Friday, December 12, 2008

"Very Punny" - A Post in Which Your Assistance Is Required

The other day I went to Lowe's with Philip and we were haunting the Lawn and Garden section, waiting for someone to jump on the forklift and drive it around. One of the employees came by and apologized that there wasn't a whole lot going on. He said, "The rain has put a damper on things." I laughed in that painful way you do when someone delivers a pun... and then said I appreciated his pun.

Later, as I tried to explain to Philip what a pun was, my brain went BLANK for examples. How can this BE? I love puns! I kept coming up with Tom Swifties, which is a whole different kettle of worms. ( Ew! A kettle of worms! There's another thing I love - mixing metaphors.) I know I could probably just google up a billion different puns, but I said to Philip, "Should I put a post on my blog, asking people to give me examples?" And he said yes. SO! If your brain doesn't go blank like mine, please leave a pun in the comment box so I can give Philip a better idea of the wonderful world of puns. ( Better yet, you can leave the comment on his blog if you want. We enjoy checking his comment box every so often and he LOVES getting comments.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grandpa the Poet

Sometimes Grandpa doesn't quite get the right word. I don't hold it against him; he's eighty five years old, for Pete's sake, and has had TIA's, after all. ( Transcient Ischemic Attacks...or if you like, strokes.) And very often the slip twixt the brain and the lip can be quite comical.

The other day I was sleepily eating breakfast to the mellifluous sound of a chainsaw somewhere in the neighborhood. I commented on its dulcet tones to the other occupants of the breakfast table- Grandpa and Aiden. However, Grandpa was not convinced that it was a chainsaw. He thought it might be one of those things that "...sweeps...clouds... or seeds." Strangely enough, I knew instantly that he was talking about a leafblower. I don't know what was funnier - his words, or the fact that I understood them perfectly.

It was a much more interesting way to say it, rather than just "leafblower." Sounded kind of poetic.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

VACATION!



For a long time, we have wanted to go on vacation. This year it's been hard to find the time. But suddenly, on Monday morning, the possibility of getting away for a few days presented itself and we grabbed it. We left for Savannah on Wednesday morning and I can't remember the last time I was so excited and happy to go somewhere. ANYWHERE. But especially Savannah. We've wanted to go to Savannah for just about as long as we've lived in Georgia. And I have to say, it did not disappoint.

First, we drove through the city and beyond it to Tybee Island, where we snagged some lunch, walked on the beach and introduced Aiden to the ocean. It was a little chilly but spectacular. Then we drove over to the lighthouse, huffed and puffed to the top, and enjoyed the view. After all that, Aiden was pretty ready to have a nap and so we went to the Hyatt and checked in...
( thankyou Brad, the fearless Priceline Negotiator) and were totally stunned when we opened the window drapes. We had a fantastic eastern view of the river and River Street. (See Flickr pictures.) There was a trumpeter down below on the street who was playing Christmas tunes for the tourists. And City Hall was right next door, with a bell chiming the hours.

The next day we payed a small fortune to go on a trolley tour of the city. And all I can say is, thank God for Cheerios, because we probably would have gotten thrown off the trolley bus in the first five minutes without them. They kept Aiden reasonably quiet...until we really got moving, and then the jolting and bumping kind of lulled him into a happy stupor. We really enjoyed the tour; we learned a lot and were completely overwhelmed with beauty. I was afraid that going to Savannah in the winter would mean we wouldn't get to enjoy the trees in all their glory, but they still had all their leaves! I mean, to look at them, you'd think it was August or something. I am a great fan of trees in general, but these trees were magnificent. I wanted to eat them. Beautiful trees, beautiful houses, and history...What better combination could there possibly be?

That tour was one of the fastest ninety minutes ever, and we wanted to get back on the trolley bus later and jump off and on at different stops so we could walk around and take pictures etc. - b/c we'd paid extra to be able to use it all day- but it didn't really work out with Aiden's schedule. ( We learned a lot about what it means to travel with a not quite one year old. Not quite the same as vacationing as a couple. But we couldn't imagine leaving him behind.) It was a little hard to take pictures from a moving trolley bus, and the next day when we went out walking, it was cold and rainy and we didn't have a lot of time...So we need to go back in the spring and take a baby back-pack ( Brad abhors strollers) so we can walk everywhere, and take really excessive amounts of pictures of trees and houses and fountains...now that we know what's out there.

We daydreamed about buying a townhouse and moving to Savannah someday. We really didn't want to come home.

We were watching TV in the hotel and I can't even remember what we were watching but suddenly a phone rang... and it sounded like our phone at home... and instantly, my stomach just tightened. Then I realized it was just on the TV, and I turned to Brad and told him what my instant reaction was, and he said the exact same thing had happened with him. I guess we really needed this vacation!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Autumn Blahs.

You know how some days you go to the fridge and just stare inside, hoping that something interesting will appear so you can eat it...? It's kind of become like that with this blog. My mother said something the other day about checking to see if I'd written anything... and then I found myself coming here, for no apparent reason, and wondering why I haven't written anything... and getting SICK of looking at Aiden squawking at the Red Sox in helpless fury.

I guess I've been in a bit of a slump since late October. Or busy. Or uninspired. Or something. But whatever. The blog must go on. I guess. I don't know why, but it must.

I went to Sam's Club yesterday with Aiden. They were having this special Holiday event where they had all these booths with samples of food... I mean, this is Sam's Club where that kind of thing happens every day, but this was more than usual. And it was no coincidence that I was there on this special day. I needed to buy eggs. And salad dressing. And toilet paper. Which I could have gotten very well at some other store, but I knew that this event was happening. Free samples of delectable food? Wild horses couldn't keep me away! ( When have wild horses ever tried to drag you away from something? I mean, really! Why do we say this?) I was not disappointed. The thing was, Aiden was not content to be left out. He was reaching for everything I got and insisting vociferously that I share. So I did, a little bit, with a couple things. And you give that kid an inch, he will take a whole shhhhmorgasboard. Probably because the thing that I let him taste, an apple crisp type of thing, had barely touched a little bit of vanilla icecream... (Aiden's first taste of icecream! At Sam's! How prosaic.) He strongly approved. Don't worry - it wasn't much. A toothpickful, perhaps.

It is the opinion of some that Aiden is not fat enough, and I tend to agree, somewhat. I mean, I'm not terribly worried about his relative leanness, ( his fat is just well distributed, shall we say) but I wouldn't be sad to see more chubbiness on his bones. Maybe I ought to take him to Sam's for free samples every day.

So... it's not War and Peace, but I'm back on the blogging wagon again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Old Red Sox...





...stinkin' their hardest.

( Aiden gave up in frustration in the second inning and went to bed. I, however, stayed up til what I pessimistically thought would be the bitter end...but it turned out sweet after all! Unbelievable...)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Little bits of news from our corner of the woild

* Brad's been doing training in different departments of the Sheriff's office. For instance, for a day or two, he got to work with people who serve warrants... and one of the things they do is evict people. Sounds interesting, eh? Not fun, I imagine, but at least interesting. One time, they were standing out on the lawn with a pile of stuff that had just been brought out of the evicted house, and this lady stopped and asked, "Ya'll having a yardsale?" ( And I thought I was queen of the yardsales. ) I thought this anecdote was classic and highly amusing.

*Aiden is aaaaaalmost crawling. He is soooo close. I think he may have actually sort of crawled, but I don't know if "sort of" counts. Every day I think, this is it, and we have several minutes on video of him lying on his belly, contemplating the phone or whatever we've placed in front of him to tempt him forwards, and me gasping in the background. I want him to crawl so bad but I know as soon as he does, it's the end of the world as I know it.

* It's October and the Red Sox are at it again. I stayed up way too late last night watching them... Sigh. Hope springs infernal.

*Went to Stone Mountain a couple weekends ago with Nate and Penny. Good times! The last time I'd been there was in 1999 with the Bibleschool. Cahrazy. Can't believe that's almost ten years ago. This time, I got to ride up instead of climb up - my first time in a cable car. We got some pictures which shall... hopefully...eventually make their way onto the world-wide-interweb. My favorite part: the carillon. We serendipitously arrived as the lady was playing the...um...organ...bells...instrument...thingy. ( I mean - is it correct to say she was playing the carillon? Or is that the structure itself?) It was so beautiful and peaceful to walk down by the lake amid the sights of fall and the sound of the bells. I love bells. I used to try to be outside on campus at St. A's at the top of an hour if I could manage it, just so I could hear the bells ringing.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Baby Chewbacca

Aiden has taken to gurgling and burbling - sometimes with the front of his tongue and sometimes in the back of his mouth. Grampa came up for dinner and was making warbling gurgles at him and Aiden was giving them right back to him. "Sounds like a Wookie family reunion," murmured Brad.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Aiden likes to screech. Sometimes - when he's happy. His new nickname is "Nazgul boy." We've recently developed a saying that reflects this penchant for noise making. You know how the Olympics have their little motto of "citius, altius, fortius" for "faster, higher, stronger"? Well, I'm not sure what the Latin equivalent would be but this is Aiden's motto: " Louder, shriller, screechier."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hearing News

October 3rd came and went, and I did not feel any sort of urge or need to write. So I didn't. However, I enjoyed other people's remembrances of Andrew. And I made a comment on some blogs and thought I might turn it into my own little post. I feel like writing now. So I will.

Whenever I hear other people's memories and stories of Andrew, in some strange way, it's like hearing news of him again. Even if some of the things they say are things I already knew about. When Liane mentioned the little voice that whispers, " That's enough now. No one wants to hear this stuff again", I knew what she was talking about. I think everyone deals with that at one time or other, regarding the loss of someone who was so dear that the loss has become a defining part of ones' life. You don't want people to sigh, be tired of it, treat as trite something that is so painfully precious. But, at the same time, I am also certain that anyone who ever knew Andrew will want to hear news of him. Remembering these things among each other is how we do that.

Brad and I were talking recently and he mentioned an interesting phenomenon about dates. For instance, he might hear about something in the news with a date attached to it, like the war in Iraq starting in 2003. Or maybe he thinks, when did this book come out? Oh, 2002. Or, when did I work there? 2004? When did I fly there? 2001? When was this movie made? 2005? He was saying that whenever he hears a recent date, within the past seven or eight years or so, he always automatically thinks, "Was Andrew alive then?" It's not a big deal. Not that it makes anything good or bad. I guess it's just a mental habit, this Andrew timeline. But it amazed me to hear him say that because I do exactly the same thing when I hear dates. It's like everything gets sorted into two piles - before October 3rd, 2004 and after that day. I guess it's my frame of reference for this decade, and perhaps for the rest of my life.

I have my own odd little kitchen memory too. I can't remember whether it was the day before he died or about six weeks before, but he was at our apartment for a family gathering, and he had a paper cup he was using. Instead of writing his own name on it to distinguish it from the crowd, he wrote a weird joke name. I just went and looked at it in my cupboard. I keep it with the candles and the mugs I don't use, and I have a little note in it saying, "Please don't throw this cup away." I was just showing it to Brad and we cannot remember how the joke was started or really what it was about. I just keep the cup with his writing on it.

Nothing earthshattering. Just wanted to write.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"The Irony" or " The Best Laid Seat Covers..."

I got a marvelous gift from Penny at my baby shower, about a year ago. It's a grocery cart seat cover so that Aiden can sit in the front part of the cart when I shop, and be protected from all the nasty germs/bacteria/viruses that generally inhabit those things. My germaphobic heart rejoiced to receive such a gift. It covers pretty much every surface of the front of the cart and it's beautiful. I just recently started using it because he can now sit up by himself ( Hurray!) which is great because I was getting pretty tired of putting his carseat in the back of the cart, and thereby having very little room in the cart to put groceries.

So yesterday I went to Sam's Club to pick up a couple items and I used the cart cover...except the carts at Sam's are just like everything else at that esteemed establishment - sized for Jabba the Hutt. So the cover didn't exactly fit. But, no matter. I'm flexible. I can deal with these little discrepancies. I put Aiden in the cart, did my shopping, paid, and left. As I walked out into the parking lot and looked around to make sure we weren't walking into the path of any oncoming vehicles, my attention was distracted from Aiden for a few seconds. When I looked down at him, I could not believe my eyes. He was leaning over, almost prone in the seat, SUCKING on the exposed part of the side of the cart, not covered by the too-small seat cover. AAAAUGH! I was horrified and amused at the same time.

Figures.

Aiden, 1. Control Freak Mother Claire, 0.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This and That

I haven't really written much for a while so I'm just going to throw out some flotsam and jetsam paragraphs about what's been going on of late.

Right now, Brad is driving around looking for a gas station with some gas. He's been to several and can't find any. He had to come home and put the lawnmower gas in the vehicle and then go back out to look for more because he was so low on gas. Ayeyeyaye!

I cut my hair. Short. My hair has been falling out for awhile - which I hear is a normal postpartum thing. I thought it would have stopped by now - he was born nine months ago, for Pete's sake, how long will I keep losing hair?!- and for a while I was worried that my thyroid meds needed adjustment. I consulted my doctor, got the bloodwork done, and lo, the thyroid was fine... so I guess it was just good old weird hormones or whatever. It seems like with hair falling out, and thus less hair to deal with, it would have been an easier thing to handle... but instead, it was just turning into a big hassle and a worse scraggly mess than usual and I wanted to hack it OFF. So I did. Well- I didn't, but a woman in a salon did. Over ten inches of it. I've never had it this short before. And I donated it to Locks Of Love - an organization that makes wigs for people - and so the whole haircut was FREE! ( except for the tip, of course.) Woohoo! . Penny and Aiden came with me; Penny to get her hair cut too, and Aiden to charm everyone's socks off in the salon. I kept on bursting out into laughter afterwards because it just felt so different and every time I passed a mirror it was startling. Brad is not too thrilled with my shorn look, and I am sorry for that... but I just feel like a calf released from the stall. And of course, it will grow back. Never fear. I know some people feel sad and regretful after cutting their hair. Not me. I'm SO happy with it.

You can see pictures on Flickr. I don't really have a true "after" picture up yet. The one I do have, my hair is all straight and un-me. They blowdry it flat afterwards and I don't look right. I'll have to put up a real one asap.

The other day, I had Aiden with me when I went to work with Philip. Aiden very regretfully went down for a nap and when he woke up a while later, I went in to get him and held him on my lap while I read to Philip. A couple minutes later, I suddenly noticed that both of Aiden's legs were stuck in one pant leg. I can't believe how unobservant I was! I don't know how long it was like that - or how it happened. Did he do that himself? Or did I do it the last time I changed his diaper? I started laughing, and picked him up to show Philip, who started laughing too. We both laughed so hard that Aiden got a little scared, I think.

Blue, blue, blue


Dianne Sandford sent this jacket for Aiden several months ago. I love it! Thanks, Dianne! Couldn't resist taking his picture wearing the blue camo on the blue couch, next to the blue lamp...Can you tell what our favorite color is? I love how it make his blue eyes jump out at you.

Derrick, I told you I'd post a picture of him wearing this jacket!

Mo' on Flickr.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prey

It kind of feels like someone - someTHING - is out to get you when one sunny morning, you see that a gigantic, glorious, glistening spiderweb has been set in place... right outside your back door, as close as a screen. And you feel a little threatened, and then, a little foolish to be so intimidated by something the size of... wait... that spider is HUGE! Okay- its body is probably no bigger than your big toenail. Perspective, perspective, please. But...I guess I'll wait... a few days...until it's gone to go out on the back porch.

Yesterday afternoon, we watched the spider roll up some poor anonymous creature who had the misfortune to wander into the web. Brad exclaimed about how cool it was; I could hardly watch. He thought it looked remarkably like Shelob wrapping up Frodo. A very small, fly-like, un-hobbitish Frodo. Poor Frodo. There was no Sam bug to come rescue him.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Aunt Lindsay and Aiden


Friday afternoon I got a phone call from Lindsay. She, Amy, and Andrea were flying out to DJ's wedding in California and had a four hour layover in Atlanta and she wondered if I'd be able to pop up to the airport for a visit. Wild horses couldn't keep me away! I haven't seen Lindsay or Amy in about two years and it was so much fun to see them - AND Andrea, who I had the good fortune to see this summer for a few days- and to watch them interact with Aiden. They seemed to genuinely like him, even though he spit up a large amount of peas and oatmeal on Aunt Lindsay...which is generally not a good way to win friends and influence newly introduced aunts. But she was very forgiving, having other nieces and nephews, of the blood-relation variety, who have done much worse to her. ( I couldn't resist linking to that... Just thinking about that story cracks me up.)

I thought perhaps he might rip one of her earrings out - which made me feel not a little queasy- because he was fascinated with them and was playing with them almost like a monkey swinging on a chandelier, but Saint-Aunt Lindsay tolerated his tuggings and all ear flesh remained intact. PHEW.

So, yes, the whole thing was a very bright spot in my week. Hurray for surprises!

Oh, and by the way, happy wedding day, DJ and Crystal!

( Picture taken with my cell phone.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I never thought I'd be a hair stylist

The other day I gave Aiden his first haircut because his little mohawky-Tintin-tuft was getting a little unruly. I took some pictures and I just have to share a few of them.

The urge to cut his hair kind of just came on me in the middle of feeding him his first avocado.





Doesn't it look like he has green teeth? EW!


I've never cut anyone's hair before, but I figured that beginning on him couldn't be all that terrible - he doesn't have that much hair to start with. Most of it is in his little mohawk in the front. It's not like he'd get mad at me if I did a bad job. So I guess he's my guinea pig. I'll learn on him as he grows.

I put a dish towel around his neck, got the scissors, wet his hair down, and went to work. Poor thing- I think he was a little perturbed that his mealtime was getting interrupted. And he was having a hard time sitting still because he was trying to figure out what I was doing, which did nothing to make my job easier. "I'm supposed to sit quietly while you are wielding scissors over my head?"



In the middle of it all, I had to stop and laugh and laugh because he looked so funny with his hair combed down flat. I guess I scared him with my hysterical laughter because his lower lip started to pooch out and he began to cry. For after pictures, see Flickr.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A small, weird mystery

Why Stan likes to lick the underside of the kitchen table, I will never, ever understand.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I just learned that I'm ignorant.

I just returned from a meeting of the local chapter of La Leche League. I've been once before, but that was back when Aiden was only a few weeks old. There were more people there this time, and the circle of mothers was surrounded by a screaming vortex of children...so I got a chance to practice my lip-reading skills as the mothers discussed such issues as weaning and solid foods. ( It's amazing how much I COULD lip read!) I learned a lot and was grateful that I went but I thought on the way home how thankful I was for the leaders' opening little spiel about taking what works for you and not feeling pressured by anyone else's opinion. Because I did feel a little... um... I don't even know what the word is for this feeling. Ignorant? Put off? Stupid? Lemming-like? Mainstream? Like my insecure neuroses were expanding like yeast being fed with sugar?

For instance, some people were talking about why you shouldn't feed your baby cereal. And we're not talking Cheerios or whatever. They meant like basic stuff - rice cereal, oatmeal etc. It was interesting hearing their theories and ideas and not everyone gave off this vibe of " if you don't do this, you are a bad mother, brainwashed by our culture of convenience." It just made me think: I love learning but I don't love feeling ignorant. When you think about it, they're inevitably linked - learning eradicates ignorance, but some people have a gift of teaching without making others aware of their ignorance. And some people's way of imparting wisdom leaves you staring at the void of ignorance in yourself. Weird. ( And that makes me think, "Which am I?" )

How can I say this better? Learning should be a positive thing: Cool! I just learned something new! I can't wait to do this new thing. I want to research more about it. It shouldn't be a negative thing- Hey- why didn't I know that before - it seems like such an obvious basic to that person- oh, I feel bad because I've been doing this and that wrong...I probably harmed Aiden's digestive system by feeding him that... The Holy Spirit's way is the first way - the excitement of learning. The devil's way is the second way - CONDEMNATION!

Maybe it's partly a pride issue. I know that humility is essential to being a healthy Christian - a healthy PERSON for that matter- but there is a line - somewhere - between humility (a teachable spirit) and feeling DUMB. "There is now no dumb-demnation..."

I'm torn; I want to go back to this group because both times I have gone, I've learned valuable things but A.) the horde of wild children was almost enough to make me institute mandatory quiet story time - led by me - but then I wouldn't be able to learn anything and B.) I have enough insecurities that I come up with on my own to conquer thankyouverymuch.

I'll probably go back. But maybe not next month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thanks for the inspiration, SJ!

I was just reading on one of my favorite blogs: "Keeping Up." Sara's latest post alludes to the trend of over-scheduling children; I started writing a comment on her blog, and realized that I was writing a blog post of my own. So...I came over to my own blog and kept writing. So, for what it's worth...my comment to Sara has blossomed and is now my rant to the world:

YES! Resist busyness! ( I think I'm going to adopt this as my new motto.) This is true for adults as well as children.

It's odd, and a little unsettling, how I already feel a vague sort of pressure with a baby - just seven months old - to make sure I provide the right stimuli for learning, the right toys, etc. It's a good thing to be aware of these things, I guess, but I tend to get a little too angsty about it. I find myself thinking, "Am I doing this right? Am I not playing and"ENGAGING" him enough? ( You know when you start using vapid, meaningless buzzwords like "engaging" that you're in trouble.) Should I buy loud, annoying toys and force him to play with them? Are there studies that prove that infants are positively affected by those irritating toys? If I just DO more, will he get better SAT scores???" Not really - not that last one anyway...but I have to keep giving myself reality checks, resisting the weird temptation to constantly second guess myself or somehow feel guilty and instead, just RELAX, for Pete's sake. It's like I'm comparing myself to some non-existant, perfect mother. But sometimes I just want someone to TELL me what to do. Get this toy, do this three times a day, read this book. This will ensure a better future for your child. Voila. A formula. Too bad that's not how life works. ( And besides- " better?" Better than what? Better than perfectly fine? Better than happy? Yeah- makes no sense.)

The pioneers and founding fathers are a great solace to me. They didn't have scads of cool toys with flashing lights and seventy two different tunes built into microchips. They didn't have mobiles that play lullabys hanging over their cribs. They didn't do baby yoga. They did not have Gerber foods or Huggies Sensitive Skin Wipes. ( GASP - how did they SURVIVE?) And look what they did: they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They created the Constitution. They crossed the continent. They built the transcontinental railroad...to name but a few accomplishments. Nice work! Not too shabby, as Nate would say. They were incredible inventors, thinkers, writers, and scholars. Even as children, they could run circles, intellectually speaking, around the smarty-pants college students of today.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell did not have Baby Einstein DVD's. For that matter, EINSTEIN didn't have Baby Einstein DVD's. So there, busybody moms of today. Take that.

Disclaimer: this is not to say that from now on I am going to use leaves or woolen wipes on Aiden's poor little bottom, tear down and stomp on the mobile over his crib, give him muddy, pointy sticks to play with, forbid him from ever leaving our property, and teach him that Baby Einstein is the essence of evil. Nope. I may actually play those DVDs for him someday. I LIKE the cute little toys he has. I want him to find interests and pursue them. I just don't want to be obsessed with keeping up with the culture around me that ceaselessly chants, "Do More! Buy More! Experience more! Go more! Not enough! Not enough! Not enough!"

Monday, August 04, 2008

I may be pursued by the Diaper Police


Today was Aiden's first time swimming. Penny and I took him down to the neighborhood pool and he seemed a little perplexed at first, but I think he decided that he liked it. He didn't cry and seemed to enjoy splashing anyway! Penny took this picture on her cell phone -isn't it fantabulous?!

We found out later that no diapers are allowed in the pool. Oops. Well, would wearing NO diaper have been better?! Okay- that's why they have a little kiddie pool... but it was all weird looking and even when I cleaned out the leaves, it still looked... palsied, brackish, and altogether less than wholesome. There was no one else there, but we still could get in trouble because... big brother was watching. Yes, our pool has a surveillance camera so that if any crimes occur there, they will have tapes to use for evidence. I can see the newscast now: "DIAPER IN POOL! Footage at 11:00!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 24 - Seven Months


Seven Months
Originally uploaded by claire.pass
Aiden is seven months old today. Another reason that I wanted him born on the 24th and not on Christmas ( when I realized he wasn't going to come weeks or days EARLY like I initially wanted), was because Andrew's birthday is July 24th and 24 was always his favorite number. Kind of silly for it to matter to me, I know, but it makes me happy in a small way. I am wondering about this idea: when Aiden is older, and birthday parties with friends are important, in order to make his birthday special and not overshadowed by Christmas, maybe we should adopt Andrew's birthday and celebrate a sort of half-birthday. To be truly "half" it would need to be in June... so maybe I'll just call it his summer birthday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fingers Crossed: I think we're out of the woods

Many thanks to those who prayed for Brad last week. I'm glad to say he is feeling much better now that the fever is gone. I think having a couple days of weekend recuperation helped a lot. He got some blood taken for testing but the results haven't come back yet so we're not sure what the whole story is.

And Stan is on the mend too. I realize I haven't really gotten into his whole story... I'm still trying to decide if I should even go there. Ooog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Brad

Just to update anyone who's interested...

Brad's fever has continued and fluctuated through the week but every morning, he stubbornly forced himself out the door. He's on some prescription strength Motrin and is doing pretty much everything he can... except what he really NEEDS to do - and that is REST for DAYS. Fortunately, he has Saturday and Sunday off - although he has a mandatory study group on Sunday afternoons. But I think at least twenty four hours of doing NOTHING at all will be very helpful. He has had papers every night this week which has not really allowed him to relax much in the evenings but it has been kind of fun for me to help him craft them.

I am hoping to set up an appointment for him to get some bloodwork done this afternoon so that we can find out if there is something more sinister afoot - like Lyme's Disease or something. Gulp.

Thanks to all of you who prayed - it made a difference. Brad said he could tell people were praying for him.

In the midst of all this, Stan had a health crisis of his own that necessitated a visit to his primary care physician. But that is another story for another day. But, suffice it to say that we have had enough drama around here to last us for a long, LONG time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If I wrote blog posts like my Facebook status

Claire should be putting away laundry but she isn't.

Claire thinks that this day of work was FABULOUS and that everyone should go check out what Philip wrote on his blog this morning. ( see my links section.)

Claire hopes that Brad is feeling better and wants everyone to pray for him. Okay- have to stop this Facebook talk and expound a little here. Sunday night, Brad came down with a fever, and thrashed and moaned all night long, hardly sleeping, only to get up around 4:00 in the morning to take off for his very first day of police academy. What timing. He came home pretty exhausted last night and his fever spiked way up to an ungodly number...between 102 and 103. Poor man. Chills, headache, sweats... the works. And he had to write a three page essay about himself. So as he huddled under the covers, he dictated his life story to me. Thank goodness for laptops is all I can say. Well, at 5:15 this morning, he didn't seem much improved but he dragged himself out of bed and took off for the academy again. I do not know how he did it. He was the picture of pure misery. He should be home some time in the next hour and I can't wait to hear about his day. Please pray for a miraculously quick recovery.

Claire is heading back to laundry land.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Aiden makes a new friend


On Thursday, our friends Jeff and Fritha visited, with their 6 week old daughter Dani. It was so fun to meet her - she has ten times more hair than Aiden! - and hold her. Aiden was quite captivated by her. We had a wonderful day together.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food, glorious food! Or, Please, mama, may I have some more?

A combination of several different factors caused me to take a momentous step today: I gave Aiden his first solid food! Well, if you had seen it, I doubt the word "solid" would have been the first adjective to spring to mind. It was rice cereal... So...glop, really. He looked a little confused at first, like, "Why are you feeding me what appears to be spit-up?" But by the end, he was licking the tray for any stray smidgens. Good to the last drop! It was hilarious! Yes- I say "tray" because he had another first - he sat in the highchair for the first time today too! He seems to be quite smitten with this exciting new world of quasi-solid food and a chair to go with it. And I got it all on the videocamera...Um, unfortunately, I didn't set up the camera very well and most of the time, you just see my hand in front of his mouth. Duh. Oh well - be it ever so clumsily executed, the event was recorded for posterity.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Aiden's six month pictures

Here's the latest crop of Aiden pictures...





Pretty incredible how six months has flown by...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Diaper Service

Aiden turns six months old tonight at 11:59. Party at our house @ midnight! Mmmm- hopefully not.

( Pictures to follow soon, hopefully.)

He has reached the status of magician: this evening he somehow got more icky on the outside of his diaper than the inside. I'm still not sure how that happened.

The doorbell rang a few minutes ago and it was the little girl from next door and she wanted to buy some diapers from me. Really! She had fifty cents in her hand as well as a Cabbage Patch baby doll. She wanted some diapers for him/her because apparently, this is the type of doll who you can really feed and who actually "goes."

I had a doll kind of like that once - not a Cabbage Patch baby but the kind who really "went" and I swore an oath - or affirmed, I can't remember which, but I may have been ignorant at the time of the verse in James that tells us "let your yea be yea and your nay be nay" - that I would take this doll with me wherever I went in life. I think I still have that doll somewhere. Maybe. Hmmmm.

Anyway- I was tha-RILLED to be of assistance and happily, I had half a dozen small diapers of a size that Aiden has outgrown already that I had cluttering up his bookcase. I didn't know what to do with them anyway so I was glad to be rid of them! They will probably be a tad bit big on this doll, but better than nothing!

I refused remuneration.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Update on Grampa

Well, Grampa came home from the hospital this afternoon. He's moving slower and still hard to understand, but it's getting a tad bit easier to figure out what he's saying. He may have to have surgery at some point to clear his veins ( or arteries?) of further blockage but it can wait for now, according to the doctor. Surprisingly, his doctors seem to think that Grandpa and Dad's month-long cross country trip in July is a great idea and are encouraging him to go. We'll see. We're letting the dust settle for a few days. Letting the dust settle happens around here a lot anyway.

I've got to lay in a supply of straws when I go grocery shopping tomorrow; he seemed to be having a hard time drinking from the glass at dinner, so I hope having a straw will make that a little easier.

Yes, as I have heard many an elder say, " Growing old aint for sissies." That's for sure. Too bad there's not a whole lot of training and personal preparation on how to deal with ones own failing body. Not that you'd really WANT a lot of education in that department, but the crash course most people get just seems a bit sad and cruel. Life is baffling. Wonderful, yes. But baffling at the same time. Grandpa and Aiden make happy noises at each other and the juxtaposition of the two - one who hasn't learned to talk yet, the other who is trying to remember how to talk- makes me feel something that's a bit like laughing and crying at the same time.

Thankyou for your prayers. We appreciate them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Unexpected

Please pray for Grampa. This morning, I came down to make his birthday breakfast - guess what? His favorite: waffles!- and found that he was already up, getting his cereal out... When I said Good morning, he turned around and looked at me a little funny, like he was upset, and then opened his mouth to say something but his words were so slurred, I couldn't understand what he was saying. Right away, I knew he must have had a stroke - or something like it- and my heart sank.

He had another mini stroke last month and spent almost a week in the hospital, getting tests and eventually a pacemaker put in. ( I don't think I wrote anything about that.) But the only thing we had noticed wrong that time was that he was having trouble swallowing food. Other than that, he seemed totally normal. But when we took him to the doctor, they said he'd had a little stroke and told us to go to the hospital.

Anyway, that was last month. This morning, as soon as I realized what was going on, I told Grandpa to sit down, went upstairs and told Brad who scurried around, gathering up the right paperwork to take with him to the hospital. Meanwhile, I went back down to the kitchen to talk to Grandpa. Fortunately, he was able to walk, and could sort of write. So that was encouraging. It was a little hard to understand his writing, but he could basically get his point across. I read him a birthday card from Aunt Gladys, and afterwards, Grandpa sort of sang, "Happy Birthday To Me...." - just the first line. It was so sweet and funny and sad. I could only really understand the tune, and the "to me" part, but it conveyed that he hadn't lost his sense of humor. Poor guy- Happy 85th Birthday! Let's go to the hospital to celebrate! Man. Not how I'd want to spend my birthday. A few minutes after that, Brad and Grandpa left for the hospital.

Many thanks to Penny who came over to calm my jitters b/c I was pretty freaked out and loaned me her car for the day so I could go do stuff to keep busy and visit Grandpa this evening. I'm just waiting for Aiden to wake up ( his schedule has been pretty disrupted today) so I can feed him and then we can go.

Please pray for Grampa. One thing to pray for specifically is that he will recover his speech fully. I think losing the ability to talk would probably be a pretty frustrating thing to endure, and not to sound totally self-centered or anything, but it would make living with him and caring for him pretty challenging.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Four Generations


Happy Father's Day to all the dads in this picture! And to my own dear father!

The Answer

It came to my attention that some might appreciate my posting the solution to my hinkety-hinkety riddle. Ahem, yes. I have been remiss in leaving it up in the ether. For those who saw this on Facebook, I know that someone solved it in a comment, but for those who just saw it on the blog, I have left you in the dark!

The answer is....

carrion carry-on.

Ta-daaaaa!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuna Showdown

Today was a first for me. Brad and I went to a car dealership and took a large SUV out for a test drive. I drove. It was a beast of a vehicle. A very safe, high, leathery, full of nifty storage compartments beast. Yes, I know- you are thinking: What? Gas prices are so high and they're test- driving SUV'S? All I have to say to you is: Whatever, Trevor. Go ask Brad. I trust him with the financial/car decisions around here. Plus, it feels safe. I like safe. Especially when it's for him. ( The vehicle is primarily going to be for him. Unless I fall in love with it and decide to purloin it.) )( Ooo- purloin is such a luscious word.)

A woman from the dealership came with us and told me where to drive. I felt like I was in Driver's Ed again.

And in conclusion: I have two things to say.

First, only on the show "Iron Chef" could you find this show description: Tuna Showdown. The juxtaposition of these words is the funniest thing I've seen all day.

Secondly, everyone needs to go right out and get - and EAT - a new flavor from Ben and Jerry's - Cinnamon Bun! SO GOO-OO-OO-OO-OOD.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More of Aiden


These pictures are a couple that I put on Flickr recently. I know many of you have already seen them but I'm posting them especially for Aunt Gladys who can't get them off Flickr but can get them if I put them in the blog! Enjoy, Aunt Gladys!

Monday, June 09, 2008

...My posse's not the only thing gettin' laughed at...

Today's Funny Thing of The Day That Made Aiden Laugh:

Me singing the Free Credit Report Dot Com ad about buying a new car.

Is it stuck in your head too? Oy vey.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Perhaps the world's first hinkety-hinkety

Two new posts in as many days?! The skies will surely fall.

This post is for those who know how to play hinkey-pinkies. This should include everyone who's ever made applesauce at Fairwood. (Hmmm- a large group, I should think.) At least, it was played during the time I was there. (Hmmm- smaller group, I should think.) I don't know if they still play it on A-Sauce Day. I didn't see it on CKS's recent docudrama...( The rest of you: sorry. I don't feel like explaining hinkey-pinkies. Try googling it.)

I don't know if this has been done before, but I propose a "hinkety-hinkety." See if you can figure it out:

Unchecked duffel bag belonging to a carcass.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Funny Manna

Recently, I've noticed a new phenomenon with Aiden. There comes a certain time of day that I am calling The Laughing Hour. It started a while ago when I noticed around 8 or 9:00 in the evening that he was particularly susceptible to chortling. I would do something - making a certain noise or doing a certain kind of tickle - and he'd take it into his head that it was the funniest thing he had seen all day and laugh. And of course, I'd do it again, just to hear that beautiful little chuckle... and again, and again... The next day, it's not funny. The noise or tickle doesn't work. It has to be something completely different. And I'll go through all sorts of contortions and noises until he decides on The Next Funny Thing. As Cherilyn would say- there's a spiritual analogy here! It's like the children of Israel and their manna- it's fresh every morning...or in our case, evening. ( And the old stuff rots...becomes foul...is no good...You get the idea.)

Aiden's been having some pretty fussy episodes recently- due to teething. I was fussy too when my wisdom teeth were coming in, so I can empathize. But the Laughing Hour still works, in spite of the fussies. When the funny thing is discovered, he will switch, mid-whine, into a wide grin and giggle. This bodes very well in my sight. And tonight, I hit the jackpot. EVERYTHING that I did made him laugh! I felt like the most hilarious comedienne! ( I wish I could have recorded it, but of course, as luck would have it, we don't have any blank tapes for the videocamera right now... But he doesn't seem to really be himself when the camera is around anyway.)

It's a good thing that children don't realize the power they wield. I don't think they would, as Strong-Bad says, use it "for good or for awesome." I think they would make slaves of us all if they only knew. Well, I guess they really DO make slaves of us. For years, we feed them, carry them, change their dirty diapers, wash their clothes, do innumerable things to ensure their health and safety... and, for a while anyway, our biggest reward is the joy of experiencing their smiles and laughter.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Abandon Hope, Ye Lizards

This morning, as we were leaving for church, Brad stepped out the door, made a noise of consternation and said, "Do you want to see something disgusting?" I said no. Most definitely not. What kind of a question is THAT? ( Although, I suppose I should steel myself for such events, now that I am the mother of a boy. Furthermore, a boy is apt to thrust the Disgusting Something under my nose, rather than ask, as his father did, if I'd like to come see it.) I went out the door quickly, hoping that whatever it was would stay out of my line of vision...which it did. We left for church and I forgot about it.

When I returned home, I happened to catch a glimpse of The Disgusting Something as I came in the door. Apparently, sometime in the recent past - perhaps when my neighbor came over the other day to give me the contents of her fridge - including several steaks, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, green beans, asparagus, two lemons, a cucumber, ground turkey and a huge bag of shrimp- when our front door was open, a small lizard decided to poke his head in the door. Literally. Not on the side of the doorknob, but on the other side - near the hinges, to be more exact. Have you guessed what's coming? Well, I did not see this small reptilian visitor, and... yes... I...quite literally... closed the door on him. The portion of his body with his head attached was inside the door. I have no idea how long he was there before Brad spied him...but it had to have been at least overnight. Siiiiiiiiick.

It made me think of a verse in the book of Hebrews and my mind wandered to strange paths...like what if there was an animalia "Faith Chapter"... which talks about lizards who have undergone persecutions and torture... and been severed in doors...I TOLD you I was thinking strangely.

But, on a more serious note, can you believe my neighbor? I think she wins some sort of award. She was going out of town for the weekend, quite unexpectedly, because her father was dying in Louisiana... and she had all this food thawing - or thawed- in her fridge- and in the midst of getting ready to go, and in spite of her own personal distress, she thought to call me and offer me this food that would probably be bad by the time she got home again. Who is that thoughtful? I think I need to buy her flowers or SOMEthing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vultures, tipping, and The Obsessive Germ Radar

Today I interrupted a vulture feast. The nasty creatures were feeding on some roadkill in the middle of the country lane I was driving on... and I shouted, "VULTURES!" feeling distinctly Captain Haddock-esque. Actually, I can't remember if I shouted aloud or just thought it - as Lindsay would say, using my inside voice or outside voice. Anyway- vultures. Ew. I don't think I had ever seen real live vultures before.

In other news, last night I was feeling rather like a soggy dishrag and the thought of making dinner was not to be borne: I picked up the phone and ordered pizza. When the guy came to deliver, my mind was a bit pre-occupied and after he left, I realized I had not tipped him. Guilt smote me big time. I wondered what dark imprecations he was calling down on me as he drove away. I pictured him coming back under cover of darkness and toilet papering my house. So to ward off any curses or acts of revenge, and to assuage my injured conscience, I called the establishment, ( which rhymes with Fominoes, to use a Brandon trick) after dinner, and asked who my delivery guy was. They told me his name and I explained the situation and asked them to tell him how sorry I was and that I would bring his tip in tomorrow. So this morning, along with my other errands, I zoomed into the pizza place and lo, there was the gentleman - or scrub, depending on how charitable you feel- himself, and I was able to deliver my belated tip into his paws with much groveling. He seemed a little stunned to see me. I bet that was probably the first ( and probably last time) anyone ever chased him down the DAY AFTER A DELIVERY to give him a tip.

And in still other news: I think I should wrap Aiden in plastic wrap ( with holes for breathing of course) or encase him in a giant hamster ball ( again, with holes) when I take him to the grocery store. It's funny how people seem to think that babies are public domain. It's almost like I can see a bubble over their heads that reads, "Oh! I see a baby! I must touch the baby!" This is a logical fallacy, ( is that the term I want? All I can remember from my ethics class is the phrase "there is no ought from is". Thankyou, Professor Monty Brown) but logical or illogical, people think it and act upon it all the time. They grasp his hand or pinch his toes... all of which are things that go straight into his mouth. ( Yes, he's gnawing his toes these days - it's hilarious. ) My obsessive germ radar goes wild. I know they can't really help touching him - I am drawn like a magnet to him too... I KNOW from firsthand experience that he's irresistible. So now, instead of just me using the hand sanitizer, I want to slather it upon anyone within a six foot radius of Aiden. Maybe I should hang a little sign from the handle of his carseat - "Please do not touch the baby. He is for display purposes only." I know this is probably all due to being a first-time mother. With my next child, I'll probably be so laid back that I'll drag him/her along in the gutter and think nothing of it. (Mmmm - probably not.)( And no, I'm not pregnant.)( Yes- back to that little disclaimer again!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ranch Dressing a Religion for Some

I have been having a decidedly dry spell with writing recently, but today gives me a good excuse to break my involuntary silence. Today I am thirty. Think upon it. How it boggles the mind.

I decided to mark the occasion this morning by making waffles - something which, if you read this blog, it seems like I'm doing all the time, but really, it's quite a rare event. Because of Aiden, my morning routine usually does not include having breakfast with Grampa anymore so he was quite startled to see me up and about in the kitchen this morning. Grampa is quite punctual with his breakfast whereas my morning meal sometimes is so late that it becomes a brunchish sort of thing. Yes, I KNOW, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I do my best.

Anyway, Grampa offered to help me set the table, since I was busy making the waffles; I asked him to get out the syrup. He rummaged around in the fridge and a moment later came out with ... Ranch dressing. I successfully repressed wild laughter. ( This is a sure sign that I needed to clean out my fridge, something that I did this evening.) Ranch dressing is practically one of the essential blocks of the food pyramid for Grampa. You've got your carbs, your protein, your dairy, your fruits and vegetables, your sweets and oils... and then you have your Ranch. I have considered writing a whole post just about his love of the stuff. ( I think we should invest in Ranch Dressing stocks - it would be nice to have some return on the investment). I have seen him pour it on just about everything, but waffles was a bit of a stretch, even for him. I think it was just a case of condiment confusion because he didn't actually put any on his waffles. ( I surreptitiously snuck the syrup onto the table a few minutes later.) From that moment on, I knew it was going to be a good birthday.

And it has been.

Aiden even got me some roses and a card - don't know HOW he managed that!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

George Clooney and Isaac Demme; separated at birth.

On a whim, I decided to search Facebook for famous people. A name popped into my mind and I typed in George Clooney, just for giggles. Several pages popped up, mostly with the actor's picture. ( One side of me says, Foolish imposters. The other side says, How unfortunate to be named the same name as a celebrity.) As I looked at the page, I was STUNNED. There, amidst half a dozen George Clooneys, was ISAAC DEMME'S name and likeness.


*shocked silence gives way to sputterings*

WHAT?!

I have no idea how you showed up on a search for George Clooney, Isaac, but it made my day! Now, can anyone tell me why this happened? Is there some obvious link that I'm missing? Like Isaac's nearest and dearest use "George Clooney" as his nickname? If I search for Oprah, will I find Fritha's page?

Oh. False alarm. I figured it out. I just looked at his page and under his musical interests he has "George Handel" and later on, "Rosemary Clooney." Sigh. Rats. It's all due to eclectic taste.

Facebook weirds me out.

But, even though the mystery is solved, I still want to post this. Just for giggles.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In other news this week...

...I went to Philip's I.E.P. meeting on Thursday. ( Individualized Education Plan, for those of you who are not up on the latest alphabet soup of the Special Ed world. It's a meeting for parents and teachers to evaluate progress and set goals for the next year.) I did not have anyone to take care of Aiden for me as Brad had to work overtime that day, and my mother, mother-in-law, and Penny were all out of town, so I told Philip's mom about my dilemma and she was fine with me bringing Aiden with me... I told her that as soon as he started to fuss, I would leave. There were six or eight people there besides Philip and his parents, and all of them were women; you should have seen the commotion that Aiden caused. Everyone had to see him and coo over him and touch his toes and make him smile and they all wanted to sit next to him. He put everyone in a good mood from the get-go, and someone said, "We should bring babies to every I.E.P. meeting!" We didn't last the whole meeting, but I got to stay for a good part of it anyway.

Changing the subject completely... The other day I was thinking, What are we going to do when Aiden gets too big for his cradle swing? It's his primary residence when we're downstairs and he's not being held by someone, but he's fast outgrowing it. I saw this picture in Liane's Flickr account of Adam in this thing called an exersaucer - kind of like a walker but without wheels. It's pretty much a seat in the midst of a big, round plastic play station type of thing. I thought, hey, I should look for one of those when I go yardsaling.

The next morning was Friday and I had a couple errands to do... and I knew of a few yardsales in the area. At the first one I went to, there was an exersaucer. YES! I hit the jackpot! It was a little more money than I wanted to spend but I figured it was too early in the day to start seriously haggling. Plus, as I thought about it, I realized I was being stingy. Here I'd just said I wanted one of these, and I knew that it would cost three times as much to get a brand new one, and now I'm complaining that this one, right in front of me in great condition, is too expensive? There is a line between wise frugality and pinchy miserliness... and I dance on that line on a regular basis. ( I pictured God heaving an exasperated sigh if I passed it up- Hello! You asked, and I provided, even if it isn't a rock bottom price... it's still a pretty good deal. ) So I decided to throw stinginess to the winds and cheerfully forked over the cash and bought the thing. And proceeded to douse it with Lysol and wash the cloth seat. I'm very happy with it. He probably won't be able to really use it for another month or two, until he has better trunk control etc.

I was a little stunned at my good fortune. I was hoping to find this very specific thing and I found it right away! Okay, I'm going to have to set my mind on something else and try this on next week's foray. I really want to find a nice big mirror for my dining room wall. It has been bare of any wall decoration for nigh onto three years. Mirror, mirror, mirror. I need a mirror. I'll let you know how my bargain hunting goes. ( Don't I always?)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wash your hands, people!

The other day I went to a required training session for my company. (That sounds weird - like I own my own company, but I couldn't very well say "the company I work for" because that would end the sentence with a preposition, which, as we all know, is wrong. Oh, the quandaries of trying to be grammatically correct.)

I had to get up early and drive up through the city, both things of which I am not fond.

I got there and found that it was a session on "Universal Precautions." My heart sank. Just thinking about the words 'bloodborne pathogens' is enough to make me feel weak. I found temporary salvation in the annoying jaw clicking noise coming from the girl sitting to my left. I was so close to telling her to stop chewing her gum but I realized that the distraction and irritation was saving me from thinking too much about the grossness of bloodborne pathogens.

Basically, the class was an OCD person's worst nightmare, confirming the need to be paranoid about the unseen perils lurking in our midst. There was a long lecture on the dangers that we all face as we live in this germy world... and what is the thing that will save us all? Handwashing! Regular, thorough, extended washing of the hands. Under the nails, up the wrists, for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday...

The lecturer reminded us that germs, bacteria and viruses are everywhere. "When was the last time you cleaned your lightswitches? Doorknobs? Cell phone? TV remote?" Now I knew she could find no fault with my handwashing; I'm really crazy when it comes to that. But cleaning my lightswitches...? She had me there. Guilt assailed me. I've really let my housekeeping slip - especially after Aiden's birth. In fact, I think the only reason my kitchen floor is as clean as it is, lies largely to my mother's credit. Today I bought some Lysol and cleaned every lightswitch I could find. And more. A NEW outlet for my blossoming obsession with cleanliness! ( I say that with a fair degree of sarcasm because if you could see my house, you would know that my obsession with cleanliness is pretty selective. There are certain zones in the house that have been settled exclusively with clutter. In fact, this clutter thinks it has squatter's rights.)

Now, whenever I touch anything, I envision little squirmy, evil looking germs transferring themselves from the item I have touched and clinging to my hands. I feel like I'm living in an ad for Purell.

She also mentioned another thing I already knew - that the bacteria, germs and viruses that survive all this manic cleaning will become freakishly strong and resistant to cleansing. So we must remain vigilant and continue to take the battle to these evil baddies. "This Present Darkness" meets Flylady. ( I was going to put links up to both those things but this computer's being weird... and if you don't know what either of those things are, Wikipedia has EVERYTHING you EVER need to know about ANYthing. Trust me. The internet is a brilliant miracle.)

So pretty much, all this stuff was stuff I already knew. Stuff EVERYONE already knows, if they had a halfway decent mother. But hey, I got paid for listening. I got paid to have someone tell me to wash my hands. I got paid to have someone validate my OCDness. So I'm not complaining too much.

I wonder what kind of nastiness lives on this keyboard? On this mouse? Ew! I'm off to go wash my hands! You should too! Right Now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Poor Stan

This evening, Aiden and I were returning home from the neighbor's house where we had gone to deliver a big pile of their mail which the mailman left in our box. ( Either that or we have mail-elves in the neighborhood who are making mischief.) We spied Stan on the front lawn as we returned... and as we watched, a horrifying little scene unfolded. Stan heard something and stood up on his hind legs, meerkat style. ( Not exactly like this meerkat, but pretty close.)





Suddenly, up from the back yard, the (other) neighbor's dog rushed at Stan and they both raced toward me. In a split second, I thought, " I hope I can get to the front door in time to let Stan in and get in myself and keep the dog outside..." It was like I was moving in slow motion...There was no way I could get there in time. Stan and the dog plunged into the underbrush amid frightening noises. I zoomed in the house, put Aiden down in his swing and went outside to see if I could rescue my poor kitty. There were no more noises...the neighbors, who had been walking through the backyard with their dog, had removed their offending creature...I called Stan from the front door and the back porch... but there was no sign of him.

And then I heard an odd sound. A scritching, scraping sound. I looked across the back yard and there was Stan, slowly letting himself down the trunk of one of the larger trees. It's a good thing we didn't declaw him, that's all I can say. I don't know how far he had made it up that tree but when I saw him on the way down, he was probably a good eight feet off the ground...When he got down to the ground, I went over almost to where he was and he was just frozen in place- I think he was afraid that the dog might come back, because he could still hear him, barking from the neighbor's porch. I finally convinced him to come through the weeds to me - I didn't want to risk any poison ivy- and I carried him up to the house; I could feel his poor little heart beating like mad. He has definitely lost weight since we converted him to an outdoor/indoor kitty. Poor thing.

He had another wound. Sadness.

I don't think I would do very well making any nature documentaries. The harsh realities of nature, including seeing animals fight and/or chase each other, and/or, heaven forbid, EAT each other, are not my cup of tea.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Daddy, My Hero

I've been meditating recently on the verse in Philippians that says, " Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I keep coming back to it because my thoughts tend to wander off track into negative paths.

This morning, my "whatsoever things" filter brought my father into my thoughts. I thought about his lifelong process of pouring out his life for others in the ministry, following Jesus to the ends of the earth along a difficult, and darkening path. He has faced setbacks, wounds, and discouragements; some of these trials have been apparent to all, such as the loss of my brother, but many more sadnesses have been borne without outward indication to the world. Without indication to me, even. I have seen the circumstances of these sorrows play out before my eyes, but I have not heard my father complain about them. I thought this morning, Daddy is the personification of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. For those who may be unfamiliar with this poem, I've pasted it below. For those of you who ARE familiar with it, and also familiar with my father, don't you agree? And the last few lines which say, "...yours is the earth and everything in it..." reminded me of the verse in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says that the meek shall inherit the earth. So, get ready, Daddy. You're going to inherit the earth.


And then a strange word picture popped into my head. Daddy is like those little packets of silica pellets that you find in new shoes that are put there to absorb moisture. Daddy absorbs discouragement. Now, wait a minute- I know that probably sounds terrible. Hear me out. I'm not saying what you THINK I'm saying. ( He's certainly not Tigger, but he's not Eeyore, either. Or Rabbit. Maybe more of a Piglet or a Pooh. ) He encounters PLENTY of discouragement, possibly more than a typical person because of his sensitive soul. And it may make him sad, but it does not make him bitter. But even more importantly, and really the whole point of this bizarre analogy ( HERE IT IS, PEOPLE! THE WHOLE PAYOFF OF THE PACKETS IN THE SHOE ANALOGY), he does not let discouragement seep out of him and poison other people. Even legitimate discouragement! ( As opposed to just " in-your-head-discouragement.") Instead of Harry Truman's motto of "the buck stops here", he could have a plaque on his desk that says: "The discouragement stops here."

( Me, I'm more of a discouragement aqueduct; it comes in and I let it spill over and pass it along to the next person, under the guise of "venting.")

( Speaking of discouragement, today has been a doozy and I'm afraid I haven't handled it very well. It's 10:30 and I'm just now recovering my equilibrium thanks to baking therapy. Gingersnaps were the order of the day and I had none. So I made them. I figure, what's the point of being an adult if you can't drop everything and bake up a batch of cookies at 9:30 at night? And I just want you to know, I did not eat them all in one fell swoop. No, not even half.)

BACK ON TRACK HERE. In perhaps an even more incongruous analogy, he might be compared to a wastewater treatment center; yucky, negative gray water of dingy circumstances goes in- the sweet, positive, clear water of faithfulness comes out. What a testimony to the power of the Spirit of God working within the yielded human heart. ( I TOLD you it was incongruous. Proverbs talks about the worthy woman's children rising up and calling her blessed. Here we have a child rising up and calling her father a waste water treatment center. All for the glory of God.)

For those of you familiar with the Old Testament, Daddy's the anti-Gehazi. For those of you familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien, he's the anti-Denethor. ( For those of you not familiar with the Old Testament OR J.R.R. Tolkien... GET familiar, you cultural barbarians! I can't paste the Old Testament or the Ring Trilogy at the bottom of this entry, you know...) ( For those of you who ARE familiar with the O.T. and are still scratching your heads trying to remember Gehazi: think...Elisha's servant... Or was it Elijah? Hmmmm. Who's the cultural barbarian now?) Yes, he sees darkness and gloom, but he also sees the glorious end that will eventually shatter the darkness.

He inspires me.

I thought about storing this away for his eulogy, or Father's Day, whichever comes first. ( JUST KIDDING!) But then I thought, there's no time like the present. I love you, Daddy!


Here's the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring has sprung...

...and the little frogs in the neighbors' fountain pond have started to raise a ruckus. Most of the time I don't hear them because in the summer I usually have all the doors and windows closed against the oppressive heat. But we have not turned on the AC yet... and it's VERY warm today... and so I have my windows open towards... the neighbors... and their screeching froglets. Really! These are not your typical friendly neighborhood peepers. These are not the melodious, cute-sounding little froggies of the Fairwood swamp. These are the terrorists, the divas, the rock stars, the gangsters, the nasty brats of the frog world. When I hear them, all I picture is a big mouth, Charlie Brown style, opened wide in a raspy roar, little tears spouting from eyes that are squeezed shut. The sound they make leads me to believe there is a baby somewhere in the neighborhood who has been left on someone's front doorstep and is howling in dire distress. Or a wailing little child whose malicious older sibling is repeatedly pulling their hair... for hours. I keep doing a double take thinking that Aiden is upstairs awaking from a nap, and calling me to come feed him, but then I see him in his swing, sleeping peacefully.

In other spring news... yardsale season has officially begun. Today was not the first day I went to a yardsale this year - that happened over a month ago- but today was the day of the annual big neighborhood yardsale in my in-law's subdivision. I heard it might rain in the afternoon and I was pathetically afraid that it might mean the cancellation of the event, but the day dawned bright and it turned out VERY WARM... It's raining now, but so what? My yardsaling hunger has been, temporarily, quenched. Until next week.

This is the third year in a row that I have gone to this particular subdivision yardsale and it proved to be another fun success in the chronicles of The Friday Morning Treasure Hunt. Although less fun because my good old yardsaling buddy, Penny, had to work today. ( MASSIVE POUT and General Protests of Outrage.) I didn't get any hugely spectacular finds, but I did get a modest haul of various delightful and useful objects, and all for under $15. CHEAP FUN and THE THRILL OF THE HUNT! It doesn't get any better than that.

So glad we bought a station wagon!

I am adding to my list of yardsale weaknesses. Besides books, blue glass objects, and black T-shirts, I have come to realize that straw purses/bags are also among the things I cannot resist. ( Well, purses and handbags of all kinds, to be honest. I think this is the natural result of resisting carrying a purse for the better part of my life. Now, it's suddenly all catching up with me. The womanly purse fetish, so long dormant, is making up for lost time!) This is... I think... my third straw bag that I've bought in the last few years. But it's WONDERFUL! It's not a purse. It's not a diaper bag. It's both! At the same time! My weird little heart rejoices. Stan almost lost his life when I caught him scratching The New Bag this afternoon.

Last year at this time, I had just discovered that I was pregnant but hadn't told anyone -except Brad, of course. And the produce man. And I was yardsaling at the same big annual subdivision-wide yardsale with Katie and Penny, and found all these nice baby clothes... and wondered how I could buy them in a casual, yet surreptitious manner, so as not to arouse suspicion. This year, I was carrying Aiden outside of me. Still slightly awkwardly, as he was in his carseat the whole time... but it was fun to bring him around with me and initiate him in the exciting ritual of yardsaling. He has already definitely influenced how I do yardsaling: I look much faster. So many yardsales - so little time between feedings. But it all went...mostly smoothly. Everyone cooed over him and tried to get him to smile and asked how old he was and what his name was and how much he weighed when he was born and how long his toenails were....Okay- I just made up that last part. You get the picture. I like to talk about him, naturally; it's fun! But at one point, I thought it might be easier to make and wear one of those sandwich message boards, listing his vital statistics. It's just funny how babies make everyone all soft and squishy and smiley and nosy and generally lose their inhibitions. In fact, I think babies are like alcohol in that regard - they make people out-going and happy. ( I don't think there are any "mean drunks" in the world of my baby-alcohol analogy. ) I mean, normal, sober adults would never just smile idiotically at another passing adult stranger and make babbling noises and inquire how old they are and what their name is and how much they WEIGH! Can you imagine?! I think the world would be a more interesting place if that DID happen.

Overheard in phone conversations at the jail:

"Yes ma'am; pot is marijuana."

"Yes ma'am; p.m. means the evening."

"Yes, ma'm; your letter was returned because you put the return address in the middle and the recipient's address in the top left."

"Yes, ma'am, even though your nephew goes to church and prays, he still was caught doing drugs and is in our jail."

"No, you're not a bad mother to not bond out your daughter. Sometimes people need to be punished."

Not all the same person, thankfully.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Who has wounds without cause?

Recently, we decided to make Stan an outside cat. Well, more precisely speaking, we decided to make him an outside AND inside cat. Call me paranoid, but I was getting a little nervous about his relationship with Aiden. So if I have to put Aiden down for a nap and know that I'm not going to be in the same room for a while, I make sure Stan is outside.

I think it was quite the culture shock for Stan at first. We had made such a big deal of keeping him inside for so long that I think our about-face on this issue weirded him out. ( Wait- first you told me I couldn't go outside? Now you're telling me I can't come INSIDE?) He used to sit at the front door and look out the little side-window... now he sits on the doorstep looking in. I think he has made some friends in the neighborhood, but he's also made some enemies. Or maybe they're just friends with poor boundaries and odd ways of showing affection; he came home the other day bearing the scars of battle. There was this big ol' chunk of fur missing and a wound in his side. Oh my word, my stomach felt weak just looking at it. My innards quiver. I felt SO BAD. It was as if my child had returned home from school with a black eye. Here I had dumped this poor, innocent creature out into the wild and now he's been persecuted.

I feel like it's my fault. When I told this to Brad, he agreed with me. Yes- it is your fault, he said serenely. It's as if YOU had attacked him and gouged his flesh. Sigh. I know he meant this to illustrate the absurdity of my thoughts, but the mental image of me being in a snarling, biting altercation with my own pet was unsettling.

Brad grew up having outdoor cats and didn't think that the wound was anything serious. The only cat we ever had growing up wasn't mine- it was Liane's- and I think he had some fights too, but I don't remember much besides one ear being sort of bedraggled.

So now I face a dilemma. Should I keep tossing Stan out to face unknown, cruel beasts...? I think it has sort of mellowed him out, so he's not so hyper when he is inside...Maybe these wilderness ( and I use the word lightly because our subdivision is hardly a wildlife preserve) experiences will toughen him up and be the making of him...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yes indeedy.

Brad and I went to the dentist last week - or was it two weeks ago? ( Time blurs in my mind these days...)

Neither of us had been to a dentist since moving to Georgia in the fall of 2005. ( Tsk, tsk, I know.)

I floss and brush almost obsessively. Brad brushes about ten seconds a day and almost never flosses.

One of us had a cavity.

Guess who?

Sigh.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dribs and Drabs

As some of you noticed, I have been messing with the settings on this blog, regarding comments. I won't go into details but I wanted to try something different so we'll see how long I leave it this way.

Life has been humming along and we are slowly settling into a routine. I have been working three afternoons a week for the past month or so now; sometimes I bring Aiden with me, and sometimes I leave him at home with a mother, or mother-in-law, an aunt, or Brad. I know, I know- I'm SO LUCKY to have so much family nearby who are willing to watch him... It has been really nice to have a break for a few hours but I'm always happy to come home to see my baby.

Have I said before how much I love being a mother? I know it's early yet, and many trials and tribulations lie before me. I know things will get harder once he starts moving around, and getting into stuff and talking etc. but all I know is that right NOW - which is really all the time I have to be concerned with anyway- I am so happy with him. His smile, which sometimes makes his face look like it's going to break, sets off firecrackers of joy within me. He has started sucking his thumb for real now and when he does, it's so cute, I think I might just eat him. Sometimes when I'm taking care of him, I'm still overcome with awe at the thought, " I get to be your mother. How did I get to be so lucky?"

And last Thursday night, he slept from about 11:30 p.m. til almost 8:00 in the morning...which means, that I SLEPT for almost EIGHT STRAIGHT HOURS! I cannot remember the last time I had that much consecutive sleep. Even before he was born, for months ( it seems like) I was waking up about 17 times a night to go to the bathroom. ( Okay- teeeensy exaggeration.) So it's probably been four or five months since I've had that kind of sleep. REJOICE WITH ME!

So that's one miracle: the miracle of sleep.

Another miracle is that - knock on wood- we haven't gotten sick with the Great Apocalyptic Flu that every other person in the known universe seems to have contracted recently. I don't know how we escaped it - other than God's grace and my nearly obsessive penchant for washing my hands. ( Not to say that God's grace doesn't extend to the poor germy victims of this epidemic... That's why I don't like saying, "...by God's grace..." or "...with God's grace..." very often because it's like, what about all the other Very Good People who have to deal with whatever situation you have escaped " by God's grace..." Are they somehow less favored of God? No... I don't think so...) The other day, my throat and sinuses started bothering me and I prepared for the worst, but it never flowered into a full blown sickness. I think it may have been allergies....because of ANOTHER great miracle: the miracle of SPRING.

Yes, I know many of you who read this are still laboring under mounds of snow and it seems like you are stuck in Narnia under the reign of the White Witch, but trust me, spring is real! The leaves are coming out here, the pear trees and daffodils and forsythia are blooming, and the pollen has begun to collect on the windshields...and in my sinuses. Strange- I never had big problems with allergies before. But I remember working with someone a long time ago who said that she never had allergies until she had children, and then she got them with a vengeance. Ah.

But this is degenerating quickly into a very boring post. Oooo- sleep! Oooo- allergies! How mundane can you get? It's been so long since I've written a real post that I think I'm out of practice. Bear with me as I jump back on the wagon of writing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Whistling Dixie

This morning I coined a new nickname for Aiden. His breath was whistling through his nose, thanks to a large... for lack of a better word, BOOGER stuck up his left nostril. So I called him Whistler. And then I realized, "That makes me... Whistler's Mother!" The frightening portrait of the same name sprang to mind. Noooo!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Still Standing

For those of you who may have heard/read/seen the news about the big storm ( possibly a tornado) in Atlanta, I just thought I'd let you know that we're okay! We got some heavy downpours - and maybe some hail- and thunder and lightning and the power went out for a second, but our roof is still on and our house is intact, thank the Lord. The worst of the storm passed by to the north of us.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The circus in my yard

I was in my kitchen just now, making dinner, and looked out my window to watch a good old fashioned fracas unfold over the space of about ten minutes: four adults, seven children, and three dogs rushing around madly. One of the neighborhood dogs escaped his leash and got a little cocky, attacking a much bigger dog who was on a walk under the control of his master... and then there was another little yapper who was just dancing around on the periphery enjoying the chaos. Anyway- all those people were trying to stop the fight and catch the little troublemaking mutt. This all happened in my backyard - in the general area of the firepit, for those of you who are familiar with the layout...There is a trail that goes through the bottom of our backyard and some of the neighbors walk across there with their dogs.

People just look so funny running after animals... men diving into piles of leaves... children running in circles...It provided quite the little tableau of chaos and amused me no end. I almost ran upstairs to get the videocamera but I didn't want to miss a minute of it...and I figured it would all be over by the time I got back to record it.

A comedy of errors, without the comedy - and then, to conclude, a comedy

For almost a week, one thing after another blew up in my face. From trying -and failing- to get Aiden's social security number ( we finally did get it, but after much tribulation), to "losing" my cell phone ( I'm 99.9% sure I put it on the roof of my car and drove off, so it is most likely smashed to smithereens) and then waiting TWO HOURS to be seen at the doctor's office on Monday morning just to get my blood drawn, and never actually getting to see the doctor b/c there was a misunderstanding between receptionists and they thought I wasn't there. It's a long and tangled tale that I will not attempt to fully explain... It makes me mad all over again, just thinking about it. I ended up in tears b/c I called home and heard Aiden crying to be fed in the background and I hadn't left anything for him to eat b/c I thought I would be back in plenty of time.

There was more drama in between the lines of all these incidents, but I will not burden you with excess grousing. In short, it seemed that I was the anti-Midas: everything I touched turned to ashes. I really felt like there was some sort of curse on me. (At one point, I complained to Grandpa that EVERYTHING was going wrong. He replied philosophically and with characteristic calm, that surely there must be SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE that wasn't going wrong. ) At the absolute nadir of this string of catastrophes, my father assured me that it would all make a great blog post someday. What faith! Who am I to naysay him... but it doesn't seem that I can even try to be funny about it, even now, days later, when my luck has apparently turned for the better. Sorry, Daddy; I tried to make it into an interesting post, but I have failed at that too. So to salvage this dreary entry, I will switch gears abruptly and tell a story.

This is a story of a certain sheriff's deputy, who works at a jail in Anytown, USA. This deputy was working in the tower security post one evening- I think that's what it's called- where he was alone - if I am remembering this right. He had access to all the intercoms/loudspeakers which go into the cell-blocks and feeling mischievious ( and probably a little bored), he decided to mess with the inmates. He had figured out how to broadcast himself without sending the initial beep that would let inmates know that an announcement was coming... and so he quietly meowed into the intercom. Several times. Finally, one of the inmates responded, telling the deputy that he was hearing a cat. ( I wonder how much courage it took to make such a strange claim. Some people claim to hear voices... How crazy must you feel if you think you are hearing a CAT... inside a JAIL....) The deputy feigned ignorance, telling the inmate that it must be another inmate who had somehow gotten illegal access to the intercom and was trying to send a secret message to his compatriots...

This true story, relayed to me by a reliable source, made me laugh uproariously. So all's well that ends well. As long as there are such people in the world as this meowing deputy to cheer me upon my troublesome way, I guess I can wade through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Full Stomach = Smiles



More on Flickr.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Another one bites the dust

So- yes- my cell phone is MIA. Don't ask. Thereby hangs a tale that I am sick of thinking about and talking about. This is just to inform you that if you try to call my phone, and are frustrated by repeatedly getting my voicemail, please know that my cell phone has, in all likelihood, departed this world, so call the landline instead.

Rargh.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Kitty Credit

Guess who got a Capital One Credit Card offer in the mail today? Stanley. Otherwise known as Stanne. A.K.A. The Cat. Ha! I didn't feel too bad about tossing that one into the trash without shredding it. Identity thieves, steal away. Do your worstest.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A random remembrance

I've had a very frustrating afternoon. I will not bore you with the horrid little details, but take yesterday's annoyances concerning the birth certificate and multiply it...oh, maybe ten times, by adding a completely fruitless two hour excursion to two crowded government offices in very bad rush hour traffic and you will begin to understand my foul mood.

So I came home, fed Aiden and began to get dinner ready, stewing and steaming all the while over the perfectly futile waste of time and energy that constituted this day. All I could handle making for dinner was simple spaghetti and meatballs. And I managed to ruin even that. I burned the stupid sauce... and then I remembered something that miraculously softened my mood.

I remembered an incident from my childhood that took place maybe 20 years ago. Our poor mother had had a similarly trying day which culminated in burning spaghetti sauce. However, it wasn't completely burned beyond hope. She managed to salvage it, for the most part, but there were a few stray flecks of darkness in the sauce. However, knowing the fact that she'd had a hard day, we didn't say anything. ( A strange and uncharacteristic instance of merciful maturity on our part...) But then, a family member appeared on the scene, who shall remain nameless...partially because I can't remember with absolute certainty which of us it was...But it wasn't me! This person was apparently unaware of the outrages of the day, and not knowing the fact that the sauce had been partially burned, sat down at the table, started to partake of the dinner, and perhaps thinking that there was some strange, new seasoning in use, commented, " What are these little black things? They don't taste very good...!" I'm not sure it was funny to Mama at the time, being a sort of last straw on her poor back but it ended up becoming a family joke, brought out in odd moments over the years.

So as I saw the sauce sticking to the bottom of that wretched sauce-pan and realized with a feeling of simultaneous rising fury and sinking heart that I had flubbed yet ANOTHER THING today...suddenly, in my mind's eye, I pictured Andrew wandering into the kitchen, looking over my shoulder and murmuring with his characteristically impeccable timing, " What are those little black things? They don't taste very good.." And what could I do but SMILE.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'd like the Birth Certificate Combo Meal...

I went on several wild goose chases over the phone today. One of the missions I was on had to do with getting Aiden's birth certificate. ( This is so we can get his social security number, because someone at the hospital dropped the ball, I guess...b/c it's been two months and his S.S. # card hasn't come in the mail yet... We need it so we can do our taxes, so we can get our refund, so we can get a new dishwasher to put in the house that Jack built.) After harassing several people at the hospital to make sure that I had exhausted our luck there, I was told to call our probate court. I looked up the number in the phone book, only to be told that it was no longer in service. Ah. So I tried a different county office, hoping they could help me get in touch with the probate court. THAT number was disconnected too! It turns out the yellow pages book was an unmitigated WEB OF LIES. Um... actually it was two years old. But good grief- not every phone number should be wrong in a two year old phone book!

So I ended up calling information and asking for the number. Surely, I would be safe with the good old 411. I had to nearly scream my request into the phone because they had one of those maddening systems where you have to speak to a robot whose favorite phrase is, " I'm sorry. I didn't get that..." I was relieved when they said they could automatically connect me with my desired number, if I just said yes. YES! No more number dialing for my poor little worn out digits. Besides, the whole time I was trying to multi-task and was feeding Aiden, so the less fine motor skills I had to perform, the better. Ah...the phone is ringing...soon I shall be conversing with a bureaucrat who will help me...

"Hello, this is Taco Bell..."

I kid you not.

Now, I've been known to crave a chalupa or a gordita on occasion. Don't get me wrong: I like Taco Bell. Just not when I'm trying to order a birth certificate. THE 411 WAS WRONG! Does
" ----- County Probate Court" sound like "Taco Bell" to you? ( Let me give you a hint- the name of my county does NOT rhyme with either of the words " Taco" or "Bell." )

And the next number I tried was wrong too. It was some gallery whose employee sounded distinctly hostile.

Good grief.

So I felt like I had performed a small miracle when I finally got through to the place I wanted... which was thanks to the probate court's WEBSITE. Where would we be without the wonderful world wide interweb? I will never trust the phone book, nor call 411 again. EVER. I have learned my lesson: don't think that you can hold the infant and put the phone on speaker and dial away. No. You'll be on the phone all day that way. The computer is your ONLY HOPE. Put the baby down and merge onto the information superhighway.