Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Kitchen And A Dream

Chester installed the new kitchen faucet last night. We had a little fight right after dinner, so I suggested we both go to our separate corners and work on projects instead of watching TV together.

The Price Pfister faucet we bought is beautiful. It was a pain to install since we're dealing with such old pipes under the sink, but it was worth it.

I sat and stared at it for a few minutes last night. I'm trying to get inspired with ideas for redecorating the kitchen. My current idea is Wedgewood Blue. The faucet has a bit of a colonial edge to it, and something feminine and classic would complement the style lines, I think. Maybe red and lime green for some playful pop.

I'm also trying to decide if we should redo the floor in a vinyl or go all out for stone or tile. Right now, it's a linoleum with a large, vivid orange and brown floral motif. As we moved it, the linoleum started to peel up and crack in some places, so it wouldn't be out of the question to replace it. It seems a shame to me, but I'm kind of leaning towards vinyl. It's cheaper and easier to install. Maybe a faux-stone tile look.

For window treatments, I'm thinking lace. Very girly, I know.

As for the cabinets. Yikes. Right now they have solid fronts. The doors are painted a cream color while the cabinets are white. I hate it. Lots. The door handles are the original "clicky" ones that lock automatically. At first I thought they were cool, now I think they're a pain. There's one that is hard to unlock on the first try. So I'm thinking we'll lose them all and replace them with something simple and chrome. Maybe with a beautiful curve. The doors will need to be repainted of course. Ideally, I'd like to put skinny little frames on the doors, kind of like an inlay, to dress them up a bit. I don't know how much that material costs though.

What color for the doors? Depends on if I can do the inlay. If I can, I'll paint the outer portion a different color than the interior.

The counter tops might need to stay as is for a few years. Those seem expensive to replace. The backsplash right now is an awful, beige and brown floral panel that could just be painted over for now. I'd like to handpaint some tiles with the wedgewood blue color and put those up, but that might be a while.

So much fun to dream and imagine!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ben's smile, bumps and bruises

Ah, Mommyhood.

I swear to God, that kid's smile melts my heart everytime. As he's grown, he's developed this special little grin that starts in his eyes and spreads to his mouth. By the end of the smile cycle, it's a big, squinty-eyed smile that shows all 8 teeth.

My dear Ben was banged up and gashed on Saturday. It was a rough day to be Ben. We started out the day by going to our old apartment to get a headstart on the cleaning. What mischief could a 12-month old possibly get into in an empty apartment? He found it. Our old apartment was the lower half of a duplex, originally a one-family house. So a closet in our dining room was actually stairs going up to the second floor (but led nowhere since it was converted). Ben thought it would be fun to climb the stairs while Mamma and Daddy weren't in the room. Bang.

He got a big old egg on his left eyebrow, complete with little cut that didn't bleed much. But geez, it looked like it hurt. We held him for about 30 minutes until he finally fell asleep. He wasn't crying after a couple minutes, but he DID NOT want to be put down.

Later in the day, as Chester was "fixing" the tub faucet in the bathroom (he broke it), Ben was helping and slipped and hit his forehead on the tub. That's the reason for the nice red bruise above his right eye.

Then, when he toddled into the bathroom to find trouble for himself, he played with the toilet seat. We're buying a lock for that thing tonight. Why? He whipped the seat cover down on his head so hard, it knocked him to the floor. Ouchie.

Yesterday was a good day, though. He seemed a lot happier in the new house. No crying jags, no whining and neediness. Just exploring and playing and cuddling.

Saturday night, my mom took me and my little family and my sister-in-law and her two boys out for dinner after we got done cleaning. I ordered chili as my soup, and I let Ben try a few kidney beans. After he got used to the slight spiciness of it, he seemed to really enjoy it. I felt better to know that there is now another food he will eat. French fries are still his favorite. One in each fist.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Work Woes

I can't seem to catch up on my sleep. Usually, I'm able to be in bed by seven-thirty. (I know... don't hate me). But there's so much else I could be doing at the new house... I tend to stay busy until eight before I remind myself of bedtime. I hope this is just a phase, because I don't want to have to start drinking coffee again.

My work life is going to start changing today. Our company is installing *Product Name Deleted* on all of our computers. It's called a workflow intelligence system. Whatever. It's Big Brother. Any program that requires me to click a button before I go for a bathroom break or to get a drink of water is intruding a bit too far. It's supposed to capture our production data in real time to create accurate estimates for schedules and KPI (key performance indicators). Since KPI is what our yearly raises are based on, this program becomes quite important. Currently, our KPI is pretty much recorded using the honor system. I write down everything work-related that I do every day and submit it to my boss on a weekly basis.

This program will record how much time I spend in each application throughout the day. I never let my internet use make me miss a deadline, but I do spend a lot of time browsing and dinking around at various websites. I'm good at managing my time, and if I don't have anything on my desk, I always volunteer to help out other departments. Regardless, though, my position does have some downtime. The production schedules don't keep everyone in every department busy at all times, and I have to wait on other areas to finish their work before I can begin mine.

I told my bosses that if I get fired because of this dang program, it's their loss. I'm the best proofreader they've had in years. My bosses responded by reminding me that they already know about how much time I spend on the internet.

It still bothers me though. It's not like I'm a big libertarian who resents any kind of authority figure telling me what to do. I have a very strong work ethic. I make sure that I do quality work and meet my deadlines. This program doesn't measure quality... and that's a factor that I feel is greatly overlooked at this company. Since quality is hard to quantify in terms of sales, it becomes an afterthought. So while other people in the company produce shoddy work and don't meet deadlines, I do my best and produce excellent work consistently and meet deadlines. This program won't measure that. Instead, I might get reprimanded for internet use, while Co-worker who is just not good at his job stays on task all the time, but still can't manage to do good work.

My boss says this program will probably just be a fad like other programs that have passed through the company before. What she doesn't understand is how expensive and intensive this program is. If it doesn't work out, someone's going to lose a job over it.

The good news is, we plan on me becoming a SAHM late in my next pregnancy. So I better get busy and get a baby cooking in the oven. That way I won't have to deal with this crap.

The point of this whole story is that I'm not going to be able to blog or browse blogs while I'm at work that much anymore. I might be able to, but it'll be sporadic. I don't want to lose this community of friendship and support I found, and it'll make me sad if I'm not able to connect with you guys on a daily basis. Luckily, we have the internet at home, but you know how it is. In the few hours of "home" I have every night before bed, there are other priorities besides blogging. Like loving The Boy. And laundry, dishes, cleaning, fornicating... you get the drift.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Adultery, Split Personality Ben, Moving Woes

For starters, I'd like to say that adultery should be illegal, especially when children are involved. It's a horrible, ridiculously selfish way to end a marriage. Luckily, Chester agrees with me. There's a scandal here at work where a co-worker of mine was caught with another co-worker. She had called in sick, and he had the day off. An uppity, nosy friend of the guy barged in and snapped pictures to present to his wife. She, of course, already knew, but the pictures provide ammo in any future proceedings.

Anyway. The moral of this story is: Cheating is disgusting. I hate having to work with these people. If they feel like they belong together and that his marriage was a mistake, for goodness sakes, end the marriage first. They both ruined their reputations. And for what? Well, a polite lady like me won't elaborate.

On to more pleasant matters... my son. Yesterday, the urgent care doctor diagnosed him with a double ear infection. Ben and Daddy stayed home together and cuddled a lot. By the evening, Ben was feeling better, but not 100%. Right before bedtime, his fever started spiking again and continued to do so throughout the night. Poor widdle man. So miserable.

He woke up shortly after midnight after peeing through his diaper and sheets and blankets. I changed him and his crib, and he went back to sleep relatively quickly. He woke again at 4:30, just because he was feeling poorly. I hugged him and cuddled him for a little bit, but nothing was making him happy. I put him back down and let him whimper himself back to sleep.

This morning, he was kind of okay for a while, then started the crying thing again. We didn't have time to sit with him and cuddle him, so he just cried and whined. Yes, we felt awful about it. He seemed to prefer to be in his pack-n-play again, on his back, with a pacifier and a blankie. He still cried though.

But, we brought him to daycare. He toddled around and visited his favorite ladies. We left, and I was almost crying because I was so worried about him. I kept thinking he would be miserable there today. That all he'd do is sit there and whimper and cry with no Mamma or Daddy to rock him and give him tylenol.

Since I didn't get a call from daycare this morning telling me that he was unhappy, I called them after lunch. How is he? "He's great. Had a lot of fun playing this morning, and he just woke up from a nap."

What the hell? Is this my son she's talking about?

We got hit with the Split Personality Child Syndrome. Ben behaves one way with us, but a totally different way with other people. I guess I don't really blame him. Moving has been a horrible ordeal for him. Very disorienting. Add suffering with a double ear infection, and you get an unhappy, needy boy.

Hopefully, we'll get our house in order within a couple of weeks, and then Ben can start to feel more confident and secure in his new surroundings.

Hell, hopefully I'll start to feel more confident and secure in MY new surroundings. I do have to say, though, that I really enjoyed using my new high-efficiency, front-loading washing machine last night. I did three loads before bedtime. Why? It was so much fun. The ten-year-old (at least) dryer wasn't nearly as delightful, but the clothes got dry in a reasonable time, even if it was so loud we could hear it from the second floor.

You know at the end of the moving process? When all the major stuff is moved and then you go through the place and throw all the little miscellaneous crap into a basket? Yeah. We have about three of those baskets in what will be our dining room. This is all stuff I didn't have homes for in our old apartment, and I can't even begin to think of where they should go here. I'm very tempted to just bring them all downstairs to the basement, and then we'll bring up the stuff as we realize we need it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Look Ma, I'm a Home Owner

So we moved. What a roller coaster ride. I'll take it day by day.

We woke up as usual and brought The Boy to daycare. Off to Walmart to buy paint and other stuff. Went back to the apartment to sit and try to pass the time. We were at the title company fifteen minutes early, but luckily, the lady was ready for us, and Chester was able to start signing all the paperwork right away. My name's not on the deed or the mortgage. I'm okay with that. Wisconsin is a community property state anyway, so I'd be protected in case of anything serious happening.

So we got the keys to OUR HOUSE. We drove there and went in and took a close look at everything. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this house, but this process was depressing. Nice, "everything's perfect" houses were out of our price range. The house we did buy is older and in good condition, but still not totally terrific. A little bit of a fixer-upper.

1. There's not actually plumbing for a shower. It's a hose coming up from the tap and then the hand-held shower head is screwed into the wall. We will be ripping out the wall to actually run some plumbing pipe and actually have a real shower, not a jerry-rigged one.

2. Since the house didn't technically have a shower, the dumbasses put the heating vent for the bathroom in the shower stall. The vent is right at our line of sight, maybe a little above, right where we stand to shower. This is intensely annoying. We'll need to re-route the vent over the shower and through the space above the shower ceiling. We will have to rip out the ceiling and then patch the shower surround where the vent was.

3. The kitchen stove. There's not a hood above the stove. As a matter of fact, the cabinets over the stove are a mere foot above the back burners. This Is Not Safe. I refuse to cook on the back burners unless we pull the stove into the middle of the kitchen a bit. The fix for this is a little more difficult than the bathroom stuff. The cabinets are original, and we'd like to keep them, but Chester will have to take the doors off, cut the bottom half of the cabinet off, reinforce the bottom, install a hood, re-work and re-shape the cabinet doors to reuse the old, original hardware. This is a complicated project since all of the cabinets are connected and built as one-piece. There will be some creative circular saw work going on.

4. The window in Ben's bedroom needs to be replaced. The panes pop right out with a little pressure. There's storm windows, but it's still not a safe scenario, and it's definitely not energy efficient. That whole north wall of his bedroom looks like it had some extensive water damage several years ago and had to be replastered. It's all wonky and bulging in some places. This is by far, the most expensive fix we've come across. The window is about five feet across, so replacing it will be pricey. This will have to wait until summer at least.

That's about it. The rest is just cosmetic and not really necessary. This was enough to throw me into an emotional tailspin on Friday. I just sat in the corner of our empty dining room and cried. I didn't want to move, I didn't want the house, I didn't want the responsibility, and I definitely didn't want change. Poor Chester. How much he has to put up with!

I devoted the evening to playing with Ben and picking up all the house clutter to prepare for the Hell That Would Be Saturday.

We wake up. We run around like headless chickens, pulling everything together, taking everything apart. Chester runs Ben to the babysitter's house. When he gets back, some of the moving help has arrived, and I pack up the kitties. I get the joy of transporting the screaming, hissing cats to the new house. At this point I just pretty much sit in the corner and watch the show. All the guys are hauling and carrying and being efficient.

It took three loads to get everything over to the new place. Instead of actually bringing the boxes and furniture to the rooms I had indicated (I used masking tape to label everything with the room name that the item belonged in), they just piled everything into the living room and dining room. I'm okay with that, I guess, but it was kind of a let down to realize that we had to haul all of Ben's furniture upstairs ourselves.

By the time we picked up Ben, my sister and her family were just half an hour away from arriving. They came to see the new house and to visit. Then my mother showed up. Chaos ensued. My sister's family was hungry, so my mom took them to get something to eat. I was left alone an eight-year-old, a 12-month-old, and a 2-month-old. When they got back, my dear mother didn't know where to park, so she drove down the alley and pulled into our backyard. And got stuck in the snow.

My sister, at this point, realized that it was a huge pain in the butt for her to have come over like this, and started to carry boxes down into the basement or upstairs (depending on the nifty label). I tried to explain to her that I didn't really care, that I liked the company. Oh well.

After she left, my mom and I went to Shopko to shop. I bought a slipcover for our sofa and curtains and curtain rods for our living room. For some reason, this made me intensely more satisfied with our new house.

The only goal I set for myself was to put away the kitchen stuff. First things first, though. We showered and bundled up and went out for breakfast. Then to the hardware store to spend too much money on things like kitty doors, shower rods, baby gates, etc. When we got home, it was time for my weekend nap (I insisted). Ben napped as well. He was kind of fussy and not feeling the greatest, and he slept on and off all day.

We got a bunch of little stuff done, but everything is still looking chaotic and messy. We paid more attention to Benji. He started spiking a fever yesterday afternoon. Very miserable. Poor widdle man.

Chester took the day off. He brought Ben to Urgent Care after dropping me off at work. Benji has an ear infection. They will stay home together and cuddle. I'm at work again, ready to pretend that my life is normal, orderly and predictable. Geez, this was a long post.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Moving. Really. No. REALLY.

Last night as I slept (or didn't sleep), my mind kept running through a huge assortment of tasks that I need to perform TODAY. What is significant about today? Ummm. It's the day before we get the keys to our new house. It's also the first day that I can officially pack up the essentials.

That's it folks. Everything's getting packed up tonight. We're leaving out a few changes of clothes per family member, and a couple extra rolls of toilet paper, but otherwise, everything's going in a box (or a suitcase, or a laundry basket).

Left to Pack, by Cheryl.
Seven half-eaten boxes of cereal.
Spices and Baking Supplies.
Dried Pasta.
Instant Oatmeal.
The Blender.
The Can Opener.
The Toaster.
The Rest of Our Dishes.
Cookware. (Like I'm actually going to be cooking in the next few days).
Thus concludes the kitchen.

Ben's room, the one we tried to leave as much as possible so he would have some stability.
Sheets and Blankets off of his spare bed.
Extra changing table accoutrements, like our supply of diapers, Diaper Genie refills, baby wipes, etc.
Curtains and Curtain Rods.
His Clothes.
His Extra Blankies.

The Hall Closet.
Sheets, Pillowcases.
Socks, Underwear.
Maxi Pads.

Um yeah. That's about it. Everything else, like the rest of Ben's toys, will be hauled over to the new house in laundry baskets. It's just not worth packing.

Adira Update, or, The Tale Of The Peeing Cat:
The director of our local humane society suggested that I'd feel a lot better about my decision if I went ahead and spent the money on a UTI test for my cat. I'll also explore the idea of kitty prozac. And really, last night, as I was trying to get to sleep but couldn't because she was lying on my belly and I wanted to turn over, I was petting her and trying to imagine life without her. I couldn't. I hated the idea of her dear body being lifeless. But oh well. If it ends up needing to happen, I'll put the health of my children over the life of my cat.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why Can't You Just Pee In The Damn Box?

For the past week, I've been trying to convince myself to be unemotional about this. To detach myself from the emotional aspect of this issue and just do it.

When I was a little girl, I had lots of cats. Since my dad was allergic, they were outdoor cats. For the most part, I just had two at a time. Sometimes, after a birth, as many as five. Since they were outside, inevitably cats would get run over. And my mother, being Wonder Mom, would get the shovel and scrape up the kitty remains and get a shoe box for me to bury.

I could never figure out how she could do it. My little heart was broken, and there she was, all stalwart and matter-of-fact, peeling kitty parts off the street. Of course now I realize she had never developed an attachment to my cats. Any pain she was feeling was for me and the pain I was going through. They weren't really her pets, though.

Now as an adult, I have two cats. Adira, an orange tabby from the shelter, came to me when I was seventeen. She's been my best friend ever since. Very affectionate, very possessive. When she was five, I adopted a companion for her, a little white kitten with one blue eye and one yellow eye. Maisie. They tolerate each other, and seem to enjoy harassing each other. They fight, and they lick each other's wounds.

When Chester moved in with me, Adira developed an issue. She started to pee on the floor a foot away from her litter box. At first she would only do this when her box was overdue for a change, but then she'd start doing it randomly. So we did what the experts recommend. We tried changing her litter to a different brand. We added another box so she wouldn't have to compete with Maisie for box time. We experimented with box privacy, like having one with a hood, without, etc. We religiously cleaned the floor where she'd pee with enzyme cleaners. Many different brands just in case one was better than the other.

Nothing worked. For a while, she'd only do it about once a month. When I was pregnant with Ben, it made me nervous, and figured we'd have to deal with it more drastically when he was toddling around. I would have to train him about being around litter boxes without playing in them, but it would be hard to train him to spot the puddle and to stay away.

Adira knows that life is going to be changing again. She glares at me every time I pack another box. And she's peeing on the floor at least once a day now.

To be honest, we can't afford the vet bills necessary to diagnose any possible health problems. And the vet doesn't think it's a physical problem anyway (personally, I don't either). We can barely afford vaccinations, let alone lab work. It's not like we can get public assistance for vet bills. The state just doesn't care.

So where does that leave us? We're moving this weekend into a house with hardwood floors. Cleaning pee off of linoleum is one thing, but trying to get all of it out of hardwood floors would be next to impossible.

I emailed our local humane society this morning to ask about surrender fees. I know Adira's not a good candidate for adoption, and that she would be put to sleep. It's intensely sad and upsetting. I feel like such a cold, heartless bitch for considering it. I love her dearly, but I can't have her live with me anymore.

I will miss her fat, warm little body curled up against my belly every night when I'm trying to get to sleep. I toss and turn at least three times before I'm comfortable, and she's never gotten the hint to wait about fifteen minutes before cuddling with Mommy. It's a dance of kicking her off of my body pillow every five minutes and then welcoming her back. Maisie is a nice cat, but Adira is something special. We've always had a very emotional, psychic connection. She's been through all my dramas of my early twenties, all my roommates, all my moods.

So. What Would Mommy Do? That Wonder Mom who could scrape dead kitty bodies off of the street and help her daughter bury the remains? That Wonder Mom who hasn't had a pet of her own for years? Well, the secret about Wonder Mom is her incredibly tender heart but steely will and courage. She would weep and mourn the loss of a pet, but she would do what's best for her family.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Surreal Mondays

Things Cheryl Shouldn't Do
1. Scrape paint off of a garage in the middle of January in Wisconsin.
2. Paint a garage in the middle of January in Wisconsin.
3. Do this while wearing her only winter jacket (wool).

Yesterday was one of those surreal days where you don't know whether to scream, cry, or huddle under the blankets and wait for the day to end. For the most part, we did the huddling under the blankets thing. We had MLK day off from work, but day care, bless them, was open. So Ben went to school, and we came back home and napped. No. I'm still not feeling well.

Our mortgage lady called and said that the garage at the new house needs to be scraped and painted before the FHA inspector will sign off. So that's what we did. We didn't want to put bets on the seller getting around to it before Friday. He doesn't live there anymore, and he's not around often.

It was cold, icky, dirty job to scrape old paint off of asbestos-fiber-board siding. We only had to do the east side (the back), but it still sucked. Painting was the messiest, though. Chester ruined completely one half of his winter coat (it's a two-in-one thing, so we only had to throw out the shell), and I got a bit of paint on my cuffs and my elbow of my nice wool winter coat. Kind of depressing, but it's not like we keep old winter coats around in case we need to paint in the middle of January. OUTSIDE.

We survived. And then we got some really upsetting news. So Chester's debt with MBNA was sold to a collection agency when MBNA merged with Bank of America. And when we were all set to offer a settlement last month and be done with it, the collection agency "made a mistake" and "had to cancel his account." And no, they wouldn't put anything in writing. So Wells Fargo (our mortgage lender) has a credit restoration company they work with, and this company tried to contact the collection agency for a month. No answer, or when there was an answer, they'd get transferred and then dropped. When they finally told us of their failure, Chester gave them the secret combination of phone numbers and extensions to get someone who would talk. And they got a hold of someone. And instead of telling this credit restoration company that the account is closed and canceled, and Chester's balance is zero (which is the line they've been giving Chester for a month), they told this company that the debt was returned to the original creditor.

FUDGE. Yesterday afternoon, we waited while our file went to the underwriters again for the final decree. They definitely had an "out" and could have denied us the mortgage. There's no way we could settle the debt in less than a week. The process takes a month. And our closing is Friday!

So we napped and pretended that everything was just fine. And we waited for the phone call from our mortgage lady. It was tense. She finally called at 5:30, and it was good news. The underwriters said "sure," and our closing is scheduled for 10 am on Friday. It's all very exciting. Chester said he didn't remember a time when his shoulders felt so relaxed. All I can think about is the hell of moving.

I am looking forward to setting up house, though, and then trying to convince Chester of paint colors. He has this horror of what he considers dark paint colors. I find darker, muted tones to be very cozy and comforting. I think this is one of the cases where Chester should just defer to my wisdom.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Things I'm looking forward to about our new house

Update: I'm still sick, not as fiercely, but still not fully functional. And no baby. I got my period four days early yesterday. Dammit. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Things I'm looking forward to about our new house (we close a week from today):

1. Twice-as-big kitchen with space for a seating area.
2. A laundry chute in the bathroom.
3. Hardwood floors. I hate how dirty carpeting gets when you have two cats and a kid.
4. I get to decorate a whole new environment.
5. No more upstairs neighbors with barking, yippy dogs.
6. More storage space than I'll know what to do with. There's a full basement and a storage attic.
7. A brand-new high efficiency, front-loading washing machine.
8. Giving Ben a bath. (The first bath will be special).
9. Not having to keep the bathroom off limits to Ben. The kitty litter box won't be in the bathroom in the new house.
10. A clothesline and a big back yard that's not full of dog crap.
11. Building equity instead of paying rent.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quick Update

Chester is still gone. I still hate it. I feel like crap, and stayed home for the morning to sleep.

Now I'm running a high temperature. I don't know what the hell is wrong with my body. I just wanted a little baby. This constant nausea and fatigue seem to indicate a bun in the oven, but the high temp throws off my guessing now.

In other news, I fell down last night. Strained a ligament in my belly. Scared the crap out of me and Ben. He kept coming over to me to give kisses. Open-mouth, drool-filled kisses right on my lips. Golly, I love that kid.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Just me and my boy

Ben walked around the house clapping and shouting DADADADADADADADADADADA for about twenty minutes last night. Trying to get Daddy's attention so he would come out of hiding. But Daddy's in Milwaukee.

Last night and this morning so many things happened that made me miss having Chester around.

1. Went to Super Walmart to buy groceries and supplies. Because I'm not feeling well, I'm also forgetful, and I had to walk around that store four times to finally get everything I needed. If Chester had been with me, I could have sent him running for dish soap and a bottle brush while I waited in line to check out. Butnooooooooo. I had to move my big butt and get it myself.

2. When we got home, I had to strap Ben into his highchair so I could bring in our purchases. Usually, I just bring Ben in and Chester brings in the bags. This wasn't really a disastrous thing. I set The Boy up with cinnamon graham crackers, and he was quite content and happy to wait for Mamma to get back. I still don't like leaving him unattended though.

3. I don't know what it is that I do differently, but I can't get Ben to calm down and fall asleep very easily. It was about 7:30 last night. Ben was whiny and tired. I cuddled with him, offered him a nice, warm bottle or nuk, and waited for him to fall asleep. This is usually Chester's time to snuggle with Ben. My dear son squirmed and tried to get away from me for about ten minutes before he finally gave up the fight and fell asleep. If Chester had been there, it would have been two minutes of fighting and then sleep.

4. This morning, Ben woke up at the crack of five am. This is usually fine. I'm a morning person. But I don't feel well, dammit. Okay, Chester being here wouldn't have made any difference. It's our house rule that if the boy wakes up after three am for any reason, I'm the one to get up with him. I got Ben to take a nap at 5:45, though, and I went back to bed until six-thirty. My life would have been better if Chester was home because he would have gotten up at the normal time and could have done the morning preparation tasks (like packing for daycare) while I slept a little bit longer, like maybe six-forty.

5. Luckily, Ben was sleeping when I got up to take a shower, but if he had been awake, the showering process would have been a bit more difficult, and I would have missed Chester greatly. Even though I didn't need him this morning to take a shower, I did spend three minutes in desperate contemplation in the shower about how much better my life would be if he were home.

6. Maybe I would have actually made more of an effort to get Ben ready this morning if Chester had been there. But I let Ben sleep in until seven, and then just got him in his hat, boots, and coat. And he was still wearing his JAMMIES. Bad mommy. I packed day clothes for the nice people at daycare to dress him in, but it seemed so much easier to just leave him in his pajamas. It was such a rare event for him not to pee through a diaper and soak his night clothes. It still made me feel a little bit like a loser for bringing Ben to daycare in his jammies.

7. I had to bring the garbage can to the curb this morning. The handle is icy cold, and I wasn't wearing gloves. I also had to leave Ben in the car while I did it, and there's that whole leaving him unattended thing. He survived though. He was, however, wearing his snuggly ear flap hat, and he had obviously turned his head from side to side a couple of times, because the ear flap part was over his eyes when I got back. He was struggling mightily with that darn hat when I got back, and he was kind of pissed.

Three more sleeps before Chester comes home. I miss back scratches and hugs. I did enjoy sleeping diagonally in the bed, though.

(PG update) I took a Walmart brand pregnancy test last night. It was negative. BUT. It's still two days away from when those tests are actually supposed to work, and it wasn't the first morning urine. I'm still having all-day morning sickness and my appetite is almost nil (like with Ben). I haven't given up hope yet. My period isn't expected until Monday anyway.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I have plenty of cheese with my Whine, thank you.

Today is the day that Chester leaves for Four Sleeps, Four Daytimes. He'll be back late Friday night.

Yes, I'm depressed about this. He and I haven't spent the night away from each other since we got married. What can I say? He's my best friend, and it sucks that he won't be around. It also sucks that now I'll have to take care of The Boy all by myself, and that'll be exhausting.

Tuesday night, play date at the mall. Wednesday night, my mom is coming for an overnight to give me a little break. Thursday night, best friend Mary and her kids are coming over to keep us company.

I'm such a wimp. It doesn't help that I've been super nauseated for the past few days (can we say Maybe Baby) and feeling very tired.

I'm sorry this is such a whiny email. I'm in a pitiful mood, and I know it.

On the brighter side, I am overflowing with blessings every day. My cup runneth over. But dang it. I still want my husband to be around.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Chills, Hot Flashes, and The Boy

Sometimes it's nice to take some time for yourself.

After several days of almost constant chills, I've now been having hot flashes at night and during the day. Yesterday I soaked through my blouse at work, even with my desk fan on. It's crazy. Besides headaches (which might be due to my eyes), I feel okay, just tired all the time. So I'm taking the afternoon off to sleep. Later today, I have an eye doctor appointment to figure out why my eye muscles are so fatigued. Seriously. I've been getting cramps in the muscles that I use to move my eyes from side to side. I'm sure I just need a new prescription.

Ben woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn't get back to sleep. It was unpleasant. He had a rough evening... screamed through dinner and then passed out when we held him afterwards. When he woke up during the night, I tried to just pat him back to sleep, but that didn't help. I gave him a bottle, which he ate, but he couldn't get to sleep. Finally, I just put him back in his crib, kissed him, told him I loved him, but that Mamma was TIRED. He screamed for about four minutes and then fell back asleep.

It's tough. I'm not a huge Ferber method lady, though that's how both Chester and I were raised. It just doesn't feel right yet for Ben. He's such a little guy, and both Chester and I really enjoy holding him and cuddling with him in the evenings. We've tried Ferber a couple of times, but Ben ends up having panic attacks whenever we go near his crib.

He did only cry for four minutes last night (early this morning) before giving up. That might bode well for future success. I think the new house will also ease the transition. He'll be upstairs and we'll be downstairs. Just because of geography, I won't be stumbling over to his cribside every time he cries during the night.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ben, the Boy with Soggy Diapers

Ben has his one-year checkup today. It's an exciting day that started with a bath because the boy was soaked in urine from head to toe when he woke up. That's a problem I don't quite know how to solve. I think we'll have to get some fancy overnight diapers for him. This is something that's been going on for a couple of weeks. We don't usually give him a bath, just wipe him down with some diaper wipes, but with his doctor's appointment today, I wanted him to smell pretty.

Last night on our way home from Walmart, Ben was kicking his snow boots against the door until they fell off, and then we heard some serious grunting and whining coming from the back seat as he strained forward against his car seat belts. He was pulling off his socks. He left them in a neat pile on the side of his car seat, though. At least he's conscientious about it. We had a nice chuckle.

Next week Chester will be gone to Milwaukee for work training. His boss told him it would be business casual. And since he only has one pair of non-denim pants, he gets to go shopping this weekend for more khaki pants. And that gave me an excuse to buy myself a pair of khaki pants as well. How a lady can survive with only three pairs of pants (two jeans, one black knit) is beyond me. So while Chester and Ben went grocery shopping, I had a quick spree at Lane Bryant. I bought two tops and one pair of khaki pants that will have to be hemmed a couple of inches because I'm too short for Average and too tall for Petite. It was fun. I tried on lots of clearance tops that made me giggle. I don't belong in a shirt with poet/lacy cuffs and puffed sleeves.

My dear husband is on a health kick as of yesterday. He had an ENT appointment, and they weighed him beforehand. He is a couple of pounds over his own personal maximum (he'd kill me if I revealed it, even if I don't use his real name on this blog). So he bought lots of healthy stuff, which is great. I'm looking forward to it, and I'll support him as much as I can. Goodness knows I can stand to lose a few pounds (like a hundred).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ten Things I Learned in 2006 Meme

  1. Being a mother is more wonderful than I imagined.
  2. It is not impossible to qualify for a mortgage if you have bad credit, it just takes more effort and determination.
  3. Procto-foam is a wonderful product.
  4. Opening up about the past is difficult, but immensely cathartic.
  5. Cooking your mother's recipes is a soothing way to spend an evening.
  6. Peekaboo is one of the greatest games on the planet.
  7. Nothing is quite as thrilling as watching your child reach another developmental milestone.
  8. Sometimes babies are stillborn, sometimes miscarriages happen, and that's infinitely sad.
  9. My husband is a wonderful father and a fantastic helpmate.
  10. Don't hold an infant over your head when your mouth is open. They will spit up at that moment.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Weekend Recap

I was able to hold a precious little two-week-old baby this morning. One of my co-workers brought in her newborn to show off. Such a cutie-pie. A very orange, jaundiced baby. She reassured me that they were on their way to the doctor's office. He was still adorable, though.

Ben's birthday party went well. He wasn't too much into his cake, although he did managed to cover his face and arms with icing. As a bonus, my sister and her family showed up in the late afternoon for a visit. Chester had to go over the finer points of the laptop my brother-in-law had just purchased, and they had presents for Ben.

We officially have a walking boy. He's not 100% all the time walking, but nearly 80%. The big change happened just over the weekend. The ladies at daycare were shocked and thrilled this morning when he toddled his way to the toys.

I'm not feeling well. It kind of feels like the flu. Everything is achy and sore, and I have a headache that won't go away. It's right behind my eyes, so I made an eye doctor appointment for Friday to see if I need a new prescription. Last night, I had a "deep freeze" moment, where I get a big chill, right to the bone, and I have to huddle under several layers of blankets to get warm again. I hate those, because I never know when they'll strike. I don't sleep in pajamas, and I wander to the bathroom a few times a night in my birthday suit, and sometimes, it has bad repercussions. The achy/sore/headache thing was going on all weekend, though.

Today we're finalizing our homeowner's insurance. Turns out we'd get an even better deal on the homeowner's insurance if we switched our auto insurance to the same company, so that's what I did. We'll now be paying the same amount every month for both insurances that we used to pay for just the auto insurance.

Thanks for all the congratulations about the house. It is adorable, isn't it? Yes, it's very "cozy." 968 sq. ft. But it also has a full basement that we'll be partially finishing off eventually. It's just perfect for our first home, and I'm sure we'll be happy there for at least five or six years.