Let's talk about guilt..

I just got back from dropping Benjamin off at preschool/daycare. I like to call it preschool because it makes me feel less guilty for paying someone else to watch my child. I want nothing more than to be home with him 24/7.. even when I'm exhausted and he's throwing tantrums or trying to draw on the walls.

I feel less guilty today than other days. On my way home from TT's, an aura started. Swirling bright lights and odd blind spots that you can't really pinpoint. I got home, took my migraine meds, changed into comfortable pj pants instead of my jeans and picked up my eyemask.

With all the shades drawn and the TV on the discovery channel with the volume low, I started to lay down on the couch to inhale and exhale while counting slowly to try to take my mind off the pain and nausea. (Shiela.. I spelled nausea right because blogger has spell check.. :D

I thought to myself.. well, at least I don't have to feel guilty for dropping Benji off this morning.

Why am I blogging this? Well.. i broke the seal the other day and figured what the hell. I have my eyemask on and occasionally I peek to make sure I haven't made any major typos. Anyway.. we have daycare for this reason. We needed a place where Ben can be when I can't watch him. I can't take care of him when I take the full cocktail of migraine meds that actually helps the migraine. It's another failure. I can be logical about this.. it's not my fault and we're taking care of Benji and he is better off where he can learn and play and I'm better off taking care of myself so that I can be with him later.

It doesn't get rid of the guilt. One step at a time though, right?

It's an awesome fall/winter day.. the wind is blowing, there was snow on the ground this morning. it took Shiela 2.5 hours to get to work. (more guilt).. I'm guessing that we're going to end up buying a house and moving closer to New Haven earlier than next spring.. but we'll see.

Ok.. I'm starting to fade.. so this is it for my morning diatribe. I'll feel better later.


What to say..

I could easily write for days about why I haven't been writing lately. I used to write constantly and about 1/10 of the thoughts that I'd type out would make it to my blog after being appropriately edited for my loyal readers (my mom, my niece, three of my best friends forever that I don't talk to ever).. Two things happened.


I've been wicked sick. Yeah. What's new. When I stopped working, I thought I was barely holding on with the sick days and trying to juggle life and work and managing to keep a steady heading. Well.. I was wrong. The last time I posted was a day after I turned 36. It's been almost 5 months. I got slammed with debilitating migraines. Sounds lame. It's a dumb headache.. suck it up. I couldn't suck it up. I couldn't think. I begged doctors to help. Eventually I ended up having two more seizures on a quiet Friday morning right in front of my 3.5 year old son complete with firemen and paramedics coming to haul me away in an ambulance to a local hospital only to be transfered later that night by ambulance 1.5 hours to Boston so that my high and mighty neurologists from the big city could shed light on the situation. The food sucked. The bed was a "smart bed" that kept inflating and deflating and changing my position on it's own.. it was posessed and it was the most uncomfortable bed I've ever slept in. We learned nothing about my headaches or the seizures.. it was irritating. I could have written daily.. only I didn't have the energy.

Oh.. and my computer snapped in half at some point and the laptop monitor is hanging on by a thread.


Absolutely everything in our lives turned upside down and half of the drama wasn't our drama to talk about. Shiela's brother's kids were taken away by child protective services and spent a month here this summer. Can't really write about it because it's too personal and it's not my life. Shiela lost her job at one ivy league institution only to be hired at another ivy league institution. We bought matching cars. I'm not working but I am consulting on one project.. sort of.

Really.. the reason I haven't been blogging is because I have trouble completing a thought.. I also have trouble sharing incomplete thoughts. The combination leads to no blogging for Jen.

Why am I writing today? I'm overwhelmed with the fact that I feel like I don't have words for anything. A college friend is battling cancer and got some rough news yesterday. We weren't best buddies or anything, but I relate with him on so many levels and he helped me deal with some other health issues when we were just out of college. Now he's fighting this fucker of a disease and he and his wife and two beautiful girls are coping with something that I can't comprehend. When I think of his battle I want to say the right thing to let him know that I think of him all the time. I just can't find the words. I feel like a puss for being knocked over by migraines. Headaches are stupid compared to something like cancer. Not exactly an eloquent or even appropriate way of expressing my feelings.

Then there was the 15 year old boy who was struck and killed while riding his bike home from a friends house late at night about a week ago. He was very close to a cousin of mine.. also in high school. The whole town seemed to feel the loss. I see my cousin's son posting this range of emotions on facebook and the responses of all of his friends. It feels like this ten ton heavy thing. ($10 for the first person to get where that quote is from) First thought: "oh my god.. i'd die if anything like that happened to ben" Second thought: "stacey went through this" which is followed by "i miss stacey" and then I circle back around to the cancer thing with zach because stacey's husband died of cancer and they have two kids.. and then i miss her kids for ben.. he doesn't really have any close friends now like he did in boston.

See? no train of thought.. it's random babble.. but there you go. That's where I am right now.


Misrepresentation of gay parentings in today's entertainment media... MGPTEM

Ok.. so I could never put it into works like Lesbian Dad, so I'm going to link to the posting about Glee.

I'm not sure how they will handle the storyline from here on out. It seems to me like they are tiptoeing around a very serious subject that they just don't want to get into. Sort of like how the two guys on Modern Family never kiss, but all the straight couples do. Glee isn't about the daughter of two gay men and the complicated elements and relationships and emotions that could arise regarding a biological parent or a surrogate mother. It's a show about kids singing cool songs and it's meant to be fluff entertainment. I am going to take it as I think it is meant.. as fluff. I do want to say that I agree with Lesbian Dad on all aspects of the argument in the post I linked to above and I worry about the misrepresentation of gay parenting in today's entertainment media.

Nuff heavy stuff.. being a gay parent rocks.. we're always happy..


A side note about Glee

The casting of Idina Menzel as Lea Michelle's onscreen biological mother is brilliant. There is little that could make the episode where they sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis better than the fact that Doogie sang Aerosmith's Dream On with Will Schuester.

As an aside.. the show lost me about halfway through the first season. I just couldn't get hooked. They reeled me back in with the Madonna episode and now I'm hooked again. I may even buy the CDs.

Happy Birthday to Otros Mommy

That would be me.

It's been a good day. I almost lost it at one point and went into Best Buy with a credit card and purchased either something small and expensive or large and expensive. Luckily for my marriage, given my employment status and given the fact that we're moving, going to Kentucky and Shiela is losing her job and enjoying the freedom of unemployment (HAH) along side me over the next two months.. a big screen TV or an Apple iPad isn't in the budget. :)

Benji and I started the day by driving with Shiela to her work where the two of them hung out while I went to see my neurologist about these damned migraines. Turns out she's changing some of my meds and referring me to a migraine specialist in her office. Um.. yeah. This isn't something new. It's my own fault. After last spring with all the seizure/migraines/iron infusions crap.. i stopped going to the doctors and had a bit of a bout of depression. i even stopped going to my shrink. I can't blame anyone but myself for this not being further along. I was just SO tired of how invasive the medication reactions were. I was done. Now I'm back and ready to try new and strange medications that may make me twitch or my eyeballs swell or my tongue turn blue. One of these medications may help with my migraines.

After my doctor appointment, I picked up Benji and we went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles because like all good drivers, I waited until the last day to renew my license. IT. WAS. HELL. Check my facebook profile or leave a comment if you want a rundown.. I just don't have the energy to tell that story again. Let's just say that I'm lucky I'm not in jail for having dropped my son off at the RMV and bolted with my $50 license renewal fee.

The day has gotten better since then.. Shiela got me an edible arrangement that I've almost polished off with the help of my son. It's bedtime for Benji.. so in a few minutes there will be blessed silence.. the quiet in the house that only happens when the fair orange-headed boy is fast asleep and Shiela and I are able to breathe and get ready for a well deserved night of rest.

One thing that I've noticed about being home with Ben versus working at a desk job. At the end of the night.. regardless of whether it was a "good" day or a "bad" day, I feel like I accomplished something. I feel like I worked hard. I feel proud of myself and my family. It's strange and something that I wish I could have experienced with my previous job. There are a lot of things that I'm proud of.. Projects that I worked on and engineering tasks that I completed and problems I solved. Times when my work had a direct impact on people's lives.

That's one major bonus of working in the architectural/construction world. Your recommendations become something concrete. Heck.. sometimes my recommendations were to add concrete. BWa-ha-ha-ha.. Ok.. dumb joke. I drive by buildings that I helped build -- however far down on the priority list acoustics is for most projects. I can count on one hand the number of times I got into bed after work with the feeling of accomplishment that I feel every day now. Now that I've experienced it.. it's not something I'm willing to let go of.

I don't think I've mentioned my new title. Otros Mommy (i may have that spelled wrong). It's spanish for "other". Benji calls both of us "Mommy" but when he's trying to differentiate between the two of us, he calls me otros mommy and calls shiela "other one mommy".. i'm not sure how she got english and i got spanish. We're just rolling with it. Adam says that when Ben says otros mommy it sounds like "ultra mommy".. i'd take that too.



Ok... so it's been a while..

I'd write all about what I've been up to since I stopped working in April.. but it's a long story, so I'll just sum up. (cryptic quote from The Princess Bride)

We've been busy. We're moving to Springfield (of the Massachusetts variety). It's not the prettiest city in the world, but our neighborhood seems decent and our neighbors are nice.. hell.. we've talked to our neighbors.. we've been in our current place for 5 years and only know the cute girl down the block. We have to pack up the old place, paint and clean up the new place, and move. The official move is the first week of June. Benji and I will be heading to Kentucky the following weekend.

Shiela is finishing up her life at Harvard Medical School. This would be a bit more straightforward if my number one assumption had come true. Me not sitting and stewing in my office each day was supposed to result in an improvement to my health. Given that I've been into the emergency room twice in the past two weeks and Ben has spent a good 4-5 days in daycare and Shiela has had to stay home a number of times... my plan has been foiled.

Good news.. we have great help. Beck has watched Ben almost every weekend for several weeks now so we can get things done. Morphine is also a wonderful medication that takes away the feeling that 4" rough cut nails have been driven into my skull.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 36. Birthdays are big things for me. I look back at the past, think about the present, and dream about what the future holds. I remember 25 being a tough one. I thought I should be married with at least one child, a house and a cat. 26 was even worse.. not only did I still not have the things I was supposed to have when I was 25.. but I was moving away from home, I was effectively ending a relationship that I had believed was "it" and I was starting a new job in a new city and I was all alone. It was the best thing I ever did. (only now, ten years later, can I say that).

Now.. here I am. In a few hours, I'll be 36. I am moving back home from the city where I grew up in so many ways. I have left a career that had run its course in the form that I was taking it in. Now, two months into being unemployed, I've realized that I love my son more than air and every second I get to spend with him is a gift and I thank my wife for giving me the opportunity to stay home with him even though I was making a shitload of money at my old job.

I've found myself surprised. I've spent more and more time thinking and planning and taking concrete steps toward independent consulting in acoustics. I have 15 years of experience and am great at what I do. The problem I was having with work was the form it was packaged in. What was in the package, I still enjoy and still see a future there (in the field.. on my own). Will I go through with it? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe next month I'll have another epiphany and will decide to be a trucker. Less surprising things have happened in my life.

The thing that is different at this point in my life? I'm not worried about where I'll be in five years or what I'll be doing. .. and this time it's not because I'm suicidal.. *cross my heart*.. it's because I've come to the conclusion that we are making changes based on what it will take to make us happy. Will we be five years closer to "our goals"? I don't know.. because instead of waiting for the end.. spending my time waiting for that goal.. working for it.. but hating life while putting every ounce of energy into striving for that goal.... that goal isn't my goal. Living my life and enjoying every day is my goal. In five years.. we will be somewhere.. hopefully we'll be healthy.. it will all be ok.

And. I. Believe. That.

While it's not related.. I just watched last weeks episode of Glee on hulu and have attached a link to the song I dreamed a dream from Les Mis. There is a line that has always hit me pretty hard. "I had a dream my life would be.. so different from this hell i'm living.." It still chokes me up to listen to it. I can honestly say that a year or so ago when Susan Boyle sang it and it became this huge sensation.. I heard those words.. words I had memorized in high school because it doesn't get much better than Les Mis.. A year ago.. I heard those words and thought "yeah.. tell me about it.. that's exactly how i feel".

Today.. those words still choke me up. I'm not in that position anymore though. My heart goes out to those who are. There are too many people who feel hopeless, helpless and trapped in lives that they can't "fix". No change is easy.. but we only get so much time in this life and there is nothing more terrifying and sad than just watching those days pass you by while you're waiting to finally find the elusive "goal".

Ok.. Glee clip.. i'm getting too deep, even for me. For those of you who read my blog posts.. know that I'm happy. I'd be happier if the migraines would get the heck out of my life.. but I am happy. I am relaxed. I am enjoying every day (even the painful ones) and am dancing on days when it's beautiful outside and I feel well.

Some would say that I'm on the slipperly slope to 40.. I've passed the "hump" of 35.. now it's all over. I'm actually looking forward to 40. I wonder what life will be like then.

Ok.. Glee clip.. the dumb widget is supposed to just include one scene.. but for some it's showing the scene, for others it's showing the whole show. The whole show is awesome, but the song I was talking about is toward the end.


Jock itch.. so much to learn..

This is one product that I never saw myself purchasing. I absolutely crack up at the diagram on the front of the package with the highlighted area in yellow.

This started as the "diaper rash" from hell.. and when one prescription cream didn't help.. there we were.. after a trip to the pediatrician.. standing in the athlete's foot/jock itch section of CVS. They should make a version of Lotrimin for children so that you don't have to stand in that section. It's sort of like standing in front of the wall of condoms that are always in plain sight of the pharmacy and all of the elderly grandparents sitting waiting for their prescriptions and frowning on the teenagers trying to figure out the difference between the 70 brands that are available.

Come to think of it.. that's another subject that i know nothing about. I'm worried enough about buying ben his first cup when he starts sports. I learn something new every day...


How we spend our weekends...

Since I moved to Boston back in May of 2000, I have spent at least one weekend if not two or three down in Connecticut. I love Boston and I do consider this area that we live in now to be home.. and I'm a bit sad to be leaving Arlington. There are parts of it that I really love.. the ability to be in downtown Boston in fifteen minutes is one of those things. The ability to stumble on a "Spring Festival" put on by a Chinese cultural group on a random Saturday and take part (on his own accord) in a small demonstration of martial arts for kids.. that is part of the diversity that is hard to find outside of a city like Boston.

That said.. I miss Windsor Locks, CT because it is my hometown.
I miss Ellington, CT because that was my first journey away from home and I liked living down the street from a farm (and kept Yankee Candle in business while I lived there.
I miss Manchester, CT.. wait.. no I don't.
I miss Malden, MA because it was my first REAL journey away from home, I made some great friends, learned to love Chinese food from an awesome place who never understood that we lived on Tufts Street and not at Tufts University and the town always smelled like toast.
I will miss Arlington because it is where we started our family. All of Benjamin's firsts have happened here.. well.. except when he said his first work (bye) at my dad's and when he took his first steps at my dad's... but you know.. other than that.

With the exception that my mother is hanging out in her mansion in Kentucky with the horses in the back pasture, moving back to within 30 minutes of the rest of my family is very exciting. The weekends probably won't change much though.. we spend all of our time at my sister's in CT already..

Ben can talk now... and this is his "haHA! I know something and I know how to say it!" We have to be careful about him now..

A few weekends ago, we finally got to play outside at Aunti Beck's.. Spring rocks. We also had a special visit from one of my long time reader and blog commenters... "S". Sean Bravakis went to high school with Beck.. which means that I was in the same school with him for one year in high school and since we went to the same college, we technically were in the same school again for one year in college.. although the baseball players didn't hang out often with the music majors and definitely not with the engineers. He now checks my blog daily.. smart boy.

Shiela and I were actually able to sit on Becky's back deck and relax for a while because Ben was way more impressed with playing with them than playing with his boring old moms.

Super Happy Boy.

Another Super Happy Boy.

I have to throw a pic in of Beck too.. this is where Benji gets his curly hair..

This picture cracks me up.. all three of them thinking "hmmm.. how the heck does this thing work?"

Sean.. let me know if you want a real copy of any of these -- I can email you the actual file without being resized with the Copyright note on it.


Scratch that..

The bathtime ended with me telling Ben that no, he couldn't have more soap and then he returned the sentiment by pouring a bucket (why does he have a bowl that big in his tub toys anyway?) all over the floor. Then he proceeded to tell me off in baby-babble until I got him dressed and sitting in front of a bowl of yogurt.

I saved the laptop though.. success..

A little imagination..

Wi-Fi rocks...

So I have been trying to figure out a way to be able to check my email, occasionally blog (yes, Shiel.. blogger has spellsheck), and play Mouse Hunt on Facebook during the day. The problem is that if the laptop is out.. Ben and I end up playing tug of war (yes.. my own fault.. but he's cute playing games on sesamestreet.com and pbskids.org and nickjr.com and... well.. you get the idea.

Currently.. Ben is in the bathtub.. I'm sitting in the bathroom with the laptop on a tray table.. simultaneously caring for the little dude and playing on Facebook. He's turning into a prune.. so this will be short lived.. but it's a step in the right direction.


it's April??

Ok.. good lord..

I think the announcement that I've gotten used to being a stay at home mom will be when I figure out how to do things like blog again. When I first started this new phase in life.. I had this grand idea to like.. blog the first 365 days of being home with my son after working for 20 years.

Since I left work... I have blogged twice.

In my defense, life has been all sorts of hectic. I could write for hours, but well.. it's 10pm and tomorrow is racing toward me like an energetic red headed three year old.

I'll sum up:

1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE spending more time with Benji.

2. I surprised myself by forgetting to eat for several days because I was so busy with Ben.

3. Shiela mixed things up a week after I gave my notice by getting laid off.

4. Yes.. I said that.

5. We threw all of our options up in the air and decided to take the plunge and do everything in our power to forward our lives in a positive direction.

5a. First step -- move home. I moved to Boston in 2000 and I'll be completely honest in that it was the best thing I've ever done. I never went away to college.. I never really stood on my own. For me... ME.. to pick up and move a few hours away from my bubble of a life that I had created and leave a partner that I had thought I had started a life with and to leave my family who are more important to me than air.. this was HUGE. But I also grew up. Here I am.. ten years later.. and moving home.

5b. Second step -- find a home. We browsed for a bit but have decided to stay in Massachusetts and have found a house in the Springfield area with the idea that in our next "lives", both shiela and I will likely look for work in the Connecticut River Valley (which for those of you who aren't up here.. extends up to vermont).

ok.. i'm tired of numbering my thoughts. We're moving.. both of us are psyched to be less than 30 minutes from Windsor Locks (my hometown) and close to my sister(s), niece, nephew, half of my parents and Benji's great grandmother and great grandfather. I'm also psyched about having a whole house.. walls.. doors.. yard.. the whole shabang..

The other thing that has kept me/us busy over the last few weeks has been the ongoing feud with our downstairs neighbor. I won't go into all of the details, but the final ending to that story is that he's been booted from the apartment and has to be out by the end of this month. I'm relieved for the future occupants of our place.. they won't have to live over loser-boy.

So those are the hot topics... I'll hopefully be back in less than two weeks to provide a more comprehensive and interesting update.

btw.. Sean.. I haven't forgotten to upload your photos... they are sitting safely on my computer and are waiting for Benjamin to let me have a turn on the laptop.


Cute mommy blogger.. nope.. Mr. Mom here..

Ok.. so I'm not a "Mr.".. but I'm feeling like I need to watch that movie again. Visions of making grilled cheese sandwiches with a clothes iron and the whole vacuum cleaner scene mark incredible parallels with the past few days of my life.

I had grand ideas of blogging this transition. I still may.. but it won't be as I had originally planned.. which involved sitting peacefully at 8:30pm after Benji had gone to bed typing while smiling and laughing as I told about the adventures and antics that had filled our day. I thought -- hey.. maybe I'll blog every day for a year.. really journaling this experience for me to look back on (fondly of course) in the future.

Well.. it's Wednesday.. we're 3 days into it and this is really my first real update. If you're friends with me on facebook, you've seen some general updates and if you're savvy enough to follow twitter, I may keep up with that through my cell phone, which has been my only link to the outside world for the past few days... thank god for internet access via cell phones and text messaging.

Ok.. in short. We had a rough start. The transition is an absolutely huge ten ton heavy thing of change to cope with. As a change-a-phobic (there must be a word for that), I was prepared for my role change from full time engineer/acoustics consultant to full time mom to be like bunji jumping.. you know.. mostly incredible thrills that are worth the "oh shit" moments when you realize that the little shit beautiful 3 year old has cornered the cat with a lightsaber.

Ben started off the week with a bit of a cold and a low grade temp. Just enough to be cranky. It was POURING outside.. so plans to get out of the house were derailed as I didn't want to expose him to the elements (um.. i'll get over that quickly) and in general.. i was in a haze. As a result.. the house sort of blew up.. toys everywhere, dishes undone, cats laying on unmade beds, benjamin running through the house like Max from "Where the Wild Things Are" (one of the top 10 best children's books... movie is great too.. for kids over 25).

Shiela came home and of course took one look around and smiled nicely and made a comment about wow.. it must have been an interesting day. I, in return, snapped her head off. How dare she criticize me for not having things perfect.. i was tired, damnit! I had spent the day with a sick child who was pretty much running things and making his own rules while I ran after him saying "no honey.. don't pour your yogurt on the hamster". It was the first day... Shiela did swoop in.. we had a steak dinner and took it easy.

Day 2 (Tuesday), wasn't much better. I had progressed past the daze of "oh my god, I'm not going to my office.. the office I had been in for 10 years.. oh my god.." to "holy crap.. the house is a mess.. we're moving in a few months.. and what do I start with first.

This is where things stuck with the overwhelmed Mr. Mom kicked in. I had a headache.. Ben was still sick-ish.. he is adjusting to not being at daycare and has about the same reaction to change as I do. he is ok.. but wants my sole attention 24/7. i don't blame him.. i'm cool. BUT.. this is hard to do when the house looks like a tornado hit and the cats are kicking cat litter around the kitchen. Plus.. still raining.

We picked Shiel up from work for an excuse to get out of the house. I dropped the two of them off and headed over to my spa to use my gift certificate for $150 from Shiela.. I opted for some extreme hair removal. Pain.. is an understatement. I forgot that I usually take a vicoden before those appointments (just kidding). I did take an anxiety med so I could relax a little.. it's seriously painful. At the same time.. once the endorphins kick in.. you actually walk out an hour later feeling like you had a great workout. I was feeling clean and pampered (with smooth legs) and got home to a VERY flustered Shiela dealing with a VERY flustered Benji.

Turns out our psycho neighbor got pissy again and came up yelling at Shiela to "turn it off".. um.. the only thing that was "on" was the 3 year old.. and they don't come with off switches. Plus.. we do everything we can to minimize his noise because we know we share a duplex with another person. The guy is just a loony jerko. The second time he came up, he banged on the door and then ran down the stairs back into his apartment. Shiela decided (and I agreed) that he's run out of chances and the cops will start being called. We've already given our notice to the landlord that we're moving at the end of our lease.. but I'm sure he will side with us regardless anyway. I just want to fluster the jerko (neighbor) with the big Arlington police dudes telling him to cool his heels.

SO... I put ben to bed.. he was asleep by 8:30 for the first time in months. No nap and lots of tantrums will do that to you. Shiela and I were asleep shortly after hoping for a new day.

Today was a LOT better. I'm starting to lose consciousness, so I'm going to blog about it tomorrow.. but the short version is that Ben and I had a great day.. he had a post-op appointment with his ENT that went great and a visit with his audiologist that also went great showing passing threshold of hearing tests in both ears (good thing) and played at the park.. had a nap.. I got some paperwork and cleaning done.. and took a short nap myself.. then we went off to pick up shiela at work again. All is happy in our world today.

I've only touched the tippy tippy top of all the change we've got in store for us for the next few months. I'll leave one teaser. We'll be moving "home" (for me) within a month or two.. we have a single family house lied up about 30 minutes from my hometown (go Raiders! woot!) and it will feel WONDERFUL to be back closer to my family again.

Ok.. I'm falling asleep.. goodnight.. good night moon.



For those of you who don't frequency mom blogs or mommy-message-boards.. a SAHM is a "Stay at Home Mom". There are so many things to think about and absorb. I think my first order of business is to detox from 13 years of acoustics consulting.

Stay tuned for my adventures as an acronym!


Change.. good Bowie songs

David Bowie is a strange dude.. but one of the best songs of all time was recorded by him in April of 1971 in London. It's one of those songs that you just crank to 11 and it makes the world's unknowns make sense.

Plus.. it was quoted in the movie The Breakfast Club in 1985 when I was about 11.. and I'm on a kick of 80's movies lately.. they all seem very deep.. maybe I'm just REALLY ready for my extended vacation.

From the Breakfast Club opening

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through...

Seriously.. download the song to your ipod and crank it on your car stereo with the windows open while stuck in traffic at rush hour and you'll get it.

So... I digress.. My blogging frequency has declined lately.. I've been busy. I keep wanting to write.. and need to find a way to write while doing other things.. easier said than done. Maybe I can hire someone to walk behind me and take notes.. or hey.. I've tried from the cell phone.. but it's too hard to keep a 3 year old from running into the street (his new hobby) and/or drive while blogging.. so you all will just have to wait until I have ten minutes in the evening after Benji is asleep and before I have crashed for the night.

In my last post, I made a mention of "How much change is too much change".. I suppose most of you assumed I was talking about the huge ass changes I have that are all obvious and right out in the open.. like leaving my career of 15 years to be a stay at home mom and all the upheaval that goes with that decision. To be honest.. I'm at peace with all of that. I've felt better in the past two weeks during brief periods between panic attacks than I have felt in years. The panic has started to decrease as I've wrapped more and more things up at work. The more that is no longer unknown makes me feel safer..

At the same time.. everything seems to be coming together in a weird strange nutty sort of way that you'd never plan for. I just have this feeling that we'll look back in five or ten years and think "damn.. that was nuts.. but that was the beginning of everything really settling down for us".

Could I ::BE:: more vague?

Some random items. We're moving. We won't be renewing our lease at the end of June. That, in itself, is huge. I get very attached to my home and it means a LOT that I consider the building and the street and the town that we're living in right now to be "home". Moving from "home" is hard. At the same time.. there are some things about where we live now that we are very very VERY ready to distance ourselves from. City living is not for me. City living is not for Shiel. Some of our friends who actually live in Boston and not in the suburbs laugh at us for calling Arlington, MA "city living". We live in yuppie-ville.

For comparison.. we've been looking around at apartments. One of those apartments was in a town with a population of just over 1000 and it doesn't even have a middle or high school.. the elementary school has 100 kids.. one class per grade. There is no trash pickup. There IS electricity. It's in the middle of a forest.. literally. The outside of the house is nothing special.. it's another duplex. There aren't really other houses around.. one or two.. then a forest.. then another one or two. It's a ten minute drive to anywhere. But... BUT... when you stand out in the dirt driveway in the evening and look up at the sky? There are more stars than I remembered even existed. Will we go that drastic.. who knows.. we have several months to figure out where we will make our new home.. but it's exciting to think of the possibilities.

We're also ditching the minivan. It's on the expensive side and we're trying to cut costs where we can. Wanna know what we're looking at? A ford eff-ing pickup! I was the proud owner of a Ford Ranger XLT ("Harvest Gold".. i.e. tan) before Benji was born. Now we're thinking of going with the next step up.. an F-150. Part of the logic behind this is that we may move to no-man's land and need to haul our trash to the dump. Since I married a dirt worshiping granola crunching tree hugger.. we don't have much trash (besides diapers).. we have a LOT of recycling.. but that stuff still would require hauling.

Plus... we're lesbians. The minivan has been a hoot.. we played the soccer mom thing for a bit.. but I want my truck back. The truck was more "me".

In other news... I have TWO days left at work. Then I'm out of there. The next chapter will be starting soon and I hope to blog as much of it as possible so that I can look back and remember this time years from now.

I have very few memories from Benji's first six months. I was very ill when he was born and we had the hectic crazy world of NICU time and by my two week post partum check, the post partum depression had started to kick in. It wasn't until March when things got really bad, but still.. I look back over photos of Ben's first months and while I remember some of it.. I don't remember so much. It's something that I still grieve.

Shiela is giving me an incredible gift of giving me time to be with Benji now.. I won't be able to reclaim those first few months.. but I will be able to go an explore the world with him and collect rocks and feed ducks and play with trains and all sorts of fascinating wonderful things that I wouldn't have the time to do if I was working 40+ hours a week and racing on the weekends to catch up on housework. Shiela came right out and told me, a few weeks ago when I was worrying about money, that this was something that I needed and that she needed to give to me. I can't tell you how much it means to have a spouse who gets it. We have to make a lot of life changes (like I can't get an iPad) to make this all work.. but we have a plan and to be completely honest.. I feel like we are hitting the "restart" button and the entire world is in front of us.

Oh.. and I get to go to Kentucky for 3 weeks to visit Grandma and Grampa Illick with Benji.. that will rock.

Now that I'm starting to ramble.. I'm going to draw this to a close and let you know that next week my camera is coming back out and our new life starts..


Minus work stress... what's left?

Ok.. so we made some major progress today at my work. As you may have noticed for the past week.. I've been cranky. There was one last hoo-rah of just chaotic nonsensical nothingness that would have a major impact on my days.. I just need a set plan.. I'm a complicated person.. no doubt.. but if you take the unknown out of the equation.. just about everything else in my worried mind settles right down.

So I finally have an end date. I HAD an end date a week ago.. but then it all got shaken up with questions over whether there was enough work to keep me useful (what-evah..) and disagreements over the color of the sky and the speed of sound. Tack on crazy schedules where we couldn't get 4 people in the same space at the same time and it took a week to figure out a "transition plan" for my official exit (re: kicking down the double doors).

My last full day will be next Friday, the 19th. I'll be on call for the rest of the month and 100% officially done on the 31st. Well.. with the one exception that I have one project that will have me back working for the company on a contract basis sometime later this summer... but extra cash is always welcome.

So you take all that stress away and what happens?

I spent the remainder of today at work being ultra productive.. got a LOT done and enjoyed doing it. I then had an appointment with my therapist where I didn't cry.. and I actually didn't have any worry/panic issues to discuss.. no tragedies to solve.. we just chatted, very logically, about how I interact with others and what my weak points are and what my strong points are and how/when I manage to stand up for myself (which I did this week.. *clap hand on back*).. Assuming no major catastrophes over the next week.. I will actually be leaving the company on good terms and with the feeling that they treated me with respect and dignity during my exit.

After my appointment, I half walked and half took a bus over to the new pizza place near our house and had dinner with Shiel and Benji. Ben was in rare form and had been beating up on Shiela and with her FMS, she was hurting from head to toe and was done by the time I got there. I had a piece of pizza and then headed out with Ben and we walked home.

We jumped all of the cracks on the sidewalk and held hands the whole way. When we got home, we went into the front yard and he "picked blueberries" from the from shrubs (pretend blueberries). Then we played for a few hours and he's now sound asleep.

Subject of tomorrow's post... "How much change is too much change...?"


One of the hardest things I didn't do..

Yesterday, we told Ruth and the folks at Ben's daycare that I was going to stop working and he wouldn't be going there (at least regularly) anymore. When I say "we" told her.. I mean that I sat in the car and cried and Shiela told her.

I may have to break my rule...

..about not posting about work shit. Seriously.. once you give your notice and one foot is out the door.. is there any reason for them to make your life hell? Oh.. sorry.. not hell.. just limbo.. I don't have an end date yet. It was March 31.. then it was the 15th.. then it was the 19th. My office is packed and at any moment I may kick down the double doors and head out and pump my fist in the air like Judd Nelson's character in the Breakfast Club.


Too many taboo topics...

Ok.. so I was on a roll.. blogging every day-ish.. enjoying writing again.. it was great. I quit my job to start this great and wonderful transition in my life (mid-life crisis? I'm hoping I'm not at mid-life.. that would have me knocking off at 72.. actually 72 sounds like a good goal.. so bring on the mid-life crisis!!!)

Ok.. so then all this stuff starts happening. Some of it I can blog about. Some of it I can't.. yet. I may start a competition with some huge fancy prize like a handmade clay sculpture made by Benji to the first person who can guess all the blanks in our madlibs life.

SO.. on top of there being items that I just wasn't comfortable blogging about and tacking on Benji's rough time post-surgery with a nasty secondary infection and antibiotics and all sorts of chaos and days home from school. Then there's the fact that while I've blogged about quitting my job.. I still stick by my "no blogging about work" rule.. it just seems like bad form. So when I am in my last month at the place, some of my coworkers are pissing me off and half of me finds it funny and half of me wants to kick crap.

Some things I'm just not comfortable blogging about. My brother-in-law and his wife are having problems and it's caused all sorts of chaos down in Texas causing lots of worry up in our neck of the woods. I could write pages and pages about all of the ups and downs and emotions that go along with being in a family where your nephews are pulled out of their home by protective services. I don't feel like I can write about our feelings about the situation because it clearly violates my brother-in-law's life story.. he doesn't read my blog.. but Shiela's mom does and this is all very hard on her as well.. it just doesn't seem like a container of feelings that I should write about.

I could write about the apartment hunt. You'll probably be hearing much more about that over the coming months (our lease is up in June). I plan to start my time after I finish up at work just throwing stuff away and donating so we don't have to move it all. We're debating locations to live in. We have a price range and some criteria.. we basically want to be in a more suburban environment with a little bit of a yard (hopefully fenced in) and other things like washer/dryer hookups. We've spent time driving around different towns to get a feel for areas we are interested in and areas that are just ghetto. I've done the ghetto thing in Malden.. no more Brazilian gangland territories for us..

I could write about how addicted I am to the game Mousehunt on Facebook.. it's awesome. I won't.. that addiction irritates my wife.

I'll probably write about Ben. That never gets old.


Ear tubes in - check. Adenoids out - check.

I want to share the whole story... it's really quite amazing.. Benji is doing amazing.. I'm a bit too tired to do more than post some photos now.. I'll try to fill in the blanks of the story at some point tomorrow..

In the waiting room...

Getting ready -- minutes before Benji started itching from being allergic to whatever detergent they used on their linens.. that johnny didn't last long..

Mommy and Benji in recovery just waking up...

Benji at Anna's birthday after-party on Saturday (2 days post-op)...


Should I skip sleep?

Nah.. that would be physically impossible. I'm one of those people who can sleep 12 hours a night and STILL take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. Yes.. I'm taking a multi-vitamin and yes, my iron levels are fine (note for my mother who is making a list of things to text me about).

I have lots to blog.. so much. I want to write about Benji's surgery last Thursday. I want to write about how awesome his daycare provider and her family were for stopping by on Saturday to surprise Benji. I want to write about how awesome Ben is doing post-op. I want to write about how I'm concerned that I'm starting to understand Fleetwood Mac songs. I want to write about how we found out that Ben is learning to play chess with Ruth at school. I want to write about how I worked extra hours and appeared at a town hearing this past week AND worked half a day on Saturday and how the song "Don't you forget about me" from the movie, The Breakfast Club, plays in my mind every time I was out of my office building and I have an image of me thrusting my fist up in the air like Judd Nelson's character in the final scene of that movie. I want to write how worried I am about my nephews in Texas. I want to write about how worried I am about my wife because of how worried she is about her nephews in Texas. I want to write about how I'm worried about how much of a tax return we'll get back given that I went and quit my wonderful and inspiring job (I'd NEVER be sarcastic on my blog). I want to write about how I'm tired of not being able to write because my son wants full access to any computer that is turned on in the house to play on sproutonline.com and nickjr.com. I want to write about how I want to go to Kentucky to visit my mom and the $600 that it would take to get both Benji and me down there is just a little out of my reach right now (refer back to worries about tax returns).

Mostly I just want to write about Benji and brag about how cool he is. I also want to state, for the record, that I think my sister, Beck, should have come up here this past weekend.

I could write about how Shiela just poked her head into the bedroom to see what I was doing (I'm writing and playing MouseHunt on Facebook -- a raging addiction) and watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and seriously considering a move to British Columbia. Anyway.. I got teared up writing about my mom and Shiela walks in and almost falls over laughing because I'm a scene out of "Something's Gotta Give" while sitting at my laptop with tears dripping down my cheeks and pooling behind my glasses.

I'm also disappointed that the USA lost the hockey game today.. but slightly proud of our future home country assuming we move to British Columbia. Hell.. Ryan Renold and Michael J Fox came from there..

I could also write about my failed attempt to make a cute pendant for Shiela for her birthday with Benji's fingerprint on it. It would have worked fine if the little shit didn't keep grabbing the clay and throwing it across the kitchen and then squishing any decent imprint impression I managed to get.

So that's it for me at 10:15pm on a Sunday night. Ben is asleep.. both cats are curled at my feet.. and I'm going to bed. Hopefully this coming week will be more restful and productive than this past week. If nothing else.. I've officially started the countdown to my last day of work (March 31).

OH... I figured out what I was going to do when Ben goes to Kindergarten. He'll be going to school in about 3 years. The next winter olympics is in 4 years. That'll give me about a good year to train for the women's short track. It'll probably take that long to find those cool skates and one of those snazzy outfits in a women's size 18. I think the sponsorships from that gold metal win would easily supplement our family for a few years ... maybe Jenny Craig and Lane Bryant would make me their spokesperson? I think inertia alone would get me around that track.. and I could definitely take out some of those little young tykes in the sport.


I take it all back.. where's the life raft?

Ok.. so change is good. Shiela tells me this.. my therapist (Ken) tells me this.. heck.. he even gave me a handout about it at my session yesterday.. maybe I'll share it later.. it's in the car. It's a hoot.

I would MUCH rather change one item at a time.. with a good space of a year or seven between each change. I'm up to my eyeballs at work trying to "transition" ten years of work to other consultants so they can handle my projects after I leave. Great! This is a fascinating and exciting thing. I also want to kick everyone out of MY office and tell them to get their damned hands off MY work. Hmmmm.. I may have to talk about that with Ken next week.

A bigger concern for me today is that Benji is going under the knife tomorrow. Ok.. I shouldn't have put it that way.. I just had to stand up and walk around my 8'x12' cubicle twice to keep from hyperventilating. Most of my coworkers don't know that I keep a paperbag in my desk for just this type of situation (ok.. I'm kidding.. I keep chocolate in my desk for this type of situation).

I'm nervous about Benji having his tubes put in and his adenoids taken out. We don't think they'll take his tonsils unless she sees some compelling reason to do so once she's in there.. but she's already said that she'd rather not unless he's having issues with sleep apnea, which he isn't. His issue is that his ears hurt and his adenoids are huge.. so we take care of that. I may buy him an iTouch or something.. I must buy him something to make him feel better. We've got ice cream and jello stocked up.. now he just needs expensive toys that he can play with while sitting snuggled on our laps for the next few days.

Ok.. so I'm going to be the one eating the ice cream and needing to snuggle on someone's lap for the next few days. I have the same reaction to the idea of Ben going in for surgery.. don't you dare touch my baby.. ::punch doctor in face::

I wonder if they'll give his hair a trim while he's in there.. it's really getting out of control. red curls are cute.. but the 'fro he's got going is truly chaos.. he's going to look like Shawn White soon.


A few recent Benji moments...

The big question....

The question that I've heard the most over the past few days:

"What are you going to do?"

Hmmmm.. that's part of the beauty of this. I'm 35 years old and I gave youth a good attempt complete with awkward adolecense. I gave college the good ol' college try and didn't do too badly. I've had a very successful career for the past 13 years.. This May would have been my 10th anniversary at my current company. I don't regret this decision in the slightest. I'm not afraid that we're going to wind up on food stamps or living on the street. Benji will continue to be the best dressed kid on the block (complete with nail polish of his chosen color).. all we're talking about here people is a little change. People do it all the time. Not people in my family.. but people.. trust me.. it's healthy.

"What am I going to do?"

Well.. we've got a lot of things to do right now.. I have about a month or so to finish up at the office. Since the type of work I did wasn't exactly 9 to 5 and since I managed my own projects.. there's a lot to do to move responsibilities around. I will probably spend most of most weekends between now and the end of March at work trying to tie up loose ends; finish up projects that can be finished and pass on projects that are more long term.

We're also looking for a new apartment or house. We've basically decided on an apartment for the next few years even though it sure would be nice to be paying into equity instead of paying someone else's mortgage.. while we have money to put down on a house, there are better uses for that money.. like as a buffer given that we need to adjust to living on one-ish income.

Looking for a new apartment is more challenging than it sounds because we now have a preschooler and need to find a town with a school system that we like just in case we're there when Benji starts kindergarten or when he gets into their special ed. program for his speech if that's determined to be a good idea. Finding a place in our price range is one concern of course.. but we're more concerned with finding a place with a yard for Ben to play in and a safe neighborhood (Arlington is grand.. it's yuppieville.. with the exception of the 2 registered level 3 sex offenders living within 3 blocks of our current house).. we're picky. we want a dog. We want to be out of the city.. but not so far out that Shiel can't have a reasonable commute (albeit by train.. but a train with wifi is a special train indeed).

We need to pack. If nothing else, my work schedule ending before our lease ends allows me some time to do some hard core packing.. and I'm sure Benji will be a great help.. *laff* We have to be careful.. the last time we moved, we packed a cat.

At least we don't have to move Orca this time. Orca was (may he rest in peace) our 14" long goldfish who needed to be moved from Malden to Arlington.. we rented a car for that one.. I'm sure they were trying to figure out the fishie smell for quite some time.

We have already gotten a year's membership to the Children's Museum in Boston.. can't wait to spend lots of mornings exploring and climbing and playing with friends.

We will get Benji going in the Boys and Girls club so he can continue with swimming lessons and gymnastics and fun stuff like that.

We are planning to trade in our car for something with a slightly more reasonable car payment with a slightly more reasonable gas milage. This is especially desirable since I tore the front bumper off during last weeks snow storm. (I'll have to post a photo).

I plan to continue blogging. I've gotten more, emotionally, out of blogging for the past few weeks than a year of therapy has given me.. this is good. As long as I keep being honest with myself and use this as a forum to air my thoughts and be open to the communities response.

The big change.. the one that has my mom in a cold sweat.. is that i'll be moving from being a "working mom" to a "stay at home mom" for a period of time. This is not a scary thing. I'm more worried about all the phone calls we have to make to change over our contact information and getting utilities turned on and off with a move than I am about the transition to being a SAHM (stay at home mom). Benji will be starting Kindergarten in a few years.. time is limited. Before I know it, he will be in high school.. I don't want to miss this time when we've worked so hard to be in a position to be able to do this financially. Will we be going on European vacations? hell no.. but we weren't doing that anyway since we've been relatively strapped while paying for the sky high rent in the city and the sky high daycare/preschool in the city. We have thought this out.. a LOT. No reason to worry mom.. this was planned.

What else will I do? Well.. I'd like to find things that I enjoy again.. I haven't touched my guitars in years. We have a beautiful piano (two, if you count the one at Grandma Jaaym's in Texas).. we have a child who is drawn to musical instruments.

Let me pause to say that I love Apolo Anton Ohno.

I also hope to do some writing. I've started a children's book. I have ideas for a short story. It's something I've always enjoyed but have never taken the time to do. Now.. the funny part is that being a stay at home mom is going to take so much of my time and energy that I'll probably be blogging about how i can't find time to write.. we'll see.

In the short term.. I'm going to work on Shiela's birthday present. I'm going to go to Verizon Wireless tomorrow to say a lot of dirty words for them selling me a phone that can't take video messages. I'm also going to register for the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Given that I've spent the past 3 years in full panic mode about dealing with my job and feeling like I'm missing out on everything in my only child's childhood.. and hobbies have included staring at Shiela at the end of the evening before we crash in exhaustion and complaining about how we are too stressed to enjoy anything.

This is a good thing.


OMG.. I did it!

I just gave my notice at work. An extended notice.. probably a month and a half or so.. but an end date. For my few co-worker friends who check my blog.. we must go out for a drink after work some night soon. This is still on the down-low (well.. aside from me announcing it to the entire internet community).. so don't mention it to others here at work until I've had the chance to make the rounds (probably next week) to tell some of my closer coworkers in person. They'd already know if they read my blog... those slackers.. :) j/k

Ok.. now I have to breathe.. I haven't done that in about 24 hours...


Men in tights

I'm watching the men's figure-skating long program in the Olympics. I haven't followed men on skates that don't involve 10 year olds with hockey sticks in quite some time. Back in the day, my ex was into it all.. and, by default, so was I. I found it fascinating.. but I also found it to be less schmaltzy. Maybe it's the outfits now. Maybe it's my fascination with Apolo Anton Ohno.. now THAT is what a male skater should look like. He even has cooler skates.

I have a big day planned tomorrow. I may go skydiving.. probably not. I may shave my head for world peace... probably not. Thinking about it now.. at 10:30pm.. either of those options sound much simpler and less nerve wracking than what I've got on deck. All are equally thrilling and I still may puke.

Mom.. cool your heals.. it has nothing to do with more grandchildren and while I'm not blogging it yet, I'll tell you.. you just need to call.. but not now and not when I'm sitting at my desk at work. Texting would work.. but my cell phone is completely dead. It must be driving you crazy. :)

There must be an 80's hair band song about this...

I am getting ready to jump off of a proverbial cliff. Can't blog about it quite yet, but all I can say is that I'm going to try to hold on tight!

::grit teeth::

........ to be continued...


Choice and Life?

I found out earlier today that a woman I know recently had an abortion. I can't decide what to write. I really avoid blogging about topics like this because the subject is SO polarized. I don't like conflict. I also don't know if this person still reads my blog.. probably not.. but maybe. There's also the fact that another woman who reads my blog had an abortion like 17-ish years ago and I know had some baggage over that. I don't want to offend or hurt anyone's feelings or.. well.. create waves.

This is really bothering me, though. I am infertile. I see the fertile-world through filtered glasses still. My chances of having a "whoopsie" are close to zero... First the planets would all have to be aligned and I'd have to have planted a potato at the last full moon (I'm not joking.. this really works.. ask anyone going through infertility treatments) and then at the appropriate time I'd have to trip and land on a pen.is and I'm not around those things very often.. well.. I guess I am.. but they are covered up and I pretend they aren't there.

I got off topic.

I am pro-choice.. politically. I think that abortion should be legal and safely available through the licensed medical community. I also think it's a much bigger issue than just misguided birth control. The naive teenager in me thinks that if people were just educated and careful, mistakes wouldn't happen, and if they did, then they weren't mistakes and there are always options and life is life is life is life. You might stop me there and say that I just contradicted myself by saying I was pro-choice and then making a comment that sounds very much "pro-life"...

As an aside.. I hate the term "pro-life".. it's like people who think that women should have control of their bodies and shouldn't have government rules apply to their reproductive system are "anti-life".

I am infertile. Most of my friends are infertile. Some have had children through a range of infertility treatments. Ben was conceived by IUI with ovulation induction and the help of a donor. Some were conceived with the help of IVF and egg donors. Some were conceived through IVF and various medical treatments. Some were adopted internationally. Some were adopted domestically. Some families have chosen to live childless.

I have friends who have lost pregnancies in the most tragic of circumstances. Most recently, a friend who lost her twins about halfway through her pregnancy. Another friend who lost her child and almost lost herself about halfway through her pregnancy and who has gone on to adopt a beautiful little girl. Another friend who conceived triplets and had to have a selective reduction for her own safety knowing that she could not carry triplets to term and would have lost all three (and maybe herself).

After hearing the news today, it hurts my heart to know that there was a potential little person who is no longer because he or she was not wanted. I would have taken him or her. Yes.. that's a very emotional response.. I can't save the world.. I can't take in every child that needs a home.. I know this is bigger than I can even comprehend. I also need to give this woman some credit.. there is obviously more to this story than what I know.. I know that there were medical issues with her last pregnancy and there are a TON of other issues that factored into the decision. I know and respect that she feels she made the right decision.

I think what I need to come to terms with is the view of the world that I have through infertility glasses. I still cringe when I see pregnant women.. maybe I always will.

I'm seriously debating whether to post this message or not.. this is just me trying to work through my feelings with words.


Do I still have all of my bumper?

I'm still not sure. I forgot to check when I finally got my car into the driveway tonight. I guess the "good" news is that it had already been mangled by another snowbank during the last snow pileup.. but tonight was special in so many ways.

I left work at the normal time to haul butt across Cambridge and Arlington to pick up Benji at daycare. His daycare, if you recall from last year.. is at the top of Mount Everest. Our car.. a Mazda 5.. is a lovely car.. family-mobile.. perfect in every way.. almost every way. It's a piece of crap in the snow and because of the damned alloy wheels that are shredding from failed parallel parking attempts over 3 years we're lucky if we can keep air in the tires. Ok.. back to today.

I made the decision to go for the halfway point up Mount Everest. That halfway point is a public street and is treated and plowed as such.. I was fairly confident that I could get up that part and then, with luck, bully the rest of the way up, or.. park there and walk the rest of the way.

My plan didn't work out. I got halfway up.. threw it into a low gear and gunned it and hoped for the best. I got about 20 feet up the next section of completely unplowed roadway before the car completely lost its grip on the road and I just slid back in a counterclockwise motion. I "landed" with my front bumper up against a curb, stopped by a large snowbank. If I hadn't been so pissed.. I would have gotten out of the car and taken a picture.. it really was quite the move.

Now.. picture this.. it's 5:22pm. 95% of the parents seem to pick up their kids between 5:25 and 5:30pm.. when the daycare closes. So yes... there were about 10 other cars also trying to get as far up the hill as possible. Those that were already up the hill had to wait for me to dislodge my vehicle before they could go anywhere and those that were down the hill had to either wait (if they had 4WD and felt lucky) or park their cars and walk... waving at me with "holy crap that could have been me" eyes.

Right when I was about to leave the car for dead.. a very nice plow driver stopped on his way up the public part of the road and pulled over and came over shaking his head saying "oh no.. this is bad... this is wicked bad..." He shoveled sand/salt around my tires and plowed areas he could reach without hitting my car (all of this while other parents are coming and going with their kids) and then he pushed me out. I'm not sure if all of my bumper came with me given the crunching sound.. but I was happy to be free.

I then parked the car.. thanked the very nice man profusely while he was still saying something about "wicked hahd ta get cahs round town t'day" .. and I walked up the hill to pick up my son.

Benji was sitting on the couch playing drums with Ruth. She laughed as soon as I walked through the door. She had heard from all of the other parents about my predicament. She asked if the car was still stuck and if she should have Memo (her son) come to help. All is fine. I'm back to being relaxed..walking up an icy slope will do that to you.

Given that I had to get Benjamin back down the mountain.. I opted to get him completely geared up with all of his snow gear. Let the screaming ensue..

When we walked outside, Benji was very concerned about all the snow all over the ground and told me to be careful because it was icy. Thanks, kid.. just wait for the hill. As we started walking down the hill.. we found that the big city plows had made it to that intersection where I got stuck. They were a big peaved that my car was parked on the street near that intersection but they can bite me.. it's not a snow emergency route and it's wicked hahd to get cahs round town t'day.

Unfortunately.. Ben was a little afraid of the huge plow truck that kept banging around.. so we just waited at the top of the hill until they finished plowing around our minivan and then we headed down the slope. No injuries to report.

The drive home was uneventful.. there wasn't much to go wrong given that it's just about 1/2 a mile on a straight unsloped road.

Well.. that was until we got home. See.. we have a shared driveway.. it happens with a two family house. Our neighbors were already parked and appeared to have not moved for hours.. and the plows had very nicely plowed heavy mucky snow across the end of the driveway. There is enough room.. when our neighbor is parked, for us to drive past him and park up by the garage. BUT.. there's a few inches of clearance between the cars and a few inches of clearance between our car and the shrubs/house.. ice and snow pack at the end of the driveway isn't conducive to getting into the driveway without hitting either the house or the neighbor.. and since I've hit other neighbor's before (well.. their cars)... I opted to park on the street and shovel out. It's irritating to shovel when the landlord pays for a landscaping service to do snow removal.. but they are never there when you're stuck at the end of your driveway blocking traffic.

That's about it.. Ben helped me shovel.. we came upstairs and tossed our wet coats over the old steam radiators and put Tom and Jerry on.. Shiela got home a few minutes later and made a pit stop at the steak place across the street for some steak and seafood.. so the night ended on a better note..

I still don't know the status of the front bumper.

Surgery date set...

Next Thursday, the 25th.

Tonight.. we time his breathing to see if they will take the adenoids or both the adenoids and the tonsils. I was "ok" with the whole ear tubes thing.. especially after doing the whole routine twice. The idea of them "cutting" something off of him really bothers me though.. I trust the doctor completely.. but this is NOT something I had planned.

Ear tubes going in (again).. adenoids coming out.. gah!

Ok.. so Benji saw his ENT this morning. He had a raging ear infection last week and we've been on the wait and see list for going back in for a third round of tubes.

As it turns out.. the ENT also recommends removing his adenoids. They are very large.. obstructing his breathing when he sleeps (he snores like an old man) and have actually started making "typical" changes in his facial structure (i didn't know this could happen). He has a VERY high arched pallet and the areas just below his eyes has started flattening. It is something that is a cue to the ENT that the adenoids are too large.

Interestingly enough.. we found out that the binky.. yes.. that evil binky.. is actually doing him GOOD. It's soothing for him and given the adenoid issue.. it helps him breathe. Eff all y'all who told us to throw it away!

Ok.. that's a bit harsh... maybe I'll save the f-bomb for the dentist.

So.. we'll get a call later today with a surgery date. It's an outpatient thing. (good God!).. he'll have the surgery on a Thursday and assuming all goes well, he should be back to normal and back to school and eating/jumping/hearing by the following Monday.

There is a slight chance they may take his tonsils too. They want us to watch his sleep patterns with a watch with a second hand and see if his breath pauses for more than 4 seconds while he's sleeping/snoring. If so.. out come the tonsils.

I had an agreement with God.. 2010 was going to be easier than 2009. I've worked on my end of the bargain.. I think He needs to step it up a notch. Send prayers and/or positive thoughts for my little man! I'll keep you all updated as we learn more.


Missing friends...

Our friends, Snickollet and her twins, Ya and Ya (Maddie and Riley) moved to Oregon last summer. It was, without question, the best thing for their family. Everyone agrees with this.. but more than 6 months later, we're still sad. I decided to pull together some links from old posts that I wrote about the kids as they started their friendship. It made me laugh.. to remember some of the antics.. wishing I had a pic of the three kids polishing off all the avacado at Ixtapa.. But to actually sit down and write about it makes me cry a couple tears.. one or two.. oh hell.. i've gone through two boxes of tissues.

We met Stacey and the Ya-Ya's on April 1, 2007.. Benjamin's first day at daycare. What we didn't know at the time was that Stacey's husband, John, was in the final stages of pancreatic cancer and would be lost less than two weeks later. We didn't know this couple.. we knew Stacey in passing.. I don't think we knew her name yet. But both Shiela and I heard the news about John and it saddened us for that family and it terrified us for the unknowns for our own family.

I'm not great with making friends.. I'm shy.. I don't talk on the phone. All things that make building a new true friendship quite difficult. What I didn't know is that having kids helps.. and Stacey isn't shy! She also doesn't talk on the phone.. but she's more than comfortable saying "hey.. come over in your pj's and I'll have ice cream and we'll watch american idol after the kids go to bed" (which became a weekly routine for several seasons of the show.)

Money is tight. Time is tight. We haven't been able to see Stacey or the kids since their move. That's not for a lack of trying.. we've tried to sell the cats on Craig's List and no dice. We'll find a way.

I put together a few links to some blog posts that I wrote about some adventures the kids had together back in Boston. Hope you enjoy.

A trip to the farm.

Time in a bottle.

Summer Fun.

This is my favorite.. :)

The Chomp heard around the world.

Miss you guys...


I love him.... I really do.. Apolo Ohno

I think that a good 95% of the Winter Olympics should be set with short skating... who's with me?

Time Zone Schmime Zone

Just because they aren't awake in Vancouver... I am.. I see no reason where there's no Olympic coverage right now. At least they could have those heart warming stories that always make you tear up as you take another bit of ice cream.

But no.. I'm left to watch some informerical of about the magicJack.


Benji is a hero

I've always known this.. but today he proved it.

[Disclaimer: He is 3 and didn't realize that play-doh qualifies as items too small to give to babies]

This morning, there was one baby who was upset when her mom and dad left (she's less than a year old). This is pretty common for her and Benji is one of the few that can calm her down. R put them both in high chairs in the kitchen away from the overwhelming chaos of the main front room. The kitchen opens into the front room.

R gave Ben some play-doh and the baby got some baby toys. She moved the baby's chair to a distance that was much further away from Ben's chair so she couldn't get to his stuff. As she moved into the other room to keep welcoming the other kids in along with the other 3 providers. Ben made his mode.

He has just learned to share. The baby's high chair was across the room.. but Ben has a good arm and thought she would like to play with some play-doh. He didn't realize she would put it right in her mouth... which she did.

He immediately screamed "Mommy, mommy, mommy" for R (when we're there she's Grandma.. when we're not there.. she's Mommy"). She said.. just one minute (in spanish). He sternly said "NO!!! Mommy, mommy, mommy, now!" She can hustling in to find the baby with a small wad of play-doh stuck to the top of her mouth. Thank god she hadn't tried to swallow it or choke on it.. but we were all very proud of Benji for recognizing the emergency and insisting on help RIGHT THEN.

What a brilliant kid (and lucky baby)


Every two years I sit waiting patiently for the opening ceremony for the Olympics to begin. I know.. after years and years of watching this ceremony, that by the time they get to Canada, I start cursing the fact that we live in the United States of America which happens to be Waaaaaaay at the end of the alphabet.

I :HATE: Doctors.... hate hate hate

I have had a migraine for 3 days this week.. Monday, Thursday and Today. I called my primary care physician this morning at 9am (when they open) and left a message for my doctor's nurse explaining the situation and asking what to do. I waited.

At 1pm.. after their lunch.. I called back. The receptionist asked if I had left a message.. I said "yes". She (she's awesome by the way).. put me on hold and went back to talk to the nurse. The nurse said that she had my message and was just waiting for word from my doctor.

AT 4:00 PM, the nurse called me to tell me that my PCP wanted me to call my neurologist. It's 4pm... do you REALLY think the neurologist's office is going to be welcoming to someone calling at the very end of the day? Of course.. I got her voicemail and apologized over and over for the timing and explained what my PCP did and asked what she thought I should do and could she call me. My options, as I see it.. are going to the hospital for more substantial pain meds.. which I don't want to do, or getting a prescription for an injectable form of Imitrex, which works.. but the tablets hurt my stomach.

It's now 4:43... they aren't going to call back. I hate all doctors. The good news is that I do have meds that help.. it's just that they only help for 4 hours and then the migraines come raging back.

Anyone have any advice?


I started writing...

I had an upswing at one point today with my migraine and decided to put some of the ideas I had last night onto "paper". It felt great. I don't know if it's any good (and I'm not sharing until it is done.. but Shiela liked it.. :)

Working outside the home.. except...

So.. let's count. I won't even go back to January 1 on this one. In the past two weeks, I've been out of work 4 days.. actually.. more like 4.5 days. Two of those day were spent taking care of Benji during his virus/ear-infection/seizure-recovery days last week. I worked all weekend.. but it was catch-up work and didn't really help my chargeability.

This week I was home Monday with a migraine and am home again today with a Migraine. Even better.. I woke up at 5am and tried to go to the bathroom and fell into the sink (hard to do in a bathroom as small as ours) and then fell into bed.. pressed my head into a pillow to get a little relief and woke Shiela up to get my pain meds. She's so good to me. She also got me a puke bucket "just in case".

Today will be spent sporatically checking my work email and voicemail hoping nothing comes up that would require me to focus (even with my glasses on) because eveything is blurry. I just loaded up Netflix on my computer and plan to put my "face-bra" (eye mask) on to block out the light and listen to the movie.. which I've seen so many times I can picture it in my head.

In other news... since I was up so much last night.. I have a few ideas and thoughts. First.. Ellen has breathed new life into American Idol and I love it and I love her.. she's hot (that's the pain meds speaking). Second.. I am going to take a stab at writing a children's book. I don't know the business.. I do have an idea though.. and the star character is Benjamin Bailey.. watch for me.. it's going to be the next Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. Or maybe I'll sell it out of our living room.. or maybe I'll just give it away.. either way.. it's something that has me interested and thinking (of course.. that could be the pain meds.)


A tour of my site

Anyone who has been reading this blog.. or my last blog, Two Moms and a Baby.. knows that I'm a geek and I like moving stuff around on my site and changing things like backgrounds and text colors.

Given all the changes.. I wanted to take a minute to point you all toward a link toward the top of the main page.. it's just above the main picture of Ben. There are two links.. one is "Home" and one is "My Favorite Bloggers". The "Home" one just takes you to the main blog page.. but the other one brings up a list of some of.. well.. some of my favorite bloggers.. check them out. Their sites are way cooler than mine. Just don't forget me...

"don't forget me when I'm gone... do-wah.. my heart would break..."

Ok.. got that out of my system... on to more pressing items.. like watching the flurries come down while everyone in my office runs around debating when to leave because of the blizzard..


Facebookers like my blog!

Hi guys..

If you haven't noticed, I've created a Facebook Fan Page that is tied to this blog. They are not the same thing. I don't post all of my blog postings to the Fan Page.. that would irritate people. I mainly post product info and tips/tricks that Shiela and I have picked up over the years and the occasional random photo of Benji.

While you can't see everything that's on my blog from the Facebook Page, I ::have:: created a widget (don't ask.. it's just a internet word like "tweet") at the bottom of my post on each page that allows you to scroll through recent postings on my FB Page.

Clear as mud? I know my mom will call for a walk-through and she's going to be worried that she missed something. Basic rule is that fun fluff goes on FB and fun fluff AND important stuff goes on the blog. K? k...

If you have a Facebook account and you want to make me feel popular.. click on "become a fan". I have 41 fans right now.. i'm shooting for more fans than the "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet" Page, which has 1,837,942 members. I have few people to meet.

As a teaser.. if you don't check the FB now.. you'll miss this:

Just a spoonful of sugar

I'm not the first one to deal with this. There are plenty of sites available with lots of home remedies to help get your kids to take their medicine. Heck.. even Mary Poppins had an idea. Golly.. even pediatricians and pharmacists have ideas. I know what works for my kid though (actually.. this is all Shiela.. so let me rephrase that.. "Shiela knows what works for our kid."

Ben is on Augmentin.. it tastes like chalk.. it looks like liquid chalk.. it tastes like chalk (I already said that). We've never had a problem with him taking meds.. but with this one.. it was a no-go. SO... Shiela stopped at the pharmacy and had them add bubble gum flavor (same taste as his Motrin.. which he takes with no problem) and since their flavor packs don't add color (still looks like chalk)..

She added food coloring. We now have pink, bubble-gum flavored, Augmentin. And he will take it!

I did my best to throw a kink in the works by offering him a piece of chocolate if he took his medicine. So how he expects chocolate with each dose (of Augmentin, or Tylenol, or when *I* take my own medicine). Shiela wins mom of the month with her idea. I'm going to go get slapped by the dentist for my idea.


Noun plus verb plus punctuation = sentence

I seem to be going through the opposite of writer's block. I want to write all of the time. I have a lot to say. Some of it isn't "bloggable" yet.. most is. The problem is that the only time I have to write is after Benji goes to bed.. which.. these days.. is after 9pm.

Another concern is that I don't really have a "theme" to this blog. Some people write about parenting. Some write about green approaches to costruction. Some write about politics.. religion.. their jobs.. their marriage.. photography.. music.. grief.. joy. My blog is just about my life.

To make it more challenging, I have an agreement with myself to avoid talking about politics, religion, my job, and any of the typical minor blips and bumps in my marriage and parenting responsibilities. This is going to end soon I think.. With the exception of my job (which is think is unethical to blog about).. I'm going to attempt to avoid being afraid of backlash. If I write about politics.. people may disagree.. this is ok.. I'm open to their comments as long as everyone stays respectful.. plus... I have the ability to delete any negative posts... bwa-ha-ha-ha.

On that note.. Shiela and I are watching Terminator Salvation.. so I must turn my attention to that. More soon...


Restart the clock; seizure #6

[Disclaimer: Grandma I. and Grandma Jaaym.. don't panic.. it's all fine.. this is just me musing about it all after the fact.. Ben's fine.]

Well.. we don't have specific proof because we didn't witness the actual seizure, but both Shiela and I are 99.9% sure that he did, in fact, have another one a few nights ago. There has been a nasty virus going around that all the kids at school have or have already gotten. Ben was out of preschool from last Friday through this past Wednesday.

On Monday night at about 2am, Ben woke up and called to us from his room. This, in itself, wasn't too much of a waving red flag.. but he usually does just come in our room and climb into our bed by himself. I went in to check on him and he was roasting. I took him back to our room, took his temp (it was 103) and gave him motrin and something to drink. His temp dropped and he went back to sleep.

On Tuesday, we brought him to the doctor for the second time in 4 days. We found that no.. he still didn't have an ear infection, although he has fluid in one of his ears, and that yes.. it's still the same virus. He was contagious until the temp broke.. ish.. and being the overprotective types that we are.. we had planned to keep him home for a month (just kidding).

For the remainder of Tuesday his temp stayed down and on Wednesday I stayed home with him just in case. It was a TERRIBLE day. He was destructive, hitting, screaming.. just being an all around PITA. I was exhausted by about 9 AM.

I had an appointment with my therapist that afternoon and Benji was going stir crazy from being inside for almost a week. I called over to Ruth and she more than happy to take him for about an hour so he could play with the other sick kids. (note: Mom.. he had been fever free for more than 24 hours... so I wasn't breaking the rules).

Things moved along.. work was crazy for Shiela and me.. trying to catch up after both missing two days of work covering for Benji's time home. Benji continued to be a terror. Very difficult to control.. VERY rough at daycare.. we initially wrote it off to him adjusting to being back after being gone for a week and maybe he still wasn't feeling 100%.

Yesterday (Friday), when we picked up Benji.. he was sitting with Ruth.. and neither looked very happy. There was a tube of elmers glue sitting next to Ruth. We just took one look and were like.. "uh oh...". Ben was the last kid there and he had just taken a three second opportunity when Ruth ran to the bathroom to rip all of her decorations that the kids had helped with off of the living room wall. It was another day of him being a nightmare.. he threw an entire dish of yogurt all over some of the other kids.. just general destructive stuff. The weird part was that he was in a good mood and the lash-outs didn't fit with the typical temper tantrum.

Ruth mentioned his seizures and said that this was exactly how he was when he had his seizures and that she was worried about it. Shiela and I took this to mean.. maybe he was working on some pre-seizure activity especially with the fluid in his ears and we decided to bring him in to his pedi again today (3rd time in a week.. are you proud mom? Ben's working on his own wing at ABC Pediatrics).

Update:: Approximately 8 hour later...

Everyone concurs.. little dude probably had a minor seizure or at least some pretty significant pre-seizure activity. Nothing really to do about that but ride out his mood swings while he gets back on his game. He's still in the category of typical febrile seizure disorder since we've only had 1.5 seizure that was unprovoked..

More importantly, he now has a raging ear infection. Doh! We were pretty sure that the fluid in his ears was bothering him but as of his last two visits this past week -- there was no infection. Not anymore.. his poor right ear looks painful!

The doctor was awesome (and Ben is such a good kid).. she let both me and Shiela look in both of Ben's ears.. one had just fluid but no infection and the other was infected. It was amazing to be able to see it (and a bit gross), but at least we know what they mean when they take a peek and say "whoa.. that must hurt".

We'll be calling his ENT on Monday morning and I'm fairly sure that he'll have his third set of ear tubes in within two weeks depending on how full their surgery schedule is.


No high sticking..

Our adventures begin long before we get to preschool each morning...

YAY! How much wood can a woodchuck chuck...

I can talk again!!! Yahoo!


Fun at the pediatrician's office..

Some 3 year olds are "adequately suspicious" when it comes to sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor to come in. Not our kid. He immediately scopes out the area for things to play with.. usually the cool lighted gadgets on the wall do the trick.. or the blood pressure cuff. This time, he opted for the latex-free gloves.

Listen carefully to this video.. he says "Don't touch me.. I'm sterile".. and "Fire Power" (reference from Night at the Museum 2.. pronounced "fi-ah po-wah")..

The doctor came in and chuckled and said "well.. he looks like he's feeling pretty good.." Damn.. $15 copay down the drain. He's got a bad cough which he did show off during our visit and he has a low fever.. so he does have a virus. More importantly.. his ears aren't infected and his lungs sound fine.. so that was worth the $15.. :)