Friday, June 15, 2007

Grrr. Arrrrrgh.

So I mentioned that I tore out the poison ivy last week, hmm? I expected a problems, so I attempted to dress for the occasion, including gloves and plastic bags over my arms. Sadly, I still managed to get 4 very small spots of ivy rash on my right arm.

I've been dutifully applying some special ivy gel on it (calamine does nothing for me) as directed all week, and covering the spots loosely with bandaids to keep me from bumping them on stuff.

Sooooo. Guess who is apparently allergic to the adhesive they use in bandaids? And has bright red bandaid-shaped welts on her arms for three days after they get removed?? And who pretty much looks like an extra for Resident Evil? (from the right elbow on down, anyway)

And the ivy's trying to resprout. This is war.

Nothing much in the way of hilarity for the rest of the week, I'm afraid. Jacob was sick with a virus and has not been sleeping or eating well, plus he's teething again. Unfortunately, he's tried teething on me and I have a tiny bite on my shoulder that looks like the world's smallest vampire had a nosh.

We're all ready for the weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Scenes From a Day

Calling in to the pediatrician's office about the baby's fever of 102:

appointment nurse: and is he complaining of stiffness in his neck?
me: He's 11 months old... he doesn't act like its stiff.
AN: but is he complaining?
me: he's 11 months old, he's not that verbal yet.
AN: So he's not complaining of a stiff neck?
me: Ma'am. He's 11 months old. He can say DUCK. What the hell???
AN: So.... that's no?

Monday, June 11, 2007

So about that BRAIN problem there...

The OTHER reason I've been slow to return to blogging...

I think I mentioned some time ago that I'd been having some neurological problems? Right. They started appearing not too long after my pancreas declared itself a Sovereign Nation and began its saber-rattling (stoooopid organ.)...

Anyway. The whole pancreas thing gets a little annoying but I can tolerate it just about all of the time. But the brain issues... that was worrisome.

Liiiiike calling my husband by the wrong name, which I have never, ever, EVER done. Worse? Calling him by my exhusband's name and we've been split for 17 years.

Or moments of utter and complete disorientation. Absolutely, positively not knowing where I was. Falling down stairs, tripping over nothing, walking into walls, slurring my speech, stuttering, losing words, insane memory problems, dropping things because I couldn't feel them in my hand... etc etc & lather, rinse, repeat.

Now certainly all of this is symptomatic of Momnesia (what Pregmentia turns into) Or a drunken stupor. In fact, someone at work finally came out and asked me if I was drinking, and I most definitely was NOT. (but at that point, I was about ready to start!)

I asked my doctors a few times if they thought it could be related to the pancreas problems, since it started about the same time that the pancreatic revolt became a noticeable problem.

Apparently the idea that I might have the audacity to start wondering about coincidences was laughable. They didn't think it could be the issue, thereby launching me on a 6 month campaign of blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, you name it, it got tested. We determined that I don't have cancer, I have a perfectly functional thyroid, I don't have hydrocephalus, I don't have lupus, I don't have a vitamin B deficiency, I DO have a lesion on my brain but its absolutely inconsequential and almost definitely from any one of a dozen good knocks I've taken on the ol' coconut in my days....

then they referred me to a neurologist.

And it was about that time that I decided I was going to have to give up the pumping for my son... I was sick all the time, the supply was dropping and he was perfectly happy with the formula we were supplementing with. I'd really wanted to make it a year but it just wasn't working that way... and so, three weeks before my appointment with the neurologist, I stopped.

And butter my butt and call me a biscuit.

What do you think happened??

I started to get better.

I kept my appointment and what a freaking waste of my time THAT was. That man? Was an ass. A HUGE ass. An entirely insulting, patronizing, undescended testicle of a man. He accused me, pretty much, of making the entire thing up. And the only thing that hauled him up short was the discovery that my gastroenterologist happened to be someone he knew.

I'll spare you the ugly details. I'm still pissed as hell weeks later and am drafting an official complaint, which he will certainly receive a copy of, certified mail.

And then after three weeks of noticeable improvement, I asked my gastroenterologist if he thought that the breastfeeding, combined with the malabsorption issue I have from the pancreatic insufficiency, meant that I just wasn't getting what **I** needed to function?

"Absolutely!" he told me, "I think you hit it right on the head."

And I was all agog. I've heard that phrase before and wondered how it felt... well now I know. Because how freaking ironic, really. My determined effort to feed my son with my own body was actually kicking my own ass. And all those tests, all this time...

and the solution was as simple as a can of Isomil.*

But the silver lining? I got my first grilled cheese sammich in a long long time. And it was awwwwwesome.

* please note that I take no particular position on the formula/breast-feeding debate - its a PERSONAL choice. I wanted to breast feed. That was MY choice. And then I couldn't nurse anyway and had to pump. Still my choice. And now that we've had to switch over? He's healthy, he's happy, he's well-fed. That's all I need. The odds of anyone else having the exact same set of circumstances and timing as to cause this to repeat? Right. About the same odds as my life getting less weird.

Gardening... like putting out Timed-Release Neighbor Bait

Or something.

I've now met a good number of our neighbors... weeks after we actually moved in. At first, I was far too busy unpacking to notice that no one was really speaking to us (except to tell us they were putting in a fence).

But eventually I noticed that the neighborhood wasn't exactly brimming with welcome. Oh, they weren't lobbing molotov cocktails at the door or anything, don't get me wrong. But it was definitely a bit more distant than I'd expected.

Or at least... it was until I'd sunk some cash and considerable effort into reclaiming the side garden from the wilds. I love gardening and I'd been horrified at the significant neglect. There were saplings growing out of the azaleas that were clearly 5 years old or more. One of the rhododendrons was brown and crunchy, and I had a poison ivy TREE overwhelming the other one. Plus, the weeds came to my nose. I live in a suburb - a busy one at that - and I saw no reason to let that garden continue to well.... FESTER. Armed with shovels, rakes and various sharp implements, I tore into it. (literally)

Ok... see the light green bushy stuff there at the top right? sort of below the tree leaves... yeah. That. That's part of the poison ivy.

On my third weekend of Operation Weedkiller, I reached a point where I could lay some garden cloth in one section and put in some astilbe, hosta and impatiens. A thin layer of mulch on the new plants gave the illusion that I'd gotten much more accomplished than I really had. Let's face it, sometimes we need that illusion. It was starting to get a little overwhelming and I was desperate for results.

And whaddya know. As cars were pulling up to the stop sign (I'm on a corner lot), people were calling out to me:
"Hey looks great!"
"Oh, that's so wonderful!"
"Looking good!"
"Thank you SO MUCH!"

Thank you? Huh??? That one threw me for a loop. And then, people on walks began to stop and engage me in conversation and I began to piece things together.

They knew we were renters. (the horror) Ah but wait... it seems that since the owner began renting this house out, its been getting trashed. And when they move out, the owner has to fix it back up... and this last time, the property got to be an eyesore. And since this is a busy street, it seems EVERYone knew about the blue house on the corner.... I believe it. I've found all kinds of messed up nonsense in and around the property that bespeaks "not my house so I don't care". Now I don't know these people, but I know what they've managed to do to this house and it ain't pretty. Call me bitchy, but if you go through life breaking everything you touch and refusing to do anything about it? That's just trashy.

So when the neighbors saw the For Rent sign go down, they all figured they were getting another renter who wouldn't care what the place looked like. So they didn't bother coming to meet us.... until they saw me busting my ass. Later that night, I called my husband, who was visiting his mom and told him I'd apparently bought us significant neighborhood goodwill through sweat equity. Every week I do a little more, and every week, more people come to talk to me. It's hysterical. (and a little gratifying).

I figure I've got about another month's worth of work on the main garden... maybe by then I'll have figured out what to do about the sad state of the hedges in the front. I've put some flower boxes on the deck... two of kitchen herbs, one of lavendar and two of red geraniums. Plus, I've got two huge pots of tomatoes started and am anticipating fried green tomatoes...

This weekend saw the removal of the poison ivy. It took me THREE HOURS and it filled up four black lawn trash bags. Good gravy. Then I dug out more weeks, cut down the rest of the saplings that weren't in plain sight and set out some purple echinacea, some black-eyed susans and some asiatic lilies. I want to get more of the echinacea & black-eyed susans... plus some red-hot pokers if I can find them and maybe some spirea. Also more impatiens. I'd LOVE to put in some peonies but am not sure how well they'd do.
My rhododrendon appears to have shrunk! Actually, the ivy had extended a good 18 inches above the poor shrub.

One of the nice things about this garden is that part is full sun and part is shade, so I can have both a sun and a shade garden.

In other news, Jacob has decided the new house is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous. He crawls lightning-fast now and figured out stairs this weekend. (whimper) He also now greets random strangers with a hand flung wide and "HI!". And he has learned the word "Duck".

I've got most of the house pulled together, artwork hung on the walls and the new oven was installed this weekend. They had to special order it because of the size (sigh) so I was ovenless for all this time. I promptly got up on sunday and made buttermilk biscuits and a blackberry cobbler and I think my husband thought he'd died and gone to heaven. I was mildly annoyed... I often cook a Sunday breakfast. It shouldn't have been some kind of shock.

Oh, and we have a patch of four-leafed clovers just off the deck. It does nothing for my brand of luck, however, because I have been finding the darned things where ever I go, all my life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Status Report: Project Unpack All The Sheeeeit

Ok, so I completely BITE as a blogger lately. What can I say? Moving house is kicking my ASS.

The good news is that I have more than half of it all unpacked and put to rights and even pictures on some of the walls!

And my dad kindly brought over a twenty foot ladder to try and clear the bird nest from the dryer vent. My vent was entirely blocked to the point that three cycles would not dry a dish towel. And that meant trips to the laundromat, which was kind of a scary experience and NOT cheap, either. Good news! The dryer was not blocked by a nest.

Bad news! It was blocked by SEVEN nests. Seven bird nests. Every year that grackle would build a new nest, just shoving the old one further back. I cannot understand how the previous tenant didn't burn the house down.

And oh! Have we had entertainment at the many discoveries, such as all the broken glass around the house. This was confusing to me until I noticed the dents in the siding.... right above the piles of glass.

Oh. Apparently the household children amused themselves by throwing drinking glasses against the side of the house a la Callahan's Crosstime Saloon... only, you know... outside.

We're still waiting on the replacement oven, which had to be ordered.

Jacob thinks the new house is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous and can now crawl at lightning speed and is mastering cruising.

I'm low on sleep, sore & zombie-like but nearly finished. Back soon, I promise.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Why Courteous Driving Can Be its Own Reward

So I'm driving to work yesterday morning... the route I take could still be considered semi-rural for a portion of it, and with all the construction in the area (that never changes), there are a good number of dump trucks. And where there's construction, there are also porta-potties. And porta-potties do not empty themselves, knowwhatImeanVern?

So. I'm cruising along in my now-running-like-its-supposed-to Camry and there's these two trucks, a dump truck and a sort-of-tanker-like truck with a hose on it. In some circles, this would be known as a "Honeydipper". The dump truck is following the other, and they are in the right lane. I'm getting to the point where I, too, want to be in the right lane since my exit is coming up soon.

Ah! Both trucks signal to move to the left lane. When they move over, I happily move into the right lane. Now there is a smallish grey car behind the dump truck and it isn't thrilled to be there, and it puts on the right turn signal, indicating a desire to join me in the right lane.

I am positioned in such a way that I need to either speed the heck up so he can fall in behind me, or slow down and make a space for him to get in front of me. I'm feeling courteous, so I slow, and indicate that he can get in front of me. And he does. And he starts to accelerate.

And the trucks hit a bump.

And the hose on the tanker flaps a bit...

And there was apparently some residual content from its last um... pick up... that remained in the hose.

And it splashed.

And because I was a courteous driver and allowed the grey car to enter the lane ahead of me, I was not the car that was basically shat upon.

Now, it wasn't much - maybe a gallon or so - but when you are on the way to work on a fine spring day, any amount of random shit hitting your windshield has got to be a bummer.

But oh! 'Twas not ME heading for the car wash that fine morning. Perhaps the 4 leafed clovers came through.

So your lesson today, folks, is to also extend courtesy to your fellow drivers because you never know what kind of shit you might avoid as a result.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Some days are just a waste of makeup

Except that I hadn't bothered with makeup. And maybe that was the problem.

It all started on Monday afternoon when the teenager & I stopped at the new house to pick up some of his stuff to take back over to his dad's. We get back in the car, I turn the key and.... nothing. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. We pop the hood and stare in dismay at the most corroded-looking car battery EVAH. I am telling you that my car battery looked like it had LEPROSY. And mind you, this is only a three-year-old car.

Conveniently enough, my husband pulled in about two minutes later and the guys commence with the car talk and the cleaning of batteries and the debate over the best way to jump start a car.

But then we find that my jumper cables are missing. So Husband heads out to buy new ones while the teenager & I cool our heels.

After a delay, we get the car started and I head across town to drop my son off. As we are pulling into the parking space, the car dies. My son looks at me in alarm.
"Did you just turn the car off??"
"Look, how many old cars have I driven in my life? You do NOT kill the engine if your battery's run down. That was not me."
"oh... crap!"
"No kidding."

So now I have to get a jump start from my ex-husband. Who was kind enough to actually do it and not give me too much flak.

At this point, I'm suspecting that it wasn't the battery but the alternator. Well, I don't even make it back home. I don't even make it a mile... the car chooses once again to die just as I enter an extremely busy intersection and my bladder and I have a brief struggle for supremacy as we remember that when one's engine cuts out, one also loses power to vital functions such as STEERING. I convince the bladder that if it, too, mutinies on me in the next thirty seconds, I will fail to remember that it is considered useful if not actually vital and tear it from my gut and fling it into traffic at the same time I attempt to overpower the steering through manual force and desperation.

Well, I got the car to the side of the road, with dry undies to boot. And I call my husband and then I call Geico and demand the roadside assistance I have been paying for and I have that sucker TOWED.

So. This brings us to Tuesday, when Enterprise picks me up to take me to their office to rent one of their snappy little cars so that I can actually go to work.

And we get to the office and the woman says to me "Ma'am, did you know that your driver's license is expired?"

And I blanch because I have been having some neurological issues since January and I forget things... sometimes important things.... and this is one of them.

So they offer to drive me to the DMV to renew my license and then I can call them back and I can rent a snappy little car and I can go to work.

It being rush hour in the DC area, it takes us a half hour to get to the DMV and there is - of course - a lengthy line. But I am pleased with myself because I have everything I need with me to renew the license... I have a shiny new utility bill with the new address on it, I have my proof of insurance with the new address on it, I have my secondary identification, I am ready to rock and roll.

I finally get to the front of the line to get my number to wait in line for actual service and the woman says to me "We need your birth certificate. We need PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE. We can't give you a license."

Never mind that I have had a driver's license in Virginia since 1982. If it expires, you cannot get it renewed without your birth certificate to prove that you do have legal presence and are not going to hijack a plane and fly it into the Pentagon.... (9/11 prompted this change as some of the Virginia hijackers managed to con their way into getting driver's licenses which allowed them to be able to enroll in the flight school)

Ok, I understand this requirement. But my birth certificate is lost... gone, poof. And getting a copy from NY is neither easy nor cheap. And forget about quick! It will take about two weeks, and that's the expedited way....

The clerk helpfully points out that if I GO to an office of public records, I can get a copy for 12 dollars and it will be much faster. I just looked at her. Because of course driving all the way to New York State is an option, especially with an expired license. This is the Virginia DMV, at your service.

Eventually I made it to work and back and $150 later my car is working just fine. As for the rest of it, well... don't ask, don't tell and its costing me $70 to get that stupid certificate sent to me. It better be printed on some fine handmade paper for this.

And the final touch? As I was standing outside the DMV, calling my mother for a ride, I happened to look down and see a patch of clover. In this patch of clover, I counted eight 4-leafed clovers. That's just rude.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I wanna thank you Lord... for the poop

Now I remember why I did not move out of that townhouse years earlier... moving is a royal pain in every single part.

As you can imagine from my long hiatus, things did not go quite as smoothly as originally hoped. It started when Verizon cheerfully informs me that my internet connection will take a whopping three weeks to set up.

Things just sort of mushroomed from there. I think the incident that really captures the essence of the experience was the oven. Now, I was SO excited to have a double oven in my new kitchen. DOUBLE OVEN, people! For someone who engages in The Grand Bake every year, resulting in hundreds of dozens of assorted cookies, this was like winning the lottery. Ok, maybe not but you get the idea.

Anyway. We'd been eating takeout every night for a week while we dutifully schlepped stuff across town. (My original intention of unpacking as we went fell by the wayside. Or perhaps its now buried in the dining room under Mt. St. Oh-Crap-We-Have-Too-Much-Stuff) But finally, my body cried for mercy. I had to have REAL FOOD. And it was excitement that I planned out my first real meal in the new place. I put two potatoes in the upper oven to bake at 350.

350. This is key. NOT 859. Not 1587. 350.

So after a bit, I headed back toward the kitchen to finish prepping the rest of the meal when a suspicious noise stopped me in my tracks. Jacob was looking a little desperate, and well he might! He did have banana/plum/grape for lunch and the plums and the grapes, they were doing their job. My son... he reeked.

I picked up the squirming baby and headed upstairs to his room where the trusty Diaper Genie awaited. And man... it was bad. A thirteen-wiper!! As I was finishing up the sordid details, I hear a deep, loud BOOM!!!!! At first, I thought something had fallen over. I deposit Jacob in the family room to play while I investigate.

IT WAS MY OVEN. The glass door was... well... it looked like it had gone ten rounds with Tyson, Holyfield AND Sugar Ray. All armed with sledgehammers. There is powdered, splintered glass everywhere and as I gape, the oven door eeeeeeeeaaaaased open and KERASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelion splintered little glass pieces rains down on the stovetop. And the floor. And the counter.

I was stunned speechless. My double oven had not even survived a WEEK. I will of course be getting a new oven but the whole thing just completely freaked me out. But for one crappy diaper, I would have been standing at the stove when it went all Krakatoa on me.

I told you God had a sense of humor. God indeed saw fit not to vaporize my sorry ass with the oven door, but He fixes it so I owe a debt of gratitude to the lowliest function of human biology.

And that pretty well sums up the last 10 days so far.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Is Where the Heart Is or: Where the heck did I put the Maalox???

Eeeeeyeah. As stated, we're in the throes of hell... er, MOVING. And this is requiring no small amount of lip-zipping on my part as my family seems bound and determined to test my patience.

My mother called and after I finally located the cordless phone, which had been shoved far down underneath the bedding (???) and then Jacob made an unexpected sideways lunge in my arms and also pinched me with his near hand, so my voice sounded - at best - strained when I answered.

I am not certain what message my mother thought I was sending, but she unleashed The Mother of All Snarkiness on me and before I could even explain that she was entirely mistaken, she snapped "And I am soooooooooo sorry for annoying YOU!" and then hung up on me.

She hung up on me.


Ooh. Ooh that made me so ma... I mean angry. (there's one of her sayings - dogs go mad, people get angry.) Whose mother hangs up on them??? Are we middle schoolers???

I refrained from calling her back to ask if she was smoking cat litter or something, and the Husband came home and asked what had me fired up.

So I started to tell him and he HELD HIS HAND UP IN THAT 'STOP' GESTURE. Hold up, here. Did my husband just tell me to basically 'Talk to the Hand'???????

Oh no he didn't.

Oh nooooooooo he did not.

I can see that the next five days are going to be a test of my sociability, much like a bad-tempered stray dog is tested for food aggression. And the end result might well resemble it, too.

Yeah. I have PMS and I am moving house. With PMS. And I can have neither cheese nor chocolate. Just don't make a move toward my coffee, that's all I can say.

Also? In my Recommended Daily Serving of Schadenfreude, the No Home Training Trio clogged their toilet so badly they had to call Roto Rooter. And having the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old-boy, I was greatly amused, especially as I had to listen to them argue last night. While they were having sex, apparently. And I really didn't need to be exposed to either encounter and am still considering how I can effectively bleach my own brain.

And lo, the husband has redeemed himself in my eyes, having now hauled two full SUV-loads of boxes over to the new house. I am apparently even scarier than I thought.

We're moving.

No, really. We're moving right now. Sort of.... in a haphazard, inefficient what-the-heck-is-WRONG-with-me kind of way. The bulk of the moving activity will actually occur on Saturday, then we have the March of Dimes Walk America on Sunday morning - a worthy cause to which I'd committed myself MONTHS before the whole moving idea came up.

Jacob was pre-term, and we were so very very fortunate that my doctors got the pre-term labor stopped three times, buying him precious additional weeks in utero. Believe me, I know JUST how lucky we really were and not a day goes by that I don't offer a prayer of thanks... not only for my son but also my friends' children who were also pre-term. And also a prayer for the mothers whose stories don't include a baby in their arms, but only in their hearts... because all the medical advances made can't yet give every story a happy ending.

Premature birth is reaching epidemic levels in this country and no one quite knows why. ONE IN EIGHT pregnancies will end in a preterm birth. I'd go to the ends of the earth for my own children... and if my walking a few miles can help prevent another family from going through this, well... there we'll be.

(March of Dimes for more information. And cheer us on Sunday morning.)

And then we'll go back to moving furniture and boxes in the afternoon, tired but happier for the knowledge that we just might make a difference to someone else's family.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Line up & place yer bets

All righty. Let's review what we've got. It is Friday the thirteenth. I... am Gerbil, attractor of All Things Bizarre. You know I'm in for it today. You just know it.

For those that have not truly experienced what it means to be Gerbil, I share a tale from my DC commuting days...

I worked in an office down on 20th & M, near the old glass-enclosed FCC building, where bomb threats were a weekly occurrence and people could not seem to grasp that evacuating to the sidewalk across the street wasn't the safest option ever... what with all that GLASS.

But anyway. There was a bookstore at 18th & I Street and I spent many a lunch hour in there, especially since the bus ride home was so long... better have a fresh book on hand! (I read really fast)

So one day, I'm walking through the aisles and there was a homeless man poring through a paperback as I approached. "Oh, excuse me," said politely, "Am I in the way?" "Not at all, thank you," I replied and THAT was the full conversation. I found a book & returned to work.

Later that evening... I'm heading out to catch the last bus home and start cruising up 20th street in my professional attire and sneakers (de rigeur for the DC commuting woman of the late 80s. Even if I looked like I was all of 15 at the time.). All of a sudden, who do I spy coming down 20th street in my direction? Why yes! It is Homeless Dude, he of the bookstore. What a coincidence, I've NEVER seen him around here...

And then he caught sight of me... and I kid you not, he dropped all of his plastic bags at once, DROPPED heavily to his knees, THREW his arms skyward and HOWLED:


me: "eep."

And all of a sudden, what had been a crowded street was utterly deserted as fellow commuters scattered, not wanting to be part of this potentially unpleasant scene.

Picking up his things again, the man trotted along beside me, chattering happily (again, I kid you not) about martians and nazca lines and the CIA and all that jazz, and I was thinking to myself "how does this HAPPEN??" when all of a sudden....

This woman came bolting (and I mean BOLTING) out of nowhere, grabbed me by the arm, started shaking me by it and shrieking "OMG, I haven't seen you in so LONG!! OMG, how are the kids, how's the DOG???"

Now... I don't have a dog. I don't know how this woman is. There's a large homeless guy talking about tinfoil hats* and I'm just this shy quiet kid from the suburbs and my brain is starting to overheat.

Now the woman is tugging on my arm and the homeless man said kindly "G'wan and walk with your friend, I'll see you tomorrow."

And as the strange woman led me away , she leaned over and growled in the scariest voice EVER... "RUN!!" And by now, I am totally freaked so I ran. She still has hold of my arm, too. But ladies and ge'men, I am running. Run, Forrest, run.

Finally, she looks back and says "ok, we can stop now" and it was only then I realized that this woman was bailing me out, even if she was scaring me into the bargain. With dizzy relief, I thanked her and resolved to have the guys at the office walk me to the bus stop for the next few weeks.

So uh, yeah. That's more on the intense end of things, but weirdness is standard fare around here.

I even had to start my day with assisting my very elderly gerbil... y'see, poor Indie is one antique rodent. And one of his teeth fell out, making it very hard for him to eat & gnaw. So I have to trim his remaining teeth and his diet is supplemented with baby food (I have to mark the jars so as not to mix up Gerbil with Jacob).

Apparently poor Indiana Scones (i told you all their names were puns) attempted to eat himself a big ol'... something. I don't know, it LOOKED like someone attempted to sneak him a Cheerio. Anyway. He got a hunk of it stuck in his mouth behind his teeth. Wedged. STUCK FAST as my late great-aunt would say... that gerbil was fast. And he couldn't shut his mouth, not could he now eat.

So it took me 15 minutes to gently extricate the thing from his maw, upon which the grateful rodent relaxed and in doing so, peed on me. Thanks, Indie. You're so welcome. (He's actually my coolest rodent. Extremely tame & friendly and likes to ride around on my shoulder.)

Weird? I got yer weird right here. Bring it on.

*in the 80s, DC decided that "you couldn't necessarily hospitalize the mentally ill against their wishes". This was primarily a cost-cutting measure and a great many mentally ill persons were turned out of long-term psychiatric care to live on the streets without any treatment at all. Mostly, these were the poor who had no insurance to begin with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

One of these things is not like the other...

So there I was, all alone, watching some dumb something-or-other on Bravo (I don't even remember. That's how much Not Attention I was paying it...) and eating my way through a bag of some kind of faux healthy chips we'd purchased before we left.

There were sweet potato chips, blue chips, beet-dyed red chips (I forgave them their association with BEETS and ate them anyway. Chips couldn't help it. I blame society.) and these things were supposedly organic (ie they could get away with charging a heckuva lot) but they were junk and they were satisfying a need. So down the hatch they went. Besides, we'd opened the bag before we left for the weekend and I didn't want them to stale...


until, I detected something vaguely... stringy. Puzzled, I pulled it from my mouth and tried to figure out what the 2 inch long, tapered, bi-colored brown stringy thing was... with tiny hair-like things on the tapered end...




oh sweet heaven.

I am telling myself that of COURSE it is simply a piece of fried potato skin.

It is NOT, I repeat NOT a spider leg.

Did I mention that I'm incredibly arachnaphobic? And now I think I might be chip-phobic. Either way you look at it, I am not eating any more chips.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


We're back. We lived through the experience. Everyone but the turkey but I'll get to that later.

Let's start with the drive out there. We (me) decided that we ought to leave on Saturday morning rather than Friday, especially after speaking to my mom. There were snow showers predicted along I-68 and visibility can get dicey... I did NOT want to be hauling SUV ass through bad visibility and possible icing, call me crazy. Go 'head.

Anyway, it took some convincing: "But... we can get there by midnight! And Jacob will be asleep!" They were valid points, but in the end, Safety won the day. That and I promised we could be On The Road FIRST Thing In The Morning...

Is this a guy thing??? My dad is the same way. All travel plans MUST involve being On The Road before the asscrack of dawn. Anyway, I dutifully informed the teenager to be ready to go by 7am.

Right. So there I am, doing copious amounts of the dreaded Baby Laundry because Jacob is teething and very drooleriffic with a side of puke-o-rama and he managed to yak directly into a basket of clean laundry. Then I managed to misplace the basket that contained all my husband's clean socks and underwear. (I did NOT do that on purpose. Honest.) I bustled... I rushed... I carried items from one area to another... I spent an assload of time getting absolutely NOTHING accomplished. I figured I'd be up at 5am anyway and I could finish it then.

Eh. Not exactly. The morning dawned with us oversleeping and then we were treated to threatened Teenaged Drama, as he called and informed me that if he wasn't allowed to smoke, he wasn't going. I said "We'll miss you." In the end, he did want to go and girded his loins and dealt with it, but he had to put me through an hour's worth of drama-rama phone calls just jam-packed with... well. We all know teenagers in our lives somewhere so I'll just let you nod your heads knowingly. It did not help me get my shit in gear, I'll say that. Again, I'm ADD. Divert me from my focused course and I'll flounder and chase my own ass in circles until I can get focused again and if you piss me off into the bargain? Just throw chocolate. And coffee. The ass you save could be your own.

So uh... yeah. We hit the Beltway at NOON.

The drive out was actually pretty good, no fights or anything. We DID hit snow showers just outside Frostburg and about the third brief whiteout, my husband conceded that I was right and driving through that crap at night would have been a Very Bad Thing. I, the good wife that I am, (no comments from the peanut gallery) refrained from pumping my fist and yelling "SNAP!" But I thought it.)

My mom's farmhouse is pretty cool. The original part of the house is a log cabin that's somewhere around 160 years old. But... none of the rooms have DOORS. And there's these weird vents in the floors that are basically really big holes with a vent thingy on them and it freaked me out. Why? Because once upon a time, the only heating system was the fireplace downstairs and those holes were to let the heat rise up into the bedroom. And did I mention that This Old House had no - let me repeat that - NO insulation?? None???? And I mentioned snow, right?

It snowed all the freaking time. Didn't stick, but it was FRICKIN' FREEZING, MR. BIGGLESWORTH. Dude, I'm pretty certain that **I** had a shrinkage problem going and the first night just about turned poor Jacob into a GIRL when he wet his diaper and his ass got cold. 4am and my husband and I are bundling the baby up into quilts and pulling him into bed with us and feeling like the freaking Donner Party or something, freezing our collective asses off in the middle of nowhere. Certain that I had things well in hand, my husband promptly went back to sleep. So did Jacob. I, on the other hand, was paranoid about squashing the poor kid or something and did not sleep again.

My parents asked how we slept. And I did not say "For the love of PETE are you kidding me? We were colder than a polar bear's ASS in there!!" I said "um, it was a little chilly." And then my mom actually said "Wow, we were really sweating in our room! Of course the heat vent there is directly over the propane heater, but I thought you guys might want the blue room because its prettier."

Dude. Seriously. Screw the frills, ok? I don't care. I just don't want a Baby-sicle in the morning. Or a Me-sicle for that matter. Luckily, my stepdad took matters into his own hands and cranked that heater UP the next night.

While visiting at my aunts, I'm sorry to say that the flock of turkeys decided to go for a walk. Down the middle of the road. Did I mention that in front of the house we have the ONLY straight-away within miles??? When people come around either blind curve and hit this straightaway, they accelerate fast enough to make Chuck Yeager envious. So, as you can imagine would happen, one of the turkeys was hit by a truck. And um... when a domestic turkey is hit by a Ford F150 pickup doing at least 85?? It was dramatic. It was Turkey Supernova right there. To call it an Ex-turkey really doesn't quite cover it. There was were feathers 15 FEET AROUND from point of impact. I can guarantee the poor bird never knew what happened to it. Um. Wow.

And my dad, teenaged son and husband experienced some down-home male bonding. Naturally it involved gunpowder in a couple different ways. And it made a lot of noise. And things blew up. They were ridiculously pleased with themselves.

Also, my aunt makes some kind of alcoholic beverage that she calls Apple Pie. And they poured me a shot to taste... now, I am not big on Strong Drink. I can't stand the taste of anything that has "proof" on the label, KnowWhatIMeanVern? So I looked at the shotglass with some skepticism initially, especially since a key ingredient in this potion is EVERCLEAR. Everclear. The grain alcohol recommended by stupid highschoolers everywhere, at least back in the mid-80s. (Although my aunt did tell me that often make it with moonshine but I wasn't gonna ask about THAT. I was already feeling way too cliched.)

Uh, let me just state for the record? They were right. The stuff really DID taste like a pie made with granny smith apples. And it will knock you on your everloving keister if you're not careful. But I was careful, because I was not about to experience an Everclear hangover in a house with only ONE bathroom... and a toilet that may or may not flush without a bucket of water poured into it to help it along. But uh... WOW. Yummy.

Jacob cut a second tooth and has begun biting everything. He also finally grasped crawling. And mom's house was a mass of ladybugs (remember the Hitchcock movie The Birds? Replace the birds with ladybugs. There you go). It was a constant effort to keep Jacob from eating ladybugs. They taste naaaaaaaasty. We won't discuss how I came by this knowledge.

The trip home was long and poopy. Literally. It was Blowout City alllllllllll the way home. At one point it became clear that we absolutely HAD to take the next exit and find somewhere to change the baby, especially as the teenager was beginning to curl into a fetal position there in the back seat from the noise and stench. When a baby can outclass a teenager's butt? That, my friends... is an award-winning butt.

So we were in Rockville. I suspect that R.E.M's Don't Go Back to Rockville was perhaps intended as a warning to parents of diaper-wearing children because there was no fast-food joint anywhere off this exit. We spent 15 minutes searching and finally found some gentrified strip mall near the courthouse. Husband gingerly carried Baby into some japanese restaurant to beg the use of their bathroom. "No problem!" he was told "Just use one of the tables!"

Um... ew. I'm so sorry to admit that desperate times call for really desperate measures. He went to the very back of the restaurant, away from customers and stood between the Baby Rump of Doom and the unsuspecting public. He did not yet know what awaited him but it took him TEN MINUTES to change that baby. And all but two of the wipes. And he came out looking grimmer than hell and holding baby clothing with two fingers well, like I don't know what but he dropped it onto the sidewalk and whimpered.

Even I had to feel bad for him.

I silently bagged the toxic waste masquerading as baby clothing and handed my husband the Purell. I thought he was gonna DRINK it there for a minute. It was that bad. He buckled the baby back into the seat. Jacob gave everyone a really happy-sounding sigh and a coo and we got back onto the road.

Minutes passed and my husband took a deep breath. "That," he said kind of shakily, "was really, really unpleasant. I hope they wash their tables. I should go tell them. I can't believe I did that. ON A TABLE. WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT EAT." he shuddered. "I hope no one noticed how bad it really was."
"Did you ... get any on the table?"
"No... but if anyone was counting wipes, I think by number 23 they'd know what was happening." He shuddered again and we both knew one more blowout was going to be a problem because he'd gone through all his pants by now. Could we make it home before the Butt of Doom decided to cry havoc once more???

Race against the poop. Story of my life.

We finally crawled into the house somewhere past 9 last night and then my husband had to turn around and go to his parents for Easter there. I was so exhausted, I slept right through his repacking of the car. He forgot: bottle liners. Diapers. Baby shampoo. A sleep sack. Baby food. and a few other things. Somehow, he did remember the BABY. "I thought it was all THERE." he huffed at me, forgetting that he was the one who packed the car for the ride home, not me.

So tonight, its just me and the rodents, who didn't notice I was gone in the first place. And because I'm old - or more accurately a PARENT - by heaven, I'm going to bed EARLY. Ahhhhhh, that's decadence right there.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bad Boys, Bad Boys! Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Let me start by saying: IT WASN'T US. ATTENTION, ATTENTION... IT WAS NOT US.

Anyway. So I'm on the phone last night, talking to a friend out in California and I hear BAMBAMBAMBAM!! I pause.... and again, I hear it. bambambambambam!! It sounds like its coming from out back. Ohman, did the No Home Training Trio get into it AGAIN? Is someone locked out onto the deck??? I didn't hear any drunken yowling...
"Hang on, " I say to my friend "I hear something weird out back."

Tucking the cordless phone between my chin and my shoulder, I cautiously open up the window just in time to hear: "Open up! POLICE! "POLICE!"

And it isn't coming from the Trio's house, it's either MINE or the guy on the end. Oh crap. "Which house do you need?" I call down - I mean really. It's fricking dark out there, I can't tell WHAT house they're at.

"Next to yours, ma'am. (pause) Are they home? Can you come out front, please?"

Oh gravy. "Lemmee call you back," I tell my friend (who, btw, I have JUST filled in on all our recent drama, so now she's wigging out)

Two very, very stern officers are at my door. I see that the neighbor's SUV isn't there -he works until late, and I tell the officers so.
"Oh man, let me guess. His exwife made another accusation?"

The officers exchange looks. "There are some serious charges, here. Has this happened before?"
"You have no idea. For the last 4 years, she used to come over, knock his motorcycle over and JUMP on it. Once she punched a hole in the gas tank. She'd kick the cars, pound on the doors, scream threats... all the time. The judge presiding over the divorce finally told her if she came back here he'd have her arrested. So around New Years, she's started making various accusations and have him arrested each time, preferably in front of his neighbors."
"Oh. These ARE serious charges. There's a warrant for his arrest."
"I have no doubt they are. I'm sorry to say, he won't be the least bit surprised."
"Hmmm. Well, we'll leave a note for him then to go ahead and call us and we can get it worked out. Thanks for the information."

Man. Poor guy. THAT's shaping up to be a bad, bad day, any way you slice it. Remind me not to complain about traffic today, huh?


* * *

So we're going out to THE FARM for Easter. My mom bought HER grandmother's farm, and my aunt lives just down the road on my grandparent's farm. Mom eventually wants to retire out there, but for now we just go out and visit often.

I'm looking forward to the trip but with some trepidation. This farm has always been like the Twilight Zone. The weirdness REALLY comes out, trust me. Like the last time I went fishing on the pond in the cow pasture? I caught a bat.

Yes, you read that correctly. A BAT. What are the odds??? It was dusk, and the thing flew down for a drink or a bug or something just as I cast my line and I snagged it by the skin of its back. My sisters, cousin and I all watched with open mouths as the bat zig-zagged around, trying to free itself. All I could think was "Exactly how am I supposed to get THAT off the line??" and was considering just walking back to the house, bat in tow like a child's balloon, and letting my grandfather handle it, when the bat managed to pull itself free.

There are no lights anywhere, it being out in the hills, and critters a'plenty. And did I mention that my husband is leery of wild animals?? If the coyote starts howling outside the bedroom windows, he may refuse to ever go back there. I am debating whether to warn him of the possibility - it usually comes near the house in late summer & fall not spring, so chances aren't as high. And I MAY just freak him out enough that he decides not to go at all.

So we might leave tonight or first thing in the morning. I have no idea if I'll have access once out there but I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about when I get back.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

We Don't Need No Water, Let the $#@%^&*@!#%$ Burn

Apparently my brain can only hold so many things. Finite capacity... if capacity is reached, something must be deleted before uploading new content.

Especially during times of stress. AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I proved that this week, oh yes indeed I did!

I forgot to pay the water bill. Like, totally FORGOT I HAD a water bill. Paid the cable, the insurance, the rent, the storage unit, the gas, the electric, the daycare, the trash service, etc, etc, etc.

But not the water. And around here? There's no grace period. If you are late, they shut you off.

So uh. Yeah. Guess how I figured out that I'd forgotten about the water bill. The whopping $40 WATER BILL. Good lord. It costs more than that to fill up my gas tank AND I STILL FORGOT ABOUT IT.

So I called them up, admitted I was a moron, paid by phone with the added "convenience fee" (don't even get me started) of $4.95 for the privilege of paying over the phone, was generally treated by the rep as Unworthy Scum Who Failed To Pay Her Water Bill, got a LECTURE from her and then they turned it back on.

I called my husband and 'fessed to my stupidity and I married a kind man because he just laughed. And now I have water but am really pissed at myself. And also wondering what else I am forgetting?

I need a wife.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I just don't even know how to classify this one.

Today was an especially lovely day. Low 80s, sunny... although I spent the entire day cooped up in my office, I'm sure my car enjoyed the warm sun... warm, warm sun... closed-up car.... temperature rising inside, toasty and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally warm.

So when I left the office I was in a hurry to go pick up the baby. I got into the car quickly and pulled the door shut and then nearly keeled over as I immediately began clawing for the door handle to let myself back OUT.

Oh foolish me! For I had not paid any attention when my son got out of the car yesterday. No, I did not notice the socks he left behind. The socks he'd apparently been wearing FOR THREE DAYS on his teenaged feet, the feet with a side of extra hormones.... the socks that had been simmering in the closed car as the internal temps climbed into the 90s...

Dear lord. The horror. THE HORROR. The SMELL!!!

My car... my beloved Camry... smells like BAKED FEET. And there was nothing I could do about it. I did have to be grateful that the poor baby had a cold at least, and was not likely to be overcome.

But me? I'm still trying to get the smell out of my sinuses. So wrong. SO WRONG.

Here's yer sign.

So. Gerbson had his court date yesterday on the possession charge... I drove across town to pick him up, we ensured that he was dressed appropriately (in this county? It's AMAZING what people consider appropriate courthouse attire. More on that later) and off we went.

When we parked the car, I went through the spiel:
"no cellphone with camera?"
"No pocketknives, nail files, anything that could be considered a weapon?"
"No, do I look stupid??"
"Not with that haircut, you don't. But just checking. You never know, you could have gotten up on the stupid side of the bed this morning."
"Oh, Ha. Ha."
"So... what did your dad say to you this morning about court?"
"Don't get locked up."
"Wise advice"

Not only was it wise advice, it was a moment of foreshadowing because ladies and ge'men, my son HAD indeed gotten up on the Stupid side of the bed and we were about to make it very very publicly known.

We enter the courthouse and start to go through the security checkpoints. I put my purse on the conveyor (also... you pass at least two large signs on the door and one next to the entrance that say NO CELL PHONES WITH CAMERAS. And every single time I have been in here, I watch at least three people try to carry one in, with the ridiculous excuse of "oh, I didn't know that!") and I step through the metal detector. My son is right behind me. All of a sudden, a deputy barks "Razor blade! We got ourselves a razor blade! Blade!"

Now, who is dumb enough...?

I turn around, see the Xray display and the person dumb enough to carry a razor blade into the courthouse is none other than.... yep. My son. He's got a razor blade in his wallet.

"oh!" he says, "My bad."

You take a razor blade into court and you say "my bad????"
Now there is a cluster of pissed-off deputies milling around us and my son says "I TOTALLY did not know that was there. I'll take it back to the car."
"You will not, son, we confiscate it. Did you KNOW that's CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON?!?" And now we have the attention of every single person on the first floor and I have deputies glaring at me.
"Uh... I do now?"
They all glare at me and decide to simply confiscate the razor blade and get us criminals out of their sight.

"What the hell do you have a razor blade in your wallet for?!?" I want to know.
"In case I need to cut things! Like a pocket knife, you know? Except you can't carry a pocket knife!"
"You astound me."
"What?" What!"

So we take our little Walk of Shame through the hallway outside the courtrooms, stared down by all the other petty criminals and their families who might be wearing tank tops and jeans, but were classy enough NOT to carry razor blades in their wallets, and we take a seat down at the end of the hall. I am beginning to hear strains of "Alice's Restaurant" in my head...

I am wearing a suit. And panty hose. And I am the only woman, attorneys included, to be wearing pantyhose. Also there was a serious dearth of closed-toe shoes but strappy high heeled sandals were all the rage. Am I really that conservative? I honestly did not think that CLUBWEAR was something anyone could consider wearing to court. I was sooooooooo wrong.

Anyway. As I'm sitting there, one of the prosecutors rushes past on the way to the witness room. And he does a freaking double take and is staring at my legs as he slows down and and is so completely obvious that my son says "Eww! Quit staring at my mom!!". This is not a boast. This is a sad realization. Come ON buddy. I'm 40 years old, I'm greying by the day and I am not stare material. TRUST ME. I felt icky and pissed off.

Anyway, we got through the day and have to go back at the end of the month. Nice. NICE.

And we're driving back to his dad's and my son says "So... does this mean you're not buying me Patrick's mom's van?" I didn't even bother gracing that with an answer.

And he's going to stay at his dad's through the end of the school year, apparently. I've given permission for him to be withdrawn from his base school so his dad can register him at the school near his house - he'd be transferring out in two weeks anyway. We'll see how it goes. Anything's got to be an improvement.

And let me tell you what, I never wanted a cigarette more than I have this week. I was so tempted to stop at the gas station by Target, and I had my hand on the turn signal.....

..... and then I saw this pigeon* walking down the median. And I decided not to push my luck.

*I told this story already.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Somewhere tonight, another family looked beyond their tragedy and gave someone's life back to him.

My husband learned tonight that his uncle is probably in surgery this very minute, having the most important surgery of his life. This surgery IS his life.

Somewhere, another family lost someone important to them. We don't know who or where. All we know is they loved this person enough to follow their wishes and share their life.

My husband's uncle is receiving a donor kidney right now. Because of another family's indescribably generosity during their time of loss, he will live. Please say a prayer for our donor family; I can only hope they are comforted by knowing what they have done.

What Crazy Looks Like on an Ordinary Day

My mom called me while I was on my way to work Friday to tell me that my sister's elderly cat was on his way to the vet and things weren't sounding too good. This cat has always been pretty high-maintenence, healthwise, and now that he'd begun urinating and defecating everywhere for no apparent reason, the vet wanted to do a series of tests - kidney failure was a possibility. My sister was preparing herself for the possibility that her cat might not be coming home and things were grim.

I didn't get a call from my sister all day and when I'd finally gotten the baby to sleep later that night, I called her. "How are things?" I asked, cautiously.
"not too good," she sighed and I cringed, expecting to hear that her cat was no longer with us and was in fact, awaiting placement in The Cat Garden behind my mom's house. (we've had cats for many years. So many years, in fact, that I am now the only person who can remember where all the bodies are buried. Literally. Every time another cat leaves us for that Great Catnip Patch in the Sky, I am called out to identify a "safe" area. (ie one that doesn't already contain a tenant...) Fabulous. Funeral Director of Felines)

Anyway, I ask "So, what did the vet say?"
"I spent $400. And there's nothing wrong with him."
"I'm so so... wait. Did you say there's nothing wrong with him?"
"So, what's the problem?"
"I bought a new litterbox and it doesn't have a liner."
"Are you kidding me? Your cat just cost you $400 in tests over a 20 cent piece of plastic to catch his crap???"
"Yep. I hadn't thrown out the old one yet, so I put a liner in it and filled it with litter, and he walked over and peed in it like he'd been doing it all his life."
"Uhh.... he has."
"oh. Right."

So there you have it. My sister was mentally preparing herself for the worst and the vet was preparing her for the possibility of having to have him put down due to kidney failure, and all the cat wanted was a white trash bag in his toilet.

I estimate that my sister has spent more than $6,000 on this cat in the last year for tests that have proven that the cat is healthier than your average horse. Every month or so, he has a "crisis" of some sort or another and winds up at the vet for bloodwork, scans and other examinations and then nothing is wrong, the cat turns out to be acting up. Her cat is a hypochondriac. Go figure.

* * *

In other Crazy, I just bought a white couch and chaise. Yes, I have a baby. And a teenager. and a husband. AND I'm a klutz. And its white. But in my defense, it's "gently used" off of Craigslist, and in better shape than the family room couch we currently have (trust me. A train wreck is in better shape than this thing... the only improvement you could make would be to set it on FIRE). And it being "gently used" and a sturdy fabric, I'm probably going to feel much better about it when someone spits up on it. (which they will. You know they will). And for $200? Puh-lease. That's like disposable furniture almost. Since we're going to be buying a brand-new living room set, I'm kind of viewing this family room furniture as the Bait Couch. It's white, so I'm counting on all the terrors happening to the Bait Couch, thereby sparing the good furniture for a little longer.

* * * *

The teenager called this evening, perfectly polite, to ask about tomorrow's court date and was I still able to take him? Sure thing, no problem. All civility. I feel slightly bit better. SLIGHTLY.

* * * *

And I got a scant few hours of sleep last night due to the No Home Training Trio next door. Seems Himself came home drunk/stoned/both and he and Girlfriend proceeded to get into a loud argument over his drunken insistence that she's cheating on him, and her angry denunciation of his drinking and drug use. Oooookaaaaay. Klass. I tell you, pure KLASS. 15 days people, 15 more days.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Second verse, Same as the First

So the school calls yesterday to tell me that Gerbson's dad has requested to withdraw him in order to register him at a different high school, effective Monday. And btw, did I REALLY just drop him off and abandon him????

Good gravy. Clearly, the revisionist history has begun. I expect by Monday, the tale will grow to include guns, knives and lampshades made of human skin.

And yet, maybe this IS what he needs to get himself together? Being out of his current school is an excellent thing - that was going to happen anyway - and away from his current peer group. Many of them seem to be making consistently poor choices and getting themselves into increasingly more serious trouble.

I am having a very, very, very hard time with it. I am having a very hard time with the things my son said to me and the names he called me. I am really having a hard time with the knowledge that both of them are telling people that I threw my son out of the house. And packing his clothes and belongings is so hard.

I want him to come home. But I also want him to go to class, abstain from smoking pot and drinking, and apparently I can't have both. At least, not at this moment.

I am trying to tell myself that maybe this will give him the chance to get his act in gear with a fresh start.

Mostly though, I am trying not to think about it too much because its so damned painful.

* * *

Jacob finally cut his first tooth. To celebrate, he caught his first cold. He is one cuh-ranky baby.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

10 lbs of crazy in a 5 lb bag

Dear heaven. My house hosts more drama than sweeps week on the daytime soaps.

The teenager is currently at his father's house, claiming to all that I have thrown his poor misunderstood self out of the house. Suuurrrre.

The short story is... I found out that he has pretty much skipped THREE ENTIRE WEEKS of classes. Three weeks, people. He was going to school... just didn't go to class once he got there. And then he flat-out lied to my face about it, even when faced with the hard evidence. So then when he figured out that I had him dead-bang... he got belligerent and cocky.

(note to self... figure out how to go back in time, find self as 17 year old, SLAP self and then go apologize to mother for ever being a teenager. Again.)

He got reeeeeeeeeeal cocky. Went-too-far cocky, in fact, and I hauled him up short. That apparently twisted his little pickle and he decided that he would rather live at his father's. And he called his father and told them that I was a crazy bitch and I was throwing him out. And then he threw some clothes in a bag & whaddya know. I drove him over there, hearing all the while what a crazy bitch I was. Also lazy. Also, I am a terrible mother. And did I know I was a crazy bitch?? Because I am a crazy effing bitch.

(Everybody SING!!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh gerbson's mom is a bitch, she's a great big bitch, she's the biggest bitch in the whole wide world, on Monday she's a... yeah anyway.)


This? This is why some animals eat their young.

Which reminds me. The night before all the Crazy started happening, I went over to mom's to have coffee. She has a bunch of cats, and the grey tabby, Oblio, is becoming quite the social animal now that the old bully cat is gone. Soooo friendly. He leaped straight into my lap and started rubbing against my face and my neck and my shoulders and Oh! Wasn't this cat happy to see me????

And then. And then. HE BIT MY BOOB. Kind of like honk!! rather than a serious chomp. But still! He bit my boob!!! And there was CAT SPIT on my shirt.

And my mother thought that it was absolutely hysterical and has been telling all the friends and relations. Seriously. I can't even get respect from a neutered CAT. I need to just hang it up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When Kicking Butt... Aim For Someone Else

Ohhhhh mama. I came, I saw, I kicked major tuchus. Unfortunately, the glutes that got the most impact... were my own.

As I mentioned, Lunatic Me started my whirlwind at roughly 4am on Sunday morning. I finally waved the white flag and hit the showers (literally. I couldn't lift my arms above my head by then) at 10pm.

But by golly, I went down fighting the good fight. Or the anti-clutter fight. Or something.

And this morning, I was surprised to find THIS:

The one, the only, the Alpha Dude (accept no imitation! No, really... he's a hoopy frood indeed and I am pretty certain he knows HIS towel is.) said: "This gal can take normal every day happenings and present it in such a way that leaves you laughing, feeling her feelings or just sitting there saying, “Huh?” (note from Gerbil: Making People say "Wha?" and "HUH?" is my stock in trade. Bwah hah.). Always a pleasant visit. "

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Thank you, Alpha Dude!

Now, if you get tagged, you're supposed to write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you Think but have not yet been nominated, link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of this prestigious award, and display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' if you want to.

Ok, now this is the hard part. I'm still pretty new to this here Blogging concept and I am still wearing wearing my Blogging Floogles, so to speak. (Floogles. Right. Those inflatable arm bands? Well, when they first came out waaaay back in... gawd. 1970-something or other.... they were called FLOOGLES. I am old. And I remember weird crap. Carry on.) So I am still finding blogs and most of them seem to have been tagged already.

I'd definitely have to pick Velocibadger at Pardon the Egg Salad... not only lots of cool stuff to read on the blog, but she reads just about as much as I do and and I have found a lot of really interesting stuff through her links.

Frannie at the T Family Syndicate. (Remind me to add her to my list over there. I keep forgetting to update it lately. Bad Gerbil.) I enjoy her posts and she is also married to an asian man (although my husband is Korean).

And there's Robbin at My Level of Awareness , which I stumbled on during the Blog Party a few weeks back. She GETS IT. And she gets it and tells it in a way that makes me stop and say "ME TOO!!"

Canape at Don't Take the Repeats. I found her blog through a comment she left on one of my posts. I read her posts and find myself going with her... she's honest and observant and expressive.

Catwoman at Canadian Thoughts in Texas. Dear lord, can she make me giggle. I love her sense of humor.

Picking just 5 was hard. Made easier, however, by the fact that most of the ones I am currently reading have already been tagged!! And if you're visiting my site and I haven't scared hell out of you (yet), drop me a comment or two somewhere so I can visit your blogs as well. Throw a Gerbil a rope, here. Expand my world. I need a road map (along with the two hands and a flashlight.)


In other news, Jacob has begun to deliver editorial commentary on meal selections by way way of GAGGING. A child after my own heart. For example, on the menu last night was Beechnut brand Turkey. He likes Gerber, mind you. But the texture of Beechnut is entirely different... after the 5th spoonful of the Beechnut turkey, he made a face. The 6th spoonful? He rolled it around on his tongue, stuck his turkey-coated tongue out and gagged fit to kill. And then gagged a second time and spit it out onto the tray of the high chair, finishing with a very very dirty look. I soothed his troubled soul with banana/pear/apples and all was right with the world again. Cross THAT one off the list.

And now I'm going to go make some coffee and begin the day. (As opposed to the Beguine. Somebody? Can you explain how to shut the Randomize feature off in my brain? It's giving me a headache.)

Later, Taters.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Housecleaning: Portrait of an American Lunatic

So I fell asleep watching TV. I don't even remember what I was watching but Third Watch was on when I woke up at 4 am because I heard the baby crying. And I was off that bed, down the hall and staring, quite confused, at an empty crib before I woke up enough to remember that Husband and Baby were in MARYLAND and the baby I heard was actually on the TV.

Do not underestimate the power of Mother Hearing.

The adrenaline surge that propelled me down the hall was enough to guarantee that I wasn't getting back to sleep so I made coffee (wisely used the COFFEE MAKER today so as to avoid another scalding) and then got antsy (before the coffee, thankyewverramuch. Lets not forget the ADD.)

It is now 8am and I have:

  • washed 4 loads of laundry
  • done 1 1/2 loads of dishes
  • Found that someone had broken ANOTHER of the tall drinking glasses (out of 16, I am down to 8. %$#@*!!!)
  • Wondered if I can still locate a matching set of these glasses?
  • Decided that 6am was too early to care
  • Decided to winnow through all fabric in my house
  • bagged 5 large trash bags of stuff to be purged
  • cleaned one bathroom
  • decided all bathrooms need to be bleached
  • discovered I have no bleach
  • made pancakes
  • accidentally grabbed the giant clear plastic bottle of SOY SAUCE instead of the clear plastic bottle of pancake syrup. (Costco strikes again! Do we REALLY need THIS much soy sauce???)
  • cussed
  • Realized the fridge needs a good scrubbing.
  • Spot-treated the living room carpet
  • Spot-treated the dining room carpet
  • Asked myself why I just wasted 15 minutes spot-treating carpets when in 5 years I have not been able to remove the stains left by the previous occupant??

Folks, I am beginning to scare myself but am reluctant to stop now. Imagine what I can accomplish before NOON at this rate. I have already called my dad about bringing over his truck & trailer a little later because we are making a dump run or my name ain't GERBIL. I have been asking for this to happen for months and by golly... I've run out of patience and a forthcoming move is an EXCELLENT reason to get rid of all this crap we don't need. There's a gazillion items that are going to goodwill, and the county dump also has a dropoff point for stuff that's too good to throw away but Goodwill won't take (they're picky here).

Then... I'm going to Home Depot. (If I could possibly paint this entire house this afternoon, I'd do that too. )

It's spring, its time to kick some ass around here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who spray-painted our sidewalk?!?

SOMEbody spraypainted something with black paint. Although they put down a piece of newspaper, it was not enough, and there is a nice black spraypainted outline there on the sidewalk... in front of OUR townhouse.

What the heck??? T'wasn't us... we don't even own spray paint. And why OUR sidewalk???

This morning started with a bang. Or a splash, followed by a squeak of shock and surprised pain. Followed by a "Son of a BITCH. "

Ever see one of those Melitta one-cup cone coffee makers? You set the plastic cone thingie on your cup, put the filter & coffee grounds in it, pour boiling water in it and whammo - a single cup of coffee. I've had it for years, works fabulously for making just a single cup. (Duh. That is its purpose after all... I AM Captain Obvious, thankyewverramuch.)

So, its the wee dark hours of the morning & I'm groggier than usual, as the baby woke a few times during the night. Plus, the teenager had Saturday detention, (thanks to forgetting to turn off his cell phone in class & having dumbass friends who call at 10am and teachers don't generally appreciate being interrupted by Young Jeezy ringtones) and I was not looking forward to hearing the complaining about that.

So coffee was DEFINITELY on the agenda.

Too bad grace and coordination weren't. Because I saw the contraption start to tip, and what do I do? Reach out to catch it. Sure enough, 16 ounces of boiling water & coffee grounds spill over my hand and down the front of my Klassy voluminous cotton granny nightgown (hey... the rest of me was amply protected by yards of fabric. So there.) and allllllllllllllllllllllllllll over the counter, the cabinets and the floor.

My first thought, naturally, was "ow. Ow! Hey! OW!" and the second, as I'm running my scalded hand under cold water was "Dammit, I wasted all that COFFEE!!" Yes, I have MY priorities in order, don't I?

And then I marched my coffee-covered self upstairs, where I tried to figure out how to get coffee-encrusted nightgown off without getting grounds in my hair. (wasn't possible). And while I was doing that, I lost my balance and fell over and woke up my husband. And that was the sight that met the poor man - a grumbling, coffee-encrusted, tangled, flailing chick. You know it can only get better.

We signed the new lease today - move-in starts on the 16th. WOOOOOOOOOOOT.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Testosterone Poisoning

Yeah. My older son is entirely black and blue this morning. Apparently, he fought this kid - doesn't know his name, doesn't know where he lives, all he knows is "he had a beef with me last year and we settled it" - last summer for no clear reason other than that teenaged boys can be absolute idiots. (Especially in this neighborhood. Hoo-boy)

And apparently the kid wanted a rematch, so he & his cousin took a little jaunt down to our street yesterday afternoon to confront my son. And like dueling "gentlemen" of yore, they discussed their terms and chose their location (down the hill behind the houses so as not to disturb anyone. Can you believe it??!? Considerate morons.)

Aaaaand the three of them proceeded to fight. My son insists he won (I bet that's what the other two are saying as well.) His arms are swollen and bruised from blocking and he has a huge contusion on his back where one of them kicked him and he's covered with scratches and more bruises. He also insists that he'd be thought of as a GIRL if he hadn't fought.

Uh... wrong answer to the WRONG person there.

And now I'm also ready to kill him because I am hardly trying to raise him to be an uncivilized buffoon, ready to swing a fist any time anyone suggests it. I know he has a brain, I really wish he'd go back to USING it. Or at least... using it more than he currently does. Even I have to admit he didn't ALWAYS use it, as people who have known me for a while can tell you. This kid is infamous for some of his not-thinking escapades...

Wonder what joys will await me when I get home TONIGHT???

But I'm about to fix his wagon, oh yesssss... we're going to my mom's farm for Easter and he's going to pitch in on my aunt's farm while we're there. I do believe there's three chicken & duck houses that will need to be cleaned out and there is NOTHING like shoveling chickenshit for 8 hours to make you hate your life.

Anyway, we dropped of the application for the house yesterday and learned there'd been another one submitted but those folks were rejected. So I am now cautiously optimistic... keep your fingers crossed. We gotta get out of this place.

And the No-Home-Training Trio struck again... as we are returning home from turning in the application, the roommate pulls into the court ahead of us... and parks in my husband's MARKED, reserved space. Naturally, my husband made him move, especially as we were trying to park ourselves!! Apparently, Roommate felt that since he was only going to be there 15 minutes, he shouldn't have to walk the 10 feet from his space.

And then the other two got home at ten and got into another argument outside on the sidewalk. I restrained myself from turning the hose on them.

I thought pregnancy hormones were bad for my attitude... but these three are really doing a number on my sweet & cheerful demeanor.

Ok, not even **I** could say that with a straight face.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What the Daddy Tomato told the Baby Tomato


Catch up.

Er... right. Ya had to be there. Or here. At any rate, I managed to tell myself for two nights running "must log on and...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz". I woke up at 5am on the couch andI'm here to tell you that couch hair is scarier than bed hair.

Anyway. We have been pondering the idea of moving. More specifically, I have been ranting at every sign of noise next door that "I can't WAIT to get out of here. Can we move now? I'll live in a box. I don't care! Well, I DO, but I don't want to go to jail for oh, say.... feeding them their stereo. As a suppository. SIDEWAYS."

(Ok, my neighbors are annoying but they do not pee on my porch, I will give them that. See That Chick's blog for reference... and a handy lesson in perspective for me. )

So I found a listing yesterday for a single-family house and the price seemed good. Almost TOO good, considering the neighborhood and it was a 4 bedroom house. I immediately called the agent and his assistant and the assistant again and the poor assistant ONE last time to schedule a viewing for last evening. (You may call me a crazy, stalking nutcase, I prefer persistant.) And then changed back into work clothes, jewelry and pantyhose for this occasion. Even added some perfume. Husband was giving me a bemused look and he was probably thinking "hell, she doesn't put this much effort into going to work!". But I certainly don't want to give the agents the impression that I am willing to live - or could be CAPABLE of living in - a cardboard box.

I have these weird paranoid moments sometimes.

At any rate, he was grumbling about an extra 20 minutes on the commute... until he saw the place. Did I mention the golf course?? Did I mention that my husband is a Golf Man (I even see Big Break VI in my SLEEP at this point. Gah. )??? Plus the parks and lakes right there in the development. Very family-friendly. AND... (we keep coming back to this part) the neighbors are far away. Ok, 50 feet or so. That's FAR in comparison to sharing a common wall with the no-home-training trio.

So we will be humbly putting our names in and hoping for the best. Please think good thoughts for a Gerbil. Does a Gerbil not Deserve a Break Today? I certainly hope so.

Also: Under Random Weirdness? Yesterday I was sitting at a red light. It turned green and I started to depress the gas pedal. Clearly I was not fast enough for the late-model Honda behind me, who honked and then zipped around me after we turned. When I stopped beside same car at the next light, I had to do a double take.

I was honked at..... by a NUN. True fact. Nuns got road rage. Or road irritation. Road annoyance?? Whatever. I was too slow for a nun.

And I close with a Very Gerbil Story, which actually happened to my sister.... but its funny.

She has a passel of cats. Big cats, small cats... 4 cats. And they loved these little fur-covered toy mice with the passion that only cats can show when they feel like it. My sister kept them in a quart jar... jar o' mice. And did those cats crowd around when she brought out the jar? Oh yes... the awarding of a Mousie brought on at least an hour of running, batting, leaping, mouse-chasing fun. They were Mousie Junkies.

Anyway. Fast forward to Easter and my sister was hosting a whooooolllllle bunch of guests who'd never been to her house. It was an old farmhouse, mind you, and the cabinets didn't close tightly. This is key.

So all the guests are milling around the living room when the small herd of cats comes thundering down the stairs and through the living room. The oldest cat apparently has a white toy mousie by the tail and the other cats are jealously trying to take it from him. The cats tear into the kitchen and the guests hear my sister shriek and all the cats come running back into the living room, where the prize is summarily dropped onto the rug for all to see.

What the cats have is NOT a toy mousie at all.

It is an OB TAMPON that they have cadged from under the bathroom cabinet and gotten unwrapped. And they are squabbling and chasing each other for possession of it, apparently thinking that it was a rather cottony mousie.

She has yet to hear the end of it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day of Rest, my left... er... never mind.

The neighbors apparently own but one CD. It sounds vaguely familiar but I can't place it... I'd LIKE to place it, however... straight up their left nostrils, in turn. Call me a curmudgeon, but I think I ought to be able to sit in my own living room without my back teeth vibrating from THEIR bass. And when you factor in that its the same song, on repeat, for more than 5 hours... I start to feel a little desperate.

I started by throwing a Nike at the wall. Followed by a paperback copy of The Devil Wears Prada and ending with a vigorous pounding, none of which could apparently be heard over their selected piece. I dug out my large portable CD player, set it against the wall and was all ready to strike back with my collection of various recordings by the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields (conducted by Sir Neville Marriner), only to find that I'd left the entire CD case at work.

Luckily for all involved, the oblivious trio left about 10 minutes later and have yet to return home. I CANNOT WAIT TO GET OUT OF HERE.

Also, they have apparently opted to stop taking the dog for lengthy walks, and letting her simply relieve herself on the 3 foot by 4 foot front "yard". The only trouble is that A) she's a large rottweiler, B) the yard has a downward slope and C) all the dog crap is rolling down their barren yard when the wind blows and onto the sidewalk. No kidding. We don't have tumbleweeds in these here parts, we got rolling dog crap. Kuh-lassy. And no, they don't clean it up.

The husband's car was pronounced just-this-side-of-clinically-dead, with a transmission that was just about toast and five separate "Bend Over" engine codes popping up. He spent all Saturday at some dealer in Maryland, and I do mean ALL DAY. Left the house at 9am, got home at 10pm. He got the car he wanted, said he got a good deal, but I'm certainly glad I wasn't with him. I hate car shopping. HATE it. I'm not a huge shopper to begin with, but car shopping is the worst. And kind of shopping that takes as long as oh, say... childbirth? No way.

And then I nearly fried my Ameda. If you read the literature on the Purely Yours, it details how at no time does milk ever enter the tubing... except apparently when I'm involved. I was tired and not paying much attention to the dangerous vacuum that was being created... and finally when I did look down, both tubes were busy pumping milk back up out of the bottles and INTO the pump itself. I'm lucky I didn't electrocute myself (and what a way to go THAT would have been!). Always quick on my feet, I yank the power cord out, pull the tubing out and pour at least an ounce and a half of milk straight out onto my lap. I dried and swabbed as best I could and then just... hoped for the best.

Sure enough, the next time I went back to it, it didn't start up. All I could think was "How'm I going to convince my husband that I ruined a $200 piece of equipment with my BOOBS???"

Ever the optimist, I chose DENIAL as my course of action. Three times I tried to start it up and got nothing - not even a sad little whine - for my efforts. Finally, I admit defeat and call my husband to break the bad news... Just as I'm starting to explain that I broke the pump and how, I give it one last try.

And it started up. Go figure. I hemmed, hawed and I think I convinced my husband that I'd totally forgotten why I called, never mind, Jane-You-Ignorant-Slut. The poor man is used to me making no sense whatsoever to begin with so it couldn't have been too hard.

And the poor baby is teething pretty badly, making him grouchy and giving him an upset stomach. As he's got reflux to start with, its kind of like the mentos & diet coke stunt. Only it smells significantly worse. I'm on my 4th load of baby laundry today.

Its a good thing tomorrow's a work day, its probably the only way I'm going to get some rest.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Captain's Log: Stardate... no clue. Whatever.

Eh, I never was a Trekkie anyway although I DID purchase myself a stuffed Tribble at a sci-fi con (BaltiCon maybe?? I don't even remember) that I got dragged to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day. I remember being really sulky about going, too, but I was the one who had a working vehicle. (Ok, I'll confess that we did name it the Kobiyashi Datsun because it was a no-win situation that kept changing the conditions on us. Look, some of my friends WERE Trekkies and sometimes that stuff just kind of seeps into your pores. They had to put up with me and my quirks so it all evened out.)

Anyway, where was I? Right. Convention. Anyway, I was really petulant about being at this con and I kept getting hassled by guys who thought they were smoooooooooooooth... their primary means of greeting females being to smack them on the butt. This really just frosted my pickle. There was a mall across the street from the con location and I trotted over to one of those Puppy King stores and purchased a weeny-beeny little kitten harness and leash and put it on my stuffed Tribble and NOW I had an Attack Tribble.

After I bounced the Attack Tribble off a couple of heads, I was left very, very VERY much alone. I probably embarrassed the living daylights out of my friends, too. I don't recall going to another Con after that one.

By the way, can anyone tell me exactly how I managed to break one of my toenails while I was sleeping last night???? I often smack into things, bounce off corners, etc, but this little feat escapes even me. You'd kinda think I'd have NOTICED that? Dang.

We went for the MRI last night. You know it was off to a rocking start when we get all the way up to the center in the pouring rain and heavy traffic and find out... THEY SENT ME TO THE WRONG LOCATION. Yes indeedy. I have a 6:45 appointment, it was now 6:37 AND I AM AT THE WRONG CENTER. I am supposed to be out near Fairfax hospital. Damnation and pickles.

I let my husband drive and I just grabbed the "oh-shit" bar and closed my eyes. (I am a really, really bad passenger.) We walked into the correct imaging center at 6:45 precisely on the dot.

They give me this snazzy green hospital gown (except it wraps around again and does not expose your tush to the public. ) and you get to hang out with a bunch of other unhappy looking, green-gown wearing people. So then the nurse comes rushing back, waving my chart. (Guys... fair warning: imminent discussion of Female Matters)

"This says your last menstrual cycle was February 14th!!!" (Well and THANK YOUUUUU for announcing it, Madame Tact)

"Today is March 15!"
"YOU COULD BE PREGNANT!" Popping sounds as all heads snap around to stare at me.
"No... I am definitely not."
"But you could be!!!"
"the answer there is Absolutely Not."
"But... but... Oh. Are you taking the Pill?"

WTF, here? I mean really, WTF??? (Clearly, I am not blessed with nurses who understand the value of DISCRETION. This is almost as bad as the nurse at the OB's office who called me back about some early-pregnancy spotting to schedule an "emergency" appointment and chose to bellow at me "AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IS TO GO INTO YOUR VAGINA!!!!!" Did I mention that I was at work at the time? Aaaaaand while not on speakerphone, she bellowed so loud that my co-worker heard her loud and painfully clear?? Allow me to just gift-wrap my dignity and hand it over, huh?)

Anyway, so now the entire room is waiting to hear my preferred method of birth control. You wanna know? You really wanna know?? It's called Having an Eight-Month Old Infant. Women, if you have kids, you know what I mean. I mean COME ON.

So I make the effort to smile at this nurse and say very slowly "I.... am NOT pregnant. My cycle is not 28 days. Its anywhere from 34 to about 43 days. Has been since I was 11. End of Story."

She was persistent, let me give her that. "well, we might not be able to do the tests!"
"Fine. Do a pregnancy test then, but you're wasting your time and mine."
"Um... we don't have them at this location."

I think I must have gotten that Look on my face because she turned red and said "Let me see what the doctor says!!" Oh yes, you just do that. (And I wished, wish, WISHED for my Attack Tribble, because if anyone deserved to be Tribbled at that very moment... it was her.) The doctor must have heard the whole thing, but I hear HIM say "Oh just leave her alone and get the IV started."

The MRI itself was pretty awesome. Ok it was loud. Ok I was in a tube. Ok, I was wearing a flimsy little green hospital gown. BUT. I was laying down and nobody wanted anything from me except to hold my breath a couple of times... for an HOUR. Totally worth it, although the injection of the Contrast stuff annoyed me. Still. Mmmmmm. Best rest I had all week.

And when I went back into the changing room to get dressed, I discovered that the person using the second locker really really really REALLY needed to look into the value of a good deodorant. The little room now had the overpowering smell of armpits. And we are NOT talking "lemony fresh".

We won't have the results back for three or four days. And I have to "pump and dump" for 48 hours because of the Contrast (I don't remember what they shot into me, sorry). It is killing me to watch my Liquid Gold go swirling down the drain, let me tell you.

But since I am dumping... and since I'd already pissed off the pancreas... I soothed my troubled soul with a Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger when we got home.

And that was, without a doubt, the best fricking bacon cheeseburger I think I've ever had. It ALMOST made up for not getting to give the nurse an Atomic Wedgie. Almost.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I installed Jacob's new larger carseat on Tuesday. Some bigass brown Eddie Bauer model that I had to get professional help with because apparently I have the upper body strength of a geriatric weasel.

Jacob hates it. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAATES it. Hates it so much that he GROWLS at me, non-stop, from the moment he's strapped into it until we get to our destination and for up to minutes afterward. Growls like one big angry dog. Or a small angry baby. And I, being the Big Bad Mean, Law-Abiding, Sensible Mommy... make him put up with it.

Anyone taking bets on toddlerhood? I think after this week he's plotting a coup.