Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today is day two of me being out of town at a conference. I'm only an hour and a half from home, but it might as well be a million miles away. I'm staying in St. Paul rather than driving back and forth - if I had to do that, I probably would have bailed on it. Professional development isn't worth that mind-numbing drive.

Alex is having a rough time with Reed. I don't know if Reed's recent behavior has anything to do with me being gone; I don't think it does because last night was the first night I was away. When I talked to Alex yesterday afternoon, he said that Reed had a rough morning - he had been slapping his friends at school. Reed is not normally aggressive at all, so this was a surprise. His teacher thought he might need a nap, and she must have been right because he slept for two hours and woke up a new man. When Alex talked to him and tried to understand what the problem was, he couldn't get much useful information out of Reed - all he got was "I need..." and then couldn't understand the rest of the sentence. Later on when Alex was trying to get Reed to bed, there was a meltdown because Reed wanted to sleep in his clothes and Alex wanted him to wear his pajamas. Alex forces issues that I usually wouldn't, so this discussion apparently went on for about an hour before Alex finally gave in and let him sleep in his clothes. This morning, there was an argument about Reed wanting to take a car to school. Alex was actually late for work over this one. I wish he could understand that not everything is worth the battle - if he had let Reed take the car to school, the teachers would've distracted him with something else and then hidden the car until we came to pick him up. I keep wanting to call daycare and check on him, but I can't do a thing to help any bad situation I might hear about, so it's just not worth it.

I went out with some friends last night - we just went to a little place right by my hotel, but it was a nice time. It was good to get out and do the networking thing - talking with old friends and colleagues, discussing work situations and the such. It's nice to remember what my life used to be like - and also to remember why I like my life now. I used to have to do a fair amount of travel - and now I don't. Being away from home is good for a day or two, but that's pretty much my limit - I'm glad I don't have to do it more often.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My child is lazy. I am coming to terms with that, and it sucks.

Maybe he's not lazy; maybe he's just trying to manipulate. Regardless, it sucks. He wants to be carried everywhere. Up the stairs at home. Down the stairs. From the car into daycare. From the car into the house. And most recently, from the house to the Dairy Queen. Important note - we live six mere blocks away from the DQ.

Saturday evening, I suggested ice cream. He agreed, and wanted to ride in his stroller. He is honest-to-God too big for his strollers, so I said no, we'll walk. Then he wanted to ride his tricycle. We vetoed that also, because what ends up happening is that he gets tired and we have to carry the tricycle (and argue with him about how we can't carry the tricycle and him at the same time.). We would seriously walk half a block, he'd sit down (in the middle of the sidewalk, no less), and then we'd have to argue with him to get up and walk some more. Lather, rinse, repeat. When we got to the part of town where there are benches (three blocks up from our house), we argued about sitting on the bench. Continual reminders of ice cream did no good. He'd reach his arms up and tell us that he was tired or too little (he actually said "I'm a baby - I can't walk."), and ask to be carried. It took us a good half hour to get to DQ, and probably double that to come back home.

To make matters worse, this morning when I was doing daycare drop-off, the director of the center told me that on Friday, Reed wouldn't walk back from the park and made Emily (his favorite teacher) carry him. While all of his friends were walking. I talked to Emily about it and told her not to let him manipulate her into carrying him, and she said that she wouldn't normally do it except for the fact that they were in a hurry for lunch and he was taking half-steps. Yes, half-steps, on his way to lunch. If you knew my kid, you'd know that scenario is just too weird. He never misses a chance to eat.

I don't know what his deal is, but he needs to get over it soon. It makes me not want to leave the house with him.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The ever-elusive work-life balance

Betseeee posted an entry on her blog about being invited to join an organization of professionals in her field, and feeling a bit of a yearning to be out and about with this group. For those of you who don't know, she's been busy freelancing and raising her two O'Girlies.

I have a few thoughts that ran through my head after reading this entry. First, I envy her ability to freelance - I work in a field where freelancing is not an option (sadly, part-time isn't an option either). It just doesn't work for job. I could potentially consult, but that's not all it's cracked up to be either. Second, even though I go to work every day and am involved in professional organizations, I don't get involved in the social aspect of those orgs. I don't do the happy hours or the evening meetings. I used to - I used to be so footloose and fancy-free when it came to what I could do in the evenings. Then I had Reed, and everything changed. Granted, Alex is really good (awesome, actually) about being able to handle the homefront when I have an evening obligation now, but I find that the things I allow myself to be "obligated" to have changed. I'm much more picky about which activities I'll be willing to take on at night.

Which leads me to this - I'm going to the cities this week for a company conference of safety and health professionals. It's the prelude to a national industrial hygiene conference that will be going on the following week in Minneapolis (I'm not attending that one). It is only for three days, and I'll be gone for only two nights, but I'm looking forward to being the "old" me and doing the happy hours and the socializing with old friends and connections without worrying about getting home to relieve Alex, since I'll be staying in a hotel near the conference. I know I'll miss my guys, but I also realize that I need to do this for me.

The mommy guilt never ends, you know. You're always shortchanging someone or something - either your career or your kids or your marriage. I feel guilty that my child is in daycare (even though he LOVES going to "school"), yet I know that if I were at home with him full-time, I'd lose my mind. I know I'm not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom, as much as I wish there were days I could. I know that I'm a better mom to Reed because I get that time away from him every day, and I know that I look forward to seeing him at the end of every day. I'm not sure I'd have that same appreciation and excitement if I were struggling to keep him entertained and engaged every day.
Day two of the three-day-weekend, and Reed is already just about maxxed out at home. He's a wild man, can't seem to settle down, and has decided that he will just walk out the back door whenever he wants to. This has made us (me and Alex) much more diligent about making sure the back gate is locked, so if he does manage to sneak out without our knowledge (hasn't happened yet), he can't go far.

We went for a walk yesterday morning, with hopes of the farmer's market being open. I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and I find myself wishing I could live a like more like hers. In the book, she tells of a friend of hers who has a setup to grow tomatoes for much of the year by heating the soil under her greenhouse by using hot water pipes. I was hopeful that I might find someone who had adapted that method (or something similar) for their own tomatoes, but no such luck. In fact, the farmer's market was not even open. I'm not sure why; it is supposed to open the first weekend of May. Of course, we may be having a shortage of anything to sell at this point. On our way back home we stopped at the meat market, where Reed decided that he was hungry and was reaching and grabbing for any food he could (crackers, cookies, string cheese, etc.). He kept saying "I need some food for eat" which is how he tells us he's hungry. He and I headed for home (we were just two blocks away) while Alex was paying for the goods, and the entire way home Reed yelled about needing food. I'm sure that everyone we passed thought we were cruel parents who don't feed our kid.

Later in the day Alex used creative bribery to convince Reed to get his haircut, while solving the dinner crisis at the same time. He told Reed that if we got his haircut we could have pizza for dinner. The haircut place is in the same strip-mall as the take-and-cook pizza place, so while the boys were doing haircuts, I was buying dinner. With no hairdryer involved ("it might blow me away" were his exact words), Reed had the best haircut of his life, behavior-wise. The haircut looks pretty good, too.

I have a long list of things I'd like to do today and tomorrow, but I'm not sure any of it is going to happen. I'd love to paint our bedroom, but I haven't decided on a color yet. It just seems that a three-day weekend is the ideal time to do that. I'd also like to get my new sewing machine set up and get some pants hemmed (this is actually possible - during nap time, of course). I'd like to do some scrapbooking, but I feel like I'm a little too ADD right now to do that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

a whole lot of nothin'.

I haven't posted anything lately because it seems like such an effort to come up with anything worth typing. I've been busy, but nothing noteworthy.

Earlier this week, we had a conference with Reed's speech and hard-of-hearing teacher, Deb. The long and short of it is that based on his most recent audiogram (earlier this month), if we were to have him evaluated for the first time now, he wouldn't qualify for special education services. That means one of two things - either (a) his new tubes are working wonders and he has never had a hearing loss, or (b) he's maturing enough to be able to sit still and listen when the audiologist asks him to do certain things or repeat certain words during testing. I was afraid that since Deb said that he wouldn't qualify for services that we would have to stop using Early Intervention, but she went on to say that each evaluation that is done is good for three years. So even though he wouldn't qualify if tested now, he's still working under an individual educational plan (IEP) that is good for three years - so we can do two more years before we'd need to re-evaluate him. This is a good thing, because I think that even though he's hearing better and talking more, he is still behind the curve. I think he's catching up very quickly, but the more interaction we can have with someone who understands speech and language development, the better off we'll all be in the long run.

In the meantime, Reed's universe seems to center around cereal, Matchbox cars, and Little Einsteins. At this point I should also add that Betseeee dares post "pat pat pat" in my comments again, I'm coming up to LI to kick her butt and steal the O'Girlies. Anyway, he's managed to find a way to get to where we (used to) store the DVDs and thinks that he can do everything himself. He's managed to ruin two of his three Little Einstein DVDs, and we've had to find a new place to hide all the movies.

And finally, as much as my job can frustrate me at times, today I absolutely love it. As part of one of our environmental permits, we need to keep debris and trash off the ground and away from the sewers and water outfalls. This is a real problem sometimes, so today our department went out to clean along the fence separating our property from the river. It was a beautiful morning, not hot, and just perfect for being outside with friends and chatting and goofing off. Much fun was had with rubber snakes and camera phones (baby fawn, anyone? sooo cute!), and we got free Subway for lunch. And now it is 3:18, and a completely reasonable time to pack up and head home. After all, it's spring in Minnesota - nobody works a full day on Friday!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It never fails.

It never fails. Monday through Friday, it's damn near impossible to drag Reed out of bed in the mornings. He's grumpy (wonder where he get's that from?) and doesn't want to get up, even when we talk up "school" and all of his friends. But come Saturday morning, he's up at 6:15, ready to play.

And because I'm totally swamped both at home and at work (and sit here playing around on the laptop; go figure), I'm losing my mind. I sold two things on eBay last week - auctions ended at the same time - and shipped the items to the wrong buyers. They seem to be understanding about it and are willing to work with me.


My sewing machine bit the dust. I'm really ticked about this one. It's a Singer, and though it wasn't an expensive one, it still wasn't cheap. I talked to a few different people about it, and have been told that I won't find anyone who will work on it for me because it's more or less a cheap POS. I have been emailing with Singer, and they're trying to tell me that it's my fault and that the repair wouldn't be covered under warranty. I bought the Singer machine because my mom (the former home ec teacher) has a Singer that is much older than I am and is a total workhorse. It works really well. I had it for a while (she has since bought a new machine) and liked using it - but it was hard for me to understand some of the functions, because a seamstress I am not. Anyway, now I have a broken sewingmachine that is not under warranty and not worth repairing, and a company that doesn't seem to give a shit.

My mom, being awesome as she is, went to the sewing machine store that she's used for years and years for repairs, accessories, etc. and explained my problem. The owner recommended a machine for me - he's got it on sale right now - and he said that if it gave me any problems, I could UPS it to him for repairs, and he'd repair it and UPS it back to me. I'm not sure I can pass that offer up.


Recent Reedisms:
"Hey Mom, how's it going?" - This one cracked me up. His sweet little voice calling me Mom (I corrected him and told him that my name is Mommy - I'm not ready to be "Mom" yet) and asking me such a casual question.

During a discussion about potty training -
Me: Reed, do you want to use the potty?
Reed: No, not yet (in a sing-song voice).
Me: Why not? Don't you want to wear your underwear?
Reed: No, underwear gets wet. (You see where this is going, right?)
Me: Why does the underwear get wet?
Reed: From the pee and the poop.
Me: That's why we need to use the potty - to put the pee and the poop in the potty and keep your underwear dry.
Reed: No, I need a diaper change.

And at that point, I don't know what to say. He's obviously thought this out very well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I had an entry all sketched out in my head, and then I got an email from a close friend who lives in New Jersey.  I used to work with her, and I visit with her every time we go to visit my in-laws.  In this email, she told me that a very dear woman with whom we used to work passed away last week.  Diane had been fighting lymphoma for years - eight years that I know of, and probably before that.  She was very secretive about it and was not going to let cancer define her.  I hadn't spoken to her in six months or so, and wasn't aware that she'd had a relapse.

I am so sad for this loss, because she was really a wonderful woman.  

Friday, May 9, 2008


I know I'm not alone when I say thank GOD it's Friday. This week has been long and busy with way too much time spent sitting in front of my computer. The weather this weekend is supposed to be crappy, which probably kills Alex's plans for a Mother's Day picnic. We went to brunch last year, and it was nice but overpriced, crowded and not a load of fun. He proposed going on a picnic this year, and I was happy to oblige. Now on to plan B, whatever that may be. To make matters worse, I laid in bed this morning and tried to think of a good reason not to come in to work (I mean, other than the fact that my bed felt good and it's cloudy and napping with the cats sounded like a good idea). I couldn't justify it, especially because I had several meetings on my calendar that were semi-important. So here I am, and all of my meetings have been cancelled for one reason or another. Just my luck.

At the end of the year ('07), my boss proposed a promotion for me. I was happy about that because, in my mind, I should've gotten this promotion before I left Austin. The things I was working on were all listed on the job requirements for the next level. I left Austin because it was very clear that my boss there was not going to go to bat for me and try to push it through. This is, by far, the biggest promotion of my career. I have had to do a ton of paperwork for it - think a resume on steroids - covering the last eleven years. Yesterday was the first step in the approval process, and from what I hear, the hardest step to get past. My supervisor had to justify the promotion to a group of technical supervisors who are known to really scrutinize anyone who promotes to the "specialist" level. Anyway, it went well. He said that there were a lot of very positive comments about me and what I do, and that the rest of the approvals will be a slam-dunk based on the fact that everyone relies on the tech supervisors to be the "gatekeepers" of all promotions. I'm way too excited about this, not just because it's more money and a title change, but because it sets me up for big job opportunities in the future. The money part is pretty exciting too; my agreement with Alex has been that when I get the promotion, we will get a housekeeper. :)

Finally, if one more person asks me when we're going to have another baby, I'm going to cry. Even Reed is putting the pressure on - he has started asking for a baby sister. Do I tell them that we're trying? Do I tell them that it's none of their business? Do I tell them "maybe never" because I'm worried that I might be too old? Right now I laugh it off and tell them that Reed keeps us busy enough, but every time I have to fake a smile and give a neutral, non-descript answer, I want to cry a little on the inside.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday funk.

One of my coworkers came in here a few minutes ago (to see if I wanted to be in on her BPA-free water bottle order), and we started complaining to each other about what a long week this is turning out to be. At first I thought it was because the weather has finally turned springish here in Minnesota and I'm stuck inside working, but the more I think about it, my plate is full and I'm just on overload.

Please think good thoughts for a friend of mine. She and her husband have been trying to have a baby for several years now, and they recently underwent IVF. At her first ultrasound, there were two sacs, but at an ultrasound yesterday, she learned that now there is one. I know she feels blessed for that one, yet it's hard not to be sad for the other.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I am so going to

hell. Really and truly. I am laughing at my child's mishaps. As a disclaimer, I only laugh about this now because he's fine, and was totally fine about 30 seconds after this happened.

Alex had to go into work today, so Reed and I went to the playground. He was on the swings, and I was pushing him. I kept asking him if he was holding on tight, and he said yes. He wanted to go higher, so I kept pushing him higher, repeatedly asking him if he was holding on. He always said yes.

All of a sudden - without any warning - he went flying through the air and landed flat on his belly. Total faceplant into the sand. Sand in his mouth, dirt on his face - you name it. I ran to him and picked him up, got the sand out of the mouth, and kissed the hurt spots - and bam, he was off and running again.

This is such a fun age!

Successes and failures.

The Derby party was a success. The garage sale was less successful. Reed's nap today is proving to be a failure.

Can't win 'em all, right?

First things first. The Derby party was awesome. Everyone had a good time, the food (especially the Benedictine) was a huge hit, many mint juleps were partaken of, and the pies are almost gone. We agreed that we will do it again next year - this year was a trial-run of sorts, since not many people here follow the Derby. The only thing missing was the hat parade, but we also decided that we'll do that next year as well.

Friday's weather was not good weather for a garage sale, and Saturday's weather was a little better but it was still slow in our alley. We sold the extra lawnmower to a new neighbor. Got rid of some other big things. Listed some stuff on eBay, where I might just get more for it than I would at a garage sale. Truth be told, I was really just looking to be rid of it. We still have a loveseat that we need to somehow get rid of; it's in great shape and very comfy so at this point I'm leaning toward just putting it out at the curb with a "free" sign attached.

Finally, Reed. He's refusing to nap, and honestly, I can't blame him. It's beautiful outside, with a projected high in the mid-60s. Alex is working on something in the garage, I was outside weeding the flowerbeds, and Reed kept coming to the door and peeking around the corner at us. He's been in his room for a while now - I'm sitting inside to monitor him and make sure that he doesn't do any more sneaky business - so maybe this time will work. We're trying to coerce him to nap with offers of a picnic and the park later on...hopefully that is enough to make him want to nap.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Today is day one of the city-wide garage sale. I am sitting in my garage, freezing my ass off. I am seriously contemplating closing up and going inside. It is 43 degrees. In May.

Our neighbor in the alley (she lives right behind us), Fran, stopped by and chatted for a while. She's a really neat lady. I have no idea how old she is, but I'm guessing late 70s. Very independent. She was telling me about all the different kinds of flowers she is growing from seeds. Still in her basement, of course, because it's just too cold for them outside. She gave me some vacuum cleaner bags to try to sell. She said that if I didn't sell them to just throw them away. I didn't tell her that I will probably end up doing just that with all the crap of mine that doesn't sell.

Among the things we're selling are the pictures that used to hang on our dining room walls in our Texas house. We have no use for them now, but it still makes me a little sad to sell them. I miss our Texas house so very much. Alex is so tired of hearing me complain about it. I love the layout of it, the big kitchen with lots of counter space, the huge walk-in closets, the attached garage... and it belongs to someone else now. I ask Alex from time to time if he thinks we could go back to that house and throw the current owners out and move back in. He always says no.

Our house here is okay. I thought I wanted an older house with character, but then I got one and realized that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Small closets, tiny kitchen (we're working on that, though), and small doorways - it was an ordeal to get our washer and dryer downstairs, and our kegerator will. not. fit. down in the basement. The detached garage is barely big enough for a car. And since it's detached, it really sucks in the winter when there is snow on the ground.

But - we have a backyard that has huge beautiful trees. Green grass (rather than brown dried-up stuff). A garden that actually produces things. We had a bountiful harvest of tomatoes last year. Alex tried for three years to get tomatoes to grow in our yard in Texas, with no luck.

And Minnesota's summers are far better than Texas' - but Texas definitely has Minnesota beat in the winter.

It's all relative, I suppose.

About Me

Lexington, Kentucky
Grant is in kindergarten. If you've ever met him, you know he's got a big personality. I started this blog to track his kindergarten antics.