Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not Exactly the Extended Vacation I Would Have Requested

My grandmother died at 2:30 this morning. I'm glad I was able to be with her when she died.

Bump and Lumpyhead will leave for DC tomorrow as originally planned. Lula and I will stay for the funeral, which is Thursday, and return to DC on Friday.

We weighed lots of factors in coming to this decision, including cost, convenience, and feasibility. For example, we immediately ruled out the option of Bump returning to DC with both kids tomorrow while I stayed here, based on Lula's behavior on the flight out. (I'm super-psyched that I'm getting the naughty one.)

If we thought Bump's presence would be helpful over the next few days, he would stay -- even though he's pretty sick of being here. (There's not much to do here. And by "not much" I mean "absolutely nothing.") But he is likely to spend his time simply wrangling Lumpyhead and Lula, and he would rather be in DC - where the living room is child-proofed and Lumpyhead’s sleep environment is constant - if his sole directive is caring for his own children.

We considered keeping our original itinerary plus a new round-trip flight, meaning I would fly back with Bump and the tormentors tomorrow, leave them in DC and return to Minnesota for the funeral. But that was actually more expensive than all four of us staying in Minnesota until Friday, and it meant a lot more air travel for me, so, no.

But now Bump is separating our things into two piles - go and stay - and I am second-guessing our decision. I realize I've never been away from Lumpyhead for longer than a day or two, and I miss him already. I'm worried about being solely responsible for even one of my children without Bump as a backup. I'm dreading five more days in this tiny town, where I spent my entire childhood plotting my escape.

A Timeline of Our Trip Thus Far

Sunday, 12/23
6:30pm: Bump and I load the kids, two carseats, two strollers and eight suitcases into a cab and head for the airport. My intent when booking an 8 pm, 1-stop flight to Sioux Falls was that the tormentors could sleep and we wouldn't have to change planes. The flight is delayed 45 minutes, so we're not hopeful the plan will come together.

We arrive at the airport; our flight is delayed further.

I call everyone I know in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to see if the airline is lying about a snowstorm in MSP. If not, are the roads too bad to rent a car and drive from MSP if we miss our connection to Sioux Falls?

Lots of my friends have relocated from DC, and in calling them all I realize I need to update my damn cellphone address book.

One of the calls I make to an outdated cellphone number is to a guy named Tony who believes I am the woman who went home with him last night. I inform him, quite flatly, that I am not. Tony is unconvinced.

Get two kids, two strollers and four bags through security.

My friend JD calls me back. Although he is with his wife's family in northwestern MN, he calls his parents in MSP for the weather report. Bless his heart.

I call JD back to thank him for his efforts.

Except JD's phone number is one I need to update. I again try to convince Tony I do not want to hook up with him. Again or for the first time.

Our flight is not cancelled, but delayed 12 hours. We are told to reclaim our checked bags and come back tomorrow morning.

We load the kids, carseats, strollers and eight pieces of luggage back into a cab and go home.

Monday, 12/24
We wake up. We should be calling the cab at this point. At least we're already packed. We throw the kids, carseats, strollers and eight bags in another cab.

Get two kids, two strollers and four bags through security. Again.

Begin boarding the plane. Our method for boarding puts Bump on the plane first with all the bags. He sets up the seatbelt thing for Lumpyhead while I let the Lumpyhead run. I get on at the last possible minute with both kids.

As I'm huffing onto the plane with Lula on my hip and Lumpyhead in tow, I see a woman I used to work with on the Hill. She's lovely, working for a big DC lobby shop, sitting serenly in First Class. I'm lugging two children and haven't washed my hair. I feel awesome.

She brightens and says hello. We exchange quick pleasantries. She seems surpised that I'm still on the Hill, and I remark that it's been a long time since I've seen her. "At least two kids ago," she says cheerfully.

Low point of the trip. Lumpyhead is whining and Lula is screaming. I vow never, ever, to do this again.

High point of the trip. Lumpyhead is silently watching a video on the laptop and Lula has fallen asleep.

Most of the flight falls somewhere in between the high and low points.

Because of the "warm" weather (mid-twenties) we drive through patchy fog from Sioux Falls to my hometown. On the way, Lumpyhead asks for Aunt Bob's Little Guy. We tell him that ABLG is visiting his grandmother. "In much different weather," Bump adds.
"Yeah, they're probably playing golf and drinking beer," I say. "Or maybe they're at the beach house."
"Fuckers," Bump and I mutter simultaneously.
"I hope it rains on them," Bump gripes.

My family asks how the flight was. I announce that we are not doing this again. "Seriously. One of you is going to have to die to get this production back on a plane," I yell. "So one of you will miss it; you can decide who it is."

Tuesday, 12/25
We have a lovely Christmas. My grandmother joins us for the day. Lumpyhead and Lula love the Christmas tree and their presents and are showered with attention from their grandparents and uncle and aunt. It snows all day; a beautiful, windless snow that is gorgeous and festive.

Thursday, 12/27
The nursing home calls to tell us my grandmother has the flu.

Friday, 12/28
My mother and I stop by the nursing home to see my grandmother. We know immediately it is not the flu. We insist she see a doctor, who orders her admitted to the hospital. My mother and I spend the afternoon arranging the transfer, waiting for the transport to arrive, and filling out paperwork.

We leave my grandmother, finally resting comfortably at the hospital.

The doctor calls to say that his orignal diagnosis of a bladder infection worsening grandma's heart function was incorrect. My grandmother has had another heart attack.

Saturday, 12/29
My mother, Aunt Karen and I visit Grandma in the hospital. She is doing quite well, is responsive and looks to be on the mend. She asks about my children, "Did they sleep well last night?" I had to tell her that, no, they did not. Lumpyhead woke up every ten minutes and Lula was up early and often.

We leave Grandma once again resting comfortably in the hospital.

As Bump and I are leaving for a movie, the hospital calls with bad news. Instead of a movie, Bump stays home with my dad and the kids while my mom and I race back the the hospital.

My grandmother had another stroke after we left. She seems to be resting comfortably now, pain-free. The doctor does not expect her to last the night.

It is sad to see her go, but honestly, she's been gone for a long time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Buffy Beware

Lula has four teeth now. This is not noteworthy, I suppose, except that in addition to the bottom front teeth one would expect, she has her top lateral incisors.

Lateral incisors. The two teeth beside her front teeth. No front teeth.

This is weird, right? (This is where you tell me that, while this is a bit unusual, you know dozens of children for whom this happened and none of them needed thousands of dollars of orthodontia.)

It's not obvious all the time, but it is starting to become more noticeable.
See, you can't see nuthin. Just my regular bottom teeth.

But when she's really mad, or laughing really hard, or if I cruelly pull her top lip up to take a picture:

(I would apologize for the boogers, but honestly? It's an impossible task to stay ahead of them these days. Lula has a cold that just won't go away, and under the best of circumstances she despises you for even thinking about touching her face.)

We've begun calling her "Fang."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Puddle Jumping

The snow is gone. Lumpyhead asks where it went every time he goes outside.

His hat is goofy and his raincoat too small, but his boots? His boots are awesome.

"I running so fast!"

Yeah. Of course he fell. Right in that puddle. He may even be on his way down in this picture.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Yeah, so that whole thing about Lumpyhead not really caring about the snow?

Turns out he was kinda into it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside Is. . .Well, Not 'Frightful' so Much as 'Pretty but Inconvenient and Potentially Really Annoying'



It's snowing in DC today.

I've really been looking forward to snow this year. Rain in December just isn't right.

There might not be enough to stick, but I'm sure it will be enough to totally fuck up traffic on my commute home tonight. Everyone will freak out and drive like an idiot, even if the accumulation isn't shovel-able.

If it does stick, it will be black and disgusting by 10am tomorrow, with frozen patches of black ice creating accidental hilarity everywhere.

If the snow had started earlier, I might have gotten the day off, dammit. Instead I'm stuck here giving the taxpayers their money's worth.

But the Capitol Dome looks beautiful with snow sifting peacefully over it. The Capitol Christmas tree lighting happens tonight, and the weather is perfect. There's an evacuation drill of some kind for people who aren't me, creating a crowd of unfortunate, improperly dressed suckers huddled in the park across the street - which makes me laugh.

I tried to convince Bump to bundle up the kids and take them outside (and take pictures, for God's sake), but the suggestion was met with a positively lukewarm response. ("Umm. . . maybe." Right after I turn this coal into a diamond with the power of my ass.)

Lumpyhead didn't seem all that interested in the flaky precipitation when Bump pointed it out to him, so maybe Bump's instinct on this one is right.

I may not have pictures of my kids in the season's first snow, but I got to wave at evacuees in the snow from the window of my warm, dry office. Ahhh, the magic of the holidays.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I spent all weekend trying to complete this stupid work-thing. I didn't have to go into the office, which was nice, but having to work from home kinda blew.

I'm often distracted at the office by digital baby pictures on my desktop and thoughts of home. It's quite another thing entirely to be reading a random GAO report, feel a tug on your foot, and look up to see this:
Whatcha doin?