Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting to Amsterdam. Or, gearing up to fake normalcy while aviating.

I love to travel and hate to fly.

From the outside, though, I'm pretty sure I look like a totally normal human traveler.

My bag is in my trunk and my car is parked up the street from my office. So I can't obsessively add and remove things from my bag up to the very last minute.

I just have to run over to CVS and get necessities like prenatal vitamins and M&Ms, Snickers, and such.

My travel days are super unhealthy. I avoid eating vegetables, so as not to produce a noxious, toxic cloud of evil on the plane. I eat a lot of sweets in case the plane crashes.

I'm sure this hugely fucks with my blood sugar and really helps calm me down not one bit.

But what can you do, especially when you can't turn to pharmaceuticals? Breathe and breathe some more, probably.

And then I'll drive to my parents' house and leave my car and Betty will take me.

So I'm set.

While I absolutely can't wait to get to see Maude and her little family, I'm dreading the flight. I spend travel days with a swirly stomach. I get all twitchy and clenchy about getting to the airport with enough time.

I get in the plane and immediately think, you know, if we're going to crash, it would be so much better sooner than later.

Because how much would it suck to spend the last hours of your life stuck in a big metal box with a bunch of strangers? Much better to just get it over with before all that.

I also prefer to travel with someone I love, or at least like, because of course I don't want to die alone. Especially if you're plummeting to your death over the ocean.

I've been told this is a terrible, selfish approach.

And now! Now to ice the cake, there's swine flu!

When I had just gotten past freaking out about geese and airplane engines.

I give geese dirty looks every time we pass them now, though. I've disliked them since childhood, when a friend had very mean bitey geese in his yard.

And then to realize that those fuckers can just fell a plane? Puts them high on my Loathe List.

But back to the matter at hand. The networks are all swine! flu! frenzied! and I'm trying not to be. I realize that statistically speaking, it's highly unlikely.

The problem, though, with not being a math person, is that you tell yourself this, but the numbers don't actually mean anything to you. So until someone breaks them out - you know, in the same way they told me that at my age I was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married - it doesn't really hit home.

But then I have to figure, well, hell, I did actually get to my age and beyond, and managed to get married and knocked up even.

Which I was going to say meant that statistics were working in my favor, but actually, it's the opposite of the prediction and so really, what does this mean in terms of being felled by one thing or another?

Assuming all goes well, and we avoid the geese of death and various and sundry possible airplane defects and the path of the predicted pandemic, I'll land tomorrow morning in Amsterdam and waddle on my merry way off to Maude and Dan's.

I've asked Nick to guest post tomorrow (and, of course, into eternity, if need be). But current plan is to survive the trip and have fun and get Maude to take my tummy shot on Friday and just generally have a great time.

Days like today, I'm sure you're glad you only know me in cyberspace. No?

Anyway. Hugs to all of you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Artsy scarfy

This isn't a huge thing, but I'm quite proud of it and wanted to share.

A few weeks ago, I was on a group email from my former instructor at the Corcoran, suggesting that her class from last semester submit work for a juried show. Juried meaning you submit your work, it gets reviewed, and then accepted or rejected.

So I borrowed this scarf back from Betty and submitted it, just on the off chance.

I made it last semester. I'm not working with dye now, because it's toxic, and as such, they recommend that you don't risk breathing it in or absorbing it through your skin and turning your baby into a little mutant.

I don't know if it's been proven that you'll mutate your kid, but me, I always end up looking like Lizzie Borden, so just in case, it's best that I hold off.

But back to the exhibit.

When they let us know they'd accepted work, they asked for an artist statement. An artist statement! Me?

I love making things, but I don't consider myself an artist. I mean, I make art on the side. It's a lens through which I view the world. I'd love to define myself that way, but I don't feel like I could, unless I were actually working, making money doing so.

But that made me wonder. What defines an artist?

I don't really know.Here's a shot including a few other pieces. The blouse was made by one of my classmates. She did a beautiful job dyeing, printing, and sewing; quite frankly, I covet it.
And here I am, all pregnanty and proud. It was hot (finally!) and super comf tank and capri and flip flop weather. And everywhere we went, I got a lot of looks.

On the way out of the building, I asked Nick if I looked bad, if I should be in a looser top, and he said no, not at all, it's just that you're so obviously pregnant. You can see it down the block.

And then he stretched his shirt tight across his stomach, and waddled down the sidewalk.

Because he's all supportive like that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So tired

I'm just overwhelmingly tired.

People keep telling me to take care of myself, and take care of my baby, and to put us first. But what does this mean, practically speaking? And when your familiy is in crisis, how do you do this?

I mean, I sleep, I eat, I go out and exercise. Yesterday I got my hair done. Last night Nick and I went out for dinner. Today I'm back at work.

But how do you not worry? How do you turn any of it off? And how do you not stay centrally involved?

Put us first. If I had a baby in front of me, it would be easy. I mean, horrendously hard at the moment, but very clear. His needs would all come first. They'd have to.

But in this case, I'm hauling him around with me all the time. He's the main reason I don't sleep. And in-utero babies function like parasites, unkind as it sounds. All their needs get met before anyone else's.

So I can't not go to the hospital. I can't not check in on my dad.

And in going, even though he's looking better, and in the right place, I can't shut out the overwhelming fear and sadness and tiredness that accompanies it.

So when the teenager across the hall kept ranting about how he'd taken five Ativan and he still couldn't sleep and look how high his blood pressure was the last time they took it and aren't they going to do anything about it?

"Somebody needs to do something about this!"

My response was to turn to Nick and ask if he'd mind smothering the guy with a pillow.

You don't stop being who you are, you know? And people think I'm a nice person.

That was a sidebar.

But you know, I also can't not spend time with my mom. I can't not make sure Betty is doing as OK as possible.

I can't not. I have to.

My brother chose to abdicate all responsibility. He no longer has a family beyond his wife and kids. We don't exist, so he doesn't have to deal.

For him, people - including Nick, who spoke with him - say, this is self-preservation.

I think it's selfish assholery. He's a small, selfish person who doesn't want to be inconvenienced. But maybe this is a difference of perspective. Or semantics.

Me, I want to have a mother. I want to have a father. I want my kid to have a grandfather who will get down on the floor and play with him and hug him and kiss him and tell him he's great. And this kind of behavior only comes from my side of the family.

In other words, he needs to have my dad in his life.

I'm not willing to walk away, just because they're complicated, just because this is exhausting, relentlessly exhausting. And I don't know how to have distance, particularly when I don't trust the hospital to push for a solution without vigilance.

A solution.

I mean that, of course, in short-term fix kind of way.

Because the solution? What's the solution?

It's just brutally exhausting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Double tummy: Weeks 23 and 24

Week 24


Week 23

We took the Week 23 tummy pic I think last Friday night, just as we were getting ready to crawl in bed. I was almost too tired, but Nick thought documentation was important, and would just take a second.

And I'm glad to have it - there's a marked difference between this week and last.

But ugh - those are the warmest maternity pants I have, the ones that I have been wearing almost every single day. And at this point, after what feels like 731 wearings, I hate them. And do I really wear them that high?

I think so.

This past week, even though I think they said Week 24 is an ear of corn, he feels significantly bigger and heavier. His kicks are stronger. He moves more often, and it's more visible from the outside.

I love it.

On the downside, I am firmly in pregnant woman waddle territory. I've been told by several women. Which is always what you want to hear to feel more attractive.

And I think my running days may have come to an end. My hips get sore when I do. My stomach feels so heavy, like one of those medicine balls in the gym.

Worst of all, though, he regularly pokes me somewhere hurty.

Sometimes it's low on the right side, where I think maybe my appendix is? I try to squoosh him over, to no avail.

And sometimes - and this is truly horrendous - I get a sharp poke in the hoo-ha. From inside, I mean. Owie owie fuck ow.

And I exclaim things like "Ratbastardfuckfuckfuck!"

Which is probably something I shouldn't even admit to you all. It's just that I forget what I'm talking about when it feels like I'm being stabbed with a sharp little knife on the inside. Straight down into my hoo-ha.

You could see how this might pull the bad language out of you.

And it's all kinds of worse when I run. So the walking waddling days, they have begun.

Anyway, happy Friday!

It's sunshiney and careening towards 80s for the weekend, which makes all kinds of things better!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Although admittedly now is not the time to sleep with prostitiutes or indulge in brownie treats

A week from today, I wake up in Amsterdam.

Actually, I won't be waking up, as my OB said "Um, no" to my halfheartedly hopeful sleeping pill inquiry. In fact, he said, he wants me strolling up and down the aisles.

Blood clot worries, it seems.

On the upside, eliminates the temptation to take random pills from strangers.

Anyway. I'll be arriving. And it will be Queen's Day, which is a happy/insane accident of timing on my part.

Maude and Dan and sweet little Benjamin are there for a year. Nick and I gave each other a trip to see them as our Christmas presents. I've never been. He's been twice, but never seen one damn cultural thing there.

Because Amsterdam? Very fun.

And now he has too much work and work travel. But he said I should go anyway. A last hurrah before I am too enormous to enjoy anything.

It took me about 13 or maybe 17 seconds to agree.

I cashed in the miles, and booked the only agreeable dates available. And was going to cancel - you only lose booking fee.

But everyone is saying, "Go, go, go, GO!"

And Maude is saying, "Yes! Come! Visit!"

And if need be, I can cancel at the very last minute. So as of now, I am going.

Lovely Jenny is the only one so far who has voiced the, "Um, Lis, Amsterdam! Coffee houses! Craziness! Fun! Pregnant???"

And so I explained about Maude and family and love and good little break and museums and culture and last hurrah. . .

All of this made sense, but she was still a little, "Well, yes. But legal pot brownies?!"

Which we have all heard about, but what can you do?

So the new Bob in The Quad - who is funny, bright, and exotic in that Argentine way, even though, sadly, not actual Bob - offered over the cube, "Well, sex and drugs aren't everything in life."

To which we were all, "Oh, sure, well, yah. Of course."

And then he added, "Since you can't see me, I just want you to know I did manage to say that with a straight face."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Because I can't not

I know this is precisely what I've been asked not to do, and I also know that at some point I will exhaust your patience. But.

My dad should be in surgery right now to have a Pacemaker put in. Four heart doctors discussed this with him this morning and he agreed. And then they called us.

This would be a great solution, and as long as everything works out, it will be a relief.

But me, I feel like such an asshole. I was so angry with him yesterday. And what if that turns out to be the last time I ever talk to him?

I know these are routine, and people get them all the time, and INOVA has good heart doctors, and odds are that in a couple hours we'll be told it went well. And this afternoon, we'll go over for a visit.

But still, I feel so guilty. Most of the time, except when I really really can't help it, I try to put good things out into the world. I don't leave things on angry notes. I talk to my loved ones the very last minute before they or I fly. I have to tell them I love them one last time.

I realize the flying is a whole nother issue.

But it all ties together. Especially if it's the last time, I want it to be loving, I want it to be kind.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking stuff down

I've got to take down all the posts from the last several days.

For some reason, now that he's lucid, whether or not I am blogging about this is number one on my dad's concern list. Because of course there aren't larger things to worry about.

Like keeping your heart rate stable. And walking. And swallowing. For example.

But, of course, it's only his story to tell.

Because, of course, it only happened to him.

In any case, it seems like the right thing to do to assuage his fears. It's not like he doesn't have enough to contend with.

So, I won't blog about this right now. But I'm glad I did.

And I'm going to tell you that if you want to piss your daughter the fuck off, your first actual, whole, out loud sentence to her should be that you don't want her to tell your life story to strangers. And then you should tell her how to deal with the real estate market.

Clearly we're feeling better and ready to boss.

But enough about that.

Thanks for all your support . It's meant so much to me, and really, really helped get me through this. And my dad, though he doesn't know it.

I might even delete this a day or so. Anyway, sometime safely before my dad gets his hands on an Internet connection. I haven't quite decided. And probably don't need to decide in an angry moment.

Big, big hugs and all of my gratitude to all of you. You're the most amazing support group I could ask for.

A conversation of sorts

I am out in the burbs with Betty.

Nick is away for work, and my very understanding boss said I could work from home. I have a lot of editing, which can be done from anywhere, and my parents' house is closer to INOVA.

So after an afternoon where my father only woke up enough to give a glassy look or two and try to nod in understanding, the phone rang this morning. It was the sitter - someone literally sits in the room, 24 hours a day, just to be sure - calling for my dad.

My dad, she said, wanted to talk to my mom. Talk!

My mom's side:

"Hi Michael! You're talking!"

". . .Come and get you?"

!!!???

"No, sweetheart, not right now. You have to stay there for a while."

Pause.

"Well, are you walking?"

Pause.

"Oh. Are you sitting up?"

Pause.

"Oh. Are you eating?"

Pause.

"Well, then, what are you doing?"

Indeed.

We love you, but not so much on the going anywhere yet, Dad.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Apologies in advance for the wandering nature of this update

Yesterday when I was there, my dad was breathing on his own. He opened his eyes a few times, and when he woke up, he woke up gentle and sweet.

I said, "I love you, Dad."

And he mouthed, "I love you." And took my hand and put it to his mouth to try to kiss.

He loves me. He loves us. It's not that he doesn't. He just struggles.

There are close family friends who feel angry, who feel betrayed, who feel protective and furious on our behalf.

And the truth is, I'm just sad. It's not that I'm a bigger person - we all know I'm not - and last time I was furiously rageful. Rage is understandable.

But I've worked through a lot in the intervening time. And while it breaks my heart for all of us to go through this again, it makes me abysmally sad for him. You do this out of desperation, out of clawing for some relief. You don't do this because you rationally want to abandon your loved ones.

There's nothing rational about it in the moment.

I think there are people who get this and people who don't. And there are people who don't get it and can still support you. And there are those who can't.

What I've decided is that the people I know who have never personally experienced or dealt closely with depression don't understand. I think of them as the godancers.

Because they're the people who, when you tell them you can't go out that night because you're in a bad place, are all, "Go dancing! That'll make you feel better!"

And all it makes you feel is an overwhelming urge to kick them in the teeth.

No wonder I gravitate, over and over, towards people who get it. Who have a dark side, and who don't question mine.

Nick is mainly just sunshine. He falls in the "go dancing!" category, but tries very hard to be understanding, even though he realizes he will never see the world through the same prism.

I feel lucky lucky to have him as sunshine, as a rock. And while we've exchanged some salty words, I've not kicked him in the teeth.

As if I could reach if I tried.

But I digress.

I don't even know what I'm really talking about.

The fact is, my dad is better but not as better as I thought. His heart went from very low to crazy high. They had to give him a dose of something to bring his heart rate and blood pressure back down from scary high. He has an infection. His breathing isn't strong.

In other words, he could still die.

And to these friends who are so angry about this time, and how do we know he won't just do this again? - even thought I know it comes from a place of love and protectiveness - I just want to say, could you just support us through this for a while? Could you table your anger and frustration for a bit? Or at least not hand it to me?

Because I understand the anger, really really I do, but honestly and truly, he may be your friend and you may be hurting, but it's my dad we're talking about. Give your anger to someone else right now. Because right now, I can't fucking handle another scintilla of it.

Boy, writing that down feels better. And now, my friends, I am off to the hospital.

And thank you all again for being there for me, for caring, for offering your support. Just thank you. Thank you so much.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday waiting

I don't have a big update but I feel like so many of you are so kindly checking in, and I don't want to just leave you wondering.

My dad is still unconscious, but now breathing on his own in the times that they've turned off the ventilator to see. If it continues to go well, they'll take out the breathing tube. Fingers crossed.

Also, they have now stopped the medication to raise his blood pressure and heart rate. If that continues strong, then they'll take the tube out of his leg. Which would be good, as that minimizes infection risk.

And now we wait for him to wake up. In some ways, this part is harder, and in some ways easier. It's the worst thing wondering if someone you love will live or die. You sit there, holding their hand, staring at the fucking monitor, willing those numbers to go up.

You see the heart rate drop, and you say, "Ahh, we're not going into the 40s. We like the 50s better. Come on Dad! Let's go back up into the 50s."

When the numbers slide and slide, and the nurses come in and pump in more meds, you hold your breath until the numbers go up.

Every beep has you jump.

And it sucks. It sucks so tremendously.

But once you are past the touch and go, and you are into it seems like he's going to make it territory, the breathing is easier.

However.

I believe at this point he will wake up, and if history is any guide, he will wake up ashamed and agitated and angry, so angry. The anger is hard.

And then, as things improve, he'll eventually ask if we've told people. And then he'll ask me if I've written about it.

And when I say yes, he'll be really upset.

But the truth is, I need this. I need to let it all out, and I need the support and the kindness. All this loving, caring kindness - much of it from complete strangers - is like a soft pillow. A warm blanket. A big hug.

I don't even care if I sound cheesy. It's true.

And honestly, without the blogging, is there any way I could have gotten so many people to put their thoughts and prayers out into the universe for him? Absolutely not.

And when you are at the point of begging, pleading, making bargains with God, you will do anything for some extra help for someone you love.

So once again I want to express my gratitude to all of you.

I just can't thank you enough. I really believe all those thoughts and prayers go somewhere good, and they make an extraordinary difference.

Big hugs to all of you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Positive update: Friday, 7 30 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts, energy, and prayers. I believe each and every one of them made and continue to make a tremendous difference.

The police called this morning to say they had found him, and he was in an ambulance on the way to INOVA. So we ran over to the hospital, and spent the day there - first in the ER and then the ICU. And then I came home and passed out for a couple hours. I just got up.

They found him this morning - unconscious, barely breathing, but breathing. They don't know what all he took, but enough blood pressure medication to have severely depressed his heart rate and blood pressure.

They have him on a ventilator, and on meds to keep his heart rate and blood pressure up. He was still unconscious when I left a few hours ago, and apparently nothing has changed.

His blood oxygen has been decent, which means that probably his brain never stopped getting oxygen. And it could be that all the stuff he took is keeping him really out of it.

And his heart, well, it just remains to be seen whether it can recover from all of this.

And that's all I know.

I feel lucky, so lucky, to have so much support, and to have so much goodness and kindness showered on my family. Maude said she's been praying out loud so much that her two-year old has started saying Michael.

Thank you thank you again for your kind and loving comments and emails and wishes. I hope to have better news tomorrow.

Big hug,

Lisa

I didn't think I could live through this again. And here I am.

If I could ask something of you, I would ask you to pray, or think good thoughts, or send positive energy out into the world. When they find my dad, and please God, let it be soon, please let him be alive.

Because all I can think is, this time he's really done it. This time, he must be dead.

The last time I talked to him was 3 pm. He said he was going to the cardiologist - who I've since spoken with, who didn't see him today, who can't tell me if he did or didn't have an appointment. Who I think is a tool.

My mom and their houseguests got home at 9. The police have been looking for him since we called them about 9:30 this evening.

When I called 911, one of the officers remembered my dad from last time, and called the officer who had saved him. They immediately sent police to last time's motel. To no avail, but I appreciated that they remembered and took immediate action.

For all my dealings with the police in NoVA - and at this point, there have been way more than one might expect in the course of a life - I can only say good, good things. They've been immediately responsive and unfailingly kind.

And now it's past midnight. And there are no more doctors to call, no more possibilities to look into, no more details to give police.

All I can do is say please, please, God. Please don't let this be it. I need my dad. I need him to know my kid. Just let me have my dad for a little more time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My grinchy state of heart and mind

I have never been a woman who hates other women because they're skinnier or prettier or have on a more fabulous outfit. I might feel inferior in the moment, but I don't feel resentful.

Or anyway, I didn't. Until recently.

Driving out of Nick's work garage entails going through one of two narrow, narrow alleys.

There are poles on either side that have been bent by trucks trying to get in. The building walls on both sides have gauges in the red brick. Trucks routinely get stuck or skibble along the sides.

You have to creep out, poking the car nose a little forward, to make sure you don't mow over any pedestrians, much as you might like to. Because most of the time there will be someone ambling or darting across - either oblivious to cars or trying to beat them.

So the other night night this attractive blonde in a belted tan trench coat and heels stopped on the sidewalk as we approached. Nick waived for her to go, and she waved a thank you, and strolled in front of the car.

And as she was crossing, I noticed how thin and pretty she was. And how her coat flowed so nicely as she walked. And how comfortable the belt appeared. And how not-strained the buttons were

I muttered, "Bitch."

"She was nice! I waved her across."

The truth is, it had nothing to do with her. She probably is a nice person.

It's just that I now resent the shit out of anyone in a cute little outfit. Anyone who walks with a light step. Actually, pretty much anyone not-pregnant.

One of my friends from work is just beautiful, and always perfectly put together. Fantastic outfits, nicely accessorized, and with lovely makeup up. And a mother of two!

It is not that she's not run ragged between hauling kids to day care and working a full-time job. It's just that she puts it all together extremely nicely.

She wore heels through her pregnancies, and she always wore nice clothes. She says she felt like a cow most of the time. But to the outside world, she looked fantastic. Her youngest is now a year and a half, and she's back to her kick-ass figure.

I ran into her in the kitchen a couple days ago. Me in my same goddamn warmest black pants and sweater and clogs, and her in some lovely, fitted, very together outfit. I looked her up and down and tried not to glower too much.

And asked, "Do you mind if I hate you just a little, every single day?"

She says this is par for the course.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In which I explain the Abortion Ring

I feel like it's time for something totally random and non-stressy. Also, this will give you some better idea where I come from.If you don't know, I grew up in countries like India and Bangladesh, where we lived in a huge house with a walled-in yard and had a whole retinue of servants - without being what we in the US would consider wealthy.

And these are places where labor is cheap, craftsmanship amazing, and things like daily life and gemstones do not, relatively speaking, cost a whole lot.

Betty and her friends had many social events, time to shop, and their favorite merchants. With jewelers, of course, being high on the list of favorites. And so, much like we might see a fun bauble we like at Target, she'd buy a Tuesday ring.

Just because. La la la.

Yes, I sometimes long for this.

And so over the years, Betty managed to acquire some fantastic, and fabulously interesting, jewelry. Some of which she has passed on to me.

Also, it is worth mentioning that she maybe names everything. Which is probably where I get it from.

So somewhere in the world - India, I think, or maybe Nepal - she acquired the Abortion Ring. The middle is one ginormous, oddly shaped pearl, surrounded by turquoise petals. And when she saw it, she decided that that misshapen pearl was in her mind what an aborted fetus might look like.
Yes. No?

The overall effect is pretty, but upon closer inspection, the pearl really is kind of creepy.

Plus, the first picture gives you some idea of the hugeness of it. There's nothing subtle about this ring.

So between countries one year, my mom put a lot of her jewelry in a safe deposit box in Virginia. At some point they got a letter saying the bank had changed hands, but they should feel assured that everything had been transferred safely and securely.

Upon return to the US, they went to the bank to check in on their belongings. It was explained to them that they'd taken my mother's handwritten (and, I might add, meticulous) records, checked them against the contents of the box, and typed them up. They were handed the box, with the records.

And there they were, all those special treasures, all with their particular labels: Tuesday ring, Hyderabad pearls, bag of jade, fire opal with ugly setting, tiny Buddha...and so on. Down to Abortion Ring.

Can you imagine typing up this list?

I've since inherited it. It's one of my favorite pieces of jewelry, and I always get compliments on it.

Although I have learned that responding with, "Oh thank you! It's the Abortion Ring!" is much like announcing that your blog title is your porn name at an elegant, conservative club.

The remembering of which has not yet become second nature to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stream of consciousness, mis-malignment, and uterus dance party 2009

Ohh, you people are so lovely and supportive. I want to hug you all.

Things are better with my dad, with Nick, and with my potential arsenic poisoning. Housing still in the air, but we are getting more Zen.

I mean, in the scheme. You know I suffer from a paucity of Zen.

But seriously. People have babies in war zones. If we lived in my parents' basement for a while after the kid is born, it would be fine. With me, anyway. Not sure about them.

Hi, mom and dad! Mind if we move into your basement this summer?

And I am stuck on wondering, if forced to pick between Nick and me, who a jury would choose as innocent and who they'd see as guilty. I'm not sure what the circumstances would be leading up to this.

But who would be more likely to get away with a crime?

I think I probably have a more innocent face (no?). But there are things on my blog that one could use to call my character into question.

Anyway.

My dad came home last night and Nick and I picked up kabobs at this place that he and my dad both love, and brought them to my parents' house for dinner.

They both seemed to be dong well, which made us feel better. We were worrying about them both, you know. We had a nice time, the four of us.

(Also, if you say "both" aloud too many times, it's a weird word.)

Towards the end of dinner Nick and my dad were talking about I don't know what all - boat mechanics and foreign policy or some such - while Betty and I were scooted together, hands on my belly, trying to feel the boy move.

He'd thump, but Betty would miss it. So I'd suck in my tummy, hoping to constrain his space. Or push on one side.

No luck. No thumping for gramma.

And then we got in the car and he went crazy. Seriously, he was all "Whee! Uterus dance party 2009!"

And I was thinking, "You butt! Would it have been so hard to poke one little leg out for your grandmother? One little head bump? I think not."

And he was all: "Hahahahaha! Dancey dancey! Poke poke thump thump! Whee!"

And so I said out loud, "That asshole! I can't believe how uncooperative he was."

"What?"

"I mean, how hard would it have been? It's not like we ask a lot of him."

"Lis. Don't be so hard on him. We had a nice time. He was totally charming."

"What? Who?"

"Your dad."

"My dad? My dad was great. I'm talking about the boy!"

And on reflection I think that in fictional random situation that ultimately necessitated jail time, Nick would get off for clean-scrubbed looks and good behavior whereas my sailor mouth, malignment of progeny, and I would be marched off to the slammer.

So whatever it is, I should do it up big.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Clenchy, fretty things

Today is a not very good grip day.

We had a couple full, stressy, borderline sucktacular weeks leading up to this past weekend. And I suppose Friday just tipped me past my deal-with abilities.

I spent most of Saturday in bed. I just had no energy for anything.

My dad is still in the hospital. They get his blood pressure down, and then it goes back up. I'm sure just being there is hugely anxiety provoking, which doesn't help. Mondays are busy in the heart unit. The doctor should get to him around noon.

They say.

My mom is holding up OK, but it's a lot of stress. It's just really scary, you know?

I mean, there are a number of expendable corporeal bits, but your heart is one of the few essentials.

I hate thinking about it.

And we had a date set to sell Nick's place, and we were counting down to closing, but the offer was contingent on a couple things. And now they can legitimately back out if they want.

Which directly impacts our ability to buy a new place. A new place on which, yesterday, it seemed like we couldn't get on the same page.

Which immediately threw me into this state of, "We clearly have totally different goals in life and I would give up space for location and you'd happily relegate us to boring life in the suburbs where we guzzle gas and drive everywhere and I never get to see my friends and our kid is surrounded by boring shiny white people and maybe you should just go ahead and marry your second wife already. Even though she'll be Republican and make you live in Great Falls."

And so you could say there is this housing limbo.

And maybe a lot of unfair allegations. On my part.

And a million back-and-forth agent calls. All of which Nick is handling.

While at the same time picking up all of the physical slack at home.

While also dealing with a crazypants, loathesome wife who is all, "I hate this and I hate how you chew and I'm tired and my feet are swollen and are you really going to have another beer and why is it still so fucking cold and this is the wrong pillow and seriously, if you do that one more goddamn time I'm really going to stab you! And look at all these veins and is my belly button going to turn into an outie and fuck fuck fuck I'm never going to be attractive again and IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. Oh, and could you get me a glass of water?"

Why he hasn't stuck arsenic in my coffee by now is beyond me.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Once again soundly agreeing with ole T.S.

Let me begin by saying that my dad is fine.

Because if you begin by saying that your dad is in the hospital, it raises alarm bells. So the fact is, he is in the hospital, but he's doing OK.

The last couple days his heart wasn't doing so well, and yesterday afternoon he thought it prudent to call an ambulance. By the time Betty and I got there his blood pressure was much reduced and he was hooked up to all kinds of things and they were trying to figure out why the beats were so irregular.

They let us know up front he'd be there at least 24 hours for tests and monitoring. Which definitely made me feel better.

He called this morning to say that some hours earlier, his heart beat had returned to normal, and now they're just doing more tests.

He sounded good, and his voice sounded strong again, and I just feel like, oh, thank you god.

I have to say that in the scheme of things, it was scary, but not the worst. We knew he was going, and we knew why, and we knew he was in OK enough shape to call my cell and tell me that he'd been admitted and which room we could ask for.

But still.

I know all the pieces of this all so very well. I've been to INOVA Fairfax more times than I can count.

And as such, I suggested we stop at Whole Foods, which was on our way. Not to treat it as a spectator sport, but if you've ever had to settle in for the long haul in a hospital, you know that eventually you'll be faced with Snickers from the vending machine and crap coffee and you'd rather have a nice turkey wrap and grapes and bottle of Orangina in hand.

Plus, in these circumstances, we knew there was time.

But I know that drive down Gallows Road - and who fucking puts a hospital on Gallows Road, anyway?

I know the first turn to Emergency, and I know that the next turn is to parking for the main hospital area. I know that if you are leaving at 4 am, you can ask and security will drive you to your car in the dark, dark lot.

I know that Grey parking area. The other day I found a multiple visit card from last year in my car - much better parking value for money, fyi. And the attendants are nice.

I know the Emergency waiting room and I know the Emergency rooms.

And even though I believed in my heart that it was all going to be OK, I got that claustrophobic chest tight want to cry feeling walking past closed curtains, past the big open center area with all the doctors and nurses, walking back to the right room number.

The hospital scares me. The frailty scares me. The reminder of mortality scares me.

I hate April.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Week 22 tummy

I just realized I look armless in this picture.

Ah, well. I've been wearing the toe shoes enough that I'm marginally more dexterous with my tootsies, although I still wouldn't be able to cook bacon and eggs with my feet or anything.

This week the little dude is either the size of a small doll - stupid, unhelpful description - or a spaghetti squash. Nick, who grew up being fed boiled meat and potatoes, was all, "What the fuck is spaghetti squash?"

But anyway. He's 10 or more inches long and weighs about a pound, and now he's thumping around a lot. I love it.

My Twilight colleagues have been referring to him alternately as the Little Nudger and Renesmee (ignoring gender naming conventions). For the non-Twilighters among us, this refers to Bella's half-monster baby - affectionately termed before she started inadvertently crashing around and killing her from the inside, of course.

It's a really interesting thing, the thumps and actually being able to feel the person you've got inside you. I think it's akin to carrying one of those itty bitty toy dogs around all the time. You're never alone. It's nice.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

TMI Thursday: Sticky poo

I should maybe apologize for the content of this up-front. Just know, it's for LiLu.

I was trying to decide whether or not to share this particular story, because one, it's really gross. And two, it’s so much like something that would happen to Ben Stiller in a movie. Except that he’d probably knock himself out and break the sink in the process and be found passed out, ass up, with water from the sink flooding the place.

Which is not what happened. It was a much smaller, less dramatic catastrophe.

For the non-scatological among us - the title says it all. You're warned.

So you know, life is just life, and I’m going to bet that everyone has had a terrible poo situation at one time or another. And it's not like I took a poo in a flower bed with tourists around or anything.

Last weekend, Betty set up a glorious pregnancy massage for me. It was fantastic. But that's not what this is about. Pre-fantastic massage, there was a large amount of disgusting stress.

So I got there on time, but of course had to pee. Because when do I not?

The massage therapist met me at reception, and then asked if I needed to use the bathroom.

Absolutely!

So she pointed down the hall (it’s a very small place) while she stayed up front, chatting with the receptionist.

Now, another fact in my life, aside from constantly having to pee, is that I just never have any idea when my body will be all, “Let’s have a bowel movement, shall we?”

I’m no longer constipated, which is awesome, but it’s always a surprise. Oh! Poo!

Which is exactly what happened on this day.

So I had the surprise! Poo!

And I wiped. And it turned out to be the kind of sticky, smeary, oddly tinted, vegetabley poo that your toilet paper glides across with alarming alacrity. Which means that it's suddenly smeared everywhere. I mean, everywhere.

All over my butt, on my hand, everywhere. Except, thankfully, on any of my clothing. Thank goodness I was not wearing, as I so often do, a coat that I’d simply scrunched up around my waist.

So I kept pulling toilet paper and wiping and pulling toilet paper and wiping, while trying very hard not to let my poo-covered hand touch anything else.

Eeee! Poo!

And I was thinking, “Crap crap crap!” (no pun) “I am about to be all nakey nakey with some woman smearing oil somewhere very close to this travesty of justice. I have got to clean this up.”

I’m also mindful of the fact that the massage woman and the receptionist are most likely all, “What the fuck is that woman doing in there? Having her baby?”

Frantically wiping. More and more toilet paper. And then I spot paper towels, which I douse with water.

I clean, I scrub, I scrub, I scrub. Soap soap soap. Water water water.

I finally emerged. Flustered, but poo-free. As far as I can tell.

But I definitely flinched when she reached for my poo-hand during the massage, envisioning teeny tiny little poo molecules clinging to it. My nose is constantly stuffed up now, so the smell test? Not totally reliable.

I got home that afternoon and Nick asked how my massage went.

And I was all, “Oh, it was great. But you have to hear about this crazy poo thing that happened.”

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What I would really like to say to one of my colleagues

Why so angry? Why so relentlessly mean?

You're no longer unkind to me, now that I don't work for someone you hate. And I know you hate him, because you make every effort to display it in any and every setting possible.

You shit on his staff all the time - not because of who they are, or how they perform, but because they're his staff.

I feel lucky that you've targeted your hatred towards about three key people in the organization. But for fuck's sake, do you really have to be that horrible to them and go out of your way to be mean to the people who work for them?

Did you really need to pick on that one woman so relentlessly that she found another job? Did you feel a little bit of malicious pleasure when she left?

You complimented me on my writing - something take pride in, and appreciate compliments on - the other day, and on the one hand, I was flattered. But on the other, I was wondering if you were setting me up to stab me in the back.

I hope you'll forgive me, even though you've been nice to me for months, if I don't trust you one bit. Because I know just how angry and mean you are.

I know you're not crazy - because I know 47 kinds of crazy up and down - but man, are you angry.

There's medication that can help with that. I thought you'd started on some last year, actually, because there was that one period where you were generally nice and not remotely vituperative.

The fact that none of your superiors do anything about your abusive behavior, even though they know about it, is another issue entirely. It's something really fucked up and unfortunate about the organziation.

But this constant, oozing, poisonous anger! What's the point? If you hate it here so much - and I suspect it's you, rather than the workplace - but if you hate it so much, find another fucking job.

You're smart, and you're well connected. You can do it. And honestly, it would be a tremendous relief to so many of us. Because your anger fills up every room you're in, and is just thoroughly exhausting.

But at base, do you really want to live this way?

That's what I'd say. If she weren't so fucking mean and vindictive.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Nice try, really

So I had this dream that I got re-pregnanted.

Like, it was now, and I was five months pregnant, and went to the doctor, who said I was freshly pregnant with a new kid. So I was going to have a second kid - I'd just have it five months after the first one.

Of course, I couldn't believe it. Who knew you could get pregnant if you were already pregnant?

It wasn't uncommon, according to my OB. If I hadn't wanted to get pregnant again, I should have been more careful.

Huh.

I'd operated my whole life on the assumption that pregnancy was the one absolute, for sure, safe time.

And a friend of mine was all, "Don't be ridiculous! It's one of those myths, like if you stand up immediately, or jump up and down right after sex, you won't get pregnant."

At first, I was hysterical.

How would I handle another pregnancy on top of this first one? I couldn't! It was just impossible!

And then I got to a point where I was like, well, during the overlap, things will really, really suck. But then I'll have two kids. And I will never, ever have to be pregnant again.

When I thought about it like that, it sounded perfect.

I was telling Nick about this, and he asked where I'd get pregnant with the other kid. And I was all, "In my other uterus."

Duh.

And his eyes got a little sparkly and he said, "I think that's called your butt."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sonogram pictures

So, prior to this baby experiment, people used to show me their sonogram pics and be all, "Here's her face!" and I would have no idea what they were talking about and just feign understanding.

But once you've lived through it and seen it in action, you totally get it.

And my god, when he started sucking his thumb, and actually looked like a little human being doing real stuff, I started to cry. It blew me away.

We got to see a few moments of 4D, which was really cool. Otherwise, when he's facing you, it really does look like skeletor face.

They still aren't the clearest, and Nick is better at spotting stuff on the screen than I am. So when they said, "And there's the penis," I was still trying to see what they had told me was his leg. So Nick was the one who saw it.

"Wooah! There's a lot of boy there!"

He was all proud.

I've subsequently been told all fathers say this about their in-utero sons' pee-pees.

In any case, he has a penis, which is a relief, since his little chromosomes say he's a boy. And at least on one hand he has four fingers and a thumb, and on one foot he clearly has five toes. Yay!

I mean, missing a toe or finger here or there wouldn't be such a big deal. We were more relieved when they pointed out the brain and heart chambers and other organs.

And how crazy is it that they can actually see all this stuff?

Anyway. Pictures.

Thumb sucking:Feeties! And he definitely does not have mine, because I have a big gap between my big toe and the next one. I assume from this picture that he'll have the sort of big solid clompy feet that seem to run on Nick's side. There are worse things. . .Like, for example, Nick's older sister's nose. I pray god he doesn't get that one. Hard to tell so far. Profile with little nubby seemingly not wierdly-pointed nose:And, finally, skeletor face:I know that last one is just creepy. So of course I had to include it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Week 21 tummy

This week I've been pregnant for longer than I'll be pregnant. If that makes any sense. And god willing.

Although I also think, while inducing is not ideal, it's what I might do if he's not making any moves to come out by his due date.

I feel like, I love you, little dude, but I want you out. I love you, but I've had enough already. I want my body back. Fuck, I want my mind back.

Lately, I think I'm less crazy, and Nick agrees. But then I wonder if we've both just gotten used to it?

It's impossible to tell from the inside.

And some days I think, wow, only 19 weeks and we actually get to see the little human! And other days I think, nine-fucking-teen long ass weeks. Plus nursing. I will never have my goddamn body back.

Also, he's now the length of a carrot or banana (take your pick).

This week, my stomach really really started sticking out. It protrudes more as the day wears on. In these pics, you're seeing me fresh out of bed and as small as I get.

I came in Monday and everyone was all, "You got more pregnant over the weekend!"

It's not yet significantly more inconvenient when I'm walking around - except for the fact that I need it to stop being so damn cold because, well, one, I hate it, and two, my coats are getting to the edge of their capacity. I've had to resew buttons.

But while it's more to haul around during the day, it bugs most at night. When I lie down on my side, it flops.

Thunk.

It doesn't make that noise out loud. Just in my head.

The out loud noise is the grunt sound I make when I do pretty much anything that involves getting up, sitting down, bending over, hauling myself into bed, out of bed, rolling over in bed. . .

You get the picture. And it's notaprettyone.

Oh! Also, and this is pretty, in response to yesterday's hatefulness of everything but possibly puppies and rainbows, Foggy Dew sent me this cute lil' picture. He said I could post it as long as he didn't have to explain. . .Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Pretty sure it qualifies as a non-specific rant

Do you ever have days where you hate almost everything?

Like, it's not like anything really went wrong.

But maybe you haven't slept well in a while, and pretty terribly the last few nights. And everyone you know who has had a kid is all, "Yeah. Welcome to the rest of your pregnancy life."

And so somehow today you hate everything. Specifics might include: the weather; the things you're trying to finish up; most of your colleagues; your thighs; your itchy stomach; your back - which is constantly pulled by aforementioned stomach; your swollen feet; your maternity fucking wardrobe.

You probably don't hate puppies or rainbows, but you haven't run across either yet today.

You encouraged your husband to run over pedestrians who crossed against the light. And yet, you are likely to be one of those against-the-light crossering pedestrians later in the day. And you will most certainly hate the cars who are (legitimately) trying to go.

Once out of the car and walking those last few blocks to work, you hated the amblers in front of you. You gave the worst fuck-you-bitch look to the woman who inched in front of you into the crosswalk. She wasn't trying to get in your way - she just wanted to have a jump on the right turn when the light changed. Selfish cow.

You hate that your morning was one eternal meeting. And in that meeting, you really had to focus on not giving wilting oh-shut-up-loathe-looks.

You hate that you are hating everything. And yet, you cannot figure out how to turn it around.

It's the kind of day and mood where, by 10 am, you were tempted to do shots of grain alcohol, but even if you ever saw that as a reasonable option - and I'm almost sure it's not - it most certainly is out of the question right now. But it's not like the temptation has subsided.

That, my friends, is me today.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Oh, the dentist

I went to the dentist this morning.

I dreeeaaaaaad the dentist, and as such, have postponed for a while. But my gums are pregnancy unhappy, and you read all these articles about dental health being really important. And possible leading to low birth weight.

Which selfishly appeals to me. Being a little scared about the ginormity of what I might have to squeeze out of my hoo haa.

But being semi-responsible, I went. I get all nervous. I sit in the chair and sweat.

One a side bar, I briefly dated an orthodontist. And while I never asked him, I always wondered if, in the same way I constantly pay attention to people's language and phrasing, he was always secretly assessing the state of my teeth.

So today's dentist.

Ss per usual, got all nervous-sweaty. And discovered that all is relatively OK - and in fact very good in the scheme of pregnant gums and such. And next step, we see where things are post-pregnancy.

Relief!

But you know - and it's not that I don't trust them exactly, but they always use those sharp pokey scrapey things. And so, when they're digging in your mouth with metal picks, and they say, "Hmm. This could be a problem in the future. We'll keep an eye on this."

You can only think, "Of course it'll be a fucking problem! You just poked a hole in it with a sharp metal thingy!"