Monday, July 31, 2006

The Camera, She Is Dead

It is my sad duty to inform you that my digital camera, which Bump gave me in 2001 for my birthday, is dead.

There's something going on with the battery connection or something, at any rate, the camera's not working. Which means I need a new camera.

This is a good thing, as I've been cursing the shutter lag on this one for the past several months. Pretty much ever since Lumpyhead started moving, the shutter lag thing has been a problem.

Here's the problem, though. As I have mentioned before, I'm kind of a technology idiot.

I want advice, but please don't tell me about how you love your $400 SLR with manual settings and fancy what-its. A Nikon D70 might as well be the space shuttle to me, and I just want to drive to the grocery store.

My photos are pretty bad. I blame the shutter lag and my general ineptitude, but what I want is a point and shoot camera that takes pictures I can print from my photo printer and Shutterfly. Maybe a 5x7 every once in awhile, but for the most part, I'm just looking at 4x6 prints.

I think I can do this for less than $200. I don't need a billion megapixels.

All the online reviews seem to highlight cameras from three months ago, and now the DS420 is not available but the DS460 and DS570 can be purchased, but the DS570 looks nothing like the DS420 in the review and the X320 is $60 cheaper. There are too many choices and I don't know what I'm doing.

I'm currently considering a Fujifilm FinePix A400 or A500 or a Canon PowerShot A430. (Will listing those models generate all kinds of weird spam? We'll see.)

Anybody out there got some advice?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Because I'm Really a Jerk

Another blogger wrote a post about her younger child having poop issues, and since Lord, I feel her on poop issues, I left a comment saying that our doctor recommended mineral oil.

A subsequent commenter strongly cautioned against mineral oil saying:

"I wouldn't use mineral oil! I had a dr told me that once and I looked it up on the Net...many baby's have died from it. It's not commonly used now. I asked my new Ped about it and she told me to never use it.

Check out the facts before you use it."

My first reaction was, predictably, "EEK! Death! Oh my god I'm killing Lumpyhead! That woman read it on the internet!"

After she had a doctor told her that once. And the have belonging to a baby was killed. Or something.

So I calmed down and googled "mineral oil laxative death" and found nothing to support the other commenter's claims, even though she read it on the Net, which is like the word of God handed down. Instead, I'm going to continue following the advice of our son's board-certified and highly trained surgeon, I guess.


Now, I certainly wouldn't go out and try everything every random commenter suggests. Please. But I might ask my doctor about something someone else's doctor recommended.

So, here's the thing. This really ticked me off. I shouldn't feel attacked, I suppose, but I felt my credibility was called into question. Perhaps I should have been clearer about a "please consult your physician before following any assvice from your blog" disclaimer on my comment. I don't know.

I considered not reading the blog anymore, but the author had no part in the off-pissing of me (although she may be rolling her eyes a little about the assvice, which: okay, fine.) But this isn't the first time I've been really horrified by the comments on this blog. It gets a LOT of trolls. For the most part I enjoy reading the blog, though, so maybe I should just stop reading the comment section. I can't shake the feeling, however, that if these are the kind of people reading this blog, what am I doing here? Am I like them? Dear God, am I?

Then someone cool like MetroDad or Wood leaves a comment there and I feel all validated again.

Anyway, do you read any blogs that consistently anger you, or do you just stop reading once you've been ticked off? Being challenged isn't a bad thing, but I don't think I want to be challenged doing something - like reading blogs - I do purely for enjoyment. I'm not looking for intellectual fulfillment, here. I want to laugh about farts and see your cute baby pictures and, every once in awhile, cry or think for days about a well-written entry. I don't want to be pissed off.

I'm not linking to the blog because I don't think that would be fair. Honestly, the other commenter doesn't deserve to be ridiculed; I sort of feel like a heel for doing that.

Sort of. Email me if it's killing you and you really need to know.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Baby Checklist

My sister-in-law Shelly is having her first baby in November, and is the first of her group of friends to venture into parenthood. Nana V asked me to put together a list of things she needs for those first few months.

So, those of you not attending a workshop on the basics for a beginning blogger, how to make your blog pretty, or community-based blogging (God, I hate you all. So. Much. I bet you're all already drunk, too. Hate.), give me some feedback on my checklist. Am I missing something?

A New Baby Checklist for Shelly

Stuff You Need
__ diapers (unless your baby is really small, you’ll use fewer newborn-sized diapers than you think. You’ll graduate to Size 1 pretty quickly, so don’t buy a truckload of the newborn size, you’ll just need a pack or two.)
__ wipes (meconium - the first baby poops - are like tar. You might want a wet washcloth for these, rather than using the twenty wipes it will take to clean it up. Taking the kid out back and spraying off his bottom with a hose might be more efficient. After the meconium stage, wipes work perfectly well. For the most part.)
__ carseat (they won’t let you leave the hospital without one)
__ changing table
__ place for the baby to sleep (crib, bassinet, dresser drawer, laundry basket . . .the baby really doesn’t care at first)
__ at least one lactation consultant visit, if nursing

Stuff You Probably Want
__ a diaper disposal system (Do not expect these to be odor-free. None are odorless, but all do a pretty bang up job of keeping your nursery from smelling like a mosh pit. Some use regular garbage bags, others take special refills. A note on the regular garbage bag systems - they will save you money, but be prepared for a face full of week-old diaper stank every time you empty the system.)
__ a secondary changing station (particularly important in a two-level house, especially if you end up with a C-section. A pack and play’s changing pad works fine for this. So will a towel on your dining room table.)
__ a portable or secondary place for the baby to sleep (it is nice for the first few months, when the baby sleeps all the time, to have a place in addition to the crib for sleeping. We used a moses basket, which might not work in a house with dogs. For some kids, a swing works fine. You’ll want a place for the baby to sleep on each level of the house at least, like the crib for upstairs and a bassinet for downstairs.)
__ a bouncy seat – not to be confused with a door jumper – or swing, or both, or neither. (Every kid is different - some kids love em, some kids could care less. The point is to have another safe place to set the child down when you have to pee.)
__ cloth diapers (for burp cloths, changing pads, and shoulder protection. You can use them for their intended purpose, too, I suppose, but I sure as hell never did.)
__ basic first aid kit - thermometer, booger sucker, eye dropper, nail clippers (someone told me the booger suckers you get at the hospital are the best, and the ones you buy in stores stink. Steal as many from the hospital as you can; we took two)
__ receiving blankets (you’ll need more than you think. They always come in handy, even if you’re using them as a great big rag.)
__ boppy pillow (for nursing, bottle feeding, tummy time, propping a beginning sitter, and dozens of other uses. Get one with a pattern you like, because it turns up in every damn picture you take.)
__ basic, boring clothes (the kind you don’t get at showers. A pack or two of onesies, maybe a hat, and some socks. Snap-front clothes are the easiest/least nerve-wracking - it’s a lot simpler to dress a bobblehead baby when he’s lying on his back, and if he poops through something you don’t have to pull the poop-covered outfit over his head. Outfits that fasten up the back are horrible to put on a newborn; avoid them at all costs, no matter how cute they are. For the most part, snaps are better than buttons.)
__ a breast pump, if you’re doing the nursing thing
__ nursing pads (they go in your bra to catch leaks. You can get the disposable kind or the washable kind.)
__ at least three nursing bras (but wait to be fitted until your milk comes in)
__ bottles (if you’re supplementing or expressing. You might want to try a bunch of different brands, as each baby has a different preference, which might change every few months. You’ll just need small ones at first, but will probably want some larger-capacity ones for later.)
__ pacifier (again, try a bunch of different brands until you find one that stops the infernal wailing)

Stuff You Don’t Really Need, But Might Like
__ bottle sterilizer (we had a microwave one, you can get bags for this purpose, too)
__ bottle drying rack (if you hand wash, but the dishwasher works great for bottle washing too, and negates the need for the sterilizer. If you put the nipples in, though, check them regularly for wear.)
__ bottle warmer (if using formula. Most people recommend against warming expressed breast milk, because it kills a lot of the good antibodies)

Stuff You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money Time On
- wipe warmer (Honestly. Do you warm your toilet paper before you use it?)
- Dreft (Seriously. Unless your baby has horribly sensitive skin, your normal detergent will do just fine. Of course, every parent goes out and buys one bottle of Dreft for those first washings. It does smell nice.)

Stuff Some People Swear by but We Didn’t Use
- sleep sack (our kid did fine in his pajamas)
- sleep positioner (but remember, we had to get the kid a helmet)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The "I'm Not Going To BlogHer So I'm Doing This Meme" Meme

Michele at Mommycakes tagged all us sad sacks who aren't getting on planes this afternoon.

1) What is the quality you most admire in a blogger?
A conversational writing style, when I can hear the author saying what he or she has written. It's a style I don't think I have mastered, but one to which I aspire. (Then I do dumb things like torture a clause so I don't end a sentence with a preposition. If I were speaking, I would say "it's something I aspire to." No, actually, I would mutter something like "I wish I could do that." I would never say the word "aspire." If I did, I would immediately snicker, "heh heh, I said 'ass'" and giggle a little. Because I'm a moron. Maybe the people who do this well just have better verbal grammar than I do. Or don't act like twelve-year olds.)

2) What is your most marked blogging characteristic (or, how would you describe your blog)?
Too many random-ass parentheticals

3) What is your greatest virtue as a blogger (what do you most like about your blog)?
An irreverent sense of humor

4) What do you regard as the principle defect of your blog?
I'm never as funny as I think I am.

5) What character of fiction do you most wish had a blog?
The Tick

6) What historical or real life person do you most wish had a blog?
My friend Buttmunch. It would be a lot like Mimi Smartypants, only funnier.

7) What is your present state of blog (present state of mind as a blogger)?
Pregnancy-induced dumbassness

8) What is your blog motto?
"Once the important stuff is covered, the rest is gravy."
It's my parenting motto, actually. Kid still alive? Well then, it's been a good day. Also, I really like gravy.

I'm (finally) tagging Daddy in a Strange Land, who I don't think is going to BlogHer either. Everyone else, consider yourself tagged if you want to. Um, I mean, if you want to consider yourself tagged. Or if you want. Oh hell.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cow IV

Thanks to this fine merchant, we have a spare Cow. Cow IV arrived a couple days ago, looking remarkably like Cow (only cleaner. She still has that new cow smell).

Cow is looking grungier and grungier, and she needs a heavy spot cleaning pretty soon. The snot and drool are taking their toll, which I didn't realize until Cow VI showed up, looking all bright and shiny without a veneer of baby face seepage.

The question still remains of what to do with floppy Flaccid Cow III. Until we figure it out, she makes a great hat.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Five Things

Daddy in a Strange Land tagged me (and I was so gonna tag him on the next meme I got, because he said he'd never been tagged, but now I can't. The next one is coming your way, though, DISL)

Five items in my freezer
  1. a six pack of mint dilly bars from DQ
  2. a lone snickers ice cream bar [which Bump and I are both daring the other to eat, so the one who doesn't get it can complain about how s/he didn't get the last ice cream novelty]
  3. fruit popsicles [for when I'm feeling nauseous, but of course they totally lose out to the high-calorie frozen treats]
  4. two frozen pizzas
  5. two containers of vanilla ice cream [I sent Bump to the store for root beer float fixings, because I needed a root beer float immediately, and he came back with two because ice cream was on sale. And we obviously needed more ice cream.]
Things that used to always be in my freezer but aren't there any more:
  • the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker, so we could make homemade ice cream at a moment's notice [no room after the breast milk fiasco, and we haven't put it back in yet]
  • breastmilk [All done with that. (Woo hoo!) For now, anyway. (urmph.)]
  • martini glasses [sob]
Five items in the closet
  1. maternity clothes that don't fit yet
  2. clothes from a few months ago that don't fit anymore
  3. clothes from before I was pregnant the first time that don't fit yet
  4. seven pairs of birkenstocks I wear all the damn time
  5. two pairs of Ferragamos I wear absolutely never
Five items in the car
  1. Lumpyhead's car seat
  2. some sad-ass geriatric over-the-face "sunglasses" I got from the optometrist the last time I had my eyes dilated. I keep meaning to throw them out or put them on to make Bump laugh
  3. an ADC Washington DC area map book
  4. a windshield sunshade
  5. a raggedy kleenex box
In the trunk, I've got our softball gloves, a comforter (for sitting on at softball), two ice scrapers, a wiffle ball set, and an emergency kit.

Five items in my backpack
(it's a briefcase, but whatever)
  1. wallet
  2. checkbooks
  3. blackberry
  4. free toothbrush and floss from my last dentist visit
  5. dice, cards, and a cribbage board
Five people I tag
  1. Sarah
  2. Tammy
  3. Aunt Bob
  4. Em
  5. Auntly H

Monday, July 24, 2006

Our Friend from Greenville

Introducing . . . (bum bum bum buh BAH)
I have no idea what we're calling it yet.

Lumpyhead was "Ted Nugent" before he was born. "Uncle Ted." "The Nuge." "Nugie." My brother suggested it. Ron was surprisingly pumped up about getting a nephew, and it was a nod to him for being a rock star uncle. My brother is a big Ted Nugent fan, more so for the hunting than for the rocking, and it was the first thing out of his mouth when I mentioned we were discussing names for the tadpole in utero. I thought it would be funny for two East Coast liberals to call their unborn child Ted Nugent.

My sister-in-law suggested Taz at the time, which I also thought was a good candidate. Taz is definitely the leader in the clubhouse for this one, but I'm open to other ideas. You got a good one?

For example, Aunt Bob has taken to calling it "Our Friend from Greenville." The reference is a long story involving Pete, a South Carolina State Society picnic, and Senator Strom Thurmond. I'm tempted to let you fill in the details yourself, but it probably wouldn't be as bizarre as the actual story. (Of course, when I finally tell you the story, you'll probably be like, "oh, that's kinda boring." It's one of those "when we were first in DC" kind of stories that's grown to legend status, but upon recounting, might be really dull.)

It's too early to tell if we've got a boy or girl, but the heartbeat is good and we're told the measurements are normal, for whatever that's worth. We'll get the full results of the bloodwork and sonogram in a few days. If our risk factors are low, we're thinking about declining the amnio, but haven't made a firm decision yet.

Honestly? I'm simply relieved there's only one in there. I was more than a little worried Sarah's mojo had rubbed off on me. I live in mortal fear of multiples. (Not that they're a bad thing, they just scare the crap out of me.)

Happy note: While Blogger sucked it all day today (this post was ready to go up at 11:30am), my colleague just bought me a package of dark chocolate M&Ms. (Dark chocolate! They're good for me! I didn't even ask her to get me a snack!) She doesn't know I'm pregnant, she was just being nice. Whee!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Doctor's Note

Nana V is going to babysit tonight so both Bump and I can go to softball. The thing is, playing softball without beer. . . well, what's the point?

I often say that playing golf without beer is like playing catch by yourself: you can do it, it's just not very much fun.

But softball without beer is much, much worse than golf without beer. I'd rather play softball without a bat than play softball without beer.

In fact, up until a few years ago, I didn't even call softball "softball." I called it "Drink Beer Outside With Some People We Know and Some People We Don't Know." Cumbersome, maybe, but it certainly described what I did more accurately than "softball."

About a hundred years ago, when I started playing softball in the office league, bringing the beer was an informal, ad hoc process. Team members took turns; if you hadn't brought the beer yet that season, your turn was coming up. Each player bought whatever he or she wanted, and because there were a lot of cheap (and poor) bastards on the team, we drank a LOT of Busch Light and Schaeffer.

I kept my complaining to a minimum, even though I thought the quality of the beer left something to be desired (jeeezus, spend the extra three dollars and get Miller for chrissakes). Then, on one fateful day, the Office Idiot brought a twelve-pack of Budweiser. A twelve-pack, for the whole team. It was warm.

The next season, I collected $20 from everyone and took beverage direction into my own hands. I bought in bulk and kept the excess stock in our spare bedroom. I filled the cooler at home and iced it down during the day with the free ice I could get as a Hill staffer. I washed the disposable plastic cups we drank from and we reused them from week to week. ("A dollar spent on a new cup is a dollar not spent on beer.") New players caught throwing away or damaging their cups were harshly chastised.

We purchased a wheeled cooler specifically for softball and the team named him Luke (Cooler Hand Luke, get it?).

I served as the Director of Refreshment Resources for four years. I kept stats on how much beer I purchased, how much we drank, and the beer per player average of each game. I kept every receipt, just in case the operation was ever audited. The year Lumpyhead was born, I passed on the title to another player.

The current Director of Refreshment Resources is a very capable man. He brings the right amount to each game, and selects appropriate softball-quality beverages. We don't reuse the cups any more. I'm pretty sure he pays for ice [grimace].

This season, we got a new cooler. Luke had literally fallen apart on several occasions, and was held together by odd repair attempts and hope. The team observed a moment of silence for Luke on the day he was retired.

So, softball tonight. The thing is, it's pretty obvious when one is not drinking beer on the softball field. I've been staying home with Lumpyhead lately, rather than going to softball, so tonight Bump and I will probably tell the team what's going on. I made this fake doctor's note:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

From My 'Sent Items'

I sent this email last night at 6:51 pm

To: All Office
Subject: To Whoever Locked the Front Door Tonight:

Hi. I was still here. In the bathroom, actually.


The front door was decidedly UNlocked when I left. I know. I checked. I checked because I didn’t want to get, you know, locked out.

I should have taken keys, I guess, because I take my keys to the bathroom, oh. . . never. Plus, the door was unlocked, why do I need keys? (or an ID, or a cellphone or a blackberry, for that matter?)

The Superintendent’s Office? The people who come to let you get back in? Aren’t so speedy. Took them over a half an hour to get here.

[glaring angrily]

That is all.


I am so unbelievably pissed off about this, I can't even begin to explain. I'm reduced to a stuttering, apoplectic mess and little foamy bits of saliva go flying out of the corners of my mouth in random directions.

What I didn't add to the email was this: I have a very limited amount of time with my son during the week; he's awake for only an hour or an hour and a half after I get home. When I get home late, I sometimes miss him altogether. That 40 minutes I spent waiting in the hall for the Superintendent was time I could have spent with Lumpyhead. You robbed me of time with my child, you sorry-ass goddamn mutherfucker.

So. Mad.

The thing is, THERE WAS SOMEONE STILL IN THE OFFICE. This makes me even angrier, on several levels.

Part That Pisses Me Off Even Further, The First

The person still in the office didn't answer the phone, even though it rang 50 bazillion times. My first call from the Capitol Police Officer's station was, of course, to the office to see if anyone was still there. She said she didn't hear the phone. When I walked in - finally - and saw her there, I nearly murdered her with my bare hands. I'm still shaking a little from the restraint it took to not commit homicide.

Part That Pisses Me Off Even Further, The Second

The dumbass who locked the door wasn't the last one out.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bovine Expungiform Replaceopathy

When Bump goes in to retrieve a screaming Lumpyhead, he reports that Lumpyhead is often angrily pointing at Cow.

Lumpyhead received Cow from Bump's cousin Erin, and sleeps with it every night. Cow plays a little song and moves her head from side to side. Cow's greatest feature, however, is the bell around her neck that Lumpyhead likes to chew on. Bump and I foresaw the disaster that would befall our home if anything ever happened to Cow, so we thought we should find a spare.

I purchased one online back in June, and did the super-savvy thing of having it shipped to my Mom's. That way, we wouldn't have to pack Cow in the luggage, yet Lumpyhead would have Cow in Minnesota. I used expedited shipping so the thing would arrive before we did.

Except, we got to Minnesota, and no Cow II. No sign of Cow II. With spotty internet access, I managed to find the company's phone number and call them about Cow II's status. I left three messages and fired off an angry email (which may or may not have been successfully sent).

We left Minnesota with neither Cow II nor any word from the merchant (who has a brick-and-mortar store in Louisiana, so I wasn't worried about fraud, I was just pissy about the poor customer service). After arriving home, I received an email telling me that Cow had been discontinued, the store was out of stock, my order was cancelled and my card was not charged.

Despite the discovery that Cow's absence would not bring total and immediate devastation to Lumpyhead's nighttime world, I soldiered on. To eBay for Cow III! I found one, ordered it, and it arrived.

Except it looks like this:
It's from the same manufacturer, and it looks like Cow, just. . . no music or motion. Also, apparently no skeleton. It's a floppy, flaccid, creepy version of Cow. We're not sure if it will freak Lumpyhead out, or if he won't notice the difference. She has the all-important bell around her neck, after all.

Flaccid Cow III can be posed like Cow, which is why I didn't notice that Flaccid Cow III was in fact, not Cow at all.
Had I read the eBay description carefully, I would have noted that Flaccid Cow III does not play music, but I just never imagined that Gund would make two similar cows - one musical and one not.

I've found another online store that purports to sell Cow, and I've placed an order for Cow IV. We'll see.

Which still doesn't explain why Lumpyhead is so angry with Cow of late. Cow is obviously pissing him off, but we have no idea why. Maybe she's hoarding all the doobage.
Lumpyhead, Cow, and that bad seed Lambie, in happier times.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Late-Night Munchies

On Friday night, Lumpyhead slept straight through from 8 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Bump and I would have woken on Saturday morning confused by our well-restedness, but Bump didn't get home until 3 a.m. after softball turned into a party which turned into a poker game.

While we missed the chance at a full night's sleep, we were giddy with the boy's sleep pattern. Perhaps he had finally settled back into a routine after the Minnesota trip. Maybe we've gotten past the constipation and the teething. We delighted in the start of a new, fabulous nighttime schedule.

(Stop laughing at me.)

(I mean it, stop it.)

On Saturday night, Lumpyhead proved he was just teasing. He woke up at 3:00 on Sunday morning, screaming his fool head off.

When I retrieved him, he pointed "out," so I took him out of his room. Then he pointed to the kitchen, where I offered him a drink of water. He batted the sippy cup away, and grunted in the direction of the dining room table. He pointed at the box of cheerios, which I picked up, revealing the veggie poofs* I had hidden behind the box earlier. (If he can't see them, he'll stop demanding them. I'm so clever.) He grunted and pointed insistently at the veggie poofs.

"Seriously?" I asked him. "You want veggie poofs at three in the damn morning?"

We sat on the dining room floor and he ate veggie poofs. He was so sleepy he had trouble guiding his hand into the canister, but he happily shoved poof after poof into his piehole.

"This is seriously fucked up, right here," I told him, as I handed him more veggie poofs.

With perfect timing, Lumpyhead farted at me in response.

I sat on my dirty carpet, downwind from baby farts and powdered sweet potato, in the middle of the goddamn night. "My, isn't motherhood glamorous?" I thought. "And I'm signing up to go again."

At 4:30, Lumpyhead finally submitted to going back to bed.** I placed him in his crib, where I'm sure Lambie has a bong stashed somewhere. That animal is a bad influence.

Psst, hey. You looking for a score?

What up, Mutton?

*I don't know why we call Gerber sweet potato puffs "veggie poofs." It's probably Cartman's fault.

**He woke up again at 5:00 and 6:30.

Friday, July 14, 2006


(I promise next week I'll be done with these one word titles that end in ew)

Lumpyhead is constipated again, and this blog has become so boring I can barely stand to read it myself. What happened to the butthole jokes? The drunken bridal showers? The chanting masses?

They're all gone, replaced by a pregnant mommyblogger who's so damn dull she's lulling herself to sleep. Sorry.

I'm completely uninspiried. While I should just keep my big fat cyber-trap shut, rather than wordfarting all over, I felt I had to apologize for the lameness of late.

Bump is going to play softball tonight, so I'll have a few hours with Lumpyhead, just the two of us. Once the little man goes to bed, I'll wander around the house like William H. Macy in Pleasantville, sputtering, "Where's my dinner?" and scratching my butt head.

Here's a little something to cheer you up: you're reading my boring blog, but you don't have to live with me. I'm even worse in person lately. (Not just boring, but completely fricken useless!) You can just close your browser, Bump's stuck.

I'm having a playdate with Sarah and Aunt Bob this weekend, wherein the children will play quietly in a corner while we will chat about literature and exchange recipes.

Yes, yes.

Or, the children will run screaming through the house and destroy something of reasonable value. The child we want to poop (Lumpyhead) will not and the one we don't want to (Aunt Bob's Little Guy) probably will. If we're lucky, perhaps the children will start hurling feces like the monkeys at the zoo.

The grownups will play poker while I will scowl at those fucking bastards for enjoying cocktails and all manner of beery goodness. I may or may not chunder in the kitchen sink.

So. Hope you have a good weekend, too.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Also, Hooray!

At my doctor's appointment yesterday, I heard a new heart beat.

My doctor warned that she might not be able to pick up the fetal heartbeat, because ten weeks is the early edge of the technology. She told me not to worry if she didn't find one, I would just come back in a week or so and try again. In the weird corner room, the one where the doppler machine picks up a local radio station, the doctor moved the cold squishy thing around my flabby beer gut. She picked up my heartbeat, which was too slow to be the one she wanted. Twice. Then there it was.

Hello, Little One.

Bump and Lumpyhead planned to come to this appointment with me, but Lumpyhead's nap schedule was thrown off and they didn't make it. I was sorry Bump missed hearing the heartbeat, but we have an ultrasound scheduled in a week and a half, and he'll be able to hear and see things then.

It feels real now. I think I did this with Lumpyhead, too, distancing myself from the whole idea of being pregnant until we made it past the highest risk for miscarriage.

Bump mentioned last night that he has been so busy thinking about the logistics of chasing two babies around that he hasn't really taken the time to think about the fun stuff. I've been doing the same thing.

I've been so busy griping and feeling crappy and being sober that I haven't stopped to be really happy about this. I'm not a big "Pregnancy is a Wonderous Thing" kind of woman because frankly, I believe it's a pain in the ass. But I'm going to have another child soon, another person who - once he or she arrives - I can't imagine being without.

I could write entire posts - and probably will - on the following worries: 1) Will we have to move? I don't think we can afford to move. 2) God, another college fund? Lumpyhead's account is not funded the way it should be, and now we are going to have to start another one. 3) When should I tell the office? The timing of this pregnancy is, well, poor, and my boss is going to have a small seizure when I tell him. 4) Can we really handle two children? I've been absolutely useless around the house lately, what with the retching and the nausea and the sleepiness. Bump's carrying pretty much the entire load, and how will he manage when he's caring for all three of us? 5) With all the affection and attention we shower on Lumpyhead, will the next baby get short shrift? Will Lumpyhead?

And there are so many more worries; those are just the ones I can think of right now.


But for now, for right now . . . Hello.

Hello Little One.

Mama's glad you're here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I'm not a very good housekeeper. I'm too lazy, plus I just don't care.

My mother is fastidious; she vacuums and does at least one load of laundry every day. She dusts her furniture once a week.

Mom also has a housekeeper, a woman who comes to clean every two or three weeks. Arlis dusts and vacuums and mops for four hours - a "real cleaning" as my mother calls it, as opposed to the "touch-ups" she does herself. My mother hired someone because she was too tired after working full-time at the meatpacking plant to do the kind of cleaning her house needed. She hired Arlis because like her, Arlis does not believe in mops. (If you're not down on your hands and knees with a rag, you're not really mopping the floor.) In Arlis and Mom's world, there are people who own mops on a stick, and then there are people who want clean floors.

When Bump, Aunt Bob, Scrubly and I lived together, we inherited Maria. Maria cleaned for the couple who owned the house (they were in the midst of a divorce) and was interested in staying on. The four of us thought this was great, and would scramble around the night before Maria came, picking up our crap and putting things away. It wasn't that we were motivated to make Maria's job easier, but if things were lying around, Maria would put them away, and we would never be able to find them later.

Maria still comes to my house every three weeks, and provides the only cleaning the house gets.* I don't even know if our vacuum works. In theory, I clean the kitchen between her visits, but lately I've been pretty lame on that front. Maria is fabulous, and without her, I can honestly say that Lumpyhead would crawl around in complete and total filth. Our oven dial no longer has numbers on it; Maria cleaned them off. While Maria's cleaning works just fine for us, I am sure that my mother would find Maria's cleaning standards a bit lacking; Maria's few-hour visit is less strident than mother's typical "touch-up."

Last night, my foot brushed over something hard in Lumpyhead's room. I put Lumpyhead in his crib, picked up whatever it was, and walked out. While I was walking out of the room, the piece of trash in my hand moved.

Yes, it moved.

I dropped it in the hallway, turned on the light, looked down and saw a huge bug. I don't know what kind of bug it was - a beetle of some kind, maybe - but it was gross.

I'm usually the bug killer in the house, and am not easily skeeved out by insects. But this? Totally icked me out. I washed my hands three times after flushing the thing. Yuck.

Yuck yuck yuck.

It makes me think I should start cleaning.

*Dear IRS,
Maria is an independent contractor, not a household employee. She is self-directed and controls when and how she will clean, as well as what duties she will perform. She provides her own supplies. The amount I pay her falls below the threshold for filing Form 1099-MISC and I am not required to fill out Schedule H. Please do not audit me.
Thank you,
Lumpyhead's Mom

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I stink.

I'm not sure why, or if anyone else notices, but I smell bad.

I can't place the smell, it's a cross between B.O. and weird food.

I first noticed it this morning, and thought I had been particularly sweaty last night. Then Lumpyhead spit up a little on me, so I blamed that. When I was still complaining after I got out of the shower, Bump suggested that perhaps he was the smelly one.

Well, it's not him, because I've spent half the day in the office, and the odor is still lingering.

I'm wearing a clean suit, shirt, and even put on extra deodorant today.

But I stink.

I can't place it, and I can't shake it.

I don't know. Maybe it's all in my head.

Maybe it's you.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I'm back at work after nine straight days with the boy, and it's remarkably difficult to remain focused. I didn't expect to miss him so much.

The trip to Minnesota was very nice. Despite not having an internet connection, a cell signal or blackberry service, Bump and I survived okay. Lumpyhead met his great-grandmother. We saw cousins and met their children and ate sloppy joes in the park on the Fourth of July. Lumpyhead got his first haircut from the woman who cut my hair when I was growing up. It cost $8. (I didn't tip her, because she owns the shop, but I felt weird about it. I read somewhere that the convention of not tipping the shop owner is falling out of favor. I took some comfort in the fact that neither she nor her employees are accustomed to being tipped from their regular customers.)

My parents spoiled Lumpyhead and paraded him around town. They encouraged us to go away and let them have their grandson to themselves get out and do stuff, which was a bit of a challenge. Bump and I played a round of golf with the one high school friend with whom I've maintained contact. (Yes, I keep in touch with only one of my high school classmates, but that's 3.7 percent of my graduating class. Do you still talk to 3.7 percent of your high school classmates?) We saw Superman Returns. (Pretty good. Lots of father-son themes. We saw the movie at the Northland Cinemas in Worthington, and were the only people in the theater. Seriously. It was 1 pm on a Thursday, but still. There were two people in the theater, and we were they.)

Lumpyhead was introduced to chickens and got licked by a cow.

My parents are very excited that they will soon have two grandchildren. At the airport, my father read the back of Lumpyhead's shirt aloud and my mother just sort of stared blankly at us for awhile. Then she said something like "Thank God" or "Praise the Lord" which she meant entirely in the non-sacrilegious sense. We captured the moment on video, and I will post it if I can just get my head out my butt on that front.

Ditto with Lumpyhead getting licked by a cow.

While we're on the topic of withdrawal, allow me to say that non-alcoholic beer sucks.

It sucks ass. It sort of tastes like regular beer, but at the end of the bottle it fails to produce the enhanced feeling of well-being and the realization that the people around you are awesome and funny.

So it's like beer, except it doesn't do beer's job. It's like a mute spokesmodel who isn't very attractive.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I've Done a Craft-Type Thingie

Tomorrow morning, we'll get on a plane headed for Minnesota. (I hear the thieves are lining up now for the chance to steal my mismatched Ikea bookshelves.) Sioux Falls, South Dakota is where we'll actually pick up our luggage, but we'll end up in Minnesota.

I decided to make Lumpyhead a shirt for tomorrow's big events. You know, aiports, sweaty parents lugging tons of crap, plane rides, ears exploding - fun stuff, all.

I figured this way, when he's wailing at the top of his lungs, the other people on the plane will remember that he's the cute little boy going to see his grandparents, and they will be less angry. Or something. Perhaps it will at least endear us to the flight attendants.

When we land, Lumpyhead will tell his grandparents our big news:

He will, of course, have already told this news to the good people on the flight from DC to Minneapolis, the ones on the flight from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls, as well as a few random strangers in the DC, Minneapolis, and Sioux Falls airports.

The back of the shirt originally said "and they don't know I'm going to be a big brother," but that just seemed too cumbersome so I shortened it. I doubt anyone on our flight will blab the news to my parents before we reach them.

If he doesn't charm the flight attendants with the front of the shirt, at least the back will explain why I'm retching in the seat beside him.