Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Baby, I'm Amazed

We're just back from another week's worth of Cramming For Childbirth, aka Bradley Method Class. At the end of each class, we watch a childbirth video. This week's video had some nifty computer generated imagery showing the innards of the pregnant woman. While I've watched my waistline expand and I "know" the cause of this expansion is Jack's growth, seeing this depicted is a little bit of a freak-out. A good freak-out though, because I am just in awe of myself. That I can do this. That my body was made to do this. I am making a person right now. What started out as two cells grew to a little blob of cells and then a little tadpole of a human and is now nearly a full term infant.

And while all this growing has occurred, my uterus which was once the size of a small citrus fruit has grown and stretched and accomodated this other person and his water sac and his placenta and his cord. And then when it's time to meet Jackson, my body will make the appropriate arrangements to allow him a squeezy but efficient exit so he can be born. While I've been carrying him around inside of me in a big uterine hug for 33 weeks, I can't wait to hold him in my arms.

After Jack is born, my uterus will go back down (eventually, not overnight - but still!) to the size of the aforementioned small citrus fruit. And all my internal organs which have long since been displaced will settle back into their familiar places. And I'll just be me again. This blows my mind.

I asked Tim tonight what he thought of that, if he was a little bit jealous that his body wasn't designed to accomplish amazing feats of reproduction like mine was. And in typical guy fashion, he said he was most jealous of my uterus. Sure, the average guy can go from a few inches flaccid to a healthy 7 inches of penile joyride but that will still never compare to my lemon to watermelon growth of the uterus! Ha!

I see your 7 inches, Pal. And I raise you 20! :D

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sneak Previews

Last night we attended the wedding and reception of my step cousin (does such a thing exist, or did I just make that title up?). I'll explain the relation. My beloved Godfather, my Uncle Felix, passed away when I was about 8 years old. He left behind my wonderful Godmother, my Auntie Lee, and his three daughters, my cousins Kim, Tracy and Michele (whom I adore and are like sisters to me). Aunt Lee got remarried several years later to Kevin, a very nice man who was divorced with a daughter from his first marriage, Carrie. Last night was Carrie's wedding.

It was a lovely wedding, simple and elegant in a gorgeous church. The reception was at a country club about 45 minutes away from our house. Carrie looked absolutely radiant, as is pretty much anticipated of any young bride and her groom Ryan looked completely comfortable and confident the entire day. Not at all jittery or nervous. They're really a great couple.

At the reception, they had all the traditional acoutrements. They cut the cake together (with Def Lepard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" playing in the background, which was kind of fun and different), they had their traditional first dance. The bride danced with her dad, which is always a sweet and touching moment. And then the groom danced with his mom. Ryan actually isn't a bad dancer. And he was so tender and sweet with his mom, being the perfect gentleman dancer and leading her step by step. You could tell by the looks on their faces that they were really having fun and enjoying their special moment together. I thought to myself, gosh if that were me I'd be a bawling mess right now. It was one of those scenes that just get you *right here*, tugs at your heartstrings and brings a tear to your eye.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks: someday, 20 to 30 or so years from now that IS going to be me. And the way Jackson moves now, at least I know he will be a great dancer. :)

I'll be the mother of the groom in the beige dress, dancing with my son during our special song on his wedding day. Holy carp! I'm sure I will cry like a blubbering idiot to say 'goodbye' to my son that way. I should find a good waterproof mascara sometime between now and then.

That Mother/Son dance would be the perfect send-off for us though. As many times as we've danced together already...him still on the inside, me on the outside, as we both enjoy some of the same songs -- one last dance together as he leaves his parents to forge a new family with his new bride would be just *perfect*.

In between now and then - all I want to do is to raise a man who will be a faithful, loving husband and involved, wonderful father.

Dear Daughter In Law of The Future: that's my wedding gift to you. Well, that and I promise to not do all the annoying MIL things that mine has done to me that make me insane. I promise. I swear. good to my son. I love him more than anything.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I dream of The Hoff

I blame the pregnancy hormones. The night before last, I had the weirdest dream of my life.

I was downtown Chicago in the theatre district. I had just seen Wicked.
I was with DH, but I wasn't married to him. We were just friends. My relationship status was actually I was still dating my ex husband, we hadn't moved in together yet or gotten married. So my dream was in the past, I guess. But Wicked wasn't around 10 years ago, was it?

Anywho, so I'm standing outside the theatre in a fur coat (I would NEVER wear fur IRL) and I make eye contact with a stranger on the street. And I'm all "David...Hasselhoff?" And he's all "Hey!!! How are you??? How have you been? And gives me this great big hug. So apparently, I knew David Hasselhoff in my dream. We were old pals.

So he invites me & DH that I'm not married to yet to come with him in his limo to find somewhere else to go hang out. He takes my left hand to kiss it, and notices a ring I have on. I have this sapphire & diamond ring on my left ring finger and he gives me this questioning eyebrows raised look. And I said, "No, it's just jewelry. No significance." So he kisses my hand and then draws me up close to him and makes out with me on the street while everyone else is waiting for us in the car. In my dream, David Hasselhoff is a FANTASTIC kisser.

We get in the limo and he has me all snug by his side and I'm thinking "I can't believe I just made out with Knight Rider!!" and I'm super psyched for this. And he nuzzles me and is all "Oh man, you smell great. What is that?" And I told him it was just my LUSH soap. And he says...get this...he says "Oh I always hear great reviews on LUSH stuff on the Bath & Body board at MUA." And I was all "Oh that's where I heard about it too." So he tells the driver that he wants to go to the LUSH store on Western to get some of my amazing-smelling soap. We got to the LUSH store, and they didn't have the soap because it was Limited Edition. So I promised I'd split whatever I had left with Knight Rider, and he was happy. And by this time, I had started calling him Knight Rider and he was all "Um, actually my character's name on that show was Michael Knight." And I was all "OK, whatever, KNIGHT RIDER." And he says "Are we going to have our first lover's quarrel?" And I said "I didn't know we were lovers." And he says, "Not...yet" and made out with me again.

Then we ditched everyone at the LUSH store, ran back to the limo to head to his hotel and I woke up.

The funniest part of my dream was that I kept telling myself how excited I was to be making out with Knight Rider the whole time I was with him. That, and everytime I looked at him I thought "his hair is so PUFFY!". But it was attractive to me, in my dream. And when we were talking, I was being my usual sarcastic self and kind of ripping on him underhandedly. He whispered sweet nothings into my ear like "I'm huge in Germany" to which I replied, "I'll bet you're huge in Asia too!"

What a whacked out dream. I'm so glad I woke up before fornicating with Knight Rider.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jack <3's OutKast...and Justin Timberlake

We saw the movie "Accepted" tonight...before which there was a preview of Idlewild. I thought my belly would explode as Jackson boogied to the music in the background. The boy LOVES him some OutKast.

As I write this, Justin Timberlake's SexyBack is playing in the's a stupid, repetitive song that makes no sense whatsoever. Jackson doesn't care, he's getting down and getting his sexy on like the song says. It has a good beat and is easy to dance to, he gives it a 10.

I don't think his in utero reaction to music will ever cease to entertain me! It's one part of being pregnant that I'll really miss once he's born.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jack Attack!

Jackson and I had our first Non Stress Test this morning at Dr. Y's. Still love Dr. Y. I actually saw one of her CNM's today, and she was just as awesome as Dr. Y. It's like the dawning of a new day. It's this "Oh WOW so this is what it feels like to love and trust the doctors who will be bringing my child into the world" feeling. I WISH I had made the change sooner! The Midwife was awesome, took plenty of time to address my questions and concerns du jour and just had such a sweet, helpful spirit about her. Ahhhh....sigh of relief.

Anyways, back to the NST. I had never had this test before, but it involves a couple of straps that hold these sensors on your belly. The sensors measure the baby's heart rate from what I gathered. Then they give you this little clicker to push when you feel the baby move. There's a little printout that comes out that shows the rise & fall of the baby's heart rate in correlation to the baby's movement. I guess it also shows if I have any contractions too. So they strap me in and give me the clicker and said it would take 15 mins to a half an hour. OK, no big deal...I don't have anywhere else I "need" to be right now, so I can hang out, relax, and read a magazine while clicking kicks. Oh no I can't! Action Jackson decides he has had it with these MFing sensors on my MFing belly and starts doing his Billy Blanks Tae-Bo routine. The kid kicks so fast and hard that I can't click them all. I don't have time to crack open a magazine, because I'm sitting there clicking furiously. I swear my son was writing the script to The Fast And The Furious 4: Uterus Style. We can literally see my belly jumping up and down and I'm clicking, clicking, clicking like a madwoman. The nurses are all dying laughing, they didn't believe me about how active Jack is. Well, now they know.

Five minutes later, I'm all done and Jack is pronounced healthy as a horse. A very, very kicky horse.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Frickin' frackin' nailpolish I won't have time for soon anyways...

So I finally figured out *how* to use that Seche Vite topcoat I thought I hated. You have to put it on WET polish. When used in this manner, the topcoat is great in that it dries super mega hellafast. And then it sucks in that my entire mani proceeds to chip in 3 days. Dammit. If you let your layers dry before doing the topcoat, the Seche Vite peels.

I was all excited because I thought I had found a way of doing my nails is 5 minutes. It's not that great a payoff when it only lasts a couple days though. It's not the base coat I've been using either...I've tried my OPI, the Seche Vite ridge filling base coat and Creative Stickey underneath. I'm going to try it with Stickey underneath an Essie nail polish and see how that goes. So far I've been trying the Urban Decay ones I got on sale (whee! I love a deal!) but UD is known for sucky wear time. That's like, their thing. (Why did I buy them? I wonder what UD's return policy is...)

By the time I master the long wearing/fast drying mani, the kid will be here and things like manicures will be a far off memory, I'm sure. In the meantime, let me obsess over the parts of my appearance that I do have control over whilst in the family way.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finding a good doctor feels like the sun rising in your heart

After my last post, I began searching for a new doctor in earnest. I called the two references I had I couldn't get through, the line was constantly busy. I decided that if I were to get through to that doctor and if he would take me, I wouldn't want him. Because when I go into labor, I don't want to have to sit and hit redial over & over again because he's too cheap to add additional phone lines. So I called the other doctor that had been recommended to me, and she doesn't take new OB patients over 28 weeks. FANTASTICAL.

So I went to my insurance company's website and looked up a list of participating providers and began scrolling through that. I was hoping a name would ring a bell from something a friend had mentioned, or something. My eyes fell upon an entry, who I'll dub here Dr. Y, and the name sounded familiar. I didn't know why it sounded familiar, so I Googled Dr. Y's full name. I found her website and read up on her and her practice. She's actually a D.O., which appealed to me since an Osteopath would be more holistically-inclined than a straight M.D. She also has 10+ years of experience in treating diabetic and high risk pregnancies. She sounded like a good match. So I called her practice, bracing myself to get turned down again because nobody wants a 30 week diabetic new OB patient. Au contraire! Her receptionist was wonderful and helpful and sweet. I told her why I was moving practices (the Reader's Digest version) and that I needed someone with experience in high risk diabetic pregnancies. She booked me their next available appointment with Dr. Y, which was this past Saturday and faxed me all my new patient intake paperwork so I could fill it out before coming in. Verily, verily I say unto thee: I was impressed, to say the least. I still didn't want to pin all my hopes and dreams on this being The Doctor for me.

Friday I went in and picked up a copy of my records after negotiating with the Office Manager of the old practice. They wanted to charge me in the neighborhood of $50 to copy my records. I felt that was grossly unfair, since their lack of professional bedside manner and incompetent medical care had given me no choice but to find another doctor. I never said things like "I feel like calling a lawyer" but I'm pretty sure the Office Manager decided to give me whatever I wanted because after I mentioned the words "negligent medical care" and "sexual harrassment" she feared litigation in her near future. So I think her angle was "make the woman happy, maybe she'll go away". Which was my plan all I just got my copy of my records and ran. It felt like a moment of clear, perfect, liberating freedom walking out of that office with my records in my hands. Never again do I have to deal with those asshats again. Hoorah!

Saturday morning came, and hubby and I headed to our appointment with Dr. Y. Sometime between 1 am Friday night and when we arose Saturday morning, it occurred to me that this was the only copy of my records I had, and I shouldn't give them to Dr. Y because what if she wasn't The One? So I felt like a royal jerk when I walked in with my records and said "I have this copy I brought and you can review them, but I don't want to give them away just yet because it's the only copy I have and I'd like to make a Xerox for my own records." Dr. Y's incredibly nice receptionist made a copy for me. They were all so nice there. The receptionist was just such a darling, sweet girl. The nurse was experienced and professional. Dr. Y was like, no she just dream doctor. She said she was so surprised to hear the problems I had been having about not being treated as a diabetic patient since maternal diabetes is so high risk. She was even more shocked when I hinted at some of the other problems I had at the old doctor, like the 'boob check' incident and the Hour From Hell with the sonographer. I think she almost felt sorry for us!

She told us about her experience and her practice's philosophy. I told her about my so far pretty uneventful, well-controlled diabetic pregnancy and what we wanted out of our birth experience (to avoid as many medical interventions as we can, hopefully go into labor naturally, so long as Jackson's or my own well being isn't at risk). She provided her feedback on our goals (she's happy to work with us to achieve everything on our Birthplan Wishlist, but asks that we stay a little flexible just in case everything doesn't go according to plan...which I have no problem with). Then she reviewed my records from the old doctor with us and asked if she could do a quick ultrasound to check on the baby and my amniotic fluid since my Level 2 ultrasound showed I may have a little extra fluid than necessary. She measured my belly, which she said was measuring perfectly for the baby's gestational age and did a quick ultrasound. Jackson's already in there head down, ready to make his grand entrance...which was really exciting to see. We saw him practicing flexing his lungs with some practice breaths. All very good signs. His heartbeat was perfect, he was his usual active & wiggly self. Dr. Y said it all looked good. She has 2 Certified Nurse Midwives and 1 OB in her practice, but she handles all the high risk cases. So when I go into labor, SHE is my doctor. No lottery or drawing straws or whoever is on the schedule that day. I get Dr. Y. I love that.

She made us feel so comfortable. She listened to our concerns and responded. She took our wishes into consideration and explained different scenarios that might come up that may require her veering a little from our primary plan. She was open, honest, friendly and kind with a gentle compassion that...well, that you just can't get from a man. Hubby and I both immediately felt confident that we were in capable hands.

I then had to spend the rest of the weekend trying not to mentally beat myself up for taking so long to choose to change practices. I felt so bad for putting Tim & I through so many weeks of stress & tension for nothing. I wish I had made the choice to leave Dr. Boob Check's office so much sooner. I wish we had found Dr. Y months ago. But what's done is done and I can't take any of it back now. For now, we just have to be grateful for the good fortune we have in finding such a wonderful practioner that we can trust fully with the upcoming birth of our first child.

I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to get from there - that place of stress and tension and feeling unhappy - to here - where I feel thankful and relaxed and excited for my son's birth. But then again, in life that seems to a recurring theme for me. I wish I hadn't taken so long to find Tim, but it took me a very long 30 years. Oh well. What else can I do but just rejoice in my current blessings? No point in beating myself up over past bad choices.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

*Donald Trump hand-cobra* Dr. Boob Check, you're fired!

Last time I was in to see my OB, I blogged about it here, and unfortunately, the situation has NOT improved. I was hopeful. I really feel like I gave them the benefit of the doubt and gave them adequate time to listen to my problems and offer a reasonable resolution.

Today when I voiced my concerns regarding Dr. Boob Check's lack of professionalism and borderline sexual harassment (completely uncalled for and just WRONG when you're approaching someone in an undressed/vulnerable position) I was told that was "just his personality and he isn't going to change that just for" me. Oh, and "some patients like that". And "he's the head of the practice so we can't tell him how to behave". Well count me among the fuddy duddies that don't want a doctor nicknaming my breasts when he comes in to manhandle them. Just...NO. I'm here for medical care, not for fun laughy joke time. I take my health seriously, Dr. Boob Check. And SO SHOULD YOU.

Which lead me to my next big beef, which is everyone at the damn practice "forgetting" I have diabetes when it's all over my chart and I have an INSULIN PUMP STICKING OUT OF MY BELLY. How do you f*ck that up? I mean, really.

I asked nicely if there were anyway I could be guaranteed that Dr. Boob Check wouldn't be my attending at my delivery and was told basically no, there was no way. Only if I made a special deal with the 1 doctor I did like and he agreed to come running whenever I went into labor, but he doesn't do that. Whoever is on call is who will deliver me. It was then that I had to bid them Good Day like Fez from That 70's Show and get out of there. I don't care that I am 30 weeks along out of 38 to 40. I don't care that I have, like, 2 hours to find a new doctor that will take me. I don't care that Dr. Boob Check is the head of the practice and God forbid someone spoke up against his demeaning and crass bedside manner. I don't care. The bottom line is, I hire these doctors to work for ME. I am a consumer here, and if my doctor isn't working for me I reserve the right to move on. I owe it to myself and to my unborn son to get the best care I can find. Dr. Boob Check, I am convinced that you're not the best care I can find. So let's sit down in the boardroom so I can tell you face to face...."You're Fired!"

Funny thing is, after I had the discussion with the OB's office about why I wasn't going to stay with the practice, I hopped in my car and went to my endocrinologist appointment. On my way, I discussed what was going on with hubby, and he echoed my concerns and feelings about why I needed to find a new OB. It felt good to take control of the situation and stop being a victim of bad medicine. On my way out of my endocrinologist's appointment, Dr. L mentioned that I "looked better" than I had before and I seemed to be "more confident" with my diabetes and my pregnancy. To which I simply replied "Thank you, I do feel more confident. I feel like I'm more in control of what is happening to me now." And he was pleased.

As am I.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To doula, or not to doula. That is the question.

So the lady that teaches our Bradley Method class is also a certified Doula. I've been considering using a doula for my birth for a few reasons. First of all, I don't have a Mom who can be there for support and coaching by my side. I watch all those Baby Story shows where the first time moms have their moms there to help them with jealousy in my heart. Secondly, Tim and I have no idea what we're doing with this whole childbirth thing. We've never done this before and frankly, we're askeered. Adding to our mounding anxiety is the fear of the unknown...if my diabetes adds in any complications requiring advanced medical interventions, how do you prepare for that? Having someone by our side who has 'been there and done that' a hundred times sure would be nice!

The cost for the doula is only $800. Tim thought it was $1500 for some reason after a quick scan of the contract. I think he was adding up the deposit plus installment payments plus the total cost that were all detailed in the contract. So it's not "that" much. Definately something we could swing if I decided I needed it. Cost isn't an issue.

The issue is Tim's hesitation. He wants Jackson's birth to be a special intimate family moment. I think he's watched Too Many 'Baby Story' episodes and he has this fantasy happy, warm and fuzzy idea of what Jack's birth will be like. I harbor no fantasies about anything being warm or fuzzy when it comes to giving birth. I pretty much know it's called "labor" because it's hard work and squeezing a human being out of a hole the size of a tampon is going to be rather painful. He thinks too many people = circus atmosphere. Now I don't want a clown on a unicycle juggling flaming hoops in the delivery room either...but that's totally not the goal of having a doula, anyways. Besides, the clown wig plus the open flames...that's a huge fire just waiting to go down.

I'm still up in the air about my OB. I'm going to beg & plead with them tomorrow to let me have either one of the doctors I like for my delivery. But I won't take Dr. Boob Check. I don't like him, I don't feel comfortable with him, and I don't want him to be my attending when I give birth. If they can't do that for me, I'm going to have to find another OB. Since I'm 30 weeks, it is going to be rather tight for me to find another doctor that I do love & trust enough to have them fly solo at the birth.

I feel so totally screwed right now. I don't know what do to, I don't know what I want except I know I DON'T want Dr. Boob Check delivering my baby. Maybe the clown on the unicycle isn't that bad an idea. I'd take the clown on the unicycle over Dr. Boob Check any day. *sigh*

Fussy like an overtired baby

Do you have a cure for snoring? Can you give it to my husband, PLEASE? Last night we got home from our Bradley class LATE...around 11:30ish. We wound down a bit & headed to bed. Tim proceeded to keep me awake with his chainsaw-like rumblings until well after 3:30 am. Between midnight and 3:30 am, I:

tried waking him up to get him to roll onto his side (he wouldn't budge)
tried sleeping on the couch (could still hear the snoring)
did relaxation exercises to try to fall asleep (could still hear him)
dropped some lavender and chamomile essential oils onto my pillow (could still hear him)
took a bath in my special super relaxy aromatherapy bath stuff (could still hear him)
microwaved a mug of milk and sipped it to try to get lulled to sleep (could STILL hear him)
pondered if "snores like a chainsaw" could be added to Illinois law as grounds for divorce (could still hear him)
laid in bed, silently fantasizing about straddling his chest and smothering him to death with my pillow (could still hear him)
sat at the foot of the bed, bawling my eyes out in frustration over not being able to sleep (could still hear him)

Until finally, sometime around 3:30 am, in a state of utter exhaustion, I collaspsed to sleep.

So three hours later, he wakes me up so I can make breakfast and take him to the train station. Like I do every day. And I can't even fathom waking up, I just lie in bed and weep, for I am so tired my tired is tired. My eyes are swollen and my sinuses clogged from my crying jag-induced 3 hours of sleep. But like a good soldier, I arose. I made pina colada smoothies (which fills up so many pregnancy nutrition requirements it's hard not to have them all day. They're dairy! They're protein! They're fruit!) and had Tim load the dogs in the back of the Jeep so I could drop them off at puppy playtime after I dropped him I can come back home and sleep! I zombie-shuffled out to the car.

Hubby's at work and the pups are at doggie daycare. On my way home, I stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription and also grabbed some earplugs for me and some allegedly magical snore-stopping spray for him. And he WILL use it, or he will start sleeping in his car.

And now, boys and girls, I am going to drift off into sweet, sweet slumberland and wake up whenever my body says it's caught up. And I don't care if that's 2 pm. Homegirl needs some Z's.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dame mas gasolina!

Hubby sent me that article this morning, which is headlined "New worry for drivers: BP shuts oilfield. Damaged pipeline in Alaska affects 8% of U.S. oil production; crude surges; record gas prices seen."

Ohh, FANTASTICAL. This is just what everyone needed. More gasoline costs in their monthly budget. Since it's the Hot New Thing to be "green" we've jumped on the bandwagon. OK, not really because it's trendy. Because we see the need. And I assume it's trendy because other American families are seeing the need too. We've reduced our household waste to less than 1 kitchen-sized trash bag a week. Where now we're recycling more and more, every yogurt container, old magazine, piece of junk mail, coded take out container that we can. When we move in the Spring, I showed Tim these Vermiculture bins that I want to get which will turn our organic waste (veggie peels, apple cores, even dog poop!) into rich fertilizer for houseplants and gardening. Redworms to the rescue! It makes me so excited I want to dance a jig when I think of how little trash our household will make when we get the worms. We're doing our part to save the planet. Instead of driving 25 miles each way in his Jeep to get to the L, Tim takes Metra now which is 5 miles away. Yeah, our family car is still an SUV but our use of it is minimal. For any around-town trips, I take my little 2 door coupe. Taking my car (The Olive) is not going to be feasible once Jackson's born though. I don't see fitting a car seat in there. We have our eyes peeled for a more fuel efficient family vehicle. Once we're no longer upside down on the Jeep, we'll probaby trade it for a the meantime, we're doing the best we can with what we've got which is I think the most you can ask of anybody. We try to do our part to live clean & green. I think it's something very important for us to flesh out so our kids also learn how important it is to respect the land that sustains their lives. It's a lesson that our parents were unable/unwilling/didn't care enough at the time to teach us.

So anyways, less driving and more efficiency has been our thing. When I run errands, I make one big list and head out and try to do them all in one day in one big, well-planned run (which means that wherever I'm buying my ice cream for the week has to come LAST). We had a couple of invites this summer to head up on a 3 hour+ drive into Wisconsin, one for a baby shower and one for a wedding reception that we politely declined. After adding up the costs in gas, time, hotels, would have cost us in excess of $300 just to get there, not including gifts for the guests of honor!

Let me interject here that we're NOT struggling. Hubby is a Director at his company, we live quite comfortably on his salary. I've just always been the type to try to live frugally when I can on everyday things, so I can spurge every now and again on special treats. I enjoy playing the game week by week to see where I can cut our grocery bill, how much I can save with coupons and combining coupons with in store specials. It makes me happy to 'stick it to The Man'. You know, since The Man is always trying to keep the Beige Girl down.

So it's been a fun thing for me to discover GasBuddy.

You can search by your zipcode and find the cheapest gas in your 'hood. Hey, I'll drive an extra few blocks to save a dime a gallon. When I'm filling up the Jeep, that really adds up! So since today the Alaskan pipeline is down or whatever, I'm going to fill 'em up...both cars, woo hoo, what fun. I've learned that if I just drive a few blocks further south, I'm in the next county over where they have less taxes on gasoline. So I'm off to Roselle with the Olive and the Jeep, to fill up for $3.15 a gallon. And The Man can suck it deep, I'm not paying the $3.37/gallon that gas is selling for just down the street from me. I'm willing to go where the savings are.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


My MIL is ridiculously, insanely excited for her first grandchild. She is so excited for her first grandchild, that I can no longer see my dining room table. The table is littered with packages labeled:

That are addressed to:
Oh yeah, you read that right. SHE'S SENDING PACKAGES TO THE BABY THAT IS NEGATIVE 2 MONTHS OLD. The week before last, she sent a 30+ lb package that was so heavy, I had to ask the UPS man to carry it upstairs for me. It was stuffed to the rim with baby clothes, hats, bibs, name it. Baby clothes are small. So you can imagine how large a box of 30 pounds of baby clothes is!!! Last week she sent a box of BOOKS and more baby clothes. Apparently, I am the gestation tank for a Miracle Genius Baby who will be born knowing how to do the SpeedReading hand! I have a book of fairy tales (fairy tales for my SON!) bigger than a Catholic family Bible for the baby.

This is crazy. She is out of control. I don't have anywhere to put all this stuff. I don't even have a baby yet. Oh, and she's sending another package this week of 3 to 6 month size clothes, because Tim was a large baby so then therefore because only Tim's genes count towards the baby's size, my baby will also be a huge gigantic man-child. Hey, hey, never mind that I tipped the scales at a whopping 5 lbs, 6 oz. and that Jackson is perfectly on target for his gestation age based on all my sonograms.

I am frustrated. I am tearing my hair out. We are planning on moving 5 mos after Jack is born...and my mother in law *cries* HAS A PILE OF BABY CLOTHES IN HER HOUSE THAT REACHES FROM THE FLOOR CLEAR UP TO THE CEILING THAT SHE WANTS TO SEND TO ME!!!!! Every week, I am going through our stale crap we never touch to purge out what we don't need or use so we have less to move. But for every box of junk I get out the door, I get two more in! And I haven't even had my baby shower yet, nevermind actually purchased all the stuff we actually will NEED for the baby, like his co-sleeper, swing and bouncy seat. Where am I going to put all this crap? I'm going to have to balance it in a basket on my head like the Chiquita Banana lady.

I am SO excited for Jackson's arrival too. Having children is a dream I have nurtured for what seems like forever. Going through all the tiny-butt baby clothes can bring tears to my eyes because they're so wee and precious and I just can't wait to meet Jack. So I understand the excitement. But great googley moogley, I do believe that a pile of baby clothes that takes up an entire room in your house for a child that is two months away from being born is just a little bit excessive. I mean, don't you?

I'm nearly to the point where I have to tell Tim to tell his mother that if she sends anymore, I will not sign for the package and will send it back. Because after the 3 to 6 mo size box of clothes, guess what's next? Oh yeah, 6 to 9 month. And I know we'll use about 8 months!!! In the meantime, it would sit in a box in my house somewhere waiting to put on a moving truck for when we relocate and that just makes me crazy.

Am I a jerk for being a wet blanket? Do I have the right to ask her to please stop, while adding that of course we really appreciate all the gifts and share in her excitement but she's going to make it a lot of extra work for us to move? Am I wrong for thinking a room full of baby clothes is just a little much? Should I just shut up and let her keep shipping boxes to me and send a thank you card week after week? If I do that, can I please use a spare room in your house to store all the excess baby clothes that are ahead of my child in size?

I think what is also irritating to me about this situation is that growing up, my father never gave me his love, attention or affection. But he always gave me stuff. I had every toy I ever asked for, every doll I ever craved. I never lacked in the Stuff department. But for all the stuff, I would have traded it all just to have my dad's time and attention. My in laws are closing in on retirement age, and have decided to retire to the Carolina coast. They have no family there, they just like it there. They have 2 children, my husband and my brother in law. My BIL is 30 years old, still lives at home, delivers pizza for a living and aspires to nothing greater. When it comes to who is going to produce the quality grandchildren, I think the answer is pretty clear. But instead of choosing to move closer to their grandkids, they're moving farther away but sending copious gifts...which in my mind, will never make up for the lack of grandparents in my son's life. I don't want my son to have a room full of baby
paraphernalia from his grandparents. I want my son to have a close, loving relationship with his grandparents. How do I get them to "get" that?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Weekend Movie Review: Talledega Nights the Legend of Ricky Bobby

My review may be a bit tainted by one simple fact: I love Will Ferrell. I think he's hysterical. I've loved him since his SNL days. He's just a funny guy, he makes funny stuff. I like to laugh, so I end up being a fan of his funny movies.

Talledega Nights did not disappoint in the Laughter Department. Plenty of good, deep, long belly laughs were had. And not just by me...the entire audience in the theater was having a good time.

Out of 5 stars, I'd have to give it a solid 4.5. Excellent movie, incredibly funny, very mild foul language. I wouldn't let my kids watch it, so I'd guess the rating was PG-13.

I don't want to give too much I'll just tell you - go see it, it's really funny, you'll laugh out loud. Worth the price of full admission. You don't even need to catch a matinee and save the buck fifty for this flick to be worth it!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mixed Bag today - I have a few things on my mind :)

Bus Kids

When I was a teen, I volunteered through my church's bus program. Every Saturday morning, I'd rise early and go to the Bus Captain's Meeting where the grown ups sipped coffee and I planned my visits. Then I'd go from house to house on my bus route, looking for new bus kids and visiting my existing bus kids to see if they wanted to come to church the next day. Every Sunday morning, I'd arrive at the bus depot around 7 am and met my bus driver and my bus workers - sweet boys who would run from the bus to the kids' doors to pick them up - and we'd have some donuts and cocoa (coffee again for the grown ups, none for me thanks. Even to this day, I hate coffee.) and chit chat while the bus warmed up and then we were on our way. And we would go house to house and pick up kids to come to church. I'm sure for most parents, we were a free babysitting service. It was a lot of work, and it took dedication to do it week after week. But I took my job as Bus Captain seriously for several reasons. First of all, I myself was a Bus Kid. When I was 4 years old, a very nice lady came to my house and asked my mom if she could pick me up for church. My mom agreed, but only if she could come with to make sure it wasn't a cult. If it hadn't been for the Etheringtons, I may never have found the faith that grounds me so deeply today. I have to believe that meeting the Etherington Family were part of God's Divine Plan for my life. Had I not started attending that church, I probably never would have wanted to attend the Christian School there. And had I not attended Schaumburg Christian School, I never would have met some of the dear people who are still my close and beloved friends today, over 15 years later. Secondly, I believed in reaching others with the message of salvation by grace. I knew that all these unchurched kids were just like I was so many years ago, and have never been exposed to the truths of the Bible. I wasn't just out to save their souls...but I wanted them to learn Christian love. I wanted them to grow up to be good people.

Twice in the last year, I have had the serendipitously joyful experience of running into a couple of my Bus Kids. And they're all grown up now. And from all signs, they've grown up to be good people, productive members of society. There are not words for the joy, the gratitude and the pride I felt at those moments. To have a hand in that...while I was just a teenager! I did that. I impacted lives for good. It was overwhelming and beautiful and just such an awesome moment. One of my Bus Kids was my waiter at a restaurant. We immediately recognized each other. And as I left the restaurant, I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and told him how happy I was to see him again. Last night, I ran into another of my Bus Kids at our gym. She's the director of their childcare program there. And she's all grown up and married and just stunningly beautiful. And we locked eyes for just a moment, when I murmured, "I know you." And she just said "I know" and grinned brightly.

It helps me understand why moms are notorious for being the weepers at graduations and weddings and whatnot. My heart swelled with so much pride I thought it would burst -- just imagine how I'll feel when it's my own children that I see being successful!

We're Not Gonna Take It!

I used to make fun of my mom for returning stuff we'd worn. We would tease her that throughout our childhoods, she purchased for us just one pair of shoes. And the second we had worn through them or grown out of them, she'd return them to the store making a huge fuss and demand a new pair in replacement for free. Of course that was a total exaggeration, but it made for some funny teasing when we were kids.

But I "get" what my mom was thinking now. Last month, we went out and bought Tim a couple pairs of shoes. He was wearing his tennies to work everyday and they were just thrashed. They stunk and the white leather had cracked and was scuffed and there was no support left in the sole...they just needed to GO. He was protective of them, as they were sentimental shoes to him. They were the tennies we bought just before departing on our trip to St. Thomas for our wedding and honeymoon. We both got white leather New Balance tennies for that trip. We were the nerdy tourists with the blindingly white new shoes. Anyways, his honeymoon shoes had bit the dust, whether he wanted to admit it or not. And new shoes were out there to be had...with lots of great sales for Father's Day. I had budgeted $100 for his new shoes, and with that money we ended up being able to get 2 pairs of shoes for him (and a bonus work out outfit for the gym) because of the great sales. He got a really comfy looking pair of tennies and a pair of dressier brown leather shoes for work that are made by Nunn Bush. The Nunn Bushs were an $80 pair of shoes that we picked up for 1/2 off. It was a total score and I was so excited. The inside was built like a tennis shoe with a Gel Comfort insole, but with a businessy looking leather shoe outside. It was like the Best Of Everything Shoe. I was especially excited for them since Nunn Bushs are usually pretty pricey and are known for being a well made shoe. Since Tim has to walk from the train station to the office & back every day, a comfortable shoe with good support was great for him. Better than the thrashing his feet were used to taking every day from his Honeymoon Shoes.

After 3 weeks of wear, however, both my bubble and the Gel Comfort insole on the Nunn Bushs burst. I was so upset! Of course, I knew Kohl's wouldn't return the shoes or exchange them after they were worn. I wouldn't DARE try my mother's shenanigans of raising hell in the middle of a store until they give you what you want just to shut you up and get rid of you. I was pissed about the shoes, but still...I have my pride! Thanks to the Information Superhighway, I found out that Nunn Bush is owned by the Florsheim Corporation, and I called them. I left a message with their Customer Service department and waited. Then the next day I called back and left another message. Hey, I don't work a paying job. I can call these people every day all day until they pay attention to me. :) Customer Service called me back today, and I explained my problem with the shoes. They're sending me out a replacement pair free of charge and would like me to throw out or donate the defective shoes.

Well, now I'm on a roll. After I got off the phone with them, I called MAC to complain about a defective liquid eyeliner I purchased. The brush inside the tube was curly, and you can't make a straight line with a curly brush. MAC is also sending me out a replacement free of charge, with their apologies for my difficulties.

This all started 3 weeks ago when our PUR faucet mount water filter started acting up. It was only a couple months old, and one day it just stopped working. I was pretty upset, because it was a recent unnecessary upgrade from our old filter. This one sits horizontally where the old one was vertical. The new position allows me to fill jugs easily, which I loved. But still, I could have lived with the old filter, I didn't need to pony up the $40 for a new one. So when it died so quickly, I was kinda pissed. I didn't have the box or receipt anymore or know how to fix it. So I went to the company's website, clicked on the "Contact Us" link and sent them an email. I told them my problem and asked for troubleshooting help so I could fix whatever was wrong. Their reply? We're sorry you got a bad faucet mounted filter, send us your home address and the model # and color, and we'll ship you out a replacement faucet mount free of charge. Well, now. How many times do things, newer things, break around the house, or not live up to the performance you expected, and we just throw them away? This was like a new era in consumership for me. I didn't have to accept shoddily made things. I could call the company out on their crap and say "Hey! I spent my family's money on your product, and it sucks! Fix it!". And THEY WILL.

So I encourage you, Good Citizen. Next time a product fails to meet your expectations, or an item falls apart before its time, don't just suck it up. Fight back! You Google that company's name and look up their Contact Us link and call them or email them and ask them "What can you do to stand behind your company's product?" Because as long as the American Public continues to accept crap, they will continue to let us pay for crap. The more people speak up about sloppy workmanship and defective merchandise, the more incentive these companies will have to tighten up their product engineering and quality control.

Mom, thanks for buying me that one pair of shoes and returning them over and over and over again. I'm sorry for making fun of you. I know better now.