceful. For us, anyway.

The next week, we heard on the news that a cheetah had taken the leap and escaped his enclosure. He was roaming around the zoo for a short period of time before they put him back in the enclosure. I think those squeaky shoes inspired a bid for freedom (or at least different food).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Show and Tell

I was looking around the house for something interesting to share for Show and Tell. Didn't really come up with anything, so here's a picture of our mantel with the stuff on it.

From left to right:

The blue bottle was a gift from a friend.

The ceramic vase was purchased in Nove, Italy. It's a fantastic place with warehouses full of any kind of ceramic item you could ever hope to find. I even got some Banana Republic ceramics seconds (a cake plate).

The nesting dolls were purchase by my husband in Uzbekistan or Afghanistan when he served there in 2002-2003. I'm half Polish, so we've always had sets of nesting dolls around in my family. But, since I don't know if they have lead paint, they have to be up where my daughter can't reach them.

A mantel clock inherited from my aunt. My grandmother (dad's mother) purchased it, probably in the 1940's or earlier.

A cloisonne vase purchased by my sister in China when she and her husband went to adopt their second daughter there. When they went to get their first daughter, she bought us cloisonne Christmas ornaments, but mine broke before I could use it. More lead paint questions...

An American flag given to my husband on his return from serving in Afghanistan.

The picture also implies that we might have some low ceilings, as the mantel and the crown molding appear to be really close. Actually, we have a REALLY tall mantel. My husband built it and I'm not sure why it's that tall.

So, go and visit Mel to see what everyone else is showing today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back in the saddle again

What saddle, you ask? Well, actually, there are a couple.

My husband went back to work today, so I'm back in the single parent for the moment saddle. The older my daughter gets, the more she can express her displeasure when Daddy leaves for a few weeks. It's usually a bedtime tantrum (for an hour or so), which is very tiring. But she's such a good girl.

I'm also back in the productivity saddle at work. I had a lot of vacation time that I had to use (or lose) in December, so I took quite a bit of time off. I also had a particularly time consuming and nasty case to work, so I didn't get a lot done. I'm approximately one full month behind where I should be for my annual review that will happen in April. Too bad I don't care much about productivity...and the fact that there have been time-stoppers slowing me down left, right, and center. But, so far this month, I've been cruising right along. I can only hope that continues.

Finally, I'm back in the 2 week wait saddle. My husband remains unconvinced that another child is a good idea. But, he was considerate enough to toss his reservations for the moment, because deep down, he wants a son (although he would be perfectly happy with another girl to adore him). We get pregnant without assistance, so I don't even measure or chart anything. I get to guess-timate. We took our chances during our prime time weekend. Today, however, when I talked to my husband, he said that he had talked to God and God said that I was pregnant. I would be skeptical about this, but for the fact that I, too, talk to God and feel that He answers. And, when I asked, I got the same answer. So, if I get a BFN, I will be even more disappointed. But, if I get the BFP, then the fun begins. Drugs, injections, fear, worry, tests, more fear, more worry...Apparently, I'm crazy, because no sane person would do this to themself.

Those are the ups and downs of my days lately. Now, it's time to go and snuggle in bed under my nice, warm comforter while the temperature falls into the single digits. Of course, my husband had to leave TODAY.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

To continue the mailbox theme

When we were building our house, we had to submit plans to a committee to get the plans approved. Well, our original contractor was a complete fuckwit (more on that another time) and submitted the least professional house drawing ever known to man. So, of course, the committee would not approve the plan. The contractor refused to send them anything different, so my husband found a picture in one of those house plan books that he liked and submitted it. The plan based on that picture was approved.

The committee consists of a married couple in our subdivision, Bob and Nancy. They are also the keepers of the mailboxes. Apparently, the subdivision bought a bulk supply of mailboxes, and you are given one free one when you build your house, but you have to get it from Bob and Nancy.

As we were building our house, we had some slight deviations from the plans that were submitted. Since the deviations involved changing a window from one with an arch over the middle to one without an arch, I didn't see it as any major deal for which I needed to get approval from the committee. We were still well within the specifications for appearance/size/amount of brick that are set in the covenants. So, we were very close to finishing the house. We had already moved in. The only thing we needed to do was to get some decorative arches and posts installed on our front porch. We were in the process of getting bids for this job.

Since we had moved in, I decided it would be a good time to get a mailbox. So, I called Bob and Nancy. They told me to stop by, so I went to their house, thinking I would get a mailbox. When I got there, they told me that they didn't have the mailboxes there, they were in storage. But, had I received the letter that they had sent me? I had not received the letter, so they got me a copy. Then they told me that they would drop off the mailbox at the weekend.

The letter was a notice that we were not conforming to our plan and the window was not correct. At this point, the window in question had been bricked in for 5 months. So, we read the letter and then laughed and said "There's nothing we can do about it now."

Along came Saturday. The doorbell rang and my husband answered it. It was Bob and Nancy. They had our mailbox, Nancy told him, but they wouldn't give it to us until we had addressed the issues in the letter. My husband said that if we had received the letter at such a time when we could have done anything about it, maybe we could do something, but it was way too late now. So Nancy told him that we had to comply with the approved plan or the subdivision would not approve us moving in. J told her that the subdivision couldn't really stop us from moving in, since the village had already approved the build. He also told her that we were in compliance with the covenants as far as the appearance went, so he didn't know why she was making such a big deal about it. So, Nancy, who is a woman that doesn't like to be challenged, said that we would have to change according to the original plan or the subdivision would sue us. My husband told her that he didn't think the subdivision would approve of wasting money in that fashion, but if that's the way she wanted it, she could go ahead and sue. And by the way, J told her, you can get off my property or I will call the police and have you removed.

So, as this discussion was going on, Bob and I were just standing there. Bob would try to intervene in the argument, but J and Nancy pretty much ignored him. Once J threatened to call the police, I turned to Bob and said, "It looks like this discussion is getting a little too heated. Maybe you and I can reach some sort of resolution." At this point, I was treated to the ultimate in asinine male behavior. He ignored my statement and said, "Look, J, we can work this out." So, I said, "Fine, if that's the way you want it," and I turned around and opened the front door to go inside. Then he decided to backtrack and try to deal with the only remaining rational person there (Me!).

So, he took out the original drawing and started pointing out all the things that were wrong with the house. First was the window. I told him that I had decided to change the window because I didn't like the one in the drawing. Regardless, if he had wanted the window changed, he should have let us know before the brick went on. It was too late to do it now. Then he pointed out that the windows were supposed to have shutters. I said, again that was my decision but we can put shutters on if you're going to insist on it. Then he told me that there was supposed to be molding under the soffit all along the house. Because I was pissed at that point, I refused to acknowledge that what he was pointing at in the picture was molding. I said it was just the way the drawing looked. There was no molding. He insisted there was molding. I told him that we'd have to agree to disagree, because I wasn't going to put up molding.

Finally, we got to the real reason they were actually there. They were worried because it had appeared that the front of the house had been finished for quite a while, but the arches and posts were not installed. They thought we were not going to put them in. We told them that we were getting bids and that we would get the arches installed soon. Once we got this straightened out, after much more glaring on the part of J and Nancy, they conceded that we could get our mailbox.

So, now, due to Nancy's bad behavior, I refer to them as Sid&Nancy. Because Nancy was such a bad influence on Sid Vicious, just like Nancy is on poor Bob.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Final update

Yes, the Street Department in my town has been heard from again. It's nothing less than I deserve for making phone calls to them.

I received a letter that said "I am sorry to inform you that last night during the winter storm, one of our salt trucks accidentally struck your mailbox. The Village will place a temporary mailbox in front of your house for you to continue to receive mail from the post office until the Village fixes or replaces your mailbox. Once again I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cost you."

I think they hate us.
I was tagged by Martha for a Photo Treasure Hunt tag where you
1. Go to the 4th picture folder on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 more people.

If I remember correctly, I believe I was trying to capture our very rare April snowstorm, as well as the giant ditch forming in our front lawn due to weeks of rain. My husband didn't believe me on either count, so I needed photographic proof. Note the mailbox, upright for once!

I would like to tag


From Martha
Four is a sacred number in many cultures and religions including the Zia tribe of New Mexico, The Four cups of wine drunk during Jewish Passover, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. We have many examples in biology and nature. The four chambers of the human heart, a four leaf clover, hmm, it's wonderful to meditate on this and I thank Kimbosue for helping remind me with this fun Tag treasure hunt.

A mailbox tale (or three)

This morning, I woke up at my usual early time. I got dressed and went to the front door to put on my shoes for my morning walk. As I looked out the windows, I noticed that the streets and sidewalks looked...shiny and wet. I hoped they were wet, but I discovered upon leaving the house that they were icy. So, I skated down the sidewalk, detoured onto the front lawn to walk halfway down the driveway, and noticed that our mailbox was once again lying on its side.

Our mailbox is probably the worst design ever invented. However, our subdivision covenants require that we all have the same mailbox. Access to the mailboxes is allowed only by the mailbox trolls (also known as Sid&Nancy, also known as the Design and Planning Committee (or some such nonsense), also known as the house plan enforcers, but that's a story for another day). Here is a picture of a similar mailbox:

It looks lovely, but is not very durable. Three years ago, I was at work one afternoon and noticed that I had a voice mail message. The message was something on the order of this:

"Hello, this is Loopy Seagull*, Mayor of Whoville (the town where we live). I'm calling to let you know that this morning, my mother-in-law was at a garage sale on your street and when she was leaving, she backed into your mailbox and knocked it over. Of course, we will repair or replace the mailbox. Please give me a call and let me know what you would prefer."

I thought this was a mistake. We live on # East XXXX Drive and we're always getting mail (or free lawn aeration) for the people who live at # West XXXX Drive. I hadn't seen any signs for garage sales that morning, so I was confused. But, as it turns out, he had the correct house. Our mailbox was knocked over by the mayor's (elderly) mother-in-law. I thought this was quite husband was not so amused. He saw only the downed mailbox, while I appreciated the silliness of having to ask your water clerk to look up a resident's phone number so you could call and tell them that your mother-in-law had knocked over their mailbox. Mayor Seagull contacted the mailbox trolls (who were, of course, on vacation) and finally, after about 10 days, our mailbox was replaced and we were getting our mail again.

A few months later, a friend had come over for dinner and a movie (and a couple beers, of course). As she was backing down our driveway, we heard a CRUNCH. Our mailbox is a minimum of 60 feet from the house, so it was a pretty good hit. But, she only scratched the mailbox - it was still standing.

Part of the problem is that both our street (we live on a cul-de-sac) and our driveway are curved. So, it is extremely difficult to back down our driveway without veering onto the grass (or into the mailbox).

The next incident was about a year and a half ago. I was working part time, and my daughter would usually go to grandma's for the two days a week that I was working. Sometimes, grandma would come to stay with us. Whenever she did that, one of my sisters-in-law, who lives nearby, but with whom we don't interact much, would come by with her little boy and hang out at our house for the afternoon. Without our knowledge or permission. Now, on one hand, she's family, and so what's the big deal? But on the other hand, she doesn't spend any time with us at our house at all. We only see her at her parents' house or maybe at one of her sisters' houses. So it would kinda irritate me and really irritate my husband when she would do this. I was at work one day, and MIL was at home with S. I got a phone call from MIL, who told me that SIL had backed over our mailbox. MIL, who is a sweet, kind, non-cussing, good Catholic lady actually said "Shit." This time, because it would be cheaper, SIL's husband (the evil Chad) had to come over and take the mailbox to the welder for repair and then come and reinstall it. FYI, I hate the evil Chad with a passion, which is part of the reason we don't interact with SIL much.

So, the mailbox is down again. I don't know how it got that way, but maybe the salt trucks hit it. Or maybe our neighbor's daughters' teenage friends backed into it. Or maybe the weld failed and the ice became too heavy and the stupid thing just fell over. Who knows? Now I won't be getting my mail for a few days...

*Names have been changed to protect the upstanding citizens. Nancy of Sid&Nancy and the Evil Chad do not deserve protection...

UPDATE: According to my husband, the mailbox is gone (although the base is still securely attached) and in its place is a white post with a platform held up by some sandbags. I'm beginning to think it was the salt truck...I don't think the village of Whoville likes our mailbox. They're going to have a tough time fixing the mailbox without that base...

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I'm sick. I never used to get sick. This is the 3rd sore throat I've had in the last year. Plus fever/aches. On top of all that, I've run out of orange juice (that plus ibuprofen is my miracle cure), and I'm being subjected to my husband's miracle cures (Airborne, zinc, vapo-rub on the throat with a sock wrapped around it).

We're watching Rambo. We agree that, in its time, it was a really good movie. But any movie where Stallone is the star but only has about 10 lines is good in my book.

I think it's time for bed. Tomorrow we take down the Christmas tree.