December 14th, 2008 | No Comments »

Gadget is away for a week, visiting his brother Gizmo in California somewhere.  He’s not the best of planners, my Gadget, and announced one day not so long ago that he had a week of vacation time that he needed to use by the end of the year, or forfeit it.  And to him, vacation means going somewhere.  He didn’t like my suggestions of staying home and doing things around this city.  After all, people come to this city for vacation, so why not take advantage of what we have at our own back door (and not spend a fortune)?  He totally turned his nose up at that idea.

Being the sucker enabler that I am, I looked into last minute cruise deals.  There were some great deals, but as it turns out, babies must be at least six months old.  So no cruise for us.  So how about Disneyland?  He was all gung ho about that, but the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it would be absolutely wretched for me, since I’d be the one with the baby, walking around all day, having to find a place to pump, working out how to store the milk, and generally just watching them have fun.  Which made me consider sending BB and Gadget, alone, while I stay home with LB.   That would save a good grand at least, and I’d be a lot more comfortable.  And of course he makes the comment, “I don’t want to stay in a dive hotel.”  (Translation:  You’re a cheapskate.  Defense:  We’re not made of money, Dude, and why spend five star prices when all you need is a place to sleep since you’ll be gone all day every day.)  But then I thought I want us to vacation as a family, so if we can’t all go, then none of us will go, and we’ll just plan a trip for later, when I’m not bound to the insufferable breast pump.  We could manage a drive to see my sister, but no, he didn’t want to do that.  To him, that’s obligation, not vacation.  We settled on him going to visit his brother Gizmo, and me staying home with the kids, or possibly taking them to see my sister.  So much for spending time as a family.  He’s a master manipulator (he claims not!) and I’m an idiot for letting it happen.  All because I allow him to corner me into a guilty place where somehow I’m doing him wrong by not wanting to spend thousands of dollars venturing out somewhere, preferably tropical.  Clearly I have some serious underlying issues that I need to get to the bottom of.

He tends to see things through rosy glasses.  Probably my fault too, because he sees a plane trip as a fun thing to do, and I see it as a hell ride with a handbasket full of logistics to accompany it.  Two kids, one of whom is exceptionally defiant and prone to loud unpleasant and lengthy outbursts, a car seat, a booster seat, a stroller, at least two pieces of luggage, a breast pump, a cpap machine, pump paraphernalia and milk storage items, not to mention the need to work around the pump schedule itself.  These things he’s oblivious to.  These things make even the thought of travel sheer insanity.  The oblivion itself is maddening to me.  I find nearly everything about travel very stressful.

That said, I was actually happy at the prospect of having some ‘single’ time.  The freedom!  I was also happy at the prospect of visiting my sister.  But as luck would have it, this is the weekend that winter touched down with a fury, so the roads are dangerous, and I cancelled the trip.  My vacation, therefore, is being a single stay at home mom.  Nice.

It was nice.  Very nice, in fact.  Liberating, even.  One less kid (the biggest boy of the house) to care for.  It felt great to distance myself from all the thoughts described above, and to enjoy having the home to myself with no resentment at chores undone and general perceived lack of initiative.  (Why is it that a man who works all day thinks he’s entitled to relax all evening, as if life’s duties stop at five o’clock.)  I cleaned the fridge, and it made me so happy to gaze upon those sparkling shelves!  I enjoyed my peaceful home for the first couple of days, but tonight I found myself feeling melancholy and, dare I say it, missing him.  I even called him and told him so, much to his surprise.  He didn’t believe me, really.  He tends to assume he’s always on the verge of being kicked to the curb.  I do miss him.  Truly.  I like to be together as a family.  I like having him around (even if I have to remind him that I do, in fact, need help around the house and parenting the children).  But most of that warm fuzzy missing him was snuffed out when I discovered, close to midnight, that no outdoor winterizing has taken place, the snow has arrived, and I am left rifling through the garage looking for insulating materials, then wrestling with the outside faucets in the black of night with snow falling all around me, removing garden hoses from the spigots, rigging some sort of insulation to the faucets, hoping to stave off frozen and burst pipes.  I miss him, yes, but some resentment has resurfaced.

Some vacation.  I am using it to capture as much rest as I can.  Tomorrow, snowmen and sugar cookies.  BB will be very excited to see the snow.

May 31st, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Casualties of an extended weekend:

  • 1 broken Wii remote – fried
  • 1 broken Wii charger station (see above)
  • 1 three year old child, afraid of the water since his everloving dad thought he was big enough to try going under
  • eleventy gazillion DVDs out of order, with or without their jackets
  • forty seven** opened but unfinished soda cans
  • thirty two** opened but unfinished snack cracker/chip packets
  • 1 mountain of laundry
  • 3 mountains of dirty dishes
  • general homeland chaos
  • sore, sore feet
  • headache
  • 1 parental meltdown when her three year old decided he was afraid of public toilets (which is completely understandable) and would only go at home. This at the beginning of an extended weekend away from home. (Luckily, once settled in to the hotel room, he decided that one wasn’t too scary.)

Highlights of an extended weekend:

  • An overnight stay at a swanky downtown hotel, complete with swimming pool, white robes, and unlimited complimentary*** milk and cookies room service for the children
  • A glorious sunny day for the girls to wander, browse, and shop without the boys
  • An opportunity for the boys to go play arcade games without the girls
  • Dining out with family
  • Playing in a beautiful swimming pool with happy happy children (prior to being dunked, that is)
  • Two little boys sitting on a king-sized bed, snacking on cookies and milk, and playing ‘go fish’
  • Five kids, two adults, popcorn, candy, snacks, sodas, blankets, and pillows (all in two vehicles parked side by side) at the drive in theatre for the new Indiana Jones movie.
  • That blissful calm that descends when the four extra kids are safely delivered to their own home, and our little family of three is safely back in our own home.

*Memorial Day weekend.  So it’s yesterday’s news.  Better late than never.

**exaggeration — even so, TOO MUCH WASTE! Ack!

***may not be so complimentary considering the king’s ransom charged for just one night

February 17th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

It’s not like I’m looking forward to two weeks across the globe or anything.


Shocking pink carry on. Contents: two cell phones (international GSM and local CDMA), camera, universal power adapter, cell-hone charger, camera charger, two paperbacks, one puzzle book, handbag, wallet, passport, ball-point pens, lip balm, dental floss, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow brush, camera instruction manual, phone instruction manual, SIM card instruction manual.

Black CPAP case (medical equipment doesn’t count against the carry on allowance, woot). Contents: CPAP machine, CPAP mask, prescriptions, prenatal vitamins, OTC medications, glucose meter kit.

Red carry on size suitcase, to be checked. Contents: Walking sandals, sunscreen, hair goop, toothpaste, toothbrush, body wash, deodorant, graham crackers, and sundry US items intended to be unloaded remain in Australia.

Black backpack, to be checked. Contents: six light-weight tops, five crop-length cotton pants, tankini top, board shorts, assorted thongs* smalls, cotton gauze swimsuit cover-up, nightgown, and a sun hat. Yes, I fit it all in that little black backpack (with a bit of help from some vacuum seal travel bags).

On the plane, to be worn: black cotton pants with a delightful little bit of spandexy stretch built in, compression stockings (haven’t decided whether to wear the full hose or just the knee highs, but am leaning toward the full hose), white cotton top with black dot print (yes, I’ll resemble a salt-and-pepper haired dalmatian when Suse greets me at the airport) and a pretty blue satin sash tied in the back, light-weight black sweater, black suede fleece- lined slides (the poor-woman’s Ugg, easy on, easy off), and possibly a light-weight black jacket (it IS winter here, after all).


Posted in adventures, travel, vacation
January 16th, 2008 | 10 Comments »

…sometimes it feels good to feel bad…

  1. low grade nausea
  2. fatigue
  3. aching back and hips
  4. heartburn
  5. aching legs
  6. burning breasts
  7. leg cramps

I wasn’t going to say anything. I didn’t want to jinx anything. I’ve been repeating in my mind, like a mantra, over and over and over again. Whatever will be will be. Que sera sera. I’ve been trying, with effort of valiant proportion*, not to worry. Not to obsess. And yet, I can think of almost nothing else. Whatever will be will be. I wasn’t going to say anything. I was trying to wait.

And then I realized that holding back is acknowledging the fear, and I don’t want to be afraid. I’m not broadcasting to my family or in-the-flesh friends, because I’m just not quite ready for that. But to the blog world? This is my journal where I work out the issues of my heart.**

So I say that I don’t want to be afraid, but the simple action of typing out those words has raised them to the forefront of my mind and I realize, as the tears fall from my face, that I am, indeed, terrified. If a day goes by in which I don’t notice symptoms, my heart shudders. Whatever will be will be. Consoling myself. Preparing myself.

I think that things are going better this time. I feel it. I hope so. Oh GOD, I hope so.

I think I am about six weeks along.*** My first appointment isn’t until the 28th, and the first ultrasound probably won’t happen that day, so I have to wait for what feels like an eternity to see that beautiful white heartbeat. I’m praying for that beautiful white heartbeat and the sound of galloping horses.

Lucky Number Seven. This is my seventh pregnancy. I hope it ends well, with the birth of a healthy child.


*I have my good friend Zoloft, a very helpful friend indeed, to thank for this.

**Narcissistic? A little. Or maybe a lot. But c’mon, it helps me, and I really do cherish the kindness that droppers by share.

***Which puts me right around 12-13 weeks for my trip to Australia. I’m still going. No matter what. I bought the ticket, and it’s non-refundable. I’m going.

Posted in pregnancy, travel, vacation
January 11th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Prescription for a fine, fine day:

  1. Take the day off from work.
  2. Spend it with a dear friend.
  3. Drive to the city.
  4. Enjoy a delightful lunch.
  5. See a show.
  6. Use the HOV lane to bypass rush-hour traffic while returning to the suburbs.
  7. Enter the house to be greeted enthusiastically by a nearly three-year old boy dressed as Spiderman.

What a day. What a show!

I had a silly smile on my face for the better part of two hours. And when Frankie started singing “I can’t take my eyes off of you,” I cried. Cried. Truth be told, I may just be an eensy weensy tad bit hormonal, but all the same, it was quite something.

Who loves you, pretty baby? Stay, just a little bit longer. Late December, back in ’63. Oh what a night. You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you. My eyes adored you.

The sounds I grew up with.

A girls day out is just what the doctor ordered.

Next weekend? We celebrate the boys.  Monster Jam.

January 31st, 2007 | 3 Comments »

I had all these grand plans for productivity during my vacation.  I was going to build a raised garden bed, do some major weeding and plan some landscaping for the back, and work on the landscaping out front.  I was going to organize the spare room and continue working my way through the boxes of papers and items I’ve been collecting throughout my life.  I was going to gather together a new load of donations for the charities that are making the rounds next week.  I was going to gather all my tax info and work on the taxes.

Instead, I whinged on my blog, I went for a walk, not once, but twice!  And, I curled up in a chair and read some short stories from The Best American Short Stories, 2001.  I wasn’t ready to commit to a full novel, as I tend to become incapacitated once I start a book, and can do nearly nothing else until I’m finished.  It’s a bit sad that it’s taken me this long to get to that book.  I probably bought it in 2002.

I’ve decided to push the guilty feelings aside — guilt for not tackling a single thing on my to do list — and pat myself on the back for taking a time out, which is an excellent use of a vacation day, after all.

Posted in vacation
January 30th, 2007 | No Comments »

That was my favorite line I heard yesterday on TV. Heroes. I just love that Hiro character. He’s so adorable.

Today I’m on vacation. I’m up against another use-it-or-lose-it situation, and by golly, I’m going to use it. I know, it’s pathetic to have so much vacation time banked that it reaches the limit. I was saving it for extending maternity leave, but that’s not necessary anymore. I’m planning to take a week off in March, but my limit caps before then, so I have to take a little time now. It’s a good thing. I need some time to myself.

Speaking of planning for March vacation, I’ve worked myself into a near tizzy, contemplating and second guessing the scenarios. I’d like to go on a cruise to Alaska some day, but they don’t start until May, so that’s out. Perhaps we might plan one for September, when Mr. Gadget has his next vacation week reserved. I like the idea of a cruise because those cruise ships typically have all sorts of things to keep youngsters entertained. I would feel relatively safe taking my toddler on a cruise, although I’d likely be confined to quarters once he’s gone to sleep. Cruises cost a fortune, though, and whilst a Disney cruise or any tropical cruise might be great, I absolutely do not want to undergo a cross-country flight with a 2-yr old.

I suggested we stay home, continue dropping the little busy body off at daycare, and take advantage of the day time to do things we never get to do, like go to the movies or go try different restaurants for lunch. We could go play golf, even. I’d do it, just to enjoy the together time, even though it’s not my favorite thing to do. I’ve only been once, and it was fun. I guess my main hangup with it is the cost and making sure to keep the pace so as not to annoy the golfers ahead or behind. Mr. Gadget loves golf, but he wasn’t too enthused with my proposal. He likes the idea of going away. Anywhere, as long as it’s away. I find it a bit annoying. Away means planning, packing, travelling, meeting schedules, getting settled in strange accommodations, finding transportation, navigating in unfamiliar territory, spending a truckload of money, plus, keeping a 2-yr old content. This is no small thing.

He’d like to go to Reno, because his brother, Primo Gadget, lives within driving distance, and he’s not seen him in quite some time. I don’t mind the idea of seeing family. Mister Busy Body hasn’t met this uncle, and besides, PG has just recovered from throat cancer and it would be so great for MG to reunite with his brother. Reno is not too long of a flight, so we could manage that. The thing is, what is there to do with a 2-yr old in Reno We can go, and spend a thousand dollars for room and flight, plus whatever more it takes for dining and entertainment. PG and his wife (especially the wife) like the casino scene. It’s not for me. While I enjoy a nice glass of red wine with a meal on occasion, I am just not the drinking gambling type. Besides, one can’t take a toddler to a casino. If we go, I envision myself stuck in the hotel room for the evenings, while MG parties it up with his brother and SIL. MG wants to go for 4 days. PG would only be able to meet us for 2 days. That means we’d have two days to do what I asked MG to find out what there is to do in Reno. What does he do He finds flight/hotel packages. Frustrated, I remind him that I asked him to find out what there is to do in Reno. Everything, he replies. Like what Swimming pool, casino, golf. Right. He doesn’t seem to remember that we have a child. We might swim if there is a wading pool, but gambling and golf are out. There are plenty of things to do in Reno if I babysit while MG hangs out with his brother. That’s what’s getting me all worked up. I’m having a hard time figuring out how this will equate to a family vacation. It doesn’t sound like part of the family (the mom side) will be having much of a vacation. Mister Busy Body is just that; he’ll be curiously delving into anything and everything he can see and reach. It will make no difference to him whether he’s in Reno, Timbuktu, or our house. He’ll need to go to sleep around 8. Maybe I’ll take a good book and curl up and enjoy. A thousand dollar book reading getaway. Hooray.  Can’t wait.

Posted in vacation