One man's trash...

is often another man's trash.
 
Last night we went to my MIL's house because Hubs' Aunt M is in town to see his dad.  Aunt M is no-nonsense, and one of her goals while in town from DC was to help my MIL de-clutter her house.  An admirable sentiment, since my MIL is, by her own admission, a major pack rat.  But she's also sentimental and often can't bear to throw things away that have memories attached to them (and she could attach a memory to just about anything).  So Aunt M had her work cut out for her.  Aunt M is also efficient to the point of ruthlessness, so my MIL had her work cut out for her too.
 
The invitation had been for dinner.  No sooner had we walked through the front door than Aunt M turned us around, loaded us down with boxes, and frog marched us back out to the car.  "This stuff is all marked as Hubs', so it goes with you," she informed us, and we felt chastised even though we weren't sure exactly who had done exactly what wrong.  No 'hello!'  No 'good to see you - it's been ages!'  No 'how was your day at work?' 
 
The things marked as Hubs' were indeed things that had once belonged to him... but some of it belonged to him when he was an infant.  They weren't necessarily his belongings, so much as belongings of my MIL's that had been used by Hubs before he could walk or talk.  Like a 30+ year old binkie.  Because we're going to hand that down to our precious newborn. 
 
Now, being pretty no-nonsense myself, the last thing I wanted was a bunch of crap in our basement or garage.  We're behind on house projects and are trying to de-clutter ourselves, since we have a nursery to create.  Plus, in general, the last thing I want when I show up tired, cold, and hungry for dinner on a worknight (when I haven't been home all week and am desperate to be in bed with a cup of chicken noodle soup) is to be on the receiving end of an order.
 
Aunt M wouldn't even let us (or my MIL for that matter) look through the boxes before shoving them into our trunk.  My MIL looked like someone had shot her cat.  I wouldn't put it past Aunt M, if the cat were taking up too much space or gathering dust.
 
Usually I try to hide my feelings, since they tend to appear on my face instantly and can usually be deciphered pretty easily.  Last night I didn't even bother.
 
Aunt M left this morning. She's actually a cool lady, in other respects.  But she hit my hot button, and I'm still seething a little bit today.

 

Accept no substitutions

This morning Hero woke us up at 4am.  Not entirely out of the ordinary for him.  Usually he wakes Hubs up around 5am in an effort to get started early on his morning routine.  Which includes:  playing indoor ball with Hubs for several rounds, standing by the door to go out but then not going out the first two times Hubs opens the door - instead just sniffing the air and surveying the yard, eating breakfast, going outside for real, and then checking on me upstairs in bed to make sure that I get up, too.
 
When he woke us up at 4am, I was famished so I couldn't fall back asleep. Trying to be altruistic, I decided I could do the morning routine with him and let Hubs sleep in.  I headed downstairs and Hero slowly followed.  Then he stopped, halfway down in the middle of the landing, and looked at me.  I continued on, ready to begin the 'Where's your ball?  Find your ball!' routine.  But instead of hearing Hero thunder the rest of the way down the stairs behind me, I heard him make mad tracks back up the stairs.  He then jumped on the bed in a frenzy, licking Hubs in the face and pawing at him, desperate to wake him up.  Finally he just sat down on top of his head.
 
I've noticed this about Hero before:  the boy likes his routine.  He does not like change.  Not one bit.  It wasn't that he'd been whining because he wanted someone to get up with him this morning, it was that he'd been whining because he wanted Hubs - and only Hubs - to get up.
 
I admire his inflexibility and OCD-like devoutness to "how we do things around here."

 

In the St. Nick of time

This morning the electrician came to install our movie projector in the downstairs family/rec room!  Perfect timing, as we're currently buried under feet of snow and I'm so tired I can barely get out of my pjs most days (never mind most nights).  Thank goodness for more in-home, in-pjs entertainment options!!!  I missed the movietron, as we lovingly refer to it.
 
In other good news, my FIL is being moved from the hospital to an inpatient rehab facility - a definite sign of progress.  The facility is near(er) to our house and directly on my way home from work, so it ought to be a little easier to stop in to see him.  Plus (no small matter)... no more hospital parking fees!
 
Seriously, though, it's wonderful that he's improved to this point.  Here's hoping the upswing continues :)

 

More than a white Christmas

It's been snowing since Wednesday evening - it's late Saturday afternoon. Holy crap.

Yesterday we went to Christmas Mass and it was magical to hear all the beautiful music and inspiring words while staring through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the snow fluttering down from the sky.

We've spent a lot of time at the hospital, and had an immediate family dinner on Christmas Eve and an extended family gathering last night. It was a nice holiday. Hubs' cousin J just gave birth to their son a few weeks ago, so I spent plenty of time cuddling the newborn (when I wasn't getting my *ss whooped by Hubs' cousins' kids in a rousing game of Spoons). But today I'm exhausted. We took Hero to the vet this morning and then got some takeout Italian for lunch and then I crashed for the rest of the afternoon.

Tonight I think an On Demand movie might be in my cards. Hubs is off visiting his dad at the hospital and then meeting a friend of ours for dinner. Our friend A's husband is sick today, so since he begged out of the get together I did too - it seemed like a good time to let the high school chums catch up sans spouses :) And a good time to let the introverted spouses hide out at home after enduring weeks of endless holiday parties.

 

Winter wonderland

Today (yes, CHRISTMAS EVE!) I have to work until noon.  The kicker is that we're in the middle of a blizzard, so we had to drive in this morning in a wicked snowstorm just to work for four and a half hours.  I picked up A and we barely cleared her unplowed side street.  Thankfully, since no one else is working today, there were hardly any other cars on the road and the drive in was actually pretty uneventful.  It's started to snow again, so we've gotten the green light to leave at around 11am.  I'm crossing my fingers that the drive home is just as quick and painless.   
 
The other kicker?  I have two clients on my schedule today.  BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE.  Let the thumb twiddling commence.
 
To be fair, I could have easily taken the day off.  I just didn't want to use any of my vacation time to do it since we're not traveling this holiday season.
 
Hope everyone has a great day!!!

 

Back it up, baby

I paid a few medical bills with my benefits card (linked to my FSA), which at the time I thought was super convenient.  But now I'm learning that I've got to substantiate all these ' so called medical claims'.  Send in supporting documents to prove they were legitimate healthcare expenses, lest the IRS come after me with hanging rope and torches.  (I got a nasty letter, can you tell?) 
 
The charges that are unclear?  Not charges from Walgreens (which, let's face it, could have been for boxes of chocolates or to cover a late-night milk run).  No, it's a charge from Target Clinic and Oakdale OBGYN.  Makes total sense to me.  I often order my lacy underwear, iPod downloads, and decaf lattes from my OBGYN, but these bills (thankfully!) were for actual doctor appointments.  Whew!  This time around, I'm on the up and up. 

 

To you from you :)

Have you ever inadvertently billed someone for their own Christmas present?
 
Apparently I confused the 'ship to' and 'bill to' fields.
 
Merry Christmas Dad!

 

Reality? Check.

Previous to joining the corporate world this past summer, I've always worked at a college or university. I've always had off between Christmas and New Year's. Not taken vacation days. Had off. I left my house this morning and stared enviously at my neighbors' cars, parked in their driveways because they were not going to work today. I don't even know for sure what they all do for a living, but they weren't doing it this morning. Hubs is at work until Wednesday, and then will be off the end of this and most of next week. But I'll be at work even on Thursday. At work on Christmas Eve! Until noon. It's stunning. I work New Year's Eve until 2pm too.

When I worked in higher ed, I always dreamed of corporate America. The perks. The benefits that we, slaving away in the halls of academia, could barely even fathom. The overtime, the promotion, the raises and bonses. The generous vacation packages and the fair and manageable workload.

Shall I wait while you stop laughing?

Welcome to the real world, Elle Charlie.

 

Thankfully the lights were low

I just fell asleep at a Christmas musical. For half the show. Mostly because I'm coming down with a cold and I'm worn out and need to take better care of myself, but somehow I still feel tremendously guilty for sleeping through an emotional and dramatic musical about World War I soldiers.

 

Not-so-casual-dress Monday

For some reason, I had it in my head that today kicked off a week of pre-holiday casual dress at work. It never made sense to me, since we work most of next week and the week of New Years. But I didn't question it, because I like casual dress as much as the next guy. Who cares if this week is not a particularly festive week? I don't second guess the decisions that come down from the executive suites.

Turns out, it doesn't make sense to me because it just plain doesn't make sense. The next two weeks are casual dress because they're both holiday weeks, but this week is decidely NOT casual. So I showed up in jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt feeling like an idiot.

:( :( :(

 

Longing for an empty calendar

Hubs' dad seems to have turned a corner, and for that we're grateful although his prognosis is still very worrisome. He'll likely be in the hospital through Christmas, but we're hoping he'll be sprung in time to spend the holidays at home :)

It's been a stressful and hectic time for us. Hubs is buried in work and spends all of his free time (as he should) on 6W. Ditto for me, although I'm not there as often given my schedule. We're tired, emotionally drained, and unable to slow down and enjoy the holiday season. But I'm hopeful that won't be the case indefinitely.

One of my biggest challenges at the hopsital is that all food vendors (cafeteria, cafe, coffee shop) close at 6pm. I get to the hospital - after work - around that time and we usually stay until at least 8-9pm. A gal's gotta eat! I can't believe they shut down at 6pm - isn't that weird? And inconvenient?

On Saturday at a party we attended a couple we're friends with said, "We're just so bored all week. We really have nothing major on our plate - we need to find stuff to do." And today my carpool mate said she and her husband spent all weekend watching 24. I want to kill people who have free time, just because I'm so green with envy. I don't think that's healthy.

Then again, last month I wanted to kill people who could eat and not vomit instantaneously, so maybe it's just in my nature to feel bitter.

 

A funny thing happened on the way to the infertility doctor...

A few months ago the IF doc drew our preliminary blood work to get us started with his recommended plan... and then called to let us know that, as it turns out, we wouldn't be needing his services at the moment.

Life is full of surprises. Just when you think you're all out of surprises, something amazing happens. I didn't think I'd ever get to experience a surprise positive pregnancy test, but turns out I certainly did :)

Mini Mac will bless us with his presence in June. (We have absolutely no indication that Mini Mac is a boy, but we're going with gut instinct for now.) Despite a very rough start to the pregnancy - think morning sickness x1000 - the baby is doing well at 14 weeks.

 

Tapped out

With Hubs' dad in the hospital and our already busy evening schedules, this week has been exhausting. We're both running on very little sleep and it shows. I'm so tired I want to just lay my head down on my keyboard and never pick it back up. Hero and I are not getting along well; this is due to a combination of the fact that I'm sleep deprived and cranky and he stole my grilled cheese sandwich last night. Really not a good time to steal food from your mama.

Tonight Hubs has a guy's overnight trip to a casino in Iowa, so it'll just be me and Hero. I need to gather my patience before I go home tonight. I yelled at him yesterday for the sandwich stunt, and he's not used to me yelling. That might be part of the problem. We never yell at the dog (which likely doesn't work anyway). But we also haven't really found an effective method to discipline him in any meaningful way. Because he's so special needs, he can't really tolerate any kind of frustration or anger. So usually we just say "Noooooooooooooooo. Vewy bad doggie! No, no baby! You so bad!"

And he in turn looks up at us thinking I'm not 100% sure but I'm betting she's talking about giving me a treat right now...

I've got dinner planned with the gals, so that should give me a chance to unwind and decompress before gearing up to entertain the little monster all by my lonesome... It's amazing that someone so cute can be so dang naughty all the time.

 

Everything's got a price tag

Mookie's headed to Austin to see my sis and her family in January and offered to fly me out with him for a little mini-vaca. I ended up saying no, but now I'm plagued by second thoughts. A long weekend would be a blur with tiring travel, a chance of catching cold germs on the plane, and not enough time to truly unwind. I don't have much vacation time, but could probably work it out with a creative exchange. But shortly after that my mom comes to visit, and I want to be ready for her trip and not harried and burned out. On the other hand... I may not get to Austin for a while and this could be my best chance.

I hate it when life, work, and responsibility are so tiring that the price of fun seems too high :(

 

Underpants gnome


If you have a dog, this may not be an altogether unfamiliar scene: stolen underpants, naughty pup hidden behind desk, watching you watching him - a standoff.

 

Turkey, etc.

We had a great Thanksgiving with Hubs' family. In total I think there were 30 of us there, and this year is the first year I can tell all of Hubs' cousins' kids apart! There are about eight to ten that all look very similar to me. I've gone to enough family functions by now that I can match the faces to the names. It was an early fall baby shower that gave me the final advantage I needed.

The food was good and the company was really fun. It was relaxed but still a more formal family event - a nice balance. My favorite part was when little five year old Sammy creamed all the adults at Wii boxing. When he'd knock someone out, he'd say, "Oooooo, that's GOTS to hurt!"

On Friday I skipped the shopping frenzy and went and got my hair done. It's a little piecey (the highlights are chunkier than is my typical style) but it's fun for a change. And as I mentioned before, it was long overdue. Friday night we went out to celebrate our 2nd anniversary and had a romantic fireside dinner. It was perfect - the restaurant was very quiet and cozy. Today we ran errands: a little shopping for me, booties for Hero, Christmas lights for the house, and oil changes for the cars.

All in all, a nice holiday weekend. I'm glad it's not over yet :)

 

Short and sweet!

I'm so glad this week is a short one - I worked six days last week so I'm exhausted and the thought of being back at work is heartbreaking after such a short weekend. :(

BUT, this week is only three work days long and Wednesday is half taken up with Thanksgiving potlucks! Today is a packed day, but the rest of the week should fly by!

And on Friday I'm finally getting my hair done again - long overdue, trust me.

 

Double whammy

Flu shot in each arm.

 

Good for the environment, good for Elle Charlie

The verdict? Carpooling is really fun!!!

My coworker A has heated seats - all in all, success! :)

 

Is this thing on?

I've been horrible about posting, even though I've promised again and again I'd get better. But I'm still not giving up (even though by now maybe I should).

So I'm just going to go on as if nothing (like, for instance, a one month + hiatus) has happened.

Tomorrow is the first day I carpool with a coworker who lives nearby. I'm nervous! I hate the commute to work, but I'm used to it by now, and I'm certainly used to driving on my own. Given that I spend my entire day talking to people, I value the alone time even if I'd prefer not to spend it in traffic. So it'll be an adjustment - albeit probably a good one - to suddenly be spending my quiet time with another person.

Hubs left town this evening for an overnight work trip. I hate it when he's away, although this trip will be really short. Right now Hero is waiting for Hubs downstairs, perched on the couch in the sitting room staring out the window. It's so sad. He probably won't give up and come up to bed for another couple of hours.

On a random note, I'm super excited for Christmas. The local light radio station just started playing Christmas music 24/7, and I'm actually happy about it :)

 

Exhale

Halfway through the week! Wednesdays are one of my favorite days, because it's the only weeknight that both Hubs and I are home other than Friday. So I'm going to turn the computer off and spend some quality time with my man :) Oh, and with my dog. Hero likes to be included in everything.

 

Whirlwind

Okay, I have 6 minutes to write this post. We had a whirlwind weekend up on the North Shore at Hubs' cousin's wedding. We packed on Friday, left early Saturday morning, and got back late yesterday evening. Then Hero knocked over a glass of bright red Crystal Light on our white bedroom carpet and the unsuccessful attempt to clean that up took most of our Sunday night. Needless to say, we're already counting down the days until next weekend, when we can actually relax.

But we had a nice weekend - it was beautiful up north. Lake Superior really is lovely and the leaves are all changing colors which made the drive spectacular. We stopped off for a hike at Gooseberry Falls on the way home and though it was freezing, it was refreshing to be out in the brisk fall air.

Now it's snowing, for the second time in the past three days. Snowing in October. I may never get used to this place.

 

Cloudy skies, cozy days

It's been rainy for days. Dreary, overcast, cold, icky. I'm sitting on the couch with the fire going watching Harry Potter in the background and I'm almost forgetting I have to go to work in about an hour. I wish I could stay here all day. Although I've been going back and forth about the merits of working from home, lately I'm starting to fall on the side of definitely a plus. I'll miss my work friends a lot, because we keep each other going on the tough weeks. But I'll gain at least 2.5 hours a day when you count showering, primping, and commuting time.

Yeah, if I work from home I may never shower again.

Anyway, dreams for a murky wet day.

I had a lovely rest of my weekend. On Saturday we spent most of the day planning for our dining room renovations. Since the dining room decor will be carried into the kitchen (eventually) there's a lot to consider when choosing colors, etc. Then on Sunday I spent some time reading at our newly remodeled Starbucks, ran some errands, and spent the rest of the day cooking comfort food (mozerella stuffed meat loaf and parmesean potatoes) and cleaning while Hubs and my friend C hung out and watched a cute movie (Golden Boys, I recommend it). It was a perfect end to the weekend. And I was very productive in my cleaning!

I'm about to finish a book I really enjoyed called A Body to Die For - a cute mystery. The prequel to it is waiting for me at the library, so I'll probably go pick it up on my way to work. I was thinking the other day how much I love to read. I'm very grateful that people write books :)

Next week we get the movietron hooked up! That's what we've fondly dubbed our movie projector and screen. I've missed the movietron. It'll be great for the winter, especially this winter when we've spent all our money on IF treatment and can't afford to do anything other than rent a flick from Redbox. I'm a little nervous because hookup requires running wires through the wall, but that's why we've enlisted the help of professionals. And now hopefully we'll spend more time in the basement. It's great down there and the huge overstuffed sofas are perfect for relaxing and cuddling in for an evening. I just never go down there. I don't know why. I'm just more used to the other two floors of the house, I guess.

Have you noticed I have very little to say? I'm trying to be a better blogger but lately life seems a lot more boring - even though there's so much going on - than it used to be. It's very settled. Which I wouldn't trade for the world, but it doesn't make for very intriguing reading.

 

A change of taste

Two random facts from my day thus far:

  • Hero ripped up my favorite camisole and I want to kill him just a little bit. I almost cried - I've worn it at least once a week every week for the past five years. I've already checked to see if Banana Republic still carries something comparable but it doesn't look promising. Usually Hero goes for socks (Hubs') and underwear (mine) from the hamper, but today for whatever reason he decided to branch out and try something with a hint cotton and some subtle undertones of spandex.
  • I now love Snickers. I've always hated them. I'm not sure what to make of that. It just happened last week, when I discovered some mini Snickers in a fridge at work that - I later realized - is marked with a sign reading "For board meetings only please." That's right, the whole fridge. And there's lots of good stuff in there. I had about 10 before I actually noticed the sign (in my defense, despite the fact that it's the only thing on the surface of the large stainless steel door, the sign was really rather small) and then had to shove all the wrappers in my purse instead of in my trash can so I wouldn't be discovered.

 

Blocked

Okay, I'm not where I wanted to be with the blogging but I'm gradually getting better. One major obstacle is that I can't blog from work - Blogger is blocked by the company's IT team in an attempt to keep us all from clogging and slowing down the system with uneccesary internet usage. It's a recent development that Blogger joined the ranks of Facebook and lots of other fun sites. Fortunately when I worked last Saturday I was still able to order underwear from Victoria's Secret on comany time. Explain that.

Last week I'd been thinking that maybe it was about time for me to look for a new job. I figured I'd been there six months, it was an okay time to put out feelers. Not ideal, but given it'd be the only blip on my resume it could probably be explained away. Then I counted on my fingers and realized - with much sadness - I've only been at my job for four months. Crap.

Friday I had the day off, and Hubs took the day off too. We went to the aquarium at the Mall of America and then out to dinner. It was a lovely day, but we were both exhausted. Friday'll do that to you. I'd been out late the night before with a friend, splitting a piece of chocolate cake and catching up. Hubs had been working all week to finish some budget projections that consistently kept him up until the early morning hours. Hero, however, had boundless energy.

Oddly, things with the IF stuff feel good. Mostly because for the first time in a long time I feel like we're ready, and I think Hubs feels that way too. It's not a question anymore of should we?, just a question of how do we? And now that we're working with a fantastic and dedicated new team, they've assured us we should leave the worrying - at least the worrying about that - to them. And I have to say, all the hand holding is very welcomed.

Speaking of hand holding, my mom is coming to visit! Not until January, but she'll be here for two weeks. It'll be around the time when Hubs will be a away at a conference, which is how I planned it since I hate to be alone in the house. I can't wait to have some quality mother/daughter bonding.

As I type this, I'm in bed sipping my Starbucks and listening to Hubs breathing as he sleeps beside me. Hero is curled up by my feet. I can't imagine a better Saturday morning.

 

Rewind and press play

It's Sunday evening. How, how? does that happen so quickly???

I had a good weekend. I worked on Saturday and had a decent day - I like my new office space and my coworker E and I were the only ones in this Saturday so it was quiet(ish). We discovered an awesome stairwell for doing stairs and today my calves are paying the price. Overall I really like the 11th floor. It feels right. Home would feel right-er, but the 11th floor will do in a pinch.

Then after work Hubs took me on our first date night (I think I mentioned in a previous post that we've recently instituted weekly date nights?). We went to a nice restaurant on a lake and had a very relaxing and romantic dinner. I even had a glass of wine, and that felt awesome given it was the only thing that could calm the horrendous cramps I've endured all week. All week. And I mean horrendous - no exageration there. Also I never drink anymore, and the glass of wine seemed celebratory and so indulgent.

It was just so nice to have a date with my husband. For the past year and half we've been, more often than not, like ships passing in the night due to stresses, adjustments, the aches and pains of our cross country move and general life uproot. It seems like we're finally getting back to being a normal married couple. I've missed that. It's a luxury to actually have some time to enjoy one another. It feels right. Being parents would feel right-er, but being a happy couple will do in a pinch :)

This morning we woke up early and watched the season premiere of House. Another adaptation to our lives as of recent (and by recent I mean the past 6 months): we never watch tv. Definitely never live tv. But we're always weeks late on the stuff we've TiVo-ed. For instance, I haven't seen the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy yet. That's just tragic.

Anyway, it was a great episode! I was actually really impressed with the story and the acting. It was touching and got under my skin a little bit. In a positive way.

Then I went and met with a trainer at the gym. Not lovin' that, especially given the state of my calves. Afterward Hubs and I took Hero for a walk and he encountered a cat for the first time in his young life. It was entertaining. He was pretty freaked out by it. So naturally we made fun of him.

The weather is very fall-like today, and I'm so ready for that.

Now Hubs is having dinner with his brother and dad and I'm about to take a bath.

All in all, just good stuff.

 

Equations

After work swim + dinner out with a close friend on a gorgeous golf course on a beautiful night = content Elle Charlie.

Checked out my new office digs on the 11th floor today - love it. Very excited to move.

All in all, going to bed tonight with no complaints.

Hero's big day is tomorrow! He goes to camp, which is the perfect way for him to spend his birthday. He loves him some dog camp. And some toothpaste, but that's a story for another day.

 

I got a Netbook! Hence I see a lot more blogging in my future - yay :) I know that may sound like an empty promise given my spotty track record lately, but give me one last chance! Now that I can get out of the house and camp out at Starbucks once in a while things should start looking better around here. AND I can start to visit some of my favorite blogs more regularly again!

So my thoughts for tonight:

  • Can't wait for this season of Grey's Anatomy - I've been watching some of the older episodes on Lifetime and miss the days when that show was actually good. It was so good when it was good! Last season was very disappointing though.
  • I'm moving my office space. I'm currently on the first floor and Friday I'm moving to the 11th floor. I'm ambivalent about the move - the 11th floor has more windows, and tends to be the stop-gap toward eventually working from home. But although two good friends from work are also moving, one of my closest work friends isn't moving so that makes me less excited. Plus what if I hate it? This job involves so much change - everything is always changing, every day. I was just getting used to my surroundings, and now... everything will be different again. Plus I've heard the elevators jam up in the morning rush, and I already start work at 7:30am. I don't want to have to add more cushion in to account for the elevator gridlock.
  • I may talk about the IF stuff on this blog after all. Why the change of heart? Because it's now at the stage where it's all consuming. We're at an infertility clinic with a fantastic doctor, and our treatment protocol is looking promising. He knows his stuff. But we're going to be living and breathing HSGs, medicated cycles, trigger shots, IUIs, and ultrasounds for the next several months and it's definitely our top priority. So... it's on my mind a lot and I'm thinking... that's a good thing.
  • Hero turns 2 on Friday! My baby! Growing up! Now if only he'd stop... well, the list is just too long. If only he'd just STOP.
  • I miss my mom a lot lately. I wish she lived closer. Sometimes the phone just doesn't cut it.
  • Hubs and I are starting to implement date nights once a week. We're pretty excited about it. We're both so busy all the time, and we need a little something fun to look forward to. Our first date is this Saturday night. I have to work all day, and then we're going out to a nice restaurant on a lake.
  • My friend C and I have a standing date on Thursday nights when Hubs is in class. We get takeout and go for walks or watch a movie. I'm glad tomorrow is Thursday :)

And for now, that's all I've got. It was nice to be back here on my blog for a while. Something familiar in what seems to be an unfamiliar life lately.

 

In the air

Yesterday I went and got my hair done and then volunteered at my in-law's church cooking for and hosting several homeless families in the area. It was a full but fun day. One of my many goals for this year was to get more involved and help out in the community. I'm off to a slow start but getting better. It's so hard to donate time when you don't seem to have much to spare, but I guess that's what makes it all the more an issue of generosity rather than convenience. Several volunteers brought their families, which I think is a wonderful way to model for children the value of trying to make an impact in your community.

Things finally seem to be slowing down some with Hubs' work load, and that's a very welcome change. He was actually home all weekend! And we were even able to go swimming together in the evening one day the middle of last week. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes in the general pace of our life when he's not heading out the door at 6am on a Saturday or - worse - not coming home at all on a Friday night. Things are calmer, which makes me feel like the chaos we've been experiencing was in large part due to circumstance (me starting a new job, summer plans and travel, Hubs' hellish summer work schedule) and doesn't represent how thing will always be. That's a relief.

I've started the third Twilight book. I heard 3 is much better than 1 and 2, and 4 is the best of all, so I'm looking forward to getting back into the series. I'm big on the vampire stuff. It's fun :)

My colleague gave me some Irises so I need to work on planting them today. The weather here is completely fall-like - it's not even going to hit 70 today. It's chilly. I guess in a lot of ways I'm ready for fall. Don't get me wrong, as a Minnesota gal I REALLY enjoy summer. But sometimes change is a good thing, and I think I'm ready for a little.

 

Snapshots

Some days there's nothing like a good bullet:

  • Hubs has been working insane hours, and most nights last week stayed overnight close to work at an apartment they graciously have for his usage as he's working his ass off and unable to spend any time with his family. Nice of them to provide accommodation. We miss him.
  • A few words on the baby front, which I've purposely been avoiding mentioning for many months now. The thing is, we haven't been trying. There, I've said it. Cat's out of the bag. No medicated cycles beyond that initial failed one, no tests, no blood work, no injections, no ultrasounds. I've been on the pill. I feel like a bad want-to-be mom for saying that, but it just didn't fit into our lives as I struggled to adjust to a new job and most days barring a rare exception Hubs and I are both so burnt out that we barely have the energy left over for each other, let alone anyone or anything else. I have always had plans for how things would be when we finally got pregnant, and I don't want to compromise on where I am in my life when that eventually happens. I know things can't be perfect, but I want things to be calm before our worlds get turned upside down. I want us to be in a good place, I want our home to be ready, and I want to be able to welcome the joy and happiness with open arms and hearts (and schedules).
  • All that being said, we're set to start trying again soon enough. Whether or not we go through with that is uncertain at this point, as I'm having some serious doubts about the timing yet again. But whatever we decide, I guess I just need to make no apologies for that. It's an amazing gift to be a mother, and some people try so hard to make that happen without breaks or selfish thoughts or doubts. I'm learning I'm not that person, so I'm owning up to that fact.
  • I also don't really know how much I want to talk about our baby journey, or potential lack thereof, on this blog because this blog is my place to talk about my whole life and I don't want to feel like I can only write when I have something meaningful to talk about. I'm full of fun, meaningless stuff!!!
  • I won't be eligible to compete for a work-from-home slot until December, so this first wave of lucky suckers doesn't include yours truly :( I'm seriously bummed. I'm hoping that a second round will happen in December, and crossing my fingers that it'll work out then. It rained a lot this week, and my longest single-direction commute took an hour and 45 minutes. TORTURE.
  • We have too many weeds in our yard, and today I need to get SERIOUS with the Weed-B-Gone. SERIOUS. Because in this neighborhood people get very edgy if you're not on top of your yard work. That's on my agenda for today, since it's not too hot outside and Hubs is - again - gone until around 10pm.
  • We want to build a deck on the house and do some landscaping to add more trees to the yard, etc. We're not sure if that'll happen this fall or next fall, but it's the first major home project topping our list. If only we ever had time to work on figuring it out.
  • We're wondering - just a little - why we bought a house. When I asked him last night, Hubs said, "It's just what you're expected to do. Get married, buy a house." Too true. But it's a giant pain in the *ss! Does anyone else find that to be the case? The cleaning, the yard work, the home improvement that even if you think your house is perfect initially you're nonetheless eventually tempted by inevitable dissatisfaction to do? You may as well get a giant black Sharpie and X out every weekend in your calendar! And the very worst part is, we're already talking about where we'd want to move next, after we unload this present burden and upgrade to a bigger, more time intensive investment! (As I sit writing this by an open window I'm surrounded by the sound of lawn mowers. Thankfully my father-in-law mowed for us this week, since we were too busy to do it ourselves. And by we I mean Hubs. Elle Charlie doesn't mow.)
I guess that's it for me this morning. Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

 

Like a bucket of cold water

Last night my friend C and I went to our fitness club and ordered sandwiches while relaxing at the outdoor pool. Then we chilled in the hot tub for a while. Just what I needed on a Friday evening after a very long work week.

But what I wasn't expecting was C's confession of a near indiscretion that happened in her marriage a few weeks back. I say near because she nipped it in the bud before anything physical happened and cut off contact with the old flame who had recently re-entered her life via Facebook. She came clean to her husband, and they talked about recent weaknesses in their relationship that had led her to look for support and affirmation elsewhere.

But holy crap did it rock my world! C and I have a very similar past when it comes to how we used to view men and relationships: as dispensable and always replaceable with the next guy who was willing to come along and pay us some quality attention. So two thoughts rocketed around in my head last night: if it could happen to C, could it happen to me? And... if it could happen to me, could it happen to Hubs?

How does this stuff happen? How is marriage so hard, even when it's so easy? How can you go from domestic bliss to a near slip-up in a matter of weeks?

C and I ended up having great conversations last night about how things happen, how to protect a marriage, and the importance of honest and open communication. We talked about safeguarding your relationship, and talking about cheating with your partner before it's ever even a thought in anyone's mind - having it be a topic of conversation like you how you want to spend your money or what your travel dreams are. We talked about our pasts and how you need to be aware of your own vulnerabilities.

But talking about cheating and affairs is really scary stuff. I don't think of it often at all - I'm very secure in my relationship with Hubs. But I guess it's when you're secure that you have to start the difficult conversations of 'what if' and 'how can we prevent...?'.

On the one hand, I think it could never happen with Hubs and I because we have such a strong and nurturing relationship. On the other hand, as a child of divorce, I know that how you start out isn't always how you finish off. I keep reminding myself that it's all about choices. Love is a choice, not just an emotion. You have to make the choice every single day, and if you do, maybe that's how you get to your 50th wedding anniversary.

 

Spin it

I'm trying to have a positive outlook right now. I have to admit, it's a challenge. I miss vacation and my family, and being back to work sucks. It's busy and hectic and every day is like running a marathon - I just want to drop into bed when it's over; I feel devoid of all energy after the fast pace and the constant interactions with people.

But I've determined that since - for right now - the job isn't changing, I need to change the way I experience my job. I need to have a good attitude and remember that it's only work. It'll likely get better once I'm adjusted to it - I hate change and new things and the learning curve that stems from that newness. There's a possibility working from home eventually will nix my crap commute. The situation isn't static. It could improve. Until it does, I'm going to make the most of it ('even if it kills me' seems to follow naturally here, but for the sake of positivity I'll leave it out of the sentence).

 

Back to life, back to reality

Now officially begins the month of August for me - I'll barely see Hubs for most of it. This week I won't see him at all until Wednesday.

I hate the month of August :(

I'm trying to remember all the fun things we have to look forward to in the near future, but this morning I'm failing miserably. Labor Day, a long weekend in October... I know there's more to come. But the post vacation blues are full force.

 

It comes in waves

I left last Sunday morning to meet my family at the beach in the Outer Banks of NC at Nags Head and we returned home yesterday. For a week I slept to the sound of the waves crashing right outside my bedroom window. I soaked up some much needed vitamin D (miraculously through my 85 sunblock), ate rapaciously, napped often, and read until I fell asleep with my book knocking me in the face. My sheets and clothes were salty and sandy and life was perfect.

For a Jersey shore girl, it just doesn't get better than going to back to the ocean.

 

I'm hot, sticky sweet

There are some very neat things about my new work environment. One is that as I sit here at work I'm balancing on a stability ball at my ergonomically sound desk. Another is that if you were to walk to the kitchenette and open the fridge you'd find it stuffed from top to bottom with health food and water bottles. The cabinets are stacked with herbal teas, artifical sweetners, and - for the days you're feeling just a little bit naughty! - no-sugar added hot chocolate. Nary a can of soda or bag of M&Ms to be found in this place. The corportate headquarters is about as health-conscious as you could get. When someone bakes a treat for staff meetings it's a given that bran will top the ingredient list. I'm surrounded by people who are so fanatical about exercise that by comparison I seem lazy.

Which has actually been just the kick I've needed to push me out of my health rut and into a higher gear. Given that I spend every day talking to people about diet and exercise, I've found myself motivated to seriously overhaul my own habits. Which were fine to start with, but are now actually something I'm really proud of. I'm a walking poster child for the food guide pyramid and I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been in my life - I feel great.

But, the more you begin to examine things closely you're likely to discover the imperfections. Hands down sugar is my killer.

Did you know that Silk chocolate soy milk has 32 grams, and that that's equal to 8 teaspoons of sugar? 8 teaspoons of sugar! In something I drink for my health!

It's horrifying. Once you start to really look, sugar is everywhere! I rarely eat candy, never drink soda or other sugar-filled bottled drinks, and don't have dessert very often anymore. So it's disheartening to learn that there are a million ways I'm getting a ton of sugar and I didn't even know it! My whole-grain, high fiber breakfast cereal? Equivalent to 3 1/2 teaspoons! It's just bizarre. I mean, would you ever pile 4 teaspoons of sugar into something and not cringe???!!!

The very worst part is my Starbucks. Now, I knew it totalled about 400 calories. Right now that doesn't really concern me. But want to take a guess at how many teaspoons of sugar are in my morning fix?

Go on, guess.

Did you guess 18 1/3 teaspoons of sugar?!?!?!

You might be wondering if that's enough. If that's finally the one thing - where the money, the calories, and the inconvenience failed to motivate me to make a change - that will finally convince me to stop the madness of the Starbucks.

It's not.

But it does make me feel like a hypocrit when I'm spending my day encouraging people to give up drinking Coke.

 

All talk

Okay, Bob was nice enough to call me out on the fact that when I pledged to be a better blogger, I was clearly just talking sh*t :) I'm sorry!!!!! I know it's cliche to say I can't seem to find the time, but lately I actually can't!

Take, for instance, today. Today I'm at work on a Saturday. After work I have to go check in on my coworker's new baby kittens, do some laundry, try to get in a little fresh air and exercise, and then fall into bed. Tomorrow our day is filled with social obligations. Next week Hubs goes out of town for a conference and before he leaves I'll see him for about an hour each on Monday and Tuesday night and that's it. Then he gets back on Saturday and on Sunday morning I fly out to meet my family in Nags Head North Carolina for a week at the beach. On Wednesday Hubs will join me there, and we'll fly home together on Saturday.

And then it will start all over again. And by it, I mean The Busy that we can't seem to get away from.

My job is very hectic and fast-paced, and the proverbial honeymoon is SO over. There are parts of it I love, and parts of it I don't love. The commute is a 45-minutes-on-a-good-day nightmare. My dreams of working from home by December are still alive but not well; in fact they're barely producing a pulse given the spike in the sudden interest shown by the more senior members of the staff. There's a chance I could still be competitive for a slot, but the odds were more in my favor when everyone and their brother wasn't vying for the opportunity. The pressure's definitely on, because working from home would fit much better with my plans. Specifically my plans not to sit in rush hour traffic for two hours a day.

What else? I've found a new branch of my gym which I love, and that makes me very happy. It's got a pool, a hot tub, a steam room, a bathing suit ringer-outter *and* plastic bags to transport your wet suit home in!, and a cafe that has yummy smoothies. I still miss the Sports Club in Boston, but this is by far the most comparable replacement I've been able to pin down. Even better, it's very close to home and conveniently located near lots of great shops. The end result is that I swing by there after work most days and float back home on a cloud of chlorine and calm. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. On Wednesdays Hubs even swims with me, just like old times.

My thumb is now down to only a bandaid for protection on most days, and of course a thumb condom when I swim. I baby it, but it's still not 'normal' skin where the stitches were. It's kind of gruesome looking, and the realization has definitely sunk in that it will forever be a deformity that I need to integrate into my personal 'character'.

And who couldn't benefit from a little more character?

In other health related news, early this past week Hubs was diagnosed with strep throat. I've been doing all I can to keep from contracting it. I seem to have a sore throat daily, but I also seem to talk for eight hours a day, so I figure that's just as likely the culprit. I figured I'd be less inclined to talk on my time off since my jobs requires me to interact with people all day long (even more than my last job, despite the fact I initially swore I'd get a less people-oriented job this time around). I find the opposite is true. It's like now I can't shut up. I talk to everyone everywhere, just because I'm in the habit.

As for what's left of our summer, Hubs and I have a laundry list of home-improvement projects we'd wanted to have done by September, but as of today we've made little progress. I think we were a bit too ambitious when we put together our to-do list.

Hero's enjoying his summer too, but this week we've had a few issues with him that I don't even want to talk about because it makes my left eye twitch. Yesterday I picked him up from day camp and looked at his report card as Hero came bounding around the corner, choking as he was being led by one of their unsuspecting attendants. I remarked to the camp counselor behind the counter, "Oh! He was in with the big dogs today?" She looked at me warily and replied, "Yes, ma'am. Your dog is too energetic for the little dogs."

I can read between the lines, lady. Trust me, I know from his energy. No need for the attempt at subtilty.

 

Who's afraid of the big bad firecracker?

I'm going to become a better blogger. I AM. I miss it.

Thankfully, my thumb is actually... drum roll please... after a month of slow and painful healing... on the mend!!! So that should help. It's still wrapped in a big white poufy wad of gauze, but it's slightly less big and marginally less poufy than it was three weeks ago so I'm thrilled with the progress.

Hubs is in Boston this weekend for a friend's wedding, and I'm broken hearted that I'm not there with him. He's having a great time and visiting with lots of old friends and coworkers, so he's making the most of the trip. Hero and I are holding down the fort, which has been interesting to say the least.

The thing I've learned about Hero is, he's terrified of fireworks. Which makes 4th of July weekend an absolute blast (sarcasm and pun intended). Last night, after a day spent cleaning our house from top to bottom, I gratefully stepped into the shower. Moments later, I opened my eyes through the mist of water to find I was not alone. Hero was with me, curled up in the corner of the shower shaking like a leaf. In the shower!!! I heard the fireworks booming in the distance. He looked up at me with wide, terrified eyes as the water pelted him periodically in the face (and for those of you who don't know, Hero HATES getting wet). His fur drooped over his eyes and curled into tiny ringlets on his head as he inched close enough to be sure he was touching my leg, just in case. I've never seen anything quite so pathetically sad.

Try as I might I couldn't coax him back out - he was not about to leave my side. So I hurriedly rinsed as much shampoo from my knotted hair as possible and turned the water off with soap still clinging to my barely clean body. Poor little guy was drenched but wouldn't be pried away from me. I wrapped him up in a towel and put him in our bed. He was trembling so much that he couldn't even move. His adorable stub of a tail was tucked so far under his legs it wasn't even visible. He hid his face under the pillows and curled as close to me as he could get. He lay there in a tight little ball for the next five hours. About thirty minutes in he fell asleep, and the twitching subsided as his breath evened out. After three hours or so he loosened his body and stretched out a bit. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm dreading tonight. My poor little baby boy!!!!!

Regardless, I may keep the bathroom door closed in the future. It's a little disconcerting to shower with your dog, whatever the reason behind it.

 

Thumbs sideways

I know, you thought I met my demise after unexpected thumb-related complications. Nope. I'm still among you. I'm just a bad blogger.

I got my stitches out last Friday night at a party after one of the two people involved threw back a couple glasses of wine. Unfortunately that person was the remover, not the removee. (Don't worry - the remover is a board certified pediatrician, it wasn't part of a drinking game or anything...) Sadly, my thumb doesn't look much different than it did in my last post. Now it has Steri-Strips instead of stitches but it's still pretty much good for nothin'. Which means my days continue to be filled with a million little annoyances, one after the other as I run into the roadblocks of a life without that one all-important digit. I'm getting so adept at living life one-handed that when I do finally regain full use of my thumb I'll fly through everyday chores!

Work is good but I'm in that early stage where it's still draining and new. I hate not knowing things, and am impatient when it comes to the learning curve. But so far so good. I hate to even jinx myself, but it looks like I could be able to work from home as early as the end of the year! Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed! It's far from a sure thing, but it's becoming more and more promising! Which would be so nice. The commute is a bit of a b*tch.

Turns out our yard is a magnet for baby creatures. Remember the bunnies from last summer? Well, this summer it's the birds.


Are they just to die for or what??????? They're up in the corner of our swingset. For a couple days their little eyes weren't even open. There are three baby birds in the nest, and they're piled in together like a lump of feathers that rises and falls as one as they breathe.

And, speaking of cute, I can't resist.

Hero had to climb up into the swingset to see what all the fuss was about.

Tomorrow after work we head north a friend's cabin, and then Saturday we have a wedding. I want to promise I'll be a better blogger, but I'm not sure I can. I promise I'll be a better blog reader though. I need to catch up!

 

Thumbs down


If you're wondering what's up, I've been spending my evenings in bed in a Vicodin-induced stupor after a little accident at the gym requiring six stitches, a high pain threshold, and a lot of patience. It's a hard life with only nine functioning fingers.

Hubs went out the night of the incident to pick up my prescription for pain killers and buy two lottery tickets. His rationale? "It has to get better sometime, right?"

Yeah, he'd be referring to our absolute SH*T LUCK!

 

Waits and weights

About two weeks ago I noticed a swollen lymph node in my neck just behind my collar bone. Having enough medical background to know that swollen lymph nodes are often nothing but should nonetheless be monitored, I immediately made an appointment with our clinic just to ease my mind. I figured I'd be in and out, and foolishly had even made lunch plans for an hour later.

But far from receiving reassurances, I and my suspicious lymph node were treated with the utmost urgency and seriousness. They immediately ran a CBC and I was sent for a CT scan because, as the doctor who handled my case put it: 'we don't like unexplained bumps' and they couldn't explain this one. It was my supraclavicular lymph node, which was worrisome. Apparently it's considered a red flag when that lymph node in particular acts up. A red flag indicating possible lymphoma.

So we've been waiting for a week and half to learn the results of that CT. We found out this morning that it came back normal.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever been through a health scare, but for Hubs and I this is the first big one either of us has ever experienced. We consider ourselves in excellent health - we do all the right things and don't do all the wrong ones. But sometimes I guess none of that matters. Thankfully this isn't one of those times.

This shook us both to our core. On top of that, I started my new job two days ago. Needless to say, everyone in this household needs to catch up on some sleep now that we can breathe a little easier.

 

Shiny happy Elle Charlie

I had a wonderful birthday weekend - it was near perfect. Nice weather, fun activities, family and friends. It didn't seem over the top, but it'll go down as one of my favorite birthday weekends ever. I actually managed to get a bit too much sun, an amazing feat in Minnesota in the month of May.

Gifts (the material kind) were certainly not the highlight, but I did receive one very exciting birthday present: Hubs got me a Chi!!!!! I've been dying for one but didn't figure he, as a man, understood the importance. To be fair, he probably still doesn't yet he knew I coveted them. I believe with this gift I will usher in a brand new year in the life of Elle Charlie: one marked by great, styled, shiny hair. From good hair all else good follows.

 

In (over)due time

I'm thrilled to be able to say that after many, many months of searching - and longing - for a near-perfect job, I've found and been offered one. It's directly on the paved trail of my career path. There's underground parking. The company has an on-site fitness center. All the requisite benefits are included in the package. Of course I've accepted. I start after Memorial Day.

We've remained rooted in a state of pause for almost a year, so we're excited to finally settle into our new life and start living it!!! Our household is changed, in wonderful ways, by this development. I am so, so grateful for the way things have come together.

 

A conclusion at the conclusion

  • Changes (good ones) are afoot in the McHousehold - more on that soon.
  • An update on the disappointing Clomid cycle for those of you following the IF part of this blog: I took 50mgs of Clomid for five days, produced a prominent follicle on my right ovary, but then it didn't develop as quickly as they wanted it to. I never ovulated. The next course of action is BCP for one month to get rid of small cysts mostly on the right ovary, and then to try the Clomid again (at the same dose, I'm guessing, but I'm not sure). The doc believes the small cysts inhibited the normal growth of the prominent follicle. He said he thought that might happen. Glad we did a trial run anyway - hey, why not? What's $1500 to the McBudget? (Sarcasm, in case you were erroneously beginning to think that perhaps our investment porfolio pulled a u-turn and we're living large.)
  • I've abandoned my plans to switch to WP - too much hassle, and I think I wanted to do it mostly just because I'm feeling antsy.
  • We're hosting Mother's Day tomorrow night. I'm tired and want to stay in bed for an unreasonable length of time, but I'll fight through that and cook a ham.
  • As for the weekend, Hubs is working late tonight so I'm going to take Hero for a walk, take a bath, and then watch the Ghost Whisperer. It looks like rain but hasn't rained for more than a 5 minute stretch all day. Hopefully Hero and I will make it back before the sky opens up.
  • My perennials are making a comeback! After the winter we had, I wasn't sure that would happen! Hooray!
  • For some reason the garbage men didn't come get our garbage today - ummmm.... what's up with that?
If you made it this far, I apologize for the lack of excitement. I guess I didn't have much to report. Always a shame when you realize that after the post is written.

 

Admission

I've been thinking of switching to Wordpress, but I can't get my blog content to transfer from Blogger. Has anyone ever had this problem in trying to switch?

 

"Oh, we know, but we're not telling..."

I'm sure I'll be smug if we ever get pregnant too, but someone sent me this and I have to share - it's hilarious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8

 

We interrupt this regularly scheduled posting...

I've been bad about posting lately - life has just been so busy! I honestly can't believe I was ever employed full time and still had moments to spare, because currently I'm employed part time and feel so overextended! A tipping point is that I'm at the OB's office every other day, or so it seems. Monitored cycles are RIDICULOUS! I'm not sure how anyone manages to fit all these appointments into a normal schedule. Even if I had no job it would be tight.

Other than that... let's see. I got a haircut. I actually really like it - it seems so short but it's still probably within the realm of 'long'. I kinda have bangs, but not 'straight across your forehead' bangs. More 'swept to the side' bangs.

I'd write more but I have to go in for my second OB visit today. That's right: I said two in one day. For reals, yo.

*****

Back home again: first monitored cycle not exactly all we'd hoped it'd be. It's so sad when the doctor seems disappointed in your ovaries :( I feel bad for them both, but the right, in particular, elicited quite a frown. Now I'm going to get into comfy clothes, watch last night's Grey's and Private Practice episodes, and wallow. Regardless of whether I have time for it, it's required at this point.

 

Ladies and gentlemen!

Right now I'm watching a circus outside our kitchen window - the neighbor kids are running around with bandanas on their heads chasing their own and our dog. Hero's having the time of his life, as usual. I wish we had a video camera.

 

Southern exposure

Turns out our pretty little girl dog? Has a bad case of PTSD from the vet's groomers. Seriously. For one thing, they shaved his ass, and this is apparently ├╝ber traumatic for the small friend. Seriously. He runs around from one place in the house to another with his tail tucked under, as fast as he can, and then when he reaches his destination he throws his ass to the ground like it's on fire so that no one or nothing can touch it. It'd be funny, if he weren't so bummed (hahahaha, get it - bummed?).

I think he's genuinely upset about losing all his fur. We hypothesize that he feels more vulerable now. Who can blame him, really - did you have any idea he was so scrawny? Me neither! Since last night, most of his time is spent curled in a little ball snuggled up against either Hubs or me. He won't even chew on a rawhide! He usually never gets them because of the resource guarding (he'll take your hand off if you come near him while a rawhide's in his mitts) so they're a hot commodity. You know it's bad when a rawhide won't bring him around.

On the plus side, I always wanted a Whippet and now Hero vaguely resembles one... we discovered he's quite lean and leggy once you kill the overcoat.

Bottom line (get it, bottom!?): Hero's tradition of unfortunate grooming episodes continues (if you had any remaining doubt after viewing yesterday's photo).

The kicker? The vet charged us $15 extra because she needed "reinforcements" during Hero's session. Our dog is so naughty we get billed for his lack of compliance! I'm guessing there's a wide berth given for bad behavior before it starts impacting your total, so he really must have been a handful.

Then again, you saw the bows. A case could be made that aggression was justified.

 

Who's a pretty?


Look who I found when I went to go pick up Hero at the vet's grooming service! It's a pretty girl dog!

If he could speak, I bet he'd have some choice words for his stylist.

 

A crash course in neurology

I just got back from a long weekend road trip to Missouri because Mookie (my dad) is in the hospital after suffering a stroke in his cerebellum, which caused severe vertigo and affected his balance center. We're expecting a full recovery, and hoping he'll be back to his history-professing, race-car-driving, motorcycle-riding self within a few weeks.

Talk about a shocker though - I don't know anyone in better health than Mookie (or so we assumed!) - he's still young, eats a healthy diet, has been exercising religiously for decades, and is a very active guy! If ever there was someone you figured would gracefully sidestep a stroke... Regardless, it's been a seriously crap week for him. And for me: there's nothing worse than seeing someone you love in the hospital. He's on his way to a reputable rehab program and was in very good spirits but despite all that, it was difficult to leave this morning.

Tomorrow I start my new part time job as a nanny to an adorable four month old baby boy and I've hopefully landed an interview for a full time position in my actual field of expertise (I know - you'd totally forgotten I even have one of those, hadn't you?)! I came home to a message on the voicemail. Other than that I'm exhausted, stressed, battling allergies, and up to my eyeballs in hormones. Anyone wanna trade?

 

Back

Today was my first day back to the gym. It was fabulous. It felt so good to walk through the doors of Lifetime Fitness, knowing it's sanctioned - OB approved! So long as I don't lose any weight my OB felt that reintegrating more rigorous exercise (other than walking the dog) into my routine would be healthy. Yay! It's amazing how 30 minutes on the elliptical and a couple of crunches made me feel more like myself than I have in months. Like a fog lifting...

Much, much happier. It feels great to be physically tired.

 

Mystery?

I think I've mentioned our neighbor kids before - S (6) and J (9) live next door and luuuuuuurve to play with Hero. They come over daily, ring our doorbell about nine million times, and smile big gap-tooth grins that are impossible to resist.

Yesterday, they brought this note over to Hubs. Turns out, there was an unidentifiable rusty white Mustang parked across the street. A bald guy (sources say) with a computer and a cell phone sat in the car and watched our house intently for several minutes. S and J thought this odd, so they snuck up behind the car to write down the license (otherwise known as "lisnis") plate number. This citizen police investigation, they reported, resulted in the suspect promptly leaving the premises.

Hubs and I aren't too worried about the strange voyeur, seeing as we 1) aren't in any legal trouble 2) don't owe anyone money and 3) aren't in the mob.

My favorite part about all this is the detailed case file, pictured above.

 

And so it begins

I met my OB yesterday morning and she's fantastic. She's very no-nonsense but in a good way. We talked about potential diagnoses, but her thought (and mine) is to get started on treatment assuming that anovulation is the main, and hopefully only, issue. She offered to run various blood tests but felt it overall unnecessary - she's content to treat and delay further testing unless the first-course therapy doesn't work for us. So... I start Clomid* and we see what happens. I'm glad she and I are on the same page. Namely, the page with ACTION scrawled across the top of it in big, bold letters.

(*I didn't mention the first time around but the Clomid cycles will be monitored cycles, so... lots of ultrasounds in my near future...)

Anyone with thoughts or advice on Clomid (namely, side effects?) please share!

I have no idea what's in store for us. But wherever this road leads I'm glad we're finally stepping off the sidewalk.

In other news, my friend C did some sort of a brief cranial therapy on Hero and now he's lying downstairs in his kennel (of his own volition) completely sedate and alarmingly calm. C's a licensed occupational therapist so I'm pretty sure Hero's not in a coma, but I've gotta say it gives me the willies. I should be thankful for the peace and quiet, but I'm a bit freaked out by the fact that my dog seems to have been body-snatched.

She wants to do something similar for Hubs, who has some serious problems staying asleep for more than an hour or two a night. For some reason I find the thought of her massaging his head a little funny. Although I'd like a head massage... maybe I should feign a sleep disorder.

I hate to jump around so much from topic to topic, but does anyone have any good, simple recipe blogs or sites they could point me in the direction of?

In another leap, my whole house is so organized now it's FANTASTIC! I've been desperately needing this. I have files for everything. I even have a coupon organizer and that alone gives me a major sense of well being. It's great to get up in the morning knowing that everything is where it should be (even if everything's not as it should be).

I'd better go check on Hero. This is very odd. I haven't heard a peep from the little fur nug.

 

Labeled

The label ought to read: "SERIOUSLY, DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG YOU MORON!"

Because a simple stated "Please do not remove" sounds a little too much like a suggestion. They may as well write "Maybe if you feel like it and it's not too much trouble how about you don't take this tag off, mmmmkay?"

I'm talking about the interlibrary loan tag that came affixed to my library book. It was large and hot pink and awkwardly stapled into place, so of course I removed it. I have OCD. I needed to remove it, it was practically beyond my control.

Well, turns out that when they say "Please do not remove" they, um... well, they really mean that. Like, a lot.

Whoopsie.

So I returned my interlibrary loan book without the tag and now it's gone forever. No, really. It's lost. I've lost - permanently - a library book.

If you know me at all, you'll know this hurts my very heart. I love love love the public library. One of the first thing I did when we moved to Champlin from Boston was to locate and sign up with the public library. I think libraries are amazing places: you walk in, and they give you FREE BOOKS. If you love books as much as I do, you can't help but be truly appreciative. It's like Christmas any day of the week.

But still, that florescent pink tag bothered me.

So I ripped it off.

And now that book is gone. No one else can ever read it! (Small dramatization.) It's been put into a book sale because it sat in the lost and found for so long. Turns out, all library systems have different bar codes that don't cross-communicate. So that tag they place on the interlibrary loan book is the only method the library has for keeping track of it and returning it to its rightful home. When they can't do that, they toss it into the lost and found and eventually, into the book sale racks.

Now, the fact that so many systems are in place in order for me to have gotten my sticky little hands on that book in the first place makes me cringe when I think of how disrespectfully I then treated it. I think it's fabulous that you can walk into your library and get books, but it's absolutely fantastic that you can go online from your library and gain access to any other county's books too.

I offered to pay for the lost book, but librarians are so freakin' nice that of course the woman I spoke with assured me it was fine, not to worry. She did mention, with her hand gently placed on mine, that the tag specifically mentions not removing it. Despite her kindness I slunk out the doors and frowned all the way home.

So this is another cautionary tale brought to you by Elle Charlie. Those mattresses tags? The tags on your furniture and pillows? The ones that say "Do not remove under penalty of law"? Maybe don't remove them. I'm extrapolating out from my experience, but I will from now on not remove ANY tag that suggests otherwise. I think you should do the same thing. Out of respect. For the library. Do it for the public library, that beacon against illiteracy and inequity. All together now, say it with me. "For the libary!!!"

(Also, don't doggie ear your pages. It's just rude. Not that I do that... But if I did I would now stop, on account of my recent eye-opening experience. Just use a bookmark - it's better for everyone.)

 

There's a place for everything and everything has its place

After months of out-of-character piles of paperwork floating aimlessly around our household, I *finally* got our important documents organized and filed away. No more scrambling when we need to find the title for our cars or our most recent medical records. THANK GOD! I was starting to have trouble recognizing myself in the mirror. I guess it's good to relax my perfectionistic standards once in a while, but I was beginning to have an identity crisis.

That being said, I had a chance to go through all of Hero's paperwork (he has his own file box all to himself - a whole box!) and tally up just how much our little angel is worth, once you get out the calculator. We adopted him the very end of September, so we've had him for six months. Including vet bills, supplies, and the emergency animal behaviorist we had to employ we've spent $2300.

Are you gasping? Are you almost turning blue in the face from lack of oxygen? I was so shocked I practically fell off of my chair. Are you still in your chair?

Thank goodness the little scamper wasn't in the room. Although had he been, I think I would have looked at him in wonder and amazement more than anything else.

He was an absolute sweetheart all weekend though, and Hubs and I are cautiously optimistic that we're finding a way to leave peacefully alongside our furry companion. Considering we're into it for over 2 G's, that's a really welcomed change of tide.

 

How to

Something interesting I discovered last night is that Hubs and I differ in (among so many other things) one philosophy: what to do when you've gotten a cut (or in my case, a bite) that's left skin hanging off of it. Do you:

a: Remove the skin flap because, hello! That's soon-to-be-dead skin! If anything's going to cause infection, dead skin hanging (and rotting and festering) around your broken flesh is a likely culprit...

b. Leave the skin flap there. Presumably to "protect" said wound.

Now, I don't want to give away the right answer... :)

But seriously folks. I believe there's only one right answer here. I know it's painful and pretty nauseating to pull skin off a fresh, bleeding cut, but I think it's gotta be done. Hubs on the other hand thinks it's a fool's move.

What do you think?

I feel certain that one's take on this speaks volumes about him or her as a person.

 

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas

Thoughts:

  • My weekend retreat was interesting - I can't quite say how I've come out of it yet. It's a shame, though - there's so much great material that stemmed from this spiritual retreat, and yet I can't use any of it because really, that's so not what it's about. But it's too bad, because some of this stuff... I mean, I just couldn't make it up! It was absolutely perfect, like it jumped off the pages of a humorous short story and played out before my very eyes. I need to write about it, but I don't think I can do anything with what I've written. In fact, I'm quite sure God frowns upon using other people as the fodder for your jokes - or worse, the punchlines. That being said, I also plan to write about some of the powerful moments that affected the way I think about the propensity for kindness within human relationships. That might be okay to share.
  • (But seriously, if there is a God, He must have a wicked sense of humor because some of this stuff was just rich.)
  • I've been thinking of switching from Blogger to Wordpress - for those of you who have done it, is it hard?
  • Hero bit me last night and there was a lot of blood - his future in the Mac household is very uncertain. He is a Satan dog. Hubs now calls him Hero the Fang, or just Fang for short.
  • It's crap weather here this week, but it fits my mood: not depressed... just contemplative.
  • This job search is hands down the most frustrating experience I've ever been through. I'm struggling to understand it from a different perspective, namely that there must be a reason behind all this madness. If there is, what am I meant to be doing with my life while I wait to be gainfully employed (caveat: in a job that utilizes my education and professional skill)? A hint from the universe would be helpful. In the form of a pointed highway billboard would be most easily decipherable, but whatever you can give me...
  • At the end of the day I'm still a lucky woman - I couldn't have a better life partner for the journey.
That's all I got - hope everyone is surviving April Fool's Day!

 

In like a lion?

I have to say, March has not been my month. More to the point, this week in March has not been my week.

For starters, the weather has been so bleak and dreary that it's difficult to keep my spirits up - nothing but gloom and gray comes through the windows. Then there's Hero and hot on his stubby little tail the never-ending roller coaster of questions: do we keep him? Can we rehabilitate him? Is he too much stress for one already strained household to manage? Case in point: Hero got into a dumpster at the park and ate a huge chunk of steel wool (probably left over from scrubbing the open-to-the-public grills and thus positively seeping with old food nastiness), which resulted in much dog vomit and a $300 trip to the vet to insure that his insides were not ripped to shreds. Add to that the fact that both Hubs and I sustained some skin-breaking bites and all in all I'd say Hero added far more despair than joy to our lives this week.

We've abandoned the Dog Whisperer (and the vet's) recommended regimen in dealing with a dog with dominance aggression. We've decided to stop challenging him. We'll still enforce our alpha-ness in more run-of-the-mill daily routines, but when it comes to trying to take back stolen objects, we're no longer willing to send in the troops and sacrifice our men. Even though everyone tells us that comforting Hero and soothing him is the worst thing to do in that case, it's also the only thing that seems to work. For whatever reason, Hero can't handle it when the pressure mounts. That could be his dominance aggression and his refusal to be challenged or it could be that he starts the situation and sees no other way to finish it. Regardless, when we're calm, he's calm, and although technically that means he 'wins', right now we're just aiming for a harmonious living situation. At the end of the day we're around him 24/7 and we've studied him inside and out (not because we want to, but because we're forced to). So maybe we actually do know something the 'experts' don't about how best to handle him.

Aside from the Hero drama, I'm not sure what else to report. He's pretty all-consuming, which my friend C swears is my coping mechanism for dealing with the IF. She could be right. Most days I'd just as soon get rid of Hero and wallow in my own issues for a while, but maybe C sees something I don't in my own behavior. Maybe I use Hero to escape. He makes for a pretty crappy diversion, but I'm not above admitting that coping mechanisms - even my own - often make no good sense.

Speaking of IF, my lab results came back and all the hormone tests were 'normal'. I didn't see any actual #s, so I don't know which tests were run and what constitutes 'normal' according to my PCP. The labs will be sent over to the OB, so I'll probably get more answers from her.

So that's where I'm at right now. This weekend I'm going away on a spiritual retreat, which at the moment is the last thing I feel like doing but hopefully it'll be good for me. Either way, April will be a fresh start and hopefully a long-awaited turning point. Please please please let March go out like a lamb. Lambs are happy. And they don't bite. (As far as I know, which isn't actually all that far come to think...)

 

Okay

I think part of my icky feeling yesterday was actually just hunger. The literal, not metaphorical, kind.

It's still rainy out today though - I miss the gorgeous sunshine! That's one thing about having a house with a ton of big windows - you notice.

 

Like nails on a chalkboard

It's been a very weird weekend. We were up late hosting a belated St. Pat's day party on Saturday and I woke up Sunday with the feeling that my insides were just crawling - like I'm suddenly aware of everything that exists under my skin. Not in a good way. I can't explain it any better than that. I feel anxious and tweaky under my skin. I'm restless and can't settle down.

It's pouring rain today and that's my only consolation. Apparently the universe feels as dark and stormy as I do and I take a small measure of comfort in her company.

 

Nothin' to see folks: from now on, admission is free

If you've been wondering what's going on in my world, you're lookin' at it. Apparently moving the study upstairs and turning the underwater room into a normal, non-psychedelic living space is a *huge* undertaking. Removing that God awful border alone was a two day project. Now I'm priming and crossing my fingers - as I whitewash over various ocean creatures and happy sea flora - that it will someday be possible to sit in this room and not see a shadow of Nemo or Moby Dick lurking on the wall behind you.

I know I'll be thrilled when this room is finished. Were it not for the seven other projects on my to-do list I'd be over the moon when this room is finished, but sadly more nasty border print is darkening the doorstep of my near future.

I thought I would be sad to see the Mac's personal aquarium disappear before my eyes, but I'm not. Good riddance to bad coral reef.

 

Beta blues

It's on: the alpha struggle. Hero has been diagnosed with 'dominance aggression', and hence it's our job to knock him down several pegs to the beta position or die trying. This following a particularly stressful visit to Mookie's where Hero drew blood (mine and Mookie's) on several occasions. Yesterday we had a lengthy vet visit and were told to "crack down" on the little monster. Tough love isn't easy for us (we're softies), but it's for Hero's own good - he's facing the unpleasant end of a euthanizing needle if we can't gain some semblance of control and lessen the liability. Tears have been shed, scars swell angrily on wrists and hands and fingers, and hope has seesawed time and time again. Now we get down to business.

Hubs and I are gentle people, so dominating a dog isn't really in our nature. But in order to save Hero's life we're channeling our inner alphas. Hero's been fitted with a Gentle Lead nose collar

Get it off! Get it off! It's an instrument of The Man! Get it off my head!!!!

that subdues him considerably; he's not allowed on any furniture (this was particularly heartbreaking when he jumped in bed with me this morning to snuggle and I had to refuse him); he gets hand fed only after earning each morsel; when he steals things, he gets forcibly restrained until he drops them. He's visibly depressed. Turns out he doesn't like being bottom dog on the totem pole. Oh well. We don't like his teeth (which I painstakingly brush daily - the irony!) sinking in to our flesh all that much either, so someone's got to be left disappointed at the end of any given day.

Recently I've decided that for one month, I'm going to look at everything that happens to me as part of the universe and/or God's plan. I read about a study that showed that spiritual people are generally happier, and I think this is part of the reason why. It's a "let go and let God" sort of thing - if it's always assumed there's a reason why, it's harder to get too upset when you encounter bumps in the road. So when snow kept me in Missouri a day longer than I'd anticipated, I tried to see what good came from that: maybe it was predetermined so that I could return to Mookie's gym and find my favorite comb that I'd lost in the locker room the day before; maybe it was all arranged to allow Mookie and I one final dinner out together, just the two of us. I was amazed by the sense of calm I felt imagining it was all playing out just as it was intended to.

The tricky thing is trying to fit Hero into my month's experiment. What good comes from the unfortunate twist of fate that brought a hyper-aggressive ball of fur into our lives when we'd been anticipating a baby, not a demon dog? What good comes from all the stress, the ups and downs, the emotional roller coaster of having a dog you can't trust with the simple task of not harming you!? I can see how this situation benefits Hero: I firmly believe less tolerant, less stubborn, or less devoted people would have put him down or worse, passed him on to some unsuspecting family by now. I see how we're important to his life. But I have to believe he's important to ours. He must be teaching us something. He must be here for a reason, or else it's just sh*t luck that we got such a nasty pet when we need a faithful companion more than ever right now.

Whatever the reason, I'm not one to give up easily. I'll fight for Hero with all I've got. We've already thrown endless amounts of money, time, and energy at this problem. What's a little more? Well, time and energy. Hero's burned through his 'bad dog fund' so there's nothing left of that (of course as I say this we're waiting on delivery of an exorbitantly expensive correction collar, so clearly dollars continue to get spent on his behalf).

 

Catch up

It's been a while since I last posted. There's not a whole lot going on, although it seems like we're constantly busy. This past week we've done a ton of redecorating. We're turning our downstairs study into a formal sitting room because we were given a gorgeous sofa and love seat set from some friends (with very expensive taste) who are upgrading. They go perfectly with the paint and window treatments in our former study, so it really couldn't have worked out better.

That one project blended into many others as now several pieces of furniture have been displaced and thus re-placed throughout the house, necessitating changes in wall art, photos, and spurring a list of painting projects that will take place over the next few weeks.

I'm excited to turn the underwater room into a study and finally get on with assigning those upstairs rooms a purpose. They've been pretty much vacant since we moved - we intend them eventually to be kids rooms, but leaving both unoccupied until that point seems a bit of a waste. The fluorescent pink room will be the first nursery, so it'd be years before the underwater room saw any action anyway. We'll start working on converting the fluorescent pink room soon, and hopefully that won't be a terrible mistake. If we create a nursery and no kids come our way, that would SUCK. But then again in its current state it blinds any and all who enter with its Pepto-Bismol vibrancy, so leaving it untouched is a hazard all its own.

Speaking of kids, we had our first visit with our primary care doc to talk the situation over. He's (shocker) not very worried and that's frustrating more so than comforting. But he did suggest we skip to the next step and he referred us to an OB/GYN who does endocrine workups as well. Apparently in the Midwest things aren't quite as specialized, so the bulk of IF diagnosis and treatment gets done without an RE. Different from Boston, but who am I to argue. He did run some preliminary tests (hormone, thyroid, hemoglobin). Turns out I'm not currently anemic, so go me! My diet is pretty good if I do say so myself, but it's nice to know I'm getting enough iron since that's always been a struggle. As for the other results, they're not in yet. Our next appointment is April 7th, so unfortunately we have a wait on our hands.

My friend C's sister is sending her premo OPK in the mail (the fancy kind that's all electronic and what not) so in the meantime I'll see what kind of results I get with that. When I told Dr. S about the 20-day results from the First Response OPK he said, "Well clearly that's not reliable." I wanted to point out the reliability issue probably rests with my body, not the test - but I just kept my mouth shut.

While we wait, we'll just keep trying Russian roulette style and cross our fingers. Who knows what could happen? Plus, that's just good fun.

In other news, I'm off to see Mookie tomorrow. Hero and I are making the nine hour road trip so wish us luck. I'll be there about five days. I'll be sure to report on my dinner with the Hef biographer. I'll try to gather as much good intel as possible :)

 

My Native American name is Little Big Trouble

Hey, where you goin'? You love my kisses, right?


Um, this is my couch.


Get your camera out of my face.



I figure it's been a while since I posted anything about our current baby, so there you go. Hero lives on, as naughty and bitey and demanding as ever. Recently someone told us that having a dog does not in any way prepare you for having a baby, and I had to laugh. We're doing this for nothing? If having a baby is 1000x worse than having a Hero, we're in trouble! I know having a dog is not the same as having a baby, but Hero's thrown our once very simple and self-focused lives into a tailspin. We take caring for him so seriously, especially since he came with so many medical and behavioral problems. I have to believe he's a trial run. Otherwise, it'd be like amputating a cancerous limb to save your life, only to find out that the cancer has spread and turns out you lost your leg for nothing.

 

A few good doctors?

WARNING: Rant ahead. If you don't feel like bearing witness to some serious negativity I suggest you don't read on.

Today I woke up angry at every doctor that told me, insisted to me, that everything is fine and that I don't fit any profiles for hormonal imbalances or for polycystic ovaries. From what I've read, the 'profile' is so wide and varied that up to 15% of women will be diagnosed with cystic ovaries in their reproductive years. Apparently all you need to do is not ovulate and have cysts on your ovaries - and I'm at least 1 for 2 there - who knows what's going on with my ovaries now since they haven't been viewed via ultrasound since the miscarriage - maybe they are 'cysty' now? I'm angry that my OPK once again indicates I'm ovulating (for the, um, fifth day in a row - yeah, not good). I'm angry that I didn't push harder - I'm angry that they wouldn't do more tests after the miscarriage. I'm angry that they wouldn't do more tests before the miscarriage. And I'm angry that my friend J in Boston chose this morning to tell me that she and her boyfriend are pregnant. I thought she was going to tell me he'd proposed, but no. That would be too easy to digest. This is far, far better. More than anything, I'm angry that I'm angry - that I'm allowing myself to be someone who is not happy for someone else's wonderful, exciting, unexpected news.

I want to take the doctor's 'profiles' and drop kick them up their *sses. I want to scream at the top of my lungs that I TOLD EVERYONE SOMETHING WASN'T RIGHT! I want to know that when I have my doctor's appointment in two weeks, they're going to DO SOMETHING. I want to know that they'll run the tests, ALL of the tests, and that they'll take me seriously. I want them to look into it. I want more blood work, I want another ultrasound, I want an answer as to why things are not going right.

I think I'm a pretty good medical consumer. I know my background info, I do my research. I'm very attuned to my body and generally very well educated when it comes to health related topics. I'm relatively insistent while still being realistic about the rights of my insurance company not to have to pay for unsubstantiated tests and unwarranted exams just to make me feel better. But I feel railroaded over when it comes to IF. As if you the minute you begin to speak, doctors dismiss you as being impatient or paranoid. The two previous successes with getting pregnant seem to bolster their claims - "Just wait it out. It'll happen."

I'm done waiting it out. It hasn't happened.

"You want the truth?"

"I think I'm entitled to it."

"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"

Huh.
Well, yeah.
Maybe.