Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I realized recently that one of the reasons I haven't posted is that I'm worried about taking the time to write a post. So I put it off, then spend easily twice as much time surfing Ravelry as I would have spent typing a post. That's just dumb.

I had a great midwife appointment yesterday. I'm still not gaining much weight; I've had a total gain of 12 pounds in 28 weeks. However, the baby is still growing by leaps and bounds, and I'm right where I should be in terms of size. Meanwhile, I've noticed and others have commented that my face seems to be thinning out. I think my double chin is a little less pronounced. For now, I'm not going to worry about the gain (or lack of it). I'm certainly eating whatever I want; I ate a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's the other day in one sitting. Mind, that's no model of dietary intake there, but I offer it as evidence that this is my body's doing, not my will's. I'm not dieting. I promise.

At the appointment, I was able to hold a model that's about the size of The Parasite and weighted to mimick his density. All curled up, the little doll fit neatly in my two hands, and Jackie held him against my belly in the position we believe he's taken now (head-down, left-side and facing my spine. Textbook). I had to fight the urge to cradle the doll and coo at it; I'll save it for wee Parry.

High School Drama; Feel Free to Skip

New drama at Burgundy's school with band. There's continued drama with the bullies; Burgundy elevated the issue to the Assistant Principal. Then Burgundy re-twisted her ankle at the game Thursday night, and Saturday morning, the directors put someone else in the show to march for her. On the same day, the doctor told her she could march again. Monday, she told Band Director #3 (there are 3 total; I'm labeling by rank) that she'd been cleared to march, but she knew she'd been replaced in the show. She asked him what she should do? BD#3 told her he wanted her to do something in the show, and he'd tell her at practice.

At practice, she was instructed to sit down and watch. About halfway through the three-hour practice, she got up to help the sound guy. BD#1 yelled at her to sit down because he didn't want her to hurt herself. After practice, confused between BD#3's affirmation that she should help and BD#1's insistence that she sit out, she went to the directors again and asked them what they needed from her. BD#2 replied that they wanted her to march. Burgundy implied that this was said with condescension and the intention of humiliating. Neither BD#1 nor BD#3 bothered to point out that she'd been instructed by both of them specifically not to march.

Burgundy came home, and we talked it over. I concluded that the three BDs must not be communicating clearly and told her that she needed to ask them where they wanted her to serve them and the band. She did so after class yesterday in their office, and when she did, BD#1 yelled at her, told her she was sending mixed signals, and she needed to decide what she was going to do.

Burgundy went straight to the AP's office and called me sobbing. I went straight to the school and had a good long chat with the AP. This afternoon we have a meeting with BD#1 at 1:45, and we'll decide what to do from there.

High School Drama Concluded; Feel Free to Tune Back In

Well, I've said you can tune back in, but I have nothing more to write.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Want to Be All Professional and Stuff

But I've decided I'll have to settle for updating however and whenever both the spare time and the motivation to write collide in my life. If there's one consistent thing about me, it's that I am inconsistent. It drives me batty, and I bet it drives the rest of you even battier. Is that a word?

I mean, how many projects have I started on here? Let's see . . .
  1. Eat and buy products sourced only within 200 miles of my location. Status: Failed. Reason: The parasite rendered me incapable of anything but laying on the couch and whining. Mark had no interest in procuring locally, and it fell to him to keep us fed, clothed, and at least one step above misery. He's done a great job, so I have no complaints about our continued global shopping habits. Now that I'm feeling better, maybe we can try again.
  2. The Why I Choose Homebirth series. Status: Failed. Reason: I'm a chicken, and I'm afraid I won't do the argument justice. But I haven't squeezed him out yet, so maybe it's not failed. Maybe just on hold.
  3. The Julia-isms: posting one bizarre thing Julia said everyday. Status: Failed. Reason: Julia moved out.
  4. The 30 Days meme. Status: Failed. Reason: I tell myself the topics are boring.
  5. I'm sure there's something else, but I want to write, not scour my old posts for evidence of my failure. 
I plan to complete the Homebirth series no matter what. I really need to take a bit of time to organize my thoughts and decide a coherent approach, and that will help a lot. Every time I think about it, I think of a new order in which to present the material, and each time the new order seems like it's more compelling than the previous one. You know what would be really compelling? Actually writing something down. Yeah. Now there's a thought.

Meanwhile, here's where we all are:
My dear, sweet husband is doing well. I still want to scalp him from time to time, especially when he starts hovering over Burgundy. I know my stuff when it comes to parenting. And I know my child better than he can ever hope to, but he insists on micro-managing and cross-examining me about Burgundy's progress in school, and it drives me crazy.

Having said that, in every other area, we're doing great. He's even been [slowly] working on the garage, and yesterday he mentioned cleaning off his desk. He's perfectly happy with our steady diet of rice, beans and pizza with the occasional Julia Child-inspired gourmet meal whipped up when I don't feel like I've been trampled and pooped on by a giant dog.

We're one week from the end of the 2010 fiscal year, and his job in FY 2011 (starting October 1) still isn't solid. The good news is that the rumor mill holds that the task order will be signed, it's just a matter of time. In other good news, his new company has excellent benefits. His new insurance actually covers maternity medical at 100% with no co-pay.

His book-selling business is going well. He's subscribed to an online service that manages his inventory and sales for him, and he currently has books listed on 15 or so sites. Last month he sold over $1,200 in books, and he was able to reinvest over 80% of that in the business. At first I groused because I thought the profit (some $900) should have been put in savings. The more I considered it, though, the more at peace I am with his decisions. First, if my hobbies paid for themselves as well as his clearly does, we'd be rolling in it, and second, if we consider this a legitimate business, he should be reinvesting most of his capital early on. Of course, he's done it all debt-free and from the ground up.

And starting in mid-September, his book business is contributing a small amount every week to our emergency savings account. He's as tickled as a little boy bringing a bouquet of wildflowers to his mom, and I am just as happy for him.

I'm 27 weeks pregnant, and The Parasite is now 2.5 pounds and about 16 inches from head to toe. All curled up, my little man supposedly takes the space of a head of cauliflower. And if a head of cauliflower shoved up my hoo-ha doesn't make you giggle, I can't help you in the humor department.

My weight gain has been very slow. I think I'm still under 210, for a total gain of about 14 pounds in 27 weeks. Given my obesity prior to pregnancy, I'm very comfortable with the slow gain. Most people, upon learning I'm "only" 6.5 months, blurt out, "Are you sure you're not having twins?" So I'm pretty sure (she says with an exasperated eyeroll) that the Parasite is getting everything he needs.

I, too, have a week of employment remaining. I'm told that the budget for the next fiscal year's task order funds me through December, which is really great news. The only problem is the minor question of Congressional inaction. Our task order depends on a chain reaction of bureaucratic activity: Congress must pass a continuing resolution (CR); the CR must fund Constellation, which in turn must fund MOP sufficient to justify the task order on which I work. MOP then must decide to fund our task order, and if all that happens in the next seven days, I have a job on 10/1. If not, well, that's why we have unemployment insurance.

A small rant: Thank you Congress. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your dithering on the NASA budget. [Profanity redacted] you bunch of [profanity redacted]ing imbeciles, how difficult is it, really, to say, "Huh, dur, ya know what, uh, NASA oughta be funded, ah-yup," and pass a darn continuing resolution? For the love of Pete, the House and Senate versions aren't that far apart. Our Illustrious President said he would sign it. Get it together and pass something! WHARGARBL!

I hate band season, and I hate sending my daughter off to high school every day. I don't mind most of the challenges. It's good for her to face authority figures who drive her nuts. It's good for her to figure out how to deal with bullies and how to face her own temptations down. However, I hate that she comes home from school so upset with listening to cursing and swearing all afternoon on the marching band field. I hate that her teachers don't have the time (and some not even the inclination) to help Burgundy really learn instead of asking her to regurgitate facts.

Having said that, it's going well for her over all. As it happens, Burgundy lettered last year, her first year in high school. She did not letter in writing, debate, or band as we might have expected. After all, she wants to major in English and Music. She lettered in Science Fair. Yes, science fair.

She started pre-Calculus this year, a Senior-level class in which she is the only Sophomore and definitely the youngest person. She has two Seniors paying her $10/hour for tutoring after school. We don't know what to do for math in the next two years. The only two non-remedial math courses at the school that she hasn't taken are AP Calculus and AP Statistics, and the counselor said she won't be ready for AP Calculus if she hasn't taken pre-AP Pre-Calculus, but there's no non-AP Calculus course offered. She could take AP Statistics, but I hate for her to leave the Calculus track for a year to head in a completely different direction. We might have her take AP Cal over the summer at Rice.
She's very excited about her little brother, and she chose our nursery theme: Monkeys. The picture here is a piece of wall art we registered for, but those are the general colors for the nursery; we love them.

Soren (Disclaimer: The dog said he had something to share, but I can't be held responsible for his frippery. He is, after all, a dog.):


Oh! oh! oh! oh! I am so excited because I am a dog and my eyes are big and OH MY GOD HAVE YOU SEEN MY TAIL IT'S  HUGE AND WITH IT I DOMINATE ALL THINGS!

My lady, she taught me a new trick! It has to do with the puffy air thing and the drool! She says it is, "Stop breathing!" and then she makes the hand motion, and I close my mouth and do not let any of the air out, and when I feel all blown up and my tail is sticking out because it is full of air, then my lady says, "Good boy, free!" and then I can let the air out, and I puff and pant and do the thing that is blowing slobber all over the big puffy soft thing that my lady calls the couch and she yells, "Gross! Get away from me! Ew, GO AWAY!" and then I use my tail to dominate the room while I turn around and walk away!

And the man! The man is so NICE! But he doesn't know how to do the thing where I stop breathing. Because that is only for my lady to tell me to do! And the man gives me food and makes me stand on my back legs and he tells me, "LEFT PAW!" and "RIGHT PAW!"

And yesterday, my lady took me to the dog park! And it was fun, and there were other dogs there! And some of them wanted to do the thing that is hop up on my giant, dominant tail and hump me to prove they are more dominant than my dominant tail, but I did not let them! I said, "WOOF!" And also I am very big and my lady says "One hundred pounds" and talks to the invisible man about me and calls him, "Christ," because he knows I am big too and that's why the other dogs can't hump my tail! And then I found a dog that was very small; my lady said that dog should have gone to the little dog park! And I tried to hump her face to show her how special I am, but my lady yelled at me and called me a BAD DOG, and it made me sad.

And then she put me in the car, and she made me put my head out the window because she does not like it when I drool on her shoulder, but I left lots of drool on the door and also some of the stuff that she says is snot on the car seat.

I'm so glad my lady loves me! Peanut butter!
Well. I guess we can all see why Soren does not have a regular spot on this blog. I'm so sorry to have exposed you all to his sordid, canine mind.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We had another appointment with the midwife Tuesday. I really appreciate how much she puts me at ease. I've had a very hard time communicating to anyone how much pain I'm having. The only person who seemed to "get it" was my friend Camille. While working on my trigger points, she said, "Melissa, your sensitivity levels are up there with those of a fibromyalgia patient." So when Jackie told me that her second was like this and described the pain as being, "like the bones of your pelvis are rubbing together," it really helped me to be confident that this pain, awful as it seems, is not the harbinger of doom that I fear. She even said out loud what I'd said to Mark just a couple of nights before: "The pain was so awful that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the birth." And then she reassured me, "but the birth was just fine. We were fine."

I bought a maternity support belt while there, and I'm surprised by how much it helps. Not much for the fashion statement, but I can walk without wincing now.

Our baby boy is 25 weeks old now. I try to imagine his little fingernails, his eyelids fluttering open for the first time, and the fat beginning to fill out his skin. I wonder whether his lips will be shapely, like mine, or round like Mark's. Either way, they'll be full. Mark and I both have big lips. He spends the morning stretching and rolling, and the best I can figure, trying to divebomb my cervix. I feel a ridiculous amount of movement extremely low in my pelvis. It's like he keeps his hands over his head and bounces on them.

As far as I know, I have only three weeks of employment remaining. My company continues to hunt out work for me; I can only pray we are able to find it successfully. Mark's employment has not come through yet; however, he fully expects that it will. So we continue to hold.

We had a death in the family this week. My father's wife, Gail, is a delightful lady who really has worked hard to have a loving, real relationship with her adult stepchildren. We're so lucky that Dad married such an open, ingratiating, loving woman. Unfortunately, her stepfather, Albert, passed away this week. He had Alzheimers and had been living with Gail and my father for the past couple of years. Dad said that Albert had just come home from visiting his children in Dallas for his birthday. He'd been to see the rodeo and spent time with his great-grandkids. Dad said that when he came home, he was sitting at the dinner table talking about going back to Houston and getting back to work.

Suddenly he went catatonic and unresponsive at the table. They called for an ambulance. Dad said that Albert revived once, briefly, and Gail was able to say goodbye to him. Then he went out again as the ambulance arrived. A scan revealed massive hemmorhaging on both sides of his brain; they pulled life support that night, and he passed within about 10 minutes.

I did not know Albert very well at all. Gail and Dad have been married about twelve years now, and it's possible Albert already had Alzheimers when I met him. He was a sweet old man for all the exposure I had to him, and my heart goes out to Gail, who is occupying her mind and heart with funeral arrangements, schedules, lodging for family members who are traveling to Houston for the funeral, and so on. I hope she's able to cope well when the chaos and business of the funeral and burial have passed and she's left with time and quiet on the long drive back to Mississippi.

Pray for her, if you think about it. I think Dad will be fine. Ultimately, Gail will be, too. But my heart goes out to her.