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 :(