I looked at Hubs, who looked back at me. I was in shock. Not possible. I'm supposed to have fertility problems. We've only just gone off the pill a month and a half ago. No one gets pregnant two weeks off the pill. Especially not me - I'm supposed to have a hard time with this. I already scheduled the appointment at the IF clinic. Something is supposed to be wrong with me. And yet... three tests (yes, I did three) stared back at us from the bathroom counter, saying otherwise. As did the myriad of symptoms prompting us to take the tests. We're going to have a baby?!?

If only time could have stopped here. In the happy place we got to enjoy for less than one day. Not twenty four hours. Our dreams of parenthood hadn't begun to take even a blurry shape. We'd hardly got our minds around it. Hubs had only just nicknamed "The Little Cashew" when things began to go horribly wrong.

Saturday night, in the middle of the party we were hosting for the IL's 40th anniversary, I began to bleed. And then to cramp. And didn't stop.

Yesterday we spent all morning into the afternoon at the doctor's. The doctor came into the room where Hubs and I sat holding hands. "This is a pregnancy confirmation visit?" he asked, looking at paperwork, smiling. My eyes filled with tears. "No, we're pretty sure we've already miscarried."

I had a physical exam, a urine test, a blood test, and two ultrasounds. I'm exhausted and confused. My cervix isn't dilated, my hormone levels say "pregnant", and there's something in my uterus that gives my doctor pause. But it's so small. We have to wait and see. There's so much blood. It's probably a miscarriage that just hasn't had time to complete itself. But there is, my doctor told me, reason to be hopeful that "TLC" which could only be seen via vaginal ultrasound may just hang on. We won't know until we know. We don't go back until next week. So we continue to hold out hope, which continues to tear my heart apart. Five days ago I didn't even know we had this. And now, the thought of losing it is unbearable.

All we do now is wait. Dreams are a slippery thing.


Seeking hope

I know some of you have dogs - can you tell me if this will get better? I need reassurance. Right now, Hero is pretty much misery. He can't follow any commands (which I know says more about his training, or lack thereof). He steals all of our stuff. He's a nightmare to walk - my hands are all scraped up from holding onto his leash while he pulls and tugs. We've got him gated from the upstairs and downstairs of the house, but even so he can't just hang out in the main level without causing problems. He has like 900 toys, but he insists on taking stuff that isn't his and eating it. This is not really how I pictured having a puppy to be. Unless he's in his pen, I can't ever not be engaging him, or he'll misbehave. And I can't play fetch for 8 hours a day while Hubs is at work. I have my own stuff to do. I just need to know: will it ever be fun?

I looked into a guy who'd come and train Hero at our house twice, for 2.5 hours each time. He's insanely expensive though. Like, ridiculous. And we don't want to spend the money. But sometimes I daydream about this Dog Lord, knocking on our front door and swiftly and competently righting things.


Guinea pig down

Last night Hero ate a zucchini fry as I was taking them off the baking sheet - it flipped off onto the floor and he'd swallowed it before I even knew what had happened. Hubs, who had been looking dubiously at the zucchini fries since they'd come out of the oven, watched him for a second, then said, "Is that okay?"

I sighed, tired from a day alone with the puppy. "I'm sure it's fine."

A second later, Hero threw up the zucchini fry. Hubs looked at me with an eyebrow raised. "And he's got a stomach of steal. Does that mean we don't have to eat them now?"

Wordlessly, I carried our plates the table and set them down with a little more ooomph than was probably necessary. Hubs, wise beyond his years, took his place, picked up his fork, and said, "Mmmmm! Looks great! So, uh, creative. With the vegetable." We both ignored the sound of Hero continuing to gag in the background.

Hubs continued, "I mean, zucchini is hard to dress up. But this, this looks, you know, not at all like zucchini normally looks..."

I slowly raised one hand, the international sign for silence. "Just please call for a pizza while I clean up after the dog."

You can't always be on your A game. You just really can't.


What do you mean you want to throw it away?

"I don't want that stupid new shiny one! So, yeah, this one's a liiiiiiiiittle harder to fetch. What of it?"


The last of the house photos and thoughts on tonight's dinner

Finally, the very last of the house pictures. I posted all these in large part because my sis requested to see them and I didn't want to put them all in an email attachment, but I have a sneaking suspicion she's not looking at my blog on any sort of regular basis. So you have to suffer through what's probably the equivalent of showing people way too many vaca pics projected onto your TV after inviting them over, unsuspecting, for dinner (my ILs do this, so I know from this kind of torture)!

Anyway, this is the last of the pictures so I'll just let that go :)

Here's the front hall, the main floor half bath, and the dining room. The dining room is awful colors, we're working on it! I have big plans for the dining room. I want to tear down the wall separating the kitchen and the dining room so it's one large space, and far more open. Our main floor has the potential to be very open, it's mostly just the closed off dining room that's getting in the way. I also want floor and not carpet in there (who carpets a dining room?). And we really need to paint that sucker a (read: one!) neutral color, and remove the chair rails (I think that's what people call them) - that divided look is so not modern! But like everything else, it'll take some time.

I'm also not a huge fan of the lavender bathroom, but that's not high on our priority list right now. It's presentable, and we have bigger fish to fry.

Speaking of frying, I stopped by the Farmer's Market with Hero this morning and bought some zucchini to make zucchini fries (it just took me about 19 tries to spell the word 'zucchini'). I'm so excited to see how they turn out. The recipe I have is simple and the end result looks like it should taste great. I'm going to serve them with gnocchi (another 19 tries - this double c with the h thing trips me up) from Trader Joe's (not homemade, just heat and serve) for a fun Italian dinner. If the fries come out any good I'll post that recipe - it's so quick and easy!


A space in the world

for those members of our family not yet actually in it. These are the spaces dedicated for our someday children. Honestly, they're part of what drew us to the house. First off, that the two 'kids' rooms are both upstairs. And second, that they've clearly been such happy rooms for the previous owners. Speaking of children, we have our first appointment with the RE at an IF clinic on October 21st. Cross your fingers for us!

This is what we call The Little Girl Room, for obvious reasons. It's obnoxiously pink. I doubt we'll keep it that way, but for now we're not really doing anything with these rooms until we know what exactly we're redecorating for, and when.

And this, The Little Boy Room, designed with an undersea theme. Right now we also call this room the QRR, or Quiet Reading Room. We threw our old unwanted couches in there, and my much loved papazan (which I still very much want!), so it's often where I read at night. It has a decent sized walk-in closet, not necessary befitting a boy. But The Little Girl Room has direct access to the bathroom, so it's a toss up which room is more female-appropriate.

And speaking of the bathroom - one of my favorite places in the house: The Duck Bathroom. I love it. It makes me happy.


The Velveteen Tennis Ball

An excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


A perfect fit

"When the last speck of fairy dust is gone, and you are married to exactly the person you married and not any fantasy of your own, you find out whether you have what it takes to make it through a few more decades of togetherness. It takes commitment, it takes forgiveness, it takes resignation and compromise, but with all of this, you still have to feel tenderness. The person you see in those eyes that meet yours across the pillow, or the dining room table, or over the head of the child whose hands you hold... if that person still touches something wordless in you, you can imagine that there are still good parts left, still surprises in the story."

A and J got married this Saturday at a gorgeous arboretum in a truly fitting ceremony. Congratulations!


My Hero

Quite literally. Long story short: A, Hubs' now ex-sister-in-law, asked us to puppy-sit Hero this weekend. And then she asked us to adopt him. And so I give you Hero the Knuckles Mac.

Now, I pictured myself a Whippet owner, or a Lab. Something fast, or big and dog-like. Or a Siamese cat - something dramatic. Never something fluffy. Or in any way related to the Poodle. And never a boy dog. Only a girl dog. But sometimes curve balls get thrown your way, and I guess you have to decide if you want the life you always planned for and imagined, or the life that bowled you over with... well, fuzz.

We picked fuzz. And so it begins. Our time is no longer our own, and we no longer sleep through the night. Practice, right? It's awfully hard for me to suddenly accept that a certain phase in my life - the 'it's all about me/us' phase, has passed. And it just keeps on going. In fact, I can barely make it out in the review mirror anymore.


More snapshots still

So, almost done with home photos. I promise.

This is the master bedroom. I really like our bedroom - it's got three huge windows (which you can't see well in this picture, but they span the length of the wall) and gets great light. It's all fairly big, so that's nice.

And I love my walk-in closet. I mean, I really love it. It's hands down the best closet I've ever had. It's HUGE. And all mine! Hubs has his own man-sized closet on the other side of the room. So far, it's working out. But every time we get the tour of friends' homes and we see a shared walk-in closet, Hubs just says innocently, "Oh, you share the walk-in closet? What a nice idea!" But I figure, he gets an art studio, I get a clothes studio. Fair is fair.

And of course I love our bathroom, because it has a fun tub. And gets great light. The whole house really does get great light.



So wanna know what I did today? I spent the day waxing my legs. (Sorry, guys, should have warned you earlier: stop reading.) It wasn't horrifying, but it was work intensive. It pretty much took all day. I ran out of wax strips half way through, so had to go to the pharmacy with my spandex gym pants sticking to my still waxy legs to replenish supplies. Then since I was already out I decided to go to Starbucks and once I got home decided to do some blog hopping. Then onto leg #2. I mean, the hair was still there waiting for me...

It made a huge mess. Like all over the place messy. First wax stuck to everything, then in order to remove the wax I covered everything in baby oil, which made for some serious slippery. So most of my day I spent trying not to touch anything else in my house other than myself. I know someone suggested better wax from Sephora, so next time I'll try that. Because the payoff is a biggie - my legs are smooooooooooooooooooooth and hopefully will remain so for a while. Same with my underarms. As for my bikini area, I was not so brave. I think I'll stick to the professionals for that.

Anyway, we're off to meet some friends at Benihana for dinner. Yum. I've worked up an appetite, so I can't wait :) Tomorrow Hero comes to stay the weekend, and I head up to Hubs' work for a happy hour. Then Saturday we have our friend A's wedding, at an arboretum about 45 minutes away. It should be a great day for it, weather-wise. I love weddings! I've only been to one since our own. We're two months shy of our first year together - can you believe it?


The PERFECT idea!

Oh, come on. Are you really that surprised?

Yes, it's true. I have found a new pet passion: wedge head, or modern, Siamese cats.

I went to my gals dinner group last night and came home with the most brilliant plan! Hubs and I will get two Siamese kittens. I know, I know, we're not cat people. At all. But the thing is, Siamese cats aren't like cats! At all! They're like dogs trapped in cat bodies. And I looooooooove them!

S, who hosted this week's dinner, has two. And over the course of the evening, I understood why. They're fantastic. I'm telling you, this idea is GOLD. It's like all the benefits of getting a dog without actually getting one! And hence, avoiding all the negatives!

Yes, Hubs is very wary and very tired right now, but I almost have him convinced! Now I'm just searching for a breeder within driving distance! I think I've found one...


"Are YOU lookin' at ME?"

"You wanna talk smack about my fluffy head again? I'll kick your pit bull *ss! I may be descended from a poodle, but I'll take you down, son!"

As Hubs strolled into the kitchen while I was cooking last night, I asked him, "Hey, if we get a cockapoo, we have to name it something really tough, to be ironic. Like a prison name. Ya know?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah?"

I nodded. "Totally. Like Spike. Or Betsy the Knuckles."

"Betsy the Knuckles?" he repeated.

I nodded again. "Yeah."

He shook his head. "You've been thinking of that one for a while, haven't you?"

He knows me well. "I might have spent some time on this."



Lately I've been trying to quit Starbucks. I'm not addicted to coffee, which makes this even harder. I'm addicted to a venti no-water toffeenut chai. Wussy, huh? So likely the addictive agent is more so sugar than caffeine. Yet it's still a struggle. I seriously can't quit. I think there's liquid heroine in my daily fix. One hypothesis I entertain is that I'm not even addicted to the drink, but to the paper cup. Starbucks has the best cups in world to hold in your hand for hours. Which is how long it takes me to nurse my chai. Really it's not just a beverage, it's an all-morning fidget.

Hubs is sometimes sympathetic of my plight, but at $4.38 a pop he occasionally get a bit grumpy. Understandable. What makes matters worse is that a few weeks ago I vowed to quit, and we went to Costco to get supplies so that I could make my own chai at home. We bought: a 3-pack of Tazo chai, 2 flavors of syrup, a 100 count box of coffee cups, and a 500 count box of lids. Of course, I can't get it to taste at all comparable to the real deal. But now when I break down and go to Starbucks, it's all the more aggregious because of my impulsive bulk purchases. I talked to Mookie about it and asked: "Why can't I just be a normal person? I mean, who goes whole hog into an experimental plan? Who buys in bulk without testing things out first? Why am I so impulsive? It's not normal."

Mookie agreed. "No, it's really not normal. Most people wouldn't do that." It wasn't said in malice. After all, Mookie's responsible for creating me. Any of my flaws could very well stem from his own genetic contribution. Perhaps that's why I opened the mail today to find a card from Mookie. As I slid the card from its envelope, a Starbucks card fell out. If you can't fix your kids, may as well try to keep 'em comfortable.


More snapshots

Here are some more pictures from inside the house. It's taking me forever to get them posted, but it's kind of boring to go around taking photos of your home.

Living room. It's a great room with big windows, but it's long and narrow and was a pain in the *ss to furnish.

Study. Not surprisingly, where I spend most of my time. It has great bay windows (not really captured in the picture) so it tends to be a warm room. I can't believe it's cold already - where did summer go?



So last night D and little C came over. A is out of town this week and D is single parenting, so we fed them dinner (bbq pulled pork sandwiches - yummmmm - I'll include that recipe when I finally make a recipe blog).

Over dinner, as the course of conversation turned to what we'd each accomplished that day, I commented that I'd gotten my hair done.

D remarked, "Oh, yeah, I thought your hair looked a lot nicer today than it did a couple days ago!!!"

Hubs and I burst out laughing. "That didn't come out right, did it?" D asked, putting his head in his hands as little C called out, "Daddy? Hi Daddy. Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?"

It's so much harder to be socially graceful with a two year old screaming beside you, waving her pink spoon in your face.

Still, today I double checked with Hubs. "So, have I been looking completely crap lately, or what?" He assured me not, but I may step up my game and at least shower daily from now on :)


Fool proof reasoning

Hubs sent this to me to clarify the reason why he doesn't want a puppy and a baby at the same time.

But on the bright side, Hero is coming to stay with us next weekend just for a few days! A temp puppy should sate my desire for a four-legged friend for another month at least.


No news Saturday

Today I finally got my hair high- (well, actually low-) lighted and cut! Thank goodness - it was starting to feel like a mop! And my new stylist, a referral from a friend, is terrific. And so much cheaper than in Boston!

Our friend D is on his way over with his daughter little C. D will be helping Hubs to mount the movietron (giant movie projector for at-home entertainment) to the ceiling and run the cables through the wall. I will be upstairs, covering my eyes and ears and playing with little C. I don't want to hear or see anyone drilling holes in our new home. Seriously.

Here are some pics of downstairs, since I'm behind on posting inside pics of the house.

This is the family room downstairs. The movietron will project onto a screen that will be mounted above the framed picture will all the hats.

This is another guest bath. This is actually my favorite bathroom in the house. I like the colors and the floor is beautiful ceramic tile (but so cold on bare feet!). The bathroom has a walk-in shower with two shower heads. Don't ask me, I don't get it. It came like that. But Hubs has tried it out and said it's hard to get soapy when you're always in the stream of water coming from one direction or the other.

Here is Hubs' studio. He's been so busy at work that he hasn't had much time to get things set up down there.

There's also a guest bedroom downstairs. When my allergies are so bad that I cough all night Hubs goes down there to sleep if he has a big work day the following morning.

And finally there's a kitchenette. Hubs calls it a wet bar, but who has a yellow and blue colored wet bar? I mean, really, could this room look any less bar-like? No. It couldn't. It'd be the saddest excuse for a bar there ever was!

Even though the downstairs is probably my favorite part of the house, I spend all my time on the upper two floors. It's too cold down there!!! But that chunky brown couch in the family room is heavenly. If we could only install a fireplace... But that's part of the long term, not the short term, plan for renovation.


New horizons

Since we've moved to Champlin, I've become much more adept at entertaining. And cooking. Although the cooking is hit or miss. But we usually either have people over for dinner or bring dinner to people (friends with young children) once a week or so. And we typically have dinner with Hubs' parents about once a week also. So, my hit or miss cooking skills are becoming more consistently hit (although they really couldn't have gone much farther in the other direction) and I'm starting to be one of those people who has things on hand. You know how it is: you open a cookbook to a recipe and you find that in order to make said recipe you only need to run to the store for a main ingredient or two. All the sub-ingredients (spices, sauces, oils, seeds) are in your cabinets.

I'll post some recent recipes that have worked well for me. Tonight I've made Shrimp Louisiana-Style with rice and a cold Sesame Asparagus Salad. The ILs are headed over and Hubs should be waltzing in the door from work any minute. We'll see how the meal turns out - you never know first time around till you've got your fork to your mouth (and, sometimes unfortunately, so does everyone else sitting at your table). I've also chilled a Riesling and made fresh strawberries with whipped cream for dessert. A bit of a farewell ode to summer, via food.


They weren't kidding

My large print book came available at the library today.

It is, as aptly named, very large print.

How fun!

I am headed to a dinner with some women I'm meeting through the fiancée of one of Hubs' friends. There promises to be wine and gossip. I'm way behind on my Hollywood gossip, so I'm hoping they can fill me in.

On a totally unrelated note, have any of you (this is more for the ladies, but I have no gender bias - if any of you men out there have experience worth sharing, please do!) ever waxed your legs/underarm/bikini area at home with a waxing kit? Since our one income budget no longer includes monthly salon visits, I'm planning to give it a try (not right this second). Please: stop me if you know better.


His other woman

Yesterday afternoon the other woman in Hubs' life moved into our garage: his beloved Karmen Ghia. She'd been in storage nearby. Now she's displaced my Honda in our two car garage. Hubs makes his fair share of sacrifices for my wants, so it's only appropriate that I do the same.

Until late fall. When the first snowflake flutters, all bets are off.


The smack down


Holy crap, that IS a noxious weed!!!


The weed is directly behind our fence, which borders on a bicycle trail. I guess I never went back there to take a good look at our unwanted tenant. With the size of him, he ought to be paying rent to chill on our property. I see the Deputy's point - that thing could easily devour a small child. Probably already has - I mean, thing's gotta eat to grow that big.

Needless to say, despite having been armed with gardening gloves and tools, I retreated. I'll wait for Hubs. This battle will require reinforcements.


I'll show you noxious...

Today we got a certified letter warning us to remove our noxious weed (their words) by September 17th. I guess the note from the Deputy Weed Inspector wasn't official enough. *Sigh* I'll go give it a try. If you don't ever hear from me again, you'll know that in the battle of Elle Charlie v The Noxiousness, Elle Charlie did not emerge victorious.


Weeded out

Yesterday, the town's Deputy Weeds Inspector left this note on our front door:  "Please remove thistle weed from outside of backyard fence."  Seriously?  Seriously?  Deputy Weed Inspector?  REALLY?  The lawn police?  

I wish I'd been here when he came calling.  Although I don't know if I could have held back a laugh.

The crap thing is, that thistle weed is the size of me.  Dude, you wanna try to take that sucker down?  Be my guest.  

Hubs, ever supportive, told me to make sure I wear gloves :)


Please listen more carefully next time

Yesterday we saw Hubs' brother P for lunch. We went to Minnehaha Falls. It's a park with waterfalls and rocks and a cute little seafood shack. It was fun. You order inside and then they come outside with your food and call your name and you raise your hand to let them know where you're at.

After we'd finished eating and our table had been cleared, we got on the topic of religion. I was commenting that I wanted to find a new church, but not my IL's church. I find their church to be a) Catholic and b) weird. I was talking about how they project the modernized, funked-up hyms on the wall and people dance around and clap and sing. Hubs shared how they also do bizarre hand raises for blessings and things. Just as a food order was being called out for 'Tim', he demonstrated. I pitched in, to help P get the effect (which is a little spooky - the entire congregation throws their right arm in the air like a Nazi salute). P, not wanting to be left out, threw his arm up as well. The waiter approached and started setting down food.

"Oh, that's not ours," I let him know.

"This isn't your food? Aren't you guys 'Tim?'"

"No," I shook my head, at first not getting why he thought we were 'Tim'. As it dawned on me what had happened, a smile played on my lips. "Oh, no, oops. We're not 'Tim.'"

He looked confused and a little bit put out. "But you raised your hands?"

I clarified. "We weren't raising our hands for 'Tim.' We were raising our hands for Jesus."

He shook his head in annoyance, picked up the food, and turned, enunciating as clearly as possible this time. "Tiiiiiiiiimmmmm? Food for Tiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmm?"