Thursday, June 30, 2011


My emotions have been a little too pendulous these days. The end of this month is bringing some huge changes.
This afternoon Fynnie had her last appointment with Dr. Present. We were hoping to get a vaccination in so she'd be caught up to our schedule before transferring. She'd been too sick with another of her recurrent nasty fevers in May and it threw us off.

Part of me wanted to bring all of the kids. And the camera. Or to leave photos of our kids behind. There is a wall of photos. It's something that had been started by the previous pediatrician, that Dr. Present and his wife continued. There are three photos of Corey up there. Preschool, kindergarten and, I think, second grade. No photos of the girls. They have never had any professional shots done. (*sigh* That's the downside of getting Tom to agree that I needed an expensive camera with a nice lens.) I haven't seen the wall updated in several years.

I forgot the camera this morning and decided not to go back for it because, well, I could see myself letting the emotions take over if I made too big of a deal about it.

Corey did not join us for the appointment, but Mad did. Having gone a couple of times where she didn't get a shot and she did get a sucker, there was none of the drama tension of previous visits.

During the appointment, we had a list of questions we wanted answered. Some of them we know will have to be addressed with the new ped, but it was important to me that we have some way of judging his... worthiness, I guess.

No shot for Fynnie Girl as she, like all of us, is sick. Ear infections are popping up. Doc prescribed antibiotics today because he's closed Thursdays.

After all of our questions were answered and handmade chocolates from a local shop were given, it was time to go.

Dr. Present encouraged us to call him if we ever have any questions or if we need anything. His nurses did the same as we made our way to the door.

This new insurance better be damn good.

It's one thing to change insurance companies. But we are transferring to a completely different insurance model.

I went to get Fynn's prescription filled at our regular pharmacy. It's around the corner from where we used to live. In the store where we used to shop.

The pharmacy tech and the pharmacist and I have known each other since Corey was a baby. Heck, I would have sworn the pharmacy tech was just a baby when I met him (turns out he's almost my age... whatever). These are people who have filled prescription after prescription for Corey. They have a sense of what's gone on with him. They ask about him when he's not with me and they're kind to him when he is.

I was in that store at that pharmacy counter while in early labor with Madelyn.

These people are part of huge stories in my life. And now they are gone. From us. It's not like a meteor struck or something.

We'll have to go to different pharmacies now. Ones that are part of our new network. I'm sure the new people will be great. I'm sure we'll have other huge stories. But I like walking up to the counter and finding people who are happy to see me.

Does it seem like I'm overly emotional about pediatricians and nurses and pharmacy staff? Well wait, there's more.

On Tuesday Corey will be 18.

Every year around this time I have told him little stories about when I was pregnant with him. It's a tradition that he has been unaware of, loved, felt annoyed by but tolerated and then loved again. It's never been a "sit here and let me tell you" sort of deal. Just little thoughts thrown in here and there during general conversations. Since I can't seem to have any general sorts of conversations with him right now, I'm going to have them with you. Pull up a chair and pretend to be a surly teen so the illusion isn't broken.

"On this day in 1993, I woke up from a dream that I'd met you and knew you were a boy. It was kind of a creepy dream, involving a homeless woman and me shopping around for baby clothes. When we couldn't decide whether to buy for a boy or a girl, she removed you (harmlessly) from my belly. We tried on boy clothes and they looked fine. We tried on girl clothes and they looked great! But I still knew you were a boy. I also saw you around age seven, playing at a park (you looked nothing like yourself). I woke up and said out loud, "It's Cameron." Moments later my phone rang and your grammy called to tell me that Auntie Mary also just had a dream that you were a boy.

"Two Fridays before you were due, your great grandparents accompanied me to my appointment. I'm pretty sure it was Great Grandpa's first time at a prenatal appointment. They were loaded with camera equipment. I asked them not to take any pictures of my belly because those fiery stretch marks were embarrassing. I wish I had a recording of their faces and gasps and comments as they heard your heart beating. Even better would be a little clip of your generally stoic Great Grandpa leaning over my belly and firmly instructing you to be born on your Great Grandma's birthday (conveniently your due date), complete with finger pointing, a twinkle in his eye and a "you hear?"

"Exactly one week before your due date, your dad and I spent the day at a chili cook-off in our neighborhood. That afternoon we went out to the water (we lived in San Diego's Ocean Beach) and tossed a Frisbee back and forth. It made people nervous every time I went after the Frisbee. After a while I sat down and read while Stephen went out in the water. There was a 45 minute period where I couldn't find him out there. Mostly I tried to keep reading and acting nonchalant, but I was freaking out. I made a deal with god that I would name you the name you have if only Stephen were safe. You don't look like a Cameron anyway, but the funny thing is, if I hadn't made that deal, you wouldn't have your name. It took serious balls to give you that name. I wasn't even sure I believed in any god, but I wasn't reneging on my end of the bargain just in case.

"That same evening we headed to the hospital to pre-register. I remember looking at the line of cars still flooding our little piece of the peninsula and hoping we wouldn't have to go to the hospital when all the beach goers were usually heading home.

"The night before you were born, the moon was a crescent and it sat high in the sky over a brilliant star. For almost a decade, that continued to be true on your birthday, too."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First Friend

One Last Time

When Fynnie was born, she spent hours upon hours tied to my chest in her wrap.

I loved it.

She loved it.

Daddy loved it.

Some people were confused by it.  Can she breathe in there?  Yes.  Is she comfortable?  Yes.  Aren't you too hot?  No.

Although the instructions for use indicate the wrap is good for toddlers up to 35 pounds, everything I've read on wrap babywearing recommends 15-20 pounds, max.

Fynn's somewhere in the middle of that range.  We haven't used the wrap for a few months now because we have a soft structured carrier that is more appropriate.

But I miss the wrap days.  Woven into that fabric is the love between a mother and a daughter.  The comfort of going through life... not side by side, but together.

A week or so ago I spied it sitting on a chair.  It hasn't even been quite 11 months, but all of these memories flooded my vision.

I thought we'd give it one last shot.

Now it's time to fold it up and... put it away?  give it to a new mother?  use it to make a blanket?

I don't know.

Stupid Things I Say

This could probably be the running gag of my blog if I let it, but I try to keep the public acknowledgement of my lameness to a minimum.  Of course, if you've been hanging around a while, you'll know I'm not exactly successful.

Me to Tom:  You suck the joy out of everything.

And what is this everything from which Tom sucked the joy?

Steam cleaning the carpet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Last month was open enrollment at work.  If you wanted to change insurance plans, that was the time to do it.

I have had the same insurance for 15 years.  Corey has been with the same pediatrician 16 years (plus one year with the doctor who retired from there).  I love the pediatrician.  Love him.  And his wife, who was also Corey's pediatrician at one point.  And his staff, most of whom I've known since they were interns or fresh from training.

I really like my OB.  I guess since having my tubes tied, he's really just a GYN for me, but that's not how I think of him.  Naked hugs and differing views on prenatal testing, circumcision and vaccinations aside, that little old man never fails to make me smile when I see him.

I even like my general practitioner.  I don't care for his front office people, but he and his physician assistant have given very good care to me and all of my local parents.

Then why even contemplate switching?

Because it took three weeks to get a referral for Mad to see a neurologist after having what we're all pretty sure was a seizure at her birthday party.  When the pediatrician sent the request to our medical group, it was marked URGENT!  Maybe it was written in some special ink that only we could see, because it was only urgent to us.

When we did receive the referral, it had a doctor's name, but no contact information.  At all.

We asked our ped (Mad calls him Dr. Present) for help (we had an appointment with him the same day) and his assistant was able to track down the doctor.  We saw her fax the referral and Mad's file to the neuro's office, again marked URGENT!  But again, it was only urgent to us.  We were told to wait for someone to call us the next day to schedule the appointment.

When no call came, Tom called them.  They hadn't received the referral and wouldn't discuss anything until they received it.  They would call when they had it.

Dr. Present's office re-faxed it.

Again Tom had to call them.

They had everything, but it would take a week to review Mad's file.  It had already been a few days, so we should hear from them in a few more.  They wouldn't schedule an appointment during this call because May was booked solid.  So was June.  And it was too soon to start scheduling July.  They'd call us when they were ready.

At two other appointments (Fynn gets vaccinated monthly instead of the standard schedule, so we've been there a lot), Dr. Present had someone call and see if they could move things along.  They couldn't.

Despite all of this, we hemmed and hawed about switching.  This wasn't from one (sub)standard HMO to another; this was Blue Cross to Kaiser.  If you're not from these parts, Kaiser is a whole different insurance beast.

I was born at Kaiser.  Like a lot of stories about Kaiser from back in the day, my birth story often ends with "and yet we lived."

But the newer stories, say in the past five years, are overwhelmingly positive.  After questioning every Kaiser patient within our circle, we made the decision to switch.

I am going to miss Dr. Present and his staff tremendously.  Where else will I be able to walk in with Fynnie Fynn and have someone ask about Corey?

We are eight days from becoming Kaiser patients.  Corey and Madelyn need to be seen right away.  I called to see if I could get a jump on scheduling.

I could.

Mad will see her new pediatrician in twelve days and we should be able to leave with a referral to a neurologist   We probably won't get our initial consult with the Kaiser neuro as early as we would had we stayed with Blue Cross (yes, that's me rolling my eyes).  The Blue Cross neuro's office called last week and had an appointment available for the middle of July.  Yes, of this year.

Corey's needs will be met around the same time as Mad's.

I did lodge a grievance with Blue Cross.  This is my daughter's brain we're talking about here.  If something is really wrong, we should already be doing something about it, not playing power struggle games with egotistical neurology practices or slow moving medical groups.

After a few surprisingly simple and very helpful calls to Kaiser today, I'm feeling hopeful that this was the correct path for us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time Warp, Mad-A-Style

Not once, not twice... three times today I almost referenced tomorrow as Saturday.  Time is moving so slowly in that regard, probably because Thursday of next week I am off for the better part of six weeks.

Tonight, however, time went into hyper drive.

Tom:  How old are you?

Mad:  Eight.

Tom, laughing:  You are?!

Madelyn, giggling hysterically:  I'm close to 10 years old!

Perhaps you'll recall that speed aging is not new to my Mad-a-girl.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dinner at the Casa

Tonight I ran into one of my former sign language students, Aaron.  When he started with me, he was in elementary school, giggly, goofy and very smart.  He just finished his first year of college with a double major, and said that he's "finally playing less video games and putting more effort" into his life.  I guess so.

In his eyes, I still recognize that fabulous little boy.  Tom did, too (he came to a few classes when he was wooing me).  Very little else about him is the same.  For example, he's easily 6' 4".

He said I look exactly the same and that I haven't aged at all.  That was pretty awesome to hear.

Until I realized that, to him, I've always been old.

On the other hand, I ran a marathon around the time he was in my class.  I know I don't look like me when I was a runner, but hey, if he thinks I look exactly the same, I'm willing to pretend.

Thank You for Being a Friend

Yet again my technical woes regarding Blogger have been solved by none other than Heather over at Adventures with Baby J and Bean.  Yesterday I took suggestion number one and resorted to stealing borrowing Tom's computer (identical to mine, bought on the same day) to see if I could comment on other blogs.  Why yes I could!  (And yes, I did consider swapping out laptops, but he still has all the product stickers on his, plus he has stuck right arrow key.  I am a keyboardist, not a mouser.  Stuck keys annoy the heck outta me.)

Half an hour ago I took suggestion number two.  Now that I've joined the modern era and started using Google Chrome, my computer really is as fast as Toshiba and FiOS say it's supposed to be.

There are a few adjustments I'll have to make (e.g., Ctrl + Down Arrow no longer takes me to the end of the paragraph, but in fact scrolls the entire page down, hmm), but even technology is a give and take.

Help a Kid Hug Their Hero

I am one of those people who has spent most of her life with a wedgie from sitting on the fence.  I prefer to say that I can see both sides of most issues, and can often find something to agree with on either side if the arguments are presented rationally.

Thus, despite my feelings about all of these military engagements and wars we keep jumping into, I still feel a deep appreciation for our men and women in uniform. 

It is a great fear that my kids will end up in the military, mainly because of the potential for them to be harmed.  I wouldn't try to talk them out of it, though.  My brother was a Marine.  Bio-dad, a sailor.  Grandfather, a sailor.  I am proud of the service of my family, but will state openly, I'm not cut out for it... for a lot of reasons.

Some people are.  I can't believe the sacrifices people make for our country.  How can they do that?  I don't know, but they do.

There's a relatively new TV show called, "Welcome Home."  It's full of stories about soldiers coming home and what their reunions are like.  I tape it and watch it in private with a full box of tissue.

Recently a mom on one of my birth boards (the ones for kiddos born at the same time as Madeladelyn) mentioned that her husband was leaving for a year and that she was going to get a Hug a Hero doll for their three year old.

I had to check it out.  Maybe you should too.

They call them Daddy Dolls, but you can get one for Mommy, too.  Or really, anyone.  But the main idea behind them is that a child gets to hold "Daddy" or "Mommy" or whomever while that person is off doing hero work.

Maybe you know a little someone who is missing their mom or dad.  Or will be missing them, in which case you can get the little voice recorder to go with it, and have that person record a special message before deploying.

Or maybe you don't know anybody, but still think it would be cool to help a little boy or girl deal with those long months without their hero.  If that's you, you can make a donation and a doll will be created for an eligible child.

I was fortunate enough to get to make one for a particular little girl.  She's having a hard time dealing with Daddy being gone, but I hear that her Daddy doll arrived and has been helping her a little.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday Night I Had a Date. With a Girl! Nay, a Woman!

And I liked it.

Mm-hmm, that's right.

Sure, Tom and I had a date night scheduled for last night (our first since out anniversary in November).  But I have needs, people.  Needs!

If you've been hanging around for a while, you know that I have not been able to make any friends since moving up here.  Not that I haven't tried.  You can catch a small sampling of my struggles here.

Recently, the alleged mommy group from Facebook went silent.  I don't whip around on there as well as some people, so it took me a  while to realize I wasn't hearing about yet another event scheduled when I couldn't attend.  I looked into it only to learn that "my" group was pretty much defunct and a new group had taken it's place.  The name was almost the same, but with the word Christian added.

I am not Christian.  I am not anything.  In fact, the best descriptor I've heard for people like me is "good for nothing."

I have nothing against Christians (well, except for that hate group that travels to the funerals of dead soldiers... I have a lot against them) or any religious groups.  I am aware that my lack of religion makes people uncomfortable.  (My stance is that I will not attempt to convert you; please do the same.)  And I suppose that the opposite is also true to some degree.  So I'm probably not going to be joining a group with any religious affiliation in the title.  Especially if the group has just been narrowed down from something for all.

I hadn't yet figured out how gotten around to withdrawing from the original group.  About two weeks ago it was suddenly blowing up again.  Yes, there were group activities I couldn't quite attend (an hour before the end of the workday before I go on summer break? really?!).

One woman posted a desperate plea for diapers.  On Monday evening, I met her to give her a box along with some wipes.  It was nice and fits well with my Pay It Forward philosophy.  She's my new Facebook friend and I like her.

Did you know that Tuesdays are "my" night?  Tom's night is Thursday (and apparently also Sunday morning).  He plays tennis.  It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I feel desperate enough ready to have a night of my own and leave putting the girls down to him.  I had gone to the gym three weeks in a row.  There's a fun looking dance class that I've watched each week.  The more I didn't go to it, the more I knew I wasn't going.  By last Tuesday afternoon, I realized that the possibility of going to that class had been a major draw in getting me to the gym at all.  But my motivation (the Achilles heel of my exercising life) was plummeting.

Connecting with Kim the night before emboldened me.  I posted on the mommy group wall:

I know it's late notice, but I'm looking for a Tuesday night workout buddy. I have a membership to 24 Hour Fitness, which is great, but I'd really love to do something *with* someone. Could be the gym, walking/extremely slow jogging with lots of heavy breathing and possibly some grunting coming from your partner (I'll try to keep the cursing to a minimum). I'm available any time after 6:30, tonight or future Tuesdays. My ideal partner will generally be able to resist suggestions like, "Why don't we just go to Starbucks and hang out?"

Thirty seconds later and the group that had been humming along was silent.  Dead.  It was all my fault.  I killed it!  My use of the word grunting probably turned them off.  Or that I only said I'd try to keep my mouth under control.
All of a sudden there was a response!  A woman was available to work out with me.  At the end of July.
And another woman was up for something.  After she heals from an upcoming surgery.  How about the middle of July?
*sigh*  Does it seem like I am cursed to never make friends up here?  I thought so, too.
But then it happened.  *cue the angels singing as clouds parted and the sun bursts through dark ominous clouds*
Someone was available that night.  And she's a member at my gym.
And she, Jennifer, arrived on time!
And we have the same workout stamina and style!
Did you know that half an hour on the elliptical can go by lickety-split if you're chatting and laughing and acting out Bossy Betty's elliptical story?
We had so much fun while building muscles (except for that one arm device... that was an instrument of torture) and toning our butts.  Well, my butt.  Thank god I didn't look at Jennifer's Facebook profile or I would have realized I was going to the gym with a pretty, young, thin woman.  I am shallow and easily intimidated sometimes, I'll admit it.
For the first time in my month of working out (plus the *ahem* four years before that when I did not go at all), I stayed at the gym an entire hour.  We left laughing and looking forward to next week.  And that class that I've been not attending?  Jennifer is willing to try it, too.
When I got home, I couldn't believe all the responses I'd gotten.  No fewer than six people want to get together.  With me.

Who Put Me In Time Out? And When Is It Over?

I am still in Blogger hell.  Random ability to comment.  Sometimes it looks like I'm going to get my comment posted, even if it is as "Anonymous," but at the last second I am sent to sign in again.  But I cannot sign back in and my comment gets eaten.

The other night I wrote a lengthy post about my date with a woman and how awesome it was.*  Blogger wasn't auto-saving for some reason, and I didn't think to copy and paste until after my entire post was lost.

This lame-ass post is saving, and may post just fine.  Great.

So... I am way behind on reading, getting farther behind on writing and feeling quite frustrated by the whole thing.

I perused Blogger's user forum and followed each bit of advice I gleaned there (different browsers and clearing caches, cookies and browser histories).

What else can I do?

*Yes, if I can get this problem sorted out, I will rewrite the story.
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