Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jerry Springer, Wherefore Art Thou?

I'm just gonna lay it all out there.

Temper tantrums are many things, including annoying, scary, loud... and did I mention annoying?  I've had to deal with a few lately.  Here's the real problem:  Mad is not having them (oh sure, she occasionally gives it a go, but she's too good a sport still to keep it up).  No, it's Corey.

One of the things we do when he's losing his mind is send him out of the house for a walk.  When this happened the day he got suspended, he first tried to kick down the gate on one side of our house.  The other night, after we had to call a family meeting... and included Lisa and her family (in front of whom Corey was a perfect gentleman... so don't tell me he can't control himself), he tried beating a broomstick on the ground to break it.  He was out in the front yard and, yes, neighbors were watching.  When that didn't work, he tried smacking the side of the house.  In both cases, I quietly but firmly asserted that if he destroyed anything, I would call the police.  Meanwhile I'm thinking "Please don't make me call the police!"  That night I had to send him out three times.  The last time I told him that if he so much as tripped on a stone on his way to the sidewalk, I would make the call.  (Yes, overly dramatic on my part... *sigh*... I know.)  Upon returning he seemed remorseful and we ended up on a semi-polite note.

Since then, things have been like a magic carpet ride, but without the psychedelic colors.  At the moment, Corey and Lisa can only see one another at school until they each start making better decisions (I'll let your imaginations fill in the reasons why).  Even though she's part of the problem, I'm hoping that Lisa is part of the solution, too.  I saw her last night.  She apologized for having Corey in her seventh period (he doesn't have one; why the teacher let him be there is still unfathomable) and then taking him to an after school sewing class (because yeah... Corey had an unfulfilled desire to make a bag that attaches to the side of a table... who knew?!).  I've talked with both of them about helping one another make the right decisions so they can be together.

The adults in Lisa's life are all fabulous in their own ways.  We are bonding over the kids, but they are typically not my type of people.  For example, the people I refer to as Lisa's parents are really her aunt and uncle.  Except that the man I thought was her uncle is really her aunt/mom's boyfriend.  This was made clear last night when Lisa's uncle accompanied her over to my car to apologize. 

Don't worry, I pulled it off and he never knew I spent 10 minutes wondering if this was the boyfriend I'd heard about.  It was kind of fun trying to explain it all to Tom later.  He has requested a chart.

Corey, as it turns out, is not the only Jerry Springer Fan Club member in my family.  Here's a little white trash history:

My mom and her first husband, Russ, had my brother and I.  This was in the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll age (and no, I'm not lying when I say my parents almost named me Pebbles Flint Stone).  Eventually Russ met a 17 year-old girl named after a piece of fruit.  Russ and his best friend, Craig, handcuffed said girl so Russ could kiss her.  I was about three months old.

To her credit, Fruit Girl had him arrested.  To enter the JSFC, she also pretty much immediately fell in love and soon after was pregnant with her first daughter.

At that time, Craig was married to his second wife, Darlene, a crazy-ass yotch who bore him a daughter and a son.

Somewhere in the drugged and boozy haze, Craig and Darlene divorced.  He got the kids (for a man to get full custody back in the early-ish '70s was insane, so imagine what Darlene was like).  Mom and Craig hooked up (the order of things varies depends upon who tells the story).  I was two or so.  They married when I was five, separated when I was 13, got back together and divorced two years later.  Despite some pretty lame-assed decisions on his part, the man has always been there for me.  He is Dad.  His daughter is my sister and one of my best friends.  His son is... well... I refer to him as my stepbrother and leave it at that.

I mostly didn't see or hear from Russ when I was a kid.  There was once at age 5, once at 11 and then he started coming by whenever he was in town when I was 16 or 17.  I was kind of excited to have him in my life.  His wife (the fruit woman) calls herself my Wicked Stepmom.  She calls me her Sweet Pea.  I love her like an aunt or an older sister.

Dad remarried three days after his divorce from Mom was final, and the new wife wasn't exactly keen on having his ex-wife's kids hanging around.  It didn't stop him from rescuing us all when we were in a bad car accident, though.  Or when my crappy little car was stolen and taken on a high speed police chase.  Again, always there...

His wife slowly accepted me.  In a soap-opera-worthy turn of events, she saw that I am devoted to her husband and, because of him, to her when she, her two daughters and their five kids were in a multiple-rollover accident that almost cost Margaret her ability to walk and almost took her grandson from all of us.  (It took me three tries to over two weeks to get all the blood and debris from her hair... or at least from the part she wasn't resting on.)

Margaret is the woman who watches Madelyn every day.  Today she told me (again) how she always tells people she's so lucky to have a granddaughter to watch who is such a joy.  We don't know what we'd do without Margaret.

For a while I felt as though I had two dads.  Some people might call one Dad and the other Father.  I tried that mentally and it didn't work.  With Russ I vacillated between Russ and Dad.

As I got to know more about that part of my family, I was put off by the lies Russ had told over the years.  We always thought he had a Purple Heart because the helicopter he was piloting in Viet Nam crashed... or because of something to do with shrapnel.  Compare that to the truth:  The jeep he was driving (badly, as per usual from my experience) in Japan rolled into a ditch during war time.  Those surgeries at the VA?  Yeah, he has a medical ass problem.  There are more lies that span his entire life.

Somewhere in my early adulthood I learned he was having an affair.  Wicked Stepmom was shattered, but they were able to reconcile.  Seven or eight years ago he admitted that it had never stopped and it wasn't going to.  Wicked Stepmom has her own reasons for staying; some from necessity, others are, I'm pretty sure, required to maintain membership in the JSFC.

Russ and I haven't spoken since then, but I talk with his wife 1-2 times a month and keep in touch with one sister via Facebook.

And here's where it gets weird (I know!)... tonight I received an email from someone I didn't recognize.  The subject regarded something I'd gotten from other people, though, so I opened it.  It was from Russ.  No personal message... he was just forwarding something that everyone else in my family had sent around.***  Maybe he's working on a JSFC coup... a takeover of the presidency or something.

***That's another family trait of ours.  If my aunt sends something to Mom, Bro and me then Mom and Bro will send it to all the same people, plus some of their friends, who are also my friends.  Each and every one of them apparently fears I might have been left out.  Sometimes things make two full rounds!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

You Can Dance If You Wannoo

What a madhouse!  My mom showed up at 4:30.  Lisa and her entourage (parents, one younger sibling) arrived about 45 minutes late... so about two and a half hours after Corey was dressed and ready for them.

Somewhere in the midst of everything, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies, because yeah, I am Susie-Freaking-Homemaker.
(Those ginormous chunks come from leaving the chocolate chips in my car during the heat of summer.  Susie-F-H's tip for breaking them up?  Put the bag on the floor and use your heel.  Gently, you don't want chocolate carpet.  Anything that doesn't hurt will break up... anything that hurts is meant to be super huge.)

Part of me wondered if 30 minutes was too long for the photos and whatnot.  It wasn't.  After the introductions, they pretty much went into the flowers.  At first the cute couple was a bit stiff. 

Flowers took probably 10-15 minutes.  Her mom and I told her it was a rite of passage for her to pin the boutonniere on Corey.  Actually I said that and Mom agreed.  Then I admitted that I never knew about getting the boutonniere at my first dance.  I believe I did know about it at Prom, but can't recall how it got on my date's lapel, frankly.  (Knowing how that relationship ended, I know how I should have applied it.)

Lisa did a great job, with a little help from her mom.  Corey waited about 10 minutes to tell her he was bleeding.  (He wasn't, but too bad I didn't catch the look on her face then.)
Please note that my children are both in the photo above.  What's wrong with this picture?!?
I have a lot of photos in which I'd love to Photoshop a pitchfork and shovel.

Most of the photos were very stiff.  Eventually I was able to get them to relax and be silly (that's right, Me, the annoying mom with the bad sense of humor and worse timing... uh-huh, that's right... even Corey started to do more than just pull his lips back to expose a small bit of enamel).

He's a handsome boy, no?

One thing you can't really tell from these pictures is that Corey had a scarf over his tie.  I can't remember what he called it, but it looked something like an ascot.  Just before they were about to leave, he asked Lisa if she preferred the tie or ascot thingy.  She voted for the tie.  So he pulled the scarf out and gave it a new home.
She said it was an improvement.  (Is it wrong for me to still be laughing about this?!?)

Regardless of the time the dance actually started, nobody left the house until after 6:00.  Around 7:15 they called to say they were done with dinner.  (I hope it was good.  I'm starving!)  Dad is the acting chaperone, but I'm sort of itching to step in and get them myself.

Three minutes until we should be hearing from them... and maybe half an hour or so before I get to start learning how my son's first big dance went.

Feeling the Burn

What makes this mom's eyes burn with unshed tears?  Well, for starters you can send her to the flower shop to pick up the flowers for tonight's Homecoming Dance.  Tom says he can't wait to see what happens when Corey gets married (he anticipates that he and Mad will each need a tissue, but that they'll each carry giant boxes of them just for me).

It's pretty typical in my family to mess around with one another.  So when we went to order the flowers yesterday (yes, I know we should have done it sooner but when you have a Corey, the wise parent waits to expend any money until it's practically a lock... we bought his outfit today), he immediately texted Lisa and told her that all they had were pink (her least favorite color) and a mustardy orange. 

If I didn't already think Lisa was pretty sweet, her response sealed the deal, "Oh, sounds pretty."

Also pretty typical for us, Corey couldn't keep the joke going.  He immediately let her know that they were getting red roses and black ribbon.  (Yes, the girl traditionally gets the boutonniere, but all the places around here do a low-priced two-fer bargain.)

And here's where I knew Lisa was the girl for me... erm... I mean, the girl for Corey, "Hooray.  I'm gonna kick your A$$!"

Yeah, she's gonna be just fine around here.

Here's another way they fit well together:  They both neglect to give accurate, up-to-date information to their parents.

Last week when he bought the tickets, Corey told me that the dance started at 6:00.  Today we invited Lisa's parents to bring her over at 4:00.  That'll give us about half an hour to fumble with flowers, giggle and have lots of pictures taken before Tom chauffeurs them to dinner.  When they're done, he'll pick them up and take 'em to the dance.  Dinner's about 15 minutes away from us and 20 from the school.  Nice relaxed pace, but not too much extra time, right?

This afternoon Tom asks Corey when the dance starts.  "I think it's at 6:30."  He continued on in what I can only assume was an attempt to hang out later than the kids are supposed to, but I'll spare you those details.  Suffice to say that Chauffeur Tom will be asking when the dance is really over.

Back to the time... I called Lisa's mom and said they should come a little later if the dance isn't starting at 6:00 like we originally thought.  Shirley had heard it was 7:00.  So she and I have settled on 4:45 with the possibility of their being a little later than that. 

This is a shot of the flowers.  I was afraid to move them too much, lest they fall apart and I become the worst mother in the world.  Again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


On the last day of Judy and Larry's visit, we drove out to BFE, also known as Mojave National Preserve.  We knew it was far, but we really had no idea of how far (which means that neither of the S men consulted an atlas... this is, frankly, shocking).

Seventy-eight miles from the Arizona border, we finally made a left turn and drove for another half an hour or so before arriving at Kelso Dunes.  Tom hopped out of his parents car, came over and said, "The dunes are gorgeous!"  I (who might have been slightly peeved from Tom not answering his cell phone and from driving behind Larry... who alternates between 10 miles over the speed limit and 25 miles below it) said, "Really?  It looks like a pile of sand.  We're too far away to know if it's gorgeous or not."

Pissy much?

We got out, sprayed on sunscreen (can this stuff really be healthful if one breathes it in? doubtful) and dragged along Mad's stroller.  Yes, it was a dirt path in the midst of the desert, but she was already an hour late for her nap.  No, car rides don't work like that for her.

Eventually the sand got too thick and loose to push the stroller.  For quite a while we all walked at Mad's pace, but she was the only one who enjoyed sitting here and climbing up and down there.  I sent Tom and Corey off to enjoy themselves.  Judy's pace put her somewhere in between us.  After forever 20 minutes of walking, Mad and I were about halfway there.  Tom estimates that to be 3/4 of a mile.  All I know is she and I suddenly had to turn back because that was the moment Mad had to fill up her diaper completely.

In an effort to avoid letting her sit down (thereby causing a case of SUIT, or "Something Up In There") and for maximum efficiency, I carried her.  Thirty pounds of squirming, squealing, stinky baby under one arm, football style, and a camera and a BPA-free cup without a lid (sure, Corey had asked where the lids were... yeah, I said, "I don't really care, let's get going," because we were already two hours late leaving), half-filled with water on the other side.  And a stuffed frog in my pocket that is really supposed to be "for show."

Mad drank most of the water and helped me throw the rest on the sand.  We passed a young couple heading up to the dunes.

"Did you see our abandoned vehicle?" I asked, wondering if the stroller and diaper bag were still there.

"Yeah, we were a little confused by that."  I'll bet you were!

When we came to the stroller, I didn't think it would be a good idea to lay Mad in it for a diaper change.  For one thing (and I know my Minnesota friends will not like to hear this), it was about 90 degrees.  Bare heinie on hot whatever-the-heck-that-fabric-is cannot be comfortable.

And again, the stroller had been pushed as far as it could reasonably go.  By Tom, AKA Muscle Man.  Not holding a poopy baby.

Mad and I joined forces to push that sucker out of the muck.  Yeah... I held her in front of me and she held the handlebar while I pushed.  It took about 10 minutes or so, but we got back to "just dirt."  I put all SUIT concerns aside and plopped Mad down in the stroller for the slowest, most difficult ride of her life.  Many apologies to the flora alongside the trail.  Sometimes it was just easier to go up to harder packed dirt.  And by easier, I mean I only felt like maybe wandering off into the desert alone was not such a bad idea once or twice while crushing the sides of a few (hopefully) hearty plants.

We made it back to the cars... about 10 minutes before Tom and Corey, who had summited part of the dunes.

Once everybody was reasonably clean and rehydrated, we headed off to the Train Depot and museum.  It was about 35 miles away.  I set the cruise control for four miles per hour under the speed limit.  Sometimes Larry was waaaayy off in the distance.  Sometimes he was right.there.  I now understand my husband's driving a little better.  My latest goal is to never, never ever utter the words, "You drive like your father!"

Mad fell asleep about two minutes into the drive, so I stayed in the car.  When Corey returned and I finally headed out, I realized that Larry had opted out of the museum.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, but I spilled my coffee.  I tried to call Judy, but there's no reception.  Can you see if you can get her to bring me a coffee?  Or a soda pop?  Anything?!"  Apparently I get my coffee addiction from Larry.

Instead of meandering through the lovely old building, I hunted down Tom and Judy, blurted out my urgent message and used the restroom.  By then it was time to go.  I'm sure it was fascinating.

Another 45 minute drive of playing tag with our cars brought us to Baker.  For anyone from Southern California, this is the town with the thermometer.  Since it's a good mid-point between Vegas and anything, there are also a few restaurants.  We chose one of the last remaining Bob's Big Boys.  It's been there for decades, but for at least two of them it was called the Bun Boy.  Now it's back to the old glory days of mediocre diner food.  I guess when you're 90 miles from Vegas and 90 miles from our hometown, quality is a second thought.  I mean, what are you gonna do?  Drive down the block?  Buahahaha!!!

After dinner we were all thrilled when Mad went over and hugged Gramma's leg.  Too bad for Gramma that she was hugging Corey and wouldn't short-change him for his sister.  Too bad for me that I was so slow getting the camera out and on.  The grandparents headed off to Vegas for a couple of days of smoky R & R and we headed home.

We'd like to thank whomever came up with the idea to bring the 15 freeway down to two lanes right after merging it with I40.  That way everyone who was returning from Vegas and the river on a Sunday evening could spent a lot of time together.  A lot.  Our 90 mile drive took nearly three hours!  Thank goodness for the restroom at the Train Depot museum.

In Mad news, we saw the neurologist again.  She said the results do show a "slight irregularity."  Then she changed to, "Let me look... uhh... mild to moderate."  Of course she also said that Mad was hyperactive (no... she's active, and she might be more than a little annoyed from having to wait over an hour for you to show up for work this morning!!) and that she had "three episodes" (wrong again).  And Madelyn should have an MRI, which will require sedation.  In the meantime we should start her on Phenobarbital. 

The risks of not taking the medication to treat something that we can't even tell for sure she's dealing with... or if it's simply part of the healing process from having a head injury?  "All the usual risks with medication.  And at first she'll be a little drowsy, but she'll get used to it.  The most common complaint parents have is that the kids become hyper.  She could get a rash.  And with long term use, anything more than 2-3 years, she could lose a few points cognition."

The risks of not medicating her?  "She could continue to have seizures or changes in her brain activity or she might not."

Seriously?  We're supposed to change her personality through heavy sedation... and I've seen kids on phenobarb... they're freaking zombies!  Add problems with hyperactivity and run the risk of diminishing her (admittedly outstanding... I'm just saying) intellect for a problem that we're not entirely sure she even has

Anyone surprised that we're not sticking with this doctor?  We'll be seeking out a doctor whose patients are primarily pediatric (not geriatric), for one thing.  Then we'll be questioning the validity of the EEG and whether or not having a recent head injury could invalidate the results.  We didn't pull that last part out our asses hats, in case you were wondering.  In the meantime, I took Mad back to our chiropractor. 

Not only did she not try to insinuate that Mad probably had a seizure and then fell (which she didn't... and if any of the doctors had been there, they'd realize that), Dr. C was very gentle and loving.  Mad did need an adjustment near the top of her spine, which she did not love.  Baby adjustments aren't like those for adults, so there was no big neck twisting or popping, just gentle pressure and some tapping to relax the muscles.  Mad was in my arms the whole time.  I might be a little envious that she got adjusted and I didn't.

Corey's girlfriend, Lisa, is joining our trip to the Pumpkin patch tomorrow.  Please let my feet stay on the ground and out of my mouth!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finding the Funny

Let's be honest, shall we?  There isn't a lot of hi-larity when it comes to my in-laws.  They're just great people.  Of course it goes without saying that they're completely unlike MY family.

***I spoke with my (beloved) Wicked Stepmom today.  She was telling me about some of her nieces and nephews from one of her sisters.  The good one is in jail for "a few years" for failing to report to his parole officer.  So maybe I'm a little intimidated by Tom's nice, normal, well-educated 'rents.  My main goal in any interaction is to not make them feel bad for their son's choice of partner.

Here are a few basic facts:  Judy is a nurse.  A pediatric nurse.  She could be entirely pushy and overbearing about the decisions we make with the kids, but she isn't.  Larry does not work.  He's had MS for about 30 years.  Although his case is relatively mild and progressing slowly, he's told me that he often wakes up feeling like he just ran a marathon: tired and sore.  So the man naps.  I think during their regular life, he probably takes a couple of naps a day.  On vacations, and especially with us, he pushes himself.  Still, a nap a day was in order.

The great thing about our house is that we now have room for guests.  However, we don't have a room.  The sleeper sofa is in the loft.  At the top of the stairs.  Right outside of our room.  From any of our bedrooms, you really can't hear what's happening downstairs.  You can from the loft, although it's muted.  A few days before they arrived, I found a screen that would be perfect to block out sound and give some privacy.  However, the couch wasn't really in our budget, so the screen was out.

Ever wished you'd gone ahead and splurged, even if it seemed wiser not to in the beginning?

First night?  Great.  No problems.  First morning?  The same.  Second night I couldn't sleep.  In fact, I messed around on the computer until nearly 1:00 in the morning.  The baby gate at the foot of the stairs squeaks.  The one at the top is different and clicks loudly as it locks and unlocks.  Five feet from the fam.

Second morning, no surprise, I overslept.  Larry also slept later than usual.  When I came out of our room, there he was, standing (thankfully, with his back to me) in a shirt and his BVDs.

***So maybe a little shiver ran down my spine just now.  It could be cold, right?

I jetted down the stairs, made the coffee and did whatever for what seemed like forever.  Something (it seemed very important at the time) called me back up the stairs.  Only to find Larry still in his unders.

***Brrr.... chilly here!  What is it?  Like 68 degrees outside?  70?

In other, fully-dressed news (please let this be fully-dressed news), Corey has a girlfriend.  His first "real" girlfriend (no, I'm not talking "Lars and the Real Girl"... just that a couple of girls in middle school were girlfriends with whom he did nothing aside from chat during class).  The boy has worked exceptionally hard to get one.  ANY one.  Nearly a month ago I had to block several girls' numbers from his cell.  Instead of toughing it out, he found new girls to text.

Said girlfriend is Lisa.  She looks cute.  Lisa beat out Celina (as opposed Selina... keep 'em straight, wouldja?!?) merely because of timing.  Celina said she just liked Corey as a friend.  She probably wasn't up for his lightning speed getting-to-know-you ritual (which I have overheard on the phone... it goes like this:
"So what kind of car would you like to drive?"
"What's your favorite color?"
"Do you watch G4?"
"Ever have sushi?"
etc., etc., etc.)... or at least not until she found out about Lisa.  But Corey has apparently played it straight.  Anyway, Corey and Lisa are going to Homecoming together.  I have been trying to give him as much dating advice as he'll tolerate.

Madelyn finally had her EEG to rule out any seizures.  The neurologist agreed to schedule it around Mad's naptime so she could just sleep naturally and not be sedated.  In fact, she suggested it before we could say, "Hey, we're all for checking her out, but we are not up for putting her to sleep.  Thanks."  One of the nice things was going back to the hospital where Mad was born.  As with each of the times we've had to go there, the staff were fabulous.  They were very patient with us as we tried to get Mad to sleep. 

Our usual naptime routine is this:
Ask Mad, "Do you want to go upstairs and have a nip-nappy-snip-snappy?"
"No!" (You have to imagine this being said gleefully as she runs over to the stairs... she means "Heck yeah, I want a nap!")
Go up the stairs with Mad in my arms, but in a position that allows her to use the hand rail.  Do a little looby loo.  Check her diaper.  Read a story (unless we've waited too long).  Get Dog.  Get Frog.  Let Mad turn on her music and shut the door.  Kiss everybody and put them all in the crib.  Mad might sit there for a second to get an extra smooch.  Then she folds the animals in her lap and flops over on them.  She stays pretty much in that position with her butt high in the air for 2-3 hours.

In the neurology lab, there was a hospital bed and a whole lot of computer equipment.  Since Mad doesn't use a bottle, sippy cup or binky and she doesn't nurse, we had a small test of willpower to get her sleeping.  I tried sitting in one of the office chairs and spinning slowly to one direction and then the other.

Screeeaming baby.

Singing mama.

Screaming, fighting baby.

Want to go to Dada?

Yeah... NOO!!!  This at least resulted in her face being buried in my shoulder.  Every time she did that, her crying mellowed out.  We probably attempted the hand-off (at her request, not because we're mean) half a dozen times.  Eventually I was able to sit down and snuggle her.  Too soon I tried to lay her down, but it only added a minute or two to our temporary pre-sleep ritual.  She was pretty tired.  We'd gotten her up about two hours earlier than normal.  Getting her to sleep took about 15 minutes, but once Mad was out, she was out.  The only problem came when, halfway through getting electrodes attached to her head with conductive paste, Mad decided it was time to go butt up.  Everything got fixed and the testing went off without a hitch.  If I had to go through it again, I would mention to her that it was naptime, and we would have brought her special sleeping music. 

We get the results tomorrow.  Not sure why the doc wants Mad there, too.  I'm hoping it's just because the receptionist didn't know to mention that Mad's only 18 months old, it's not like she's going to understand the concepts of our conversation.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mid-Visit Update

As anticipated, my in-laws are great.  When Mad was born, they came out but stayed at a hotel (we had a tiny apartment... they'd stayed with us there before, but for this they gave us space).  Whenever they came to our place, they called first to see what they could bring.  While there, Judy probably used every bit of her self-control to not hog the baby.  Instead, she cleaned and organized my kitchen and backyard... and then she held the baby.  I guess her mother-in-law would come to visit when the boys were born.  She'd tell Judy to go ahead and deal with her chores; Grandma would take care of the baby.

So yeah, I'd like to say a little thanks to Tom's slightly selfish grandmother.

The other day I was talking to Gina, who is married to my brother.  We were talking about my in-laws and how long they were staying.  She seemed to think that four nights was a long time, but I disagreed.  I told her about some of their previous visits and ended with, "My in-laws are great!  Everyone should have in-laws this great."

Her response?  A wistful... almost sad, "Yeah.  You're right."

Ahem... 'scuze me?  Bah!  So, some of my in-laws are great.  Namely, the ones on Tom's side, haha.

Judy and Larry have arrived at what seems to be the perfect time for Madelyn.  She was sick last week, but seems to be better.  On top of that (and more importantly), she has been much more receptive to others lately.  I did arm the grandparents with a secret weapon:  knowledge of the Boop (grapes).  Mad's a full-fledged Boop Addict (it's early for coffee yet).  So Wednesday evening Gramma gave Boop and yesterday Grampa did.  Last night Mad gave Gramma a kiss before bed, and today she let Gramma pick her up from her nap and bring her downstairs.

The only downside so far was that Corey couldn't sleep last night.*  He was apparently up and down the stairs pretty often, and then chose to watch something with the volume too loud.  (Larry and Judy are sleeping in our loft, so no doors for them.)  Combine that with the fact that Tom and Judy's chatting yesterday afternoon apparently kept Larry from getting a good nap.  He has MS, so naps are not uncommon (heck, I don't have it and I can appreciate a good one). 

Today, we spent the late morning shopping for Halloween costumes and decorations and clothes for Mad.  After lunch, Mad and Grampa were ready for serious napping.  Grampa was determined to snooze:
Seemed to work.  I think I'll try this next time I'm trying not to hear Tom shaving/brushing his teeth/opening the shower curtain 900 times in the course of a work morning.

*Okay, really, there was one other downside, but I can't talk about it right now.

Monday, October 05, 2009


You ever hear of people who just seem to have one bad thing happen after another?  Like, say, a spouse dies and three months later a parent is found to have a four inch mass in their pancreas?  What would you say to them?  Would you have words of wisdom?  Would you be comforting?  Attempt to be funny?  Go for the dark humor?  What would you say?

I said, "Well, geez, it's good that she waited, but NOW?  Seriously?"

Followed by, "Man, Nance... you are going to be so strong.  I already thought you were strong.  When you get through this you're going to be like, the Strongest Woman in the Universe strong."

And, "I'm here.  I can be there."

You ever feel like a complete idiot for some of the things you say?


In anticipation of Judy and Larry's (the in-laws) arrival Wednesday evening, Tom and I purchased a sleeper sofa.

***Back in "my" day, they were called Hide-A-Beds.  You can't find those anymore.  In our list of things to do for the house, I have included, "Hide-A-Bed for the loft" and "Hide-A-Bed for the office."  Now I'll never get done, guh!

It is a lovely purple sofa (the picture makes it look sort of wonky brown, but it's not).  Surprisingly, the mattress is reasonably comfortable in the, "Please come stay with us for a week or two, not much longer" sort of way.  Oddly enough, when I saw it in a store the other day, I never checked out what the sofa feels like to sit on.

Rock hard, just like my abs (in my dreams).  Meh, it's in the loft.  We're usually only there for story time and "looby loo" with Madelyn.

***What's looby loo?  Some song I learned when Corey was a wee bebe. 
"Here we go looby loo,
Here we go looby light,
Here we go looby loo,
All on a Saturday night."
Mad and I do this while stomping around in a circle over her foam letters mat.  To hear a tiny thing such as herself ask for "looby looby loo"... well, I will stomp in a circle as many times as she wants.  For some reason it segues nicely into the Mexican Hat Dance song, so we end with a flourish.

The furniture store, thankfully, has night deliveries (here's where we would be missing our old truck, except that it wouldn't have been up to the task).  We were scheduled for 6-10.  They called at 5:30, arrived at 5:40, brought the couch in, hefted it up the stairs and put it into position.  In the midst of it all, a neighbor's PITBULL managed to get loose (a-freaking-gain) and get INto OUR HOUSE.

Maisy was in her crate, so that's right where Big Poppa went.  (I have no idea of the dog's name... but someone who would have one would probably call their dog Big Poppa, right?)  One of the delivery guys, Jose, told me to pick up Mad.

***Uh, why didn't I think of that?  Because I was remembering what the woman said to me right before she married Tom and I.  There was a wasp flying around and she said, "Don't give it any energy and it will go away," so I didn't and it did.  Yes, my big plan was not to give any energy to the dog.

But Jose's, "I think you should pick up your daughter.  That dog looks dangerous," got me moving.  I picked her up.  Corey said maybe he could get the dog out the back.  He opened the screen and went out.  The dog followed.  Jose's partner closed the slider.  Jose closed the front door.  I hoped my son wasn't being mauled on the side of the house.  All the windows were up and I wasn't sure I'd hear him.  Corey got the dog out the front and came back inside (we don't actually know where the dog lives, only that we see it 2-3 times a month).  Jose and his partner delivered the sofa and went on their way.

Having the couch up there means that room is almost done.  Corey and Tom both seem to think that we need a TV up there (sorry, but I like being a one TV family).  It clearly needs something... a photo or other artwork... over the couch.   But it's close.  The only room closer is Mad's (natch... that girl has everything).

Tom and I tried out the bed.  No, not like that, you perves.  We just laid on it.  It's pretty comfortable.  The view outside was of a late sunset, all different shades of blue with a sliver of orange at the bottom.  Lovely.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Out With the Heat, In With the In-Laws

There is a tradition here in southern California.  One without a specific time of year or calendar date.  Still, it happens without fail.  What is it?

My in-laws come to visit once a year, sometimes more.  They live near Chicago, right off Lake Michigan.  Inevitably, when they leave Chicago, it's cold.  They have not yet scheduled their visits during winter, because they want to enjoy the balmy California weather.  Someone should tell them we can be balmy during winter, too.  I doubt they'd believe us.

About a week before each. and. every. visit we have a heat wave.  The last one was spread out over... oh, a month.  A month of days in the upper 90's and low 100's.  Two days ago we started hearing about a cooling trend.  Last night, listening to an LA radio station I heard that it's all foggy and drizzly down the hill.  It will be for the next week.

They arrive tomorrow.  For the first two nights they'll be staying with Tom's uncle in Santa Monica.  Yeah, the beach in fall/winter.  Can be beautiful.  Can be downright frigid.

We won't be having any drizzling fogginess up here, but we are losing 30-40 degrees during the day (from two days ago), and probably the same off our nighttime temperatures.  This morning Tom took Maisy out.  My Chicago-born and bred husband, who used to infuriate me with his, "It is a little cool" (uh... it's 32 degrees, Jerkwad!), had his arms wrapped around himself, trying to warm up from being outside.  He's happy about the cold (as am I, frankly), but even he had to admit that it was "a shock" going outside this morning.

We all love the in-laws very much and hate to see them suffer.  They bring shorts and T-shirts and lightweight jackets "just in case."  The cool thing about them (aside from the frosty temperatures they bring, buahahaha), is that they never let it stop them from doing what they'd planned.  They are, after all, from the Midwest.  A hearty bunch, for sure.  Still, it would be nice for them to enjoy some heat once in a while.
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