Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Writer's Worst Nightmare

I'm writing for an online newspaper now. Have I mentioned that? It's a community-driven news source in which many towns have a segment, called Patch. They were looking for moms in my town to give parenting tips and share their personal experiences, putting a local spin on it. I include my own photos, so Desmond is pretty much the star. Tony also got a little cameo this week.

My column is published on Sundays. I clicked over to see the article on the front page this morning (eee!) and as I glanced at the tag line below the heading, I noticed something. Horror of horrors, a TYPO. And not just any typo, it was a stray word in the middle of a sentence that had no business being there. If it was a misspelling or grammatical error, I could almost forgive myself. But this caused the very first sentence, the intro that everyone will see before even clicking on the column, to make no sense at all.

If I had accidentally exposed a nipple on a Christmas card, I would have been less embarrassed.

Frantically, I emailed the editor requesting he make the change. But something tells me his priorities are less aligned with mine on a Sunday morning. It's been an hour with no response. I keep refreshing the site to see if maybe he made the edit without replying to my email.

Oh the shame. My only excuse is the house full of sick, non-sleeping people I'm living in. My mind just aint right. I'll be spending the rest of the day internally chastising myself in a dark room.

For all to see, here is the writer's equivalent of a nip-slip:
My column
Main site for our town

**Edited to add... The editor fixed my slip up. Although there is another minor grammar mistake further in, I should be able to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Never a Dull Moment

Before the whole Sleep Strike 2011 began, we had another eventful evening recently.

In the middle of the night, Tony and I were abruptly awakened by Neely. It was not unusual that he was in our room, as he is free to come and go as he pleases. But we typically can't hear him. He is a dainty fellow, light on his feet and silent. You can't hear him coming unless he lets out one of his soft little "mew"s.

So a muffled "MREWEOW" followed by the raucous scatter of kitty claws all over the wood floor was a bit of a shock at 1am. We both shot up in bed, trying to figure out what was going on. Were we dreaming? Is it the baby monitor? Tony turned on the light.

Thinking back to Neely's recent conquest and not seeing where he was, I said, "Is there a mouse?"

:squeek squeek:


I stood up in the center of the bed and hugged a pillow to my face. I didn't want to see it or hear it or know of it's existence. LA LA LA I'm not here right now! Tony jumped down to scope out the situation. Neely, in stealth kitty hunter mode, had the intruder cornered under a radiator vent.

"CAN I GET TO THE DOOR?" I whisper-yelled to Tony.

"Yes, go now!"

I booked it to the bathroom, shut the door, and stood on the toilet. You can never be too safe.

I heard some further scerfuffle in the bedroom... kitty scatter, "Neely, move!" :squeek:... and then finally :CLAP!:


"It's okay to come out now."

Tony had caught the mouse in a wooden box. Neely eyeballed the box and followed him like he was holding a juicy steak. Tony took the mouse outside... to the car and then drove it to a lovely farm where it could roam free for the rest of his days. Not really. I don't ask questions. The mouse was out of the house, never to return (god please), and that's all that mattered.

We realized after some time to reflect, that Neely likely hadn't found the mouse in our room but had brought it up from downstairs. It was a gift, a gesture of thanks, and maybe a little trophy of his own.

Thanks Neel. I appreciate your mad skillz. But next time, can you get us a nice gift card to Applebees or something? Much love, cat.

Monday, February 21, 2011

And There It Is

I knew it was coming. I dreaded the day. And now it's here. Karmic retribution for speaking publicly about Desmond's amazing ability to sleep. It's been 2+ weeks of zombie hell with no end in sight.

It started off as waking up earlier than usual. His typical 6am rise went to 5:45, then 5:30 (oh how I long for those days), 5... 4:45... 4:30. There were a couple mornings of 3:45 and even a 2am morning, just for shits 'n giggles. Up for the day! Let's play! And cry and babble and whine, and do ANYTHING but SLEEP.

We tried everything to get him to go back down. Rocking vs. soothing in the crib, milk vs. no bottle at all, crying it out vs. taking him in our bed. White noise, soft music, TV. Nothing. Worked. When he was up, he was up. And so were we.

Then he got yet another cold. I've lost count of how many colds he has had this winter. He kicks one and then another strain creeps up in a matter of days. The congestion makes it tough for him to be laying down for long periods. So his pattern lately is to go down at his usual time of 6:30pm, sleep soundly until 11:15pm, and then wake up like there was an alarm blasting in his crib. He'll fall asleep just fine in my arms, but if I put him down, no matter if he's awake or asleep or drowsy, he screams bloody murder.

I finally decided to just lay down and hold that heavy kid in our bed. And that's where he's been staying from 11:30 until the morning the past few days. Tony and I will pass him back and forth to try to give the other some rest. He wakes up every hour or so, giving us a little time to catch some z's. But restful, it is not.

Naps? Who knows. He could go down just fine, he could fight it with all his might. In those cases, it's usually a complete meltdown for all involved and then this:

I'm currently reading a book on this topic, because lord knows we're doing a hundred things wrong through this process. But I can't keep my eyes open long enough to get through a whole chapter.

I don't think we'll start any of the sleep training techniques until he's over this yucky cold. We're not totally heartless. But the mood around the house has been a little frosty. Tony and I are either totally silent or speaking in monosyllabic phrases. We're cordial to eachother on a good day. Sleep deprivation is a cruel mistress.

Goodnight everyone. Sigh...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Secret Hoarding Confession

Remember that post about my tendency toward throwing everything away? I realized a few nights ago that there is one area of my life in which I lean more towards the habit of hoarding. If not a true hoarder, then I'm at least a disgusting slob when it comes to... my nightstand. Right now on the table by the side of my bed there is:

- a lamp
- a box of tissues
- 5 different half empty moisturizers (What? They're all for different things!)
- 2 books
- Nintendo DS
- cell phone
- a water bottle
- a glass of water
- 2 bottles of pills
- hair elastics, headband, and bobbie pins

Don't even ask about the drawer. In it there is a slew of skin, nail, and hair maintenence items, a few magazines, some mail, receipts... basically the contents of your standard Junk Drawer. Also on the shelf underneath there are even more hair items, some empty shopping bags, and a few more books.

On Tony's nightstand is a bottle of water and a remote control. Sometimes he tries to sell me some retail space on his table. But I always find a way to fit another little something on mine with some clever shifting.

I have tried to purge items from this nightmare of a nightstand. But it all seems to find it's way back. Truthfully, besides the contents of the drawer which can easily be closed and forgotten about, I do use everything on the table on a daily basis. And our upstairs bathroom, where some of these things would more appropriately belong, is limited on space and storage.

Basically what I need is an old fashioned vanity, with a mirror and round make-up lights, a cushioned bench, and a silver hair brush. I'd sit at it in a pink robe with feather trim and shoulder pads, wearing my headbands and moisturizing the day away.

I'm picturing something like this:

I also have a strong aversion to wire hangers. So I'm not too far off.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mountain Mama

I apologize for the long break between updates. We've been away for a long weekend with family to the mountains. Lots of fun in the snow, gorgeous scenery, and hanging out by the fire with the people I love most.

It was a blast. Some much needed time away from reality.

I went skiing for the first time in my life. Although it wasn't so much skiing, as it was hysterical, out of control zagging down a mountain, and then falling every 30 feet. Cuz that's how you stop, right? By violently hurling your body, your skis, your poles, and the last stitch of your pride into the snow?

Tony said as he was watching me, there were times he could hear my thoughts saying, "OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT."

Hey, at least I looked the part.

Here's me on the chair lift, mere seconds before I panicked, stayed on too long, and finally flung myself off in a frenzy, forcing the operator to press the big red IDIOT button and halt the lift for everyone. Aint I precious?

Despite my assertions that I would never put on a pair of skis again, I will keep trying. I want to like it. I want it to be fun. I think I CAN do it. Eventually, with lots of practice. The first time was just... wow. A clumsy, discouraging, painful disaster. Tony said I surpassed his expectations. Not quite sure how to take that. Either I did better than I thought, or his expectations were very, very low.

He spent the day on a snowboard, his first time as well. And he was like a graceful swan, the bastard. Sometimes it's really annoying how quickly he picks things up.

We have a chance to go to a smaller, more klutz friendly mountain in a few weeks. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The theme of the weekend was nature. We barely left the house, but it still came barreling in on us from all sides.

It started early Saturday morning when we had some visitors.

Lots of visitors. I think 22 was the final count. We had seen these guys before. They're regulars in the neighborhood.

They're quite entertaining. As long as they stay off the roads and stop giving me a heart attack with all the cars honking.

Later that afternoon we had an ice/rain storm. Because you know, Mother Nature hadn't bared her teeth in a few days. She wanted to make sure we were still paying attention. We listened to the sounds of sleet and freezing rain against the vinyl siding, combined with booming thunder and flashes of lightning. It was actually kinda nice from inside the house.

Early Sunday morning as we slept soundly in our beds, the echos of Mother Nature were making themselves known again. In the form of a HUGE BOOM that shook the entire house. Being woken so suddenly, we were totally confused. I assumed it was another clap of thunder. Tony's thoughts went to the large trees and the potential for branches falling on the house. He ran into the baby's room to make sure he was okay, like the always-thinking and quick-on-his-feet parent. At least one of us is. All was well and Des barely noticed the noise.

The boom was so loud we couldn't figure out where it came from. Tony grabbed a flashlight and began looking all around outside the house. I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the cops with the flashlight beaming in a dark house. Maybe they thought burglars wouldn't be so conspicuous. Tony finally came upon the culprit... a massive ice dam from the upper part of the roof had fallen and landed on the roof below. The next morning he assessed the situation.

Luckily the roof was not damaged.

Apparently these giant blocks of ice were very heavy. Strong husbands are useful in these situations.

And still later that day, we had another brush with nature, inside the house this time. I couldn't get a photo because I was busy standing on a chair with a broom in my hands, living up to every cliche in the book. Yes, we had a mouse.

This house is no stranger to mice. Despite there always being at least one cat around, they love it here. Although since the renovations, they mostly keep to the walls and ceilings. We can hear them scurrying around. I don't mind. As long as they don't make their presence known in any other way whatsoever. So when Tony caught sight of one running toward the play room, out came the traps. And yes, I sleep just fine at night, thank you very much. No bites yet, but I'm sitting here twisting my mustache and rubbing my palms together like a true villain. That little bugger cannot resist the power of a dollop of peanut butter much longer...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Blues

We have been battling an illness over the past few weeks. And by 'we' I mean our poor sweet baby, while Tony and I are popping Zicam like they're breath mints and doing everything short of buying him a pony to keep Des from being miserable. There's nothing sadder than a sick kid, especially when it's your own. After a long day, Tony and I lay in bed talking about how much we wish we could be sick for him. How there should be an invention that can suck out whatever parasite is poisoning our son and inject it into ourselves. How we would very happily provide a cozy home for any virus, as long as it stayed the heck out of our baby.

Dear Geniuses in the Fields of Science and Smart Things, Please invent said mechanism on behalf of parents everywhere. Shanks.

Des had his 12-month well visit with the pediatrician and we found out that he's, well, not so well. At least, not well enough to have his scheduled shots. He had some congestion and a slight cough for a while, but he was eating and sleeping fine and his spirits were up. So we didn't think much of it. But after the doctor spent an unusually long time looking into his ears, he told us that he did in fact have a bad cold and an ear infection. Happy first birthday little dude!

We're on our 2nd round of antibiotics, after the first round didn't quite do the trick. Giving it the old 1-2 punch. For those that are not aware, antibiotics produce amazing works of art in diapers, let me tell you. There was even one when I considered yelling to Tony to grab the camera, but I thought better about achieving that new low. Not yet, mama... give it time.

Despite some understandable bouts of crankiness, Des has been a trooper. Even through the ear pain, fevers, and yucky congestion. We go back to the doctor for the 3rd time next week, in the hopes that everything is cleared up and he can finally get his shots.

And for those that are interested in this kind of stuff, Desmond's 12-month stats are:
Height: 32" (95th percentile)
Weight: 24.4 lbs (70th percentile)

The doctor says he'll be tall and lean like his dad. And that he will "tower over mom." I'm hoping for 6'5", 230 pounds, laser rocket arm. But really, as long as he's healthy it doesn't matter. Right now, health is what we're striving for!

Feel better, budzo.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gift of Gab

If Tony wasn't around, this would be a very quiet house.

He talks a lot. To Des, to me, to the tv, on the phone. He sings songs, real and made up. Having lived together for 10 years, I'm certainly used to it and have never minded. It keeps me entertained.

Just lastnight, as I was doing the dishes and Tony was feeding Des, he said to nobody in particular, "Mmm, blueberries. Nature's... blueberry."

WHAT? I almost peed myself.

It must be a genetic thing because his sister is the same way. When she was our roommate I would hear her talking to the refridgerator as she prepared her lunch. It's fascinating to me, this gift of gab.

So far, Des seems to have taken on my traits when it comes to conversation and general disposition. He babbles a whole slew of syllables and screeches if the mood strikes him. But for the most part he's a pretty quiet kid. Calm and content. He has mastered The Serious Face. He's satisfied to listen and observe, and then he'll pipe in every once in a while with something exceedingly witty and intelligent. Yup, just like mom.

Taking him to stores and restaurants is an easy experience. He sits back and looks around most of the time, pointing at interesting things as if to show his approval. He never really says anything back when the waitresses say hi or tell him he's cute, but he will stare at them until they are out of plain sight. Creepy kid.

I bite my lip a little when I think that Desmond might be more like me in this area. Not that being quiet in itself is a negative thing. But I don't want him to feel shy or insecure, as I have felt in the past. I don't want him to think that he is anything less than the most amazing kid on the planet. Tony is the opposite of me... outgoing, charming, confident. He makes people feel comfortable. Sure he talks a lot, but people also go to him because they know he'll listen.

It's early yet. Des's personality is still forming and coming out in adorable snipits. I'm hoping that he will take on more of the friendly, outgoing personality traits of his father. If not through genetics, then just from exposure to things like "nature's blueberry."

Edited to add photographic evidence of The Serious Face:

photo stolen from Jaclyn S.
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