Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pictures: Because my brain is busy trying to figure out why it's still so hot outside.

Friday, Godmother and I took Charlie to pick apples outside of town. Thanks to my blog-friend Sarah for the great idea! Unfortunately there were no apples on the trees because of a late freeze this spring. Fortunately they plied us with apple turnovers and tea. Charlie loved his turnover and had fun with the pumpkins.



Gameday we dressed Charlie in red and took him for a walk near the university. I think Charlie's spirited pigtails contributed to our University's sixty-eight point victory. Absurd and unnecessary sand kicking? Yes. Deeply satisfying? Yes.

Another Rowdy Game Day

Our friends J and D hosted a going-away barbeque in our honor. During the party, Godfather announced the score of the ball game. In keeping with a tradition begun during my time as an undergrad (when, after the traditional parading of the goalpost through the streets, several dozen students stripped down and jumped into a fountain on campus), Charlie celebrated by taking off all his clothes and jumping in the nearest pool of water.

At the Last Hurrah Barbeque

Sunday we bought these chairs from our friends (who bought them at a yardsale a few years ago) and dragged the big bad couch to the garage. They came with ottomans!

New Chairs

Do people with real jobs trade furniture? Because we've replaced an entire living room worth of furniture for less than $100. I really need to remember to not respond to Ryan's boss's wife's "Those shoes are darling!" with "Oh! Thanks! They were my friend A's. One night we all got together with the stuff we were going to take to Goodwill and traded. It was so much fun."

What's it like to not be in school? Someone hold me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Charlie and Becca and the No Good, Mixed Up Day

I never should have washed Phent. Karma is pissed.

I left my house to get some work done at the coffee shop. And I was on my way to having a very productive day. The most productive in weeks, probably. I was in the middle of tracking down all the work I've done all spring and summer and sorting it so that I could begin summarizing it and maybe even writing some sentences (Nay! Paragraphs! Paragraphs I say!) when Charlie's parents'-day-out called.

"Has Charlie had any yucky diapers recently?"

Yes, five blowouts in three days, five poops on Monday, two on Tuesday, and three yesterday, each bearing a striking resemblance to Grey Poupon Country Style Mustard.

"Ummmmm, yeah, maybe a couple... why?"

"We've had a bit of a stomach bug going around here and he just woke up with a very yucky diaper and he's also been coughing..."

"Heh heh, well he's been coughing since May and now he's on something for allergies."

"I see...." trails off, pregnant pause

Consider alternatives: Let him stay until pickup (another three hours) knowing that he's pretty much over the bug he had and knowing how much more fun he has there with all of the giant plastic toys they have and become known as the Mother Who Lets Her Sick Baby Stay at Daycare. Settle into another cup of tea and possibly a scone and three uninterrupted hours of work on my dissertation.

"Why don't I come pick him up now?"

"Thanks so much! See you in a few minutes.

We did lots of fun things. We went out for lunch, we played on the floor, he crawled all over the house, he climbed on the couch, we took cars out on the driveway and he crawled all over pulling up on our neighbor's fence and my car. He was covered in grass and dirt and certainly looked like he had had a good time. But he just wasn't himself all day. He was quiet and moody instead of loud and happy. At dinner he alternately ate ravenously and then screamed and pushed the spoon away. When I put him to bed he nursed for twenty five minutes and fell asleep. He woke up as soon as he hit the crib mattress. Ten rounds of "House at Pooh Corner" had absolutely no effect. That was forty five minutes ago. I met Ryan at the door like "I don't know what's wrong we did so many fun things but he just had a bad day and now he won't go to sleep please help me I'm gonna cry."

Ryan's in the nursery now and they are both giggling.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Be afraid...

As I write this Phent is in the washing machine. Charlie had a blowout in his crib last night and since Phent is never far from Charlie's side, he got a little poop on him. When I mentioned it to Ryan (on the phone when I called and told him I would be buying a new TV today because the NBC premiers are on tomorrow and our TV doesn't GET NBC at all now) he said "OHHH! Poor Phent!" Ryan should know better than to personify Charlie's toys around me. I immediately felt like a jerk and pictured his black plastic eyes looking up at me as I sprinkled him with Tide and the closed the li... let's not go there.

He better by dry by naptime is all I'm saying.

So many post ideas, so unable to sit up for that long yesterday

What would you like to hear about first? The dead mouse I found? Or my horror that pleats seem to be coming back into style?

I'll get to those in a minute. But! Our house is on the market. We even have a yard sign. I had to tell my elderly neighbor that we are moving and she was very very sad. I knew that would happen so I waited until about five minutes before my realtor called to tell me to go ahead and put the sign up in the yard. The neighbor said "I thought I saw that woman carry that sign up to your porch but I thought if I ignored it it would go away." See? Sad. I felt awful.

Yesterday we had a group of realtors come over to see the place and then a potential buyer. And I was SICK. I was up all night Monday night throwing up about every hour and was generally miserable and unable to sit up on Tuesday. The group of realtors insisted I sit on the couch and not worry about them but I thought I should be gone for the potential buyer so as soon as I saw the big fancy car parked out front I got in my car and drove around the block. I thought about going to the coffee shop but the thought of having to walk ALL THE WAY to the front door made me queasy so I parked across the street a few houses down and watched what was going on (and almost threw up into a Starbucks cup hastily emptied of its original contents onto the curb. Only then did I notice that the door of the house I was parked in front of was open. Awesome). Feeling much better today, thank goodness.

So the mouse! You may remember me mentioning a "dead thing smell" in our kitchen over the last month or so. It was a truly awful smell. Ryan-the-mouse-hunter checked all the glue traps we had in the cabinets but found nothing. Every time the realtor came over we had this candle that we burned to try and cover up the smell because "Great curb appeal! Two living areas! Smells like rotting flesh!" is not what I wanted on our listing. Anyway Sunday night I made pancakes for dinner and before I put the electric skillet back (when Ryan had already gone back to work) I stuck my head in the cabinet to see if I could find the smell.

DEAD MOUSE. ON A GLUE TRAP. RIGHT WHERE THE ELECTRIC SKILLET HAD BEEN AND ALSO ABOUT SIX INCHES FROM MY FACE. I ran all over the house looking for my phone, shrieking "EWW EWW EWW EWW!" Found my phone.


Ryan: "I'll be home in five minutes."

You would have thought he had bagged an elephant on a safari he was so proud. (He's like the groundskeeper in Caddyshack when it comes to mice. One night last summer he came to bed at two in the morning and said "Little effer stood right in the middle of the kitchen counter and flipped me off.") He seemed a little hurt that I couldn't be happy for him.

Now for pleats! I went to Old Navy this weekend as part of a yearly tradition I call "I need a new pair of jeans even though actually shopping for them will make me hate myself, stop eating for a day or two, and then eat wild amounts of junk food for a week before settling into a more normal pattern." They had tons of stuff on clearance, including some of the knee length denim shorts I've been looking for since everyone besides me started wearing them this spring. I found several nice pairs in my size. Only problem? They had PLEATS! A brief check of several other styles resulted in more pleats! What is going on? Didn't we all agree that pleats are flattering on no woman, no matter what her size (and certainly not mine) like ten years ago? I looked around for the cast of 90210 because obviously I wasn't in Old Navy, I was in 1994!! I do not understand.

Good news is they had great jeans for cheap cheap cheap and because they seem to have instituted a policy of vanity sizing I wear my old size again. Sweetheart Fit, you are my new bff.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Darn it, now I want a hot dog.

Last summer Ryan and I sat on chairs in our backyard cooking hotdogs on the grill (then using the buns to pick them up and eat them without even getting up from our chairs) and talking about the new little life that would soon be in our home and how next summer we would have a tiny little molded plastic baby pool that he could play in. I envisioned having friends over and we would sit by the pool drinking Crystal Light with our feet in the cool water while Charlie played and looked adorable.

But because of the way this summer has gone we forgot about the baby pool until September and instead gave him a nice cake pan and a hose to play with.

*Note his gameday attire (minus one pair of red shorts that were taken off in the foolish hope that he would take a nap).

**These pictures were taken before victory was so callously ripped from the hands of my beloved University Football Team by the evil Football Team from Another University (and also before my beloved University Football Team forgot to come back after halftime, but that's neither here nor there. But really.) I don't want to talk about it.

Blissed out baby. If he had a favorite hobby, it would be "splashing". Later he would fall asleep before his head even touched the crib mattress.


New botanical print diapers (with REAL leaves and grass!) now available at a retailer near you!

Blow Bubbles Like Ths
All things that are like spitting make Charlie laugh hysterically. The only one laughing while I showed Charlie how to blow bubbles in the water was Ryan. And also, grassy hose water tastes exactly the same as it did twenty years ago at the end of the Slip 'n Slide. Delicious.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He's turning the toddler corner

My friend Jenny and I took Charlie to the mall so we could stretch our legs and spend some time together in air conditioned, SPF 1000 comfort. At Gymboree there was a TV right at stroller level playing a Thomas the Train video. Jenny parked him so he could watch, which he did leaning forward in his stroller, not blinking (for his corneas' sake it's good we never got into Baby Einstein). He must have been wondering why the TV at our house is never on and when it is (when he wakes us up at 6:00 AM and I'm not feeling so much like continuing the self-sacrifice to the point where I don't get to watch The Today Show) it is boooorrring talky talky talky because Mama! Talking TRAINS! TRAINS, that TALK! I took him out of the stroller so that he could stand up holding onto a tiny chair facing the TV while I held clothes up to his back. Another group of shoppers snickered when I said to Charlie "Isn't this a special treat?" in the voice I use when I forget other people can hear me.

He was such a good boy while we dragged him through BabyGap and Children's Place eyeing the sweet newborn clothes and cooing about how adorable Jenny's baby (expected in April or May) will look in them (and while I wistfully looked at all the tiny purple dresses and white tights from where I stood in corduroy and denim land) that we took him to the mall's indoor playground to blow off some steam. I put him on the floor and sat next to him. He took one look at the big kids and crawled into my lap, burying his face in my leg. I turned him around and held him and we watched them play for a few seconds and then he was off, as if shot from a cannon. I've seen Charlie happy before, but this kind of joy was new to me. He laughed and babbled and shrieked as he crawled across the mats. He beamed proudly while he crawled through the log-tunnel. He shrieked with excitement when I helped him go down the slide.

After about ten minutes of enthusiastically following him around clapping for him and moving him when he was about to get kicked in the head by someone on the swing I looked around and realized that the mama-protocol was to sit on the benches looking bored and vaguely hostile. They probably thought I was Charlie's nanny. Whatever.

The next event of Charlie's Big Boy Day was dinner. We went out to eat because much of our furniture is pushed into the kitchen for the carpet cleaners (who came today and sucked all of our filth through a long hose into a truck). On a whim I ordered Charlie's dinner from the kids' menu instead of bringing something familiar along. He ate a whole grilled cheese sandwich and half a bowl of mashed potatoes (and part of a straw wrapper and the edge of a cardboard coaster). With NO BIB. Woah.

I want to buy him some trucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Remember that scene in Sex and the City where Miranda reaches deep into her closet and pulls out a pair of Jordache (or some other must-have 80s brand) jeans that she has had since high school (when she had mono), ones that haven't fit in years, and then pulls them on and they fit?

That totally happened to me today with a pair of brown corduroy cargo pants that I bought in 2004. The are one size smaller than all my other pants. They are one size larger than I wore when I started college and was on the swimming club-team and got up at 5:30 every morning to swim a mile or so before breakfast.

I really don't recommend the Husband-might-have-a-degenerative-neuromuscular-condition-broken-washing-machine-trying-to-get-house-on-the-market-two-dissertations-leprosy-like-diaper-rash-dead-thing-smell-coming-from-the-dishwasher Diet though (You may have heard it referred to as the It's-three-oclock-and-all-I've-eaten-today-is-a-piece-of-apple-pie Plan).

But now Ryan is on the mend and the washing machine is fixed so it's goodbye cargo pants.

Read to your kids
They're reading about "The New Mommy Track" as part of Charlie's homework assignment for the "Women in the Workplace, 1960 to the Present" class he's taking at the university.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Waterfoul Gone Wild

My Mom and I took Charlie to feed the ducks again today and Charlie loved it despite the potentially disasterous consequences of assuming that because he loves the adorable rubber ducks with whom he shares a bathtub each night he will also love twenty pound birds who honk and hiss and are tall enough to stare him in the eye as he sits in his stroller (Like the time we thought he would enjoy seeing a firetruck because he looks so cozy in his firetruck jammies).


That one took a piece of bread out of my mom's hand. He was close enough for me to notice the two rows of jagged teeth on the top half of his beak. It made me regret not putting shoes on Charlie. His little toes look so vulnerable and tasty. So, I'm sure, did his outstretched hand when he tried to touch one of the ducks on the back. The more experienced mother of the group pushed his hand back into the stroller with a slightly panicked "NO!" before I even knew what was happening.

The more patient ducks stood around in the parking lot behind us waiting for bread. They didn't get as much bread because we were too busy throwing bread to Jaws and his friends to keep them away from Charlie's toes.

Patient Ducks
Aren't they pretty? It's too bad that on one of our first dates Ryan had to defend me from a charging duck by gently kicking it to create a diversion so I had time to run up a flight of stairs to safety. He's my hero. He can also catch roaches.

I love ducks
Charlie says "My future therapist thanks you for putting her kid through Exeter."

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Ryan was reading The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (Philomel Books, 1984) to Charlie this morning. I was checking my email in the next room and heard this:

"...'Oink! Oink!' grunted the pig. 'Want to roll in the mud?' The spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web...

"...'Woof! Woof!' barked the dog. 'Want to chase a cat? What about throw up in the kitchen or poop in the living room?' The spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web..."

B-a-d puppy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Glory Hallelujah Good God Almighty I never wanted nothing more

So Ryan? The best husband in the world?

Who got up early with Charlie this morning and then ran to the store for diaper rash cream (we are going to find dozens of half used tubes of Balmex when we move) while I stayed with a very sad and diaper rashed baby (a naked sad baby at that!)?

And who brought back my usual order from the coffee shop along with the diaper rash cream, just because he is a nice guy and knew I would like it?

Who did all those things even though he stepped in dog vomit not once but twice (once in socks, once barefoot) in our kitchen (thanks for that, Rossby) while trying to make Charlie's breakfast while I slept in?

He is going to be fine. He has a disorder in which his immune system attacks the protective covering of his peripheral nerves. It was likely brought on by a run of the mill virus which gave him no other problems. But it is not something that will come back and it would eventually go away on it's own. But Ryan's doctor is going to treat it with steroids and IV immunoglobulin to make it go away faster. He said that in his experience, the therapy he recommends makes a difference of years in the amount of recovery time.

The doctor said the steroids would give him lots of energy, but will make him hungry and irritable. I was about to ask if Ryan would grow man boobs because it sure would be nice if we could take turns feeding Charlie in the morning, but he's not the kind of doctor who likes to joke around. Ryan asked the doctor if the steroids affected fertility and his eyes got really big and he said "YOU SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON YOUR HEALTH RIGHT NOW NOT TRYING TO HAVE A BABY!" We both just kind of stared at him for a second before I managed "We just mean, um, like, in the future?" And he looked at me like "Do you get all of your health information off of MySpace or what?"

Of course that could be because when he came into the room I was laying on the queen-sized sleigh bed in the exam room (it's also a sleep clinic) with Ryan watching "Love Actually" on TV and then got so flustered I had to try three times to turn off the TV and then accidentally slammed my back into the door of the TV cabinet as I sat down in the chair, making a loud jarring noise that startled the doctor.

After the doctor visit we picked Charlie up and had a celebratory lunch at a local Italian place and then took Charlie to feed the ducks. Suddenly the broken washing machine, the teeming piles of laundry, the vomiting dog, the half assembled toilet in our bathroom, the diaper rash, and the dissertations seem a lot more manageable.

Monday, September 10, 2007

This One's for You, Amalah

Here at Academomia, we aim to please.

We're all klass

It's out in the garage now, you know, just in case you're doing a load of whites and don't want to leave in case it's time add the fabric softener or something (clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about).

Thanks for all the nice comments you left me after the last post. Ryan's legs were feeling much better this morning. They're not all better but compared to yesterday he's Fred Astaire. And Mr. Scream-Until-I-Make-A-Scary-Choking-Noise is resting peacefully in his crib; seemingly he is over whatever was bothering him yesterday. Even after I dragged him all over town looking for this:

Air Raid

And after half an hour with the Methodist Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer and then another half hour with "Pledged: The Secret Lives of Sororities" I was able to have a great night's sleep. I'm feeling much less like retreating to adolescence, willing to face high school again in exchange for having no responsibilities or hard decisions to make.

And? I heard on the radio that a cold front is coming and we have a sixty percent chance of rain and the overnight low is going to be 59. It's FALL. YAY! And the best part about this fall is that we will be leaving before the really stupid part when it snows. It's a good year.

I'm going to go stack extra quilts by my bed.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Pox on this House and All Who Inhabit It (Including Appliances)

I haven't written about it much on here because it scares the heck out of me, but Ryan is having some health problems. About three weeks ago he noticed that his fingers were tingling and numb and that he was having trouble grasping small objects, like a key, and turning it in a lock. Two weeks ago he started having tremendous cramp-like pain in his legs and one week ago the pain had gone, leaving his legs weak. He walks slowly and limps. He's been to his PCP twice and then was referred to a neurologist on Friday. The neurologist checked all of his reflexes, watched him walk, and asked a bunch of questions and scheduled him for more tests this Tuesday. He looked at me and said "Heh, it's not life-threatening, heh." He said they can give him some steroids after his test on Tuesday that will make him feel better for now and he'll have to get checked again a few months after we get settled in South.

I am right on the verge of freaking out. Crying in the produce section, gritting my teeth when people ask Ryan if everything is alright, and worrying constantly about what the problem could be and what it means for our future.

"Not life-threatening" is my mantra. I just want him to feel better.

He just wants to finish his dissertation.

Charlie was taking a nap early this afternoon and Ryan was replacing the toilet in our bathroom so I threw a load of towels in the washer and started gathering some clothes to wash (I let the laundry go for a really long time and the situation was getting dire). A few minutes later I noticed that I didn't hear the washer running. The washer had stopped after filling. I leaned on the corner of the lid to push the safety pin I taped onto it further into the little hole that tells the machine that the lid is closed. Nothing. It won't start. It won't drain. I opened the lid and shoved a car key into the little hole. Nothing happened. Until the entire switch fell right out of the side of the machine and dangled by a wire over the floating towels. Ryan wrung the towels out and I took them to a friend's to rinse and dry. Tomorrow I'll be buying us both some underpants and disposable diapers.

Not to be outdone, Charlie refused to take his afternoon nap today despite being obviously exhausted. He wouldn't sit and play he wouldn't lie down and rest. I put him in his crib and instead of falling asleep he screamed until he started choking. Finally I laid with him on the couch with a pacifier and Phent and we watched the race cars on TV while I sang "The cars drive around in circles. Round and round and round" over and over. He didn't fall asleep, but he was calm. A hit of Tylenol and a bottle and he went right to sleep thirty minutes early. I couldn't tell if he had a fever or if he was warm from all the crying. He's had a cold for a week so tomorrow it's off to the pediatrician.

I have not been very productive at school this week. Like I said, right on the verge of freaking out.

Here's a picture from our very successful garage sale this weekend:

Not for Sale

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Nowhere in your wedding vows does it say "I won't ask you to climb onto the roof with a chainsaw..."

But maybe it should.


For weeks this stupid tree has been scraping the little pipes that stick up out of the roof every time the wind blew. All night long, scraaaaape, scraaaape, scratch scratch, scraaaaape. Like some horror movie featuring Evil Santa and eight tiny reindeer with pointy spikes for hooves.

Tonight there was football on instead of Must See TV so it was either Big Brother or the roof. And let me tell you, that roof is steeper than it looks, especially when you are wielding a four-hundred pound pound saw-on-a-stick. Makes you wonder about the two lawn chairs and 36 quart cooler adorning the roof of a similar house two blocks down. Rooftop beer drinking? Really? That's what we call natural selection.

(I'm going to have to keep this short because there is a giant-ass red bug flying around the lights on the ceiling fan and I am going to have to go somewhere else. I may be able to saw branches down while perched on my roof but I don't do bugs, especially when there is even the slightest chance that it could be a bee)

In closing, Charlie asks that I stop interrupting him during his special bedtime ritual.

Why Not?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Don't mind the crapper, can I get you something to drink?

Living room is ready to go.


Except for one tiny detail:


Who needs a side-chair when you could have a side-throne? Ryan and my dad deposited this extremely heavy little gem in my living room with a promise to come back and install it in two weeks.

I think we can list the house as having 2.25 bathrooms don't you? And why is it called the "Toilet-to-go" and not the "Toilet-to-go-IN"?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Designed to Sell

My dad was in town this weekend to help us get the house ready to sell. He and Ryan replaced the counters, faucets, and sinks in our two bathrooms.

I did the kitchen and packed up a bunch of stuff we won't need for the next month and loaded it into my dad's car. Who knew we had so much counter space under all of our junk?
And who knew our pantry contained five unopened boxes of spaghetti? Not me, that's for sure.

Look at that fridge real estate gods! I am used to looking at a picture of Charlie as a newborn when I am cooking, but for you? Anything. Besides, it took me so long to get the kitchen to look that clean that there will be NO COOKING taking place in it from now on.

The rest of the house still looks like it always does, like two PhD students, a ten month old who crawls, and a dog live there. Except for the bathrooms, which have shiny new counters and sinks (and also, lots and lots of hygiene products. Nothing like walking into your bathroom to offer your dad a glass of water to find him working under the sink, boxes and boxes of Always scattered all over the bedroom floor. I vaguely remember Ryan hitting a sale at Big Lots and bringing home enough jumbo boxes to soak up the Gulf of Mexico, and then I found out I was pregnant with Charlie.).

Getting the rest of the house ready is my project for this week. We have a yard sale planned for Friday and Saturday, so if you want some fugly couches or about ten thousand fussy looking candles you should stop by (no reasonable offer refused!).

We move in about a month. To another city. A city where they don't broadcast my university's football games over the loudspeaker at the grocery store. Where the mornings in the fall aren't nice and cool and where it hardly ever snows. I hate snow. But still, this has been my home for nine years, where I met Ryan, where we got married, where we bought our first home, where Charlie was born.

I don't think Charlie will mind. I reassured him that Phent will be coming with us and that they would be getting a nice new crib to share.

Church Clothes