Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Heather: When I need an angel, she grows wings.
I've had an earache since this weekend. Yesterday my right ear started with this clear fluid discharge; I thought it would go away on its own. News flash: swimmer's ear does no such thing.
Since it wasn't any better today, I called the doc. Yes, said the receptionist, that should get checked out. She could squeeze me in at 2 this afternoon. Nuts, that's right at the end of naptime. Not to mention I'd have to take the kids with me, as I'd already imposed on Misty this week to get Dale's Jim Rome ticket.
Maddie went down for her nap with a complete lack of squabble, not terribly unusual. I was going to have to wake her an hour and a half into it, which she does sometimes on her own. While she was sleeping, I hung out with D, packed the smaller diaper bag (they're now in the same size diaper, if you can believe it), took it out to the minivan, which I also opened up and cooled off... With 15 minutes before waking her, I fed him, buckled him into his carrier, and set him near the back door.
She was rolling over as I reached for her. As I was changing her diaper, she stretched and looked up at me groggily. "Sihn," she requested. (Sing. She's the only one on the planet who likes my singing voice.) So I did, gently and quietly. She seemed to like the idea of going bye-bye, too.
Then I carried her to the back door, where I asked her to walk like a big girl. She even held my hand and went right out to the vehicle. I got her strapped in, then came around and got him.
The trip to the doc's was uneventful, her chirping in the back seat and him contemplating his feet. The GP is the same one we take the kids to, so it was familiar to her. I didn't even have to kick out the doorstops to keep her from wandering; she stuck within 5 feet of me. A fair share of the brief wait time she spent on my lap, observing her little brother. "Baby wake!" Yes, Madeleine, baby is awake.
Baby boy pooped. Change diaper. Temperature, blood pressure, otoscope, swimmer's ear. She walks within 6 feet of me, even turning to follow and miss the room with Mickey. Get prescription for eardrops, pay co-pay, no re-check appointment. And he pooped again. She takes my hand as we walk back out to the minivan and makes polite conversation while ransacking the diaper bag; I was occupied with his diaper. I instructed him not to poop again until we were home.
He was cranky until we got to the rumble strips on the expressway; for some unfathomable reason they soothed him to sleep. She stayed awake and amenable even while I waited in line to get my 'scrip filled. "Bies?" she asked while we waited. No, we won't be getting fries. I'm sorry, little girl.
She even went right in to the yard and followed me into the house when we got home.

I told Dale to check her back for wing buds when he bathed her tonight.

Dale: Yep: She has them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Heather: I've done my good deed for the day.
On my way in this morning, I saw a red minivan headed southbound in the median. The driver got out and it looked like an older lady with the fake orangey-brown hair. What did I do? I got out the cell phone and called it in. I was so proud of myself that I even knew it was south of 26 Mile Road. That's why you have a cell phone.

Today is the last day of school. It could be, if I get my way, my last day of working outside the home for the forseeable future. I miss my kids. My heart wasn't in it this year but I tried. I'm willing to live without all kinds of things and I'm a good enough cook that we won't starve, either. Fruit, veggies, pasta and rice aren't that expensive. We'll manage.
These seven days have given me a chance to say goodbye, to be sure of my feelings. Get my yearbook and collect my desk paraphernalia. There are some aspects I know I'll miss, like being with adults daily. Some people I know I'll miss more than others, but none are a particular thorn in my side.
It seems ironic to me that this job, the one that I was so grateful to have four years ago, that I pined for and dreamt of for four and a half years after graduating from college, has become something akin to a burden. Two years ago I loved it. I still enjoy it but something (motherhood) has bumped it from the top spot.
I asked my mother if she missed work after she started having kids (she'd been a secretary--hey, it was the late '60's). The tone in which she said "No" wasn't wistful; it bordered on contempt. Absolutely not.
My sister is a stay-at-home mom; my brother's wife has the day-care at home so she's able to stay home with their daughter. I've been looking forward to this summer since July, when I recall saying, "125 more days of leaving my daughter! The school year is 185, but 60 I'll be off on maternity leave! Hooray!"

The numbers are going to get crunched this Friday night. Say a prayer for us.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Of Lawnmowers and Rednecks.

Heather's still asleep. Both of the littlins are with me in the living room. Maddie's watching SpongeBob and the Little (?) Prince is in his swing, contemplating something.

But that's not the reason for the header. This is:
I think I will nickname the lawnmower "Herb." Which is short for "herbicide."

Or perhaps Arnold.

"It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are mowed."

It's pretty sweet. If the bag had more capacity, it would simply be American-made perfection. As it stands, though, the mulcher is a decent substitute. In fact, the mulcher will be perfect with shorter grass. But this had gone for upwards of two weeks without a complete mow.

It's mowed now.

We are blessed to live in a neighborhood that doesn't give a rat's about such things. Nobody complained or acted like anything was amiss. The attitude is do your best, don't be a health hazard, a pain in the gluteus or make too much noise, and you'll fit in fine. It's not that way in a lot of "nicer" neighborhoods. Like my brother in law's. He lives right next door to an older woman whose hobbies include complaining to the city about people who haven't mowed their lawns to her pinched standards, or going into a neighbor's yard when the weeds haven't been properly addressed. My brother in law caught her doing this, and pointedly advised her "to keep her a** off my property or I'll call the cops." Given her history, probably too subtle a warning.

That wouldn't happen here. The proof is our very own redneck test: Our 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. The car was effectively dead. The battery was dead, and it took two minutes to get up to highway speeds. The prospective diagnosis was a potentially cracked head--but the mechanics weren't sure. The vehicle's main problem was that it was powered by a Quad 4 engine, one of GM's more problematic inventions. It took forever to get parts for it, because such had to be ordered from a GM yard in Flint. De-lightful!

It was the Olds' death that prompted us to get the Chariot of the Gods--the Venture. But the problem with dispatching the Olds was that it was not possible to get it up to the dealership (55 miles away) for the trade-in. Of course, we still had payments on the immobile piece of crap.

So we just left it in the street, moving it periodically. Worked for a while, but local authorities noticed and warned it would be towed if left in the street. Redeeming it from the impound yard was not an option. So I had the battery jumped and pushed the car into our yard. No, we don't have a driveway yet. If we had, no problem, but...we don't.

So the vehicle languished the rest of winter in the yard. Then spring came, followed by the growth of grass. Yep, redneck: one inoperable motor vehicle in the yard, surrounded by weeds. And our dog sometimes goes under our deck, too. You might be a redneck if....

But nobody complained. Not a word. The only contacts we got for it were three interested buyers, none of whom panned out. One of them was a next door neighbor's son, if that tells you anything. Still, it was starting to cause me to suffer big-time embarrassment. Finally, we got the car paid off. St. Vincent de Paul has a car donation program, and they tow them for free. As of Thursday, problem solved. All that's left of my humiliation is a dirt spot on the lawn, slowly but surely being reclaimed by mother nature. I'm feeling much better now.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Faster, Lawnmower! Kill! Kill!

Dale: I now have a new one, a 6.5 hp Briggs & Stratton-powered Craftsman from Sears. It was on sale, and coincidentally my 17 year old lawnmower went bye-bye last week. Actually, the engine still runs and the blade still cuts. The problem is that the lower handle has disintegrated via metal fatigue. Replacement handle? Sure. Except that the manufacturer went out of business, which makes parts searches a real adventure. The first place I went to last Saturday on HandleQuest had personnel who asked weirdly dramatic questions like: "Are you sure you want to order a new lower handle? Are you sure you want to commit to the expense, which could be upwards of $40?"

These queries came as we stood looking at the twisted disintegrating remnants of the handle, which render the lawnmower both useless and dangerous.

"Wow, $40?! When that will fix it?!? As opposed to spending $300+ on one of your frigging new mowers?!?!? Well, Mensa, that is a puzzler. Let me go home and ponder it for a month...."--I didn't say.

But I should have. Instead, I answered the idiocy with polite Yeses, which proved pointless since they didn't have anything close to the part. The second place I went to actually committed to finding me a part, via microfiches (for real). He called back yesterday. Yes, we have no lower handles for a 17 year old Aircap lawnmower. Still, the effort was impressive. I will have to take some of my business there. Dad has said to bring it back up to him to rig something up. No point in letting functional equipment go, and I could always use a backup.

Off to Sears, though, which had a Sale. I came home with a beaut: a mulcher with oversize rear wheels, a 21 inch deck and a rear bagger. Very, very nice. Fully assembled, which will surely save me some severed digits/limbs.

However, following 10 days of monsoon rains, my lawn is now approaching critical. I will be forced to prep the lawn with the machete if it doesn't dry out by tomorrow. Even the dog's getting a little nervous about leaving the deck anymore.
Heather: Good news on a couple fronts.
There's this one, near and dear to my heart as a mother.

Then there's this one, near and dear to my heart as a peacenik and Christian.

Both appeal to me as a human being.
I don't think either of these will be easy to push through, maintain, enforce or enact. They're small steps in the right direction and require others to make the right decisions...

Signs of hope.
Like the 7th graders today who wanted to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (It's the last full day of school.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Heather: Testing, testing...
Dale and I have noticed that Blogger "reads" the entries in order to select the advertising at the top of the page. This is just a list of non-sequiturs and unrelated topics to see what it gloms onto. I'm also curious to see what happens in the comments...

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
Medela makes excellent pumps.
Spaghetti-O's with franks are my favorite.
Victor Hugo is one of the greatest writers of the Romantic period, though a jerk in his personal life. I still have to read that biography.
We have photos of our daughter asleep on the dog bed--with the dog. I'll bet those will make excellent blackmail material somewhere in adolescence.
There can be only one.
Does anyone know of art depicting St. Joseph holding the Christ Child? Lots with the Madonna, but I don't recall a one with ol' Joe.
I had four biscuits, then I ate one. Now I only have three.
I really, really don't need to see Uday Hussein's home videos, but I'll bet the same people who have sold Pamela and Tommy Lee's are marketing those too.
Le Chien Andalou is one really twisted movie.
This mountain is pure snow! I think I froze the left side of my brain!
It's only a flesh wound.
Paris vaut bien la messe.

I think that ought to lock Blogger up for a while. Sorry about the delays.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Heather: On a happy note: Happy birthday, Dale!

On a rotten note: I have to go back to work. For seven stinking days. It has to do with legalistic minutiae of FMLA and if I don't go back they can come after me for insurance premiums, which are more than our mortgage. That should tell you two things right there: one, health care costs are obscene and two, our house is not exactly what one would call prime real estate. It's not about to be condemned either, but it ain't in the high rent district.

Seven days. So, to mirror the (possible) twilight of my teaching career, I would like to refer to another great seven days. I know mine are literally seven days, though. Here goes:
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." Thus evening came, and morning followed--the first day.

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