Note to Life

Dear Life:

Seriously, with the hardness? You have to knock it off.

I'm not asking to win the lottery--I'm asking to get a job and earn money.

I'm not asking for a new car--I'm asking our 10-year-old car to keep running.

I'm not asking for a mansion--I'm asking that we can keep the house we have.

So for the love of all that is good and holy, please cut us a little slack. That is all.

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Drug-fueled Monkey Romp - Reader Discretion Advised

If we were a different kind of people, a story about a drug-filled weekend in which we saw monkeys swing from trees and then we passed out would be a legendary party tale. However.

It all started when James came home Thursday not feeling well. He went to bed early and awoke on Friday feeling worse. We had plans to go out to my parents' house, so Julie and I went and let James sleep. The next day, he felt a little better, so we met my parents at the zoo and had fun seeing the monkeys and riding the monorail. The zoo trip didn't do James any favors, though, so in the afternoon he went to a walk-in clinic, where he was diagnosed with an Ear Infection and the proper drugs were administered. At about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, he woke feeling better, and he decided to go pick up burgers for supper. Seconds after closing the back door, he began shouting for me.

James was wearing shorts, and he scraped his leg on the front license plate of his car. After the blood soaked through a wad of paper towels and a dish rag, we decided an ER visit was in order. I woke Julie from her nap and drove us to Presbyterian. Two hours and eight stitches later, we were home. And while James felt good (his leg was still numb), I wasn't feeling well.

I awoke on Sunday feeling like someone had taken a blow torch to my tonsils. James had to be at church because he was an assisting minister, but he and Julie dropped me at a walk-in clinic earlier in the morning. There were 15 people in the waiting room from the moment the place opened. One of the guys was talking on his cell phone, telling a friend that "I got really drunk last night and then took a hydrocodone, and for some reason I started puking in the middle of the night." Classy. An hour after arriving, I still hadn't even been called up to fill out paperwork. So I had James pick me up and take me home, where I took Advil and napped.

We made it to a third walk-in clinic around 4 p.m. Sunday, and I was eventually diagnosed with Strep Throat. I've had a couple of doses of antibiotic, and life is more bearable.

So, that was our weekend. We strongly feel that the Founding Fathers hate us.

Scene from an Italian Restaurant

Julie and I picked up James from the airport Friday night, not able to give him the greeting we'd hoped because Julie was burning up with fever. But her doctor called in an antibiotic that afternoon, and by Saturday, she seemed to be feeling better. And of course, we were thrilled that James was home.

Saturday was James and my 5-year wedding anniversary. We had considered going on a date, but we didn't want to leave Julie with a sitter when James had just come home, plus she wasn't feeling 100 percent yet. So we decided that the three of us would go to the Macaroni Grill, a family-friendly place that still has adult beverages and good food.

When we got seated at the restaurant, Julie was a little fussy, so I picked her up out of the high chair. And she threw up all over me. Twice.

We wiped down as best we could and high-tailed it out of there. After a bath for Julie and a shower for me, we eventually coaxed her to sleep. And James and I dined on cheeseburgers and whiskey.

Our fifth anniversary is henceforth known as the "Puke-iversary."

On James' Absence, and Return

While James and I have never ascribed to the idea that we "complete" each other - we were fully formed people when we met - I have felt a visceral lacking in his six-day absence. It's like I'm two pints of blood short, or one hand is tied behind my back. I can function; I just don't work as well without him. I take care of Julie and the house and the job hunt, but I'm not at full speed or alacrity. It's funny how someone can be both your rock and your soft place to land.

Julie and I have been on quite the adventure with James away. His trip coincided, in an excruciating twist, with recent sleep troubles on Julie's part. The gist: not so much with the going to sleep is she. Last night was particularly tough, to the extent that, when she was still awake and energetic at 10 p.m., I gave up and declared it a slumber party. We got out every toy she wanted, danced and jumped and giggled, and then I let her come to bed with me around 11:30. She slept the way little kids do - managing to take up 95 percent of the bed despite being 1/10 its size. I watched her sleep after I rose this morning and fell in love with her a little more, yet again.

On Friday, our girls-only house goes co-ed again. We'll pick up James from the airport in the evening, drowning him in affection and melting away any trace of cold Alaska. I can't wait.

Me, Weird? Um, Yeah.

Per Pat's tag, here are some weird, random things, little known facts and odd habits about myself. I don't even know ten people on LJ who I could tag, but I'll share my oddities anyway.

1. When I eat a banana, I like to slice it up rather than eating it in a hand-held manner. It's just tastier my way.

2. I kept my notes from several college classes, thinking that I would reference them often in my adult life. It hasn't so much happened, but I can't bring myself to toss them, either.

3. I was on a local TV quiz show in high school, leading a team with three other kids. We made it through the second round of the tournament before bowing out.

4. I have oddly good balance. I can stand on one leg for a long time.

5. I only like eggs scrambled. No other style will do.

6. I don't like magic. It seems like paying someone to trick you. I don't get it.

7. Mine was voted the messiest locker in high school. It only closed at the top, and a hair dryer cord snaked out from the bottom. I can keep big spaces tidy, but little ones are hard!

8. I love tomatoes. I will put them on/in virtually anything, or eat them raw, like an apple.

9. I'm from Crawford, now home of the "president." Enough said.

10. I don't own a belt. I have always believed that I look weird with my shirt tucked in.


Every day, Julie and I raise the blinds in her room so we can sit on the floor and see what's happening outside. Invariably, there are squirrels looking for food, and birds hopping around, and cars driving by, and sometimes people walking by with their dogs (50 bonus points for that). There's so much to see that I can't believe I never saw it before. And I realize that my world has gotten smaller and larger at the same time.

I'm looking for full-time work, and Julie is starting full-time daycare at our church in a few weeks. It makes me sad to think of all the time I'll be missing with her - all the peering out the window and making monkey noises and holding up one finger on each hand so I'll let her watch one more Sesame Street. But I'll carry all those moments with me, and so will she. And on the weekends, we'll tune in to the front-yard show, live from her bedroom window.

Strange Bedfellows

For the longest time, Julie didn't have a "transitional item," (i.e., a stuffed animal, blanket, etc. that she particularly loved and wanted to cuddle at night). But that all changed a couple of months ago, when she discovered Sesame Street. Now she adores Bert, Ernie, Grover, and company. She has small plush versions of several of these guys, and she began sleeping with them at night.

More recently, though, her tastes in sleeping buddies have...evolved. The items she has insisted on taking to bed with her have included:

- A clean diaper
- A wet wipe
- A large fake apple
- Her toothbrush

We of course confiscated these items once she fell asleep. I'm glad she has grown attached to something in addition to James and me, as it makes bedtime easier, but I'm not sure I appreciate sharing the limelight with imitation fruit and baby hygiene items!

Did you know? Brought to you by a 17-month-old.

1. That the Arboretum is not a huge flower garden - it's actually a bird and squirrel zoo? And the best places to chase birds and squirrels are the farthest from the flowers?

2. That the book "The Little Red Caboose" is entirely about dogs and birds? The train is a minor character, at best.

3. That potting soil belongs anywhere BUT in a flower pot. 

4. That bananas and scrambled eggs aren't just good for breakfast - they're also good for your hair.

5. That grunting or whining is WAY more fun than using one of the hundreds of words that you recognize but won't say.

6. That toothpaste is delicious.

7. That wiping a toddler's nose is one of the few remaining no-nos under the Geneva Convention.

8. That grinning and saying "mama" or "dada" gets you out of most any trouble. Parents are suckers.

9. That when mommy picks up one of your favorite foods at the grocery store, you must cradle it in the arms for the rest of the shopping trip, then scream when the checker tries to scan it.

10. That hiding food in the toy bins is a great way to save a snack for a rainy day.


In Case You Were Wondering

You know what's more fun that eating Goldfish crackers?

Throwing them on the floor, stomping them into a fine orange powder, and then rolling in it.

Julie thought you should know that.

Super Bowl. . .of Chips

Yesterday we watched the Super Bowl at the Patcave. It was Julie's second Super Bowl party, but the first for which she was awake. While some of us were chatting with friends and trying to watch the game, Julie was discovering one of the joys of parties - lots of miniature food within her reach.

She dug into the grape tomatoes first, squishing them in her hands and then popping them in her mouth. She was in awe - the tomatoes at our house are so much bigger! And then came the mini-quiche. She grabbed one and then looked at me like, "Mom - they're tiny spinach and cheese pies. For me. Tiny food that fits in my hand. Why haven't you heard about this?"

She also enjoyed sliced cheese, bites from daddy's bratwurst bun, morsels of meatball, and whatever else she could bat her eyelashes and charm out of someone's hands. She worked the crowd like she knew everyone, and by 7 p.m. when halftime and bedtime rolled around, she did.

Thanks, Pat, for letting us crash the party with Julie, and for the miraculous minature food that made her day!