Me Vs. The Tent

Today I enjoyed the beach despite the 100 degree weather. I played with my niece and nephews in the sand. I got maternity pants at an outlet store. All in all it was a good day.

But how boring is that?

Never fear. When all goes well, the drama begins.

This afternoon I was enjoying a good book on the beach. I had hijacked a tent of my cousin-in-law's and relaxed in the shade for a while.

Suddenly, the wind started.

Did I mention that this was a full tent? It's one of those four-sided deals with see-through panels that they make for a fairly large number of people to provide shade and bug protection. The photo at the top left is the catalog picture for this thing. Did I mention I was out at the beach by myself?

I'm sure you can guess what happened. The tent collapsed right on top of me. As I desperately worked my way out of the tent, I saw that there was no way to fix it. The poles and panels were tangled in a way that would take an army of people to resolve. If the strangers around me noticed, they certainly made a point not to look my way.

So I did what any good tent hijacker would do. I put one of their chairs on top of the tent so it would not blow away and fled.


Here's the Family "Picture" and Look Who Is Not Smiling

I'll start out by saying that I love my mother-in-law. I do. She is one of those people that would do anything for you. But, she is a little bit like Everybody Loves Raymond's mother. She has her own idea about how something should be done. Anything less is completely unacceptable. She can drive you absolutely crazy.

This weekend, we are at the beach. J's extended family always gathers there on Labor Day weekend. They have done this for many more years than I can count.

This year, we were required to buy a white t-shirt. The immediately family had to turn in our shirts early. She created a decal with "B Family Reunion" and ironed it on all our shirts. We were required to wear the shirts today.

I think the shirts are nice souvenirs. But, for some strange reason, I do not like having on the same shirt as 35 other people walking into IHOPs.

Furthermore, I bought my shirt before I became pregnant. It's not quite as flattering as it used to be.

But, I am glutton for punishment trooper, so I wore it away. Belly poking out and all.

Later on this evening, I had been out to the water several times and my bathing suit got the shirt wet. So, at the end of the day, I had put on a different shirt. Other people had too, but I actually had a valid reason other than pure embarrassment.

My sister-in-law & I decided to escape for a little while to go to a store down the road for some supplies. While we were there, I got a desperate phone call. "Where are you?" J asked. "Mom wants a picture of everyone in their shirts."

30 minutes later, we were back. And the family group picture was over. They couldn't wait. Somehow this was my fault. I felt like a little kid being chastised for playing outside when I should be doing homework. On my vacation weekend.

It just went from bad to worse. I was forced to go upstairs, put on my wet shirt, come back down and have my picture taken by myself so I could be "photoshopped" in later. And guess who will have to do the photoshopping? That's right. Me.

J was no help whatsoever. In fact, he was her enabler. I had enough.

I quietly let him know about my dissatisfaction when I knew she was listening. I told him I didn't appreciate being ordered around on my vacation. I told him that I had worn the shirt all day, and now he was being pushy about it - and I didn't appreciate that either.

So, guess who will not be smiling in the picture? And guess who will have an extra limb or purple dots on their face? After all, I know a thing or two about photo manipulation in Photoshop :-)


Working from Home

Last week, I sent out a note to all the people that I work with that I will be working from home.

I love, love, love working from home. I can sleep a little later. I can move around the house anywhere I want to and still have an internet connection. The bathroom is nearby. I have an endless supply of purified water. Sigh. I can wear my pajamas.

So, at 4:30 yesterday, one of the senior management team comes to me and says "I need you to do a demo of your project tomorrow afternoon."

Let's just say I'm not thrilled.

First, he knew I would be out of the office and working from home, which I rarely do. "Well, you can just call in." Call in. To demo a website. Uh-huh.

Second, today is the day before Labor Day weekend. I'm sure the entire company would love to see my website demo, all while being prevented from leaving early. Then everyone will hate me until after the weekend is over. By then, they will have forgotten about my demo, and the horrible meeting time.

I decided to stand up for myself. I wrote a mini-novella email, explaining all the reasons we should wait until next week. I hit send and held my breath. The rest of the day...no response.

This morning, I checked my email immediately. I received a response. My novella worked. Demo averted.

And now...I get to enjoy working from home in peace.


9 Weeks, 4 Days

Dear Unborn Baby,

Today was our second opportunity to see you. You looked so peaceful lying there. Today your shape was much more obvious, and we got to see your little stumps of arms and legs. I stared at the monitor screen (and again, got a little teary), completely awed by your subtle movements.

You are now 2.59 cm long. Your heartbeat was amazingly strong, and this time one of the pictures they gave us has the charting of each beat.

The doctor changed your due date to March 29. Before they had given us a date range. Your father still thinks that you will be born on April Fool's Day.

I have gained a whopping 1 pound. I am pleasantly surprised by this, because I thought it would be at least 5 pounds since my belly is expanding enough that my pants are uncomfortable.

We cannot wait to find out if you are a boy or a girl. We still have a few weeks before we can find that out, but it has been fun to speculate. We know what your name will be if you are a girl. If you are a boy - well, let's just say we still have some more discussion on that. It's tradition in your dad's family to have juniors. I don't like this idea, and I believe I have convinced your dad about this now. You'll thank me in your teenage years.

We are still really, really scared. I think this is normal for all first-timers (and maybe even for some several timers), but 7 years of waiting for you makes us paranoid. We try so hard to be careful in everything that we do.

All our family is thrilled and cannot wait to meet you. You are going to be so loved.


Your Mom


My Erratic Posting

Days go by, internet, and you haven't heard from me. But yet, eventually I will get caught up with my daily posting.

Where am I, you ask?

I am stuck. Stuck at work in the world of deadlines and project production pushes. I am a project manager/senior developer, and I am getting ready to publish a big website redesign for my company that has been a long time in the making.

So, I apologize for the erratic posting. I'll get caught up one day...


My Growing Waistline

Now I need new pants!


Sleepless Nights

Another night, another sleep opportunity missed. I'm struggling these days with sleeping.

I have gained just enough that it's uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach, as I have for...30 years.

I've always had trouble falling asleep, which doesn't help my cause. It's important for me to go to sleep before J does, since he snores. His snoring does not come in a regular, symmetrical pattern. He just lets out a loud snore periodically or in small groups. This to me is worse than if it was all the time.

I have a methodology that I follow when he starts his nightly solo:

  1. The Level 1 Sigh. I let a small audible sigh escape my mouth in the hopes that it will ever so gently wake him up enough to wake up.
  2. The Level 1 Touch. I barely, barely touch his arm in the hopes to annoy him enough to roll over to his side, where he doesn't snore as much.
  3. The More Forceful Sigh. I make a louder sigh, and no longer care about gentle waking.
  4. The Push. I start out with a small touch and then increase the pressure until he moves.
  5. The Bathroom Door. I get up loudly and go to the bathroom and allow the door to audibly close behind me.
  6. The Combo. This begins with "J, you're snoring" and ends in pushing and shoving.
  7. The Fakeout. If I am in a more pleasant mood than the combo requires for accurate implementation, I will say "What did you say?" out loud. Sometimes J will talk in his sleep, so it's pretty believable for me to wake him up with this question.

None of these things are making it better lately, since I have to get up frequently for the bathroom. Then I spend the next two hours trying to go back to sleep.


The End of the Olympics

Here are 10 Things I Loved About the Olympics Year:

  1. The outrageous yet spectacular ceremonies.
  2. The authentic thrill of the US Men's Gymnastic Team in their silver win
  3. Oksana Chusovitina, a 33-year-old German gymnast one a silver medal in a sport surrounded by controversy of ages. This proves that you can be a gymnast with hard work without being 8 years old
  4. Fantastic, hard-working athletes can still have butterfingers (baton-dropping)
  5. Australian diver Matthew Mitcham came out of seemingly nowhere to put a stop to China's gold medal diving sweep
  6. Lots of record-breaking going on
  7. Amazing photographic accounts of each day on the internet
  8. Diving period - especially synchronized. Just amazing
  9. That Phelps guy and all his medals
  10. I had something entertaining to watch and keep track of until all my favorite tv shows return in the fall


A Messy Birthday Celebration

Max turned 4 this week. Since our dogs are spoiled rotten, this event required a little celebration.

Max loves rawhide bones. So, today, when J & I stopped at the grocery store, we bought the dogs some celebratory bones. We got the kind that has a "treat" in the center and a rawhide that was dipped in something or other that I don't want to know more details about. Both of these are supposed to last for a while.

Our wonderful idea did not go exactly as planned.

Max didn't really care about the treat-in-the-center kind, but he finally settled down with other kind. He was his normal happy self, with an attention span off about 5 minutes and then he was ready to play again.

Molly on the other hand, proceeded to grab the treat-in-the-center kind and spent the next 3 SOLID HOURS on her sofa pillow eating that bone. If J, Max or I came too close to her precious treat, she growled intensely. We don't approve of this behavior, so we tried taking it away until she stopped acting insane.

So, the little detail that we left out of our thought process...Molly has long hair.

When your long-haired Shih Tzu spends three hours with a treat-in-the-center bone then you end up with a disaster area. She is a complete mess with yucky wet knots around her mouth. Oh, and then there's the little bone crumbs that are stuck in her beard. The sofa pillow that she was sitting on has a big slimy stain. And crumbs beneath that all over the sofa.

And then, she doesn't understand why Max still has a bone and she doesn't. She thinks that she needs that one too.

Next time I will be more careful. No more treat-in-the-center bones for Molly.


Oh, the Germs

Today I had a prescription shop nightmare. Before I begin, remember that I am a germophobe. A pregnant germaphobe.

This afternoon I went to the prescription shop to get my progesterone refilled. I had called ahead, so it was ready by the time I walked in the pharmacy. The cashier quickly found my bag, and then she opened it.

When she picked it up, she realized that the lid had come off the bottle and the pills had spilled out. Her solution was - instead of just letting me take care of it - to open the bag, and pour the pills back into the bottle.

The problem began when there were a few pills stuck at the very bottom of the bag, and she couldn't shake them out. So, she PUT HER HAND IN THERE AND PICKED THEM OUT AND PLACED THEM IN THE BOTTLE.

Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal. But it was to me. This was the cashier. The same person who has spent her entire day at the cash register handling money given to her by sick people. And it's not just the money that bothers me. She may have coughed, sneezed or rubbed her nose.

And now I have to take those very same pills that she has touched.

I stood there in shock, unable to move. I finally willed myself out the door without pitching a fit. Maybe I should have.


Making Flair

A whole bunch of my friends and family use Facebook. I used to have an account ages ago, but I deleted it because I was getting a lot of unwanted email. But, after hearing about the wonderful ways we could keep in touch with each other, I reluctantly recreated my account yesterday.

And now I'm an addict.

I've been able reconnect with a high school friend, as well as chat with family that lives far away. And now, Facebook has activities. Many, many addictive activities.

I'm ashamed to admit how many rounds of Scramble I have played now.

Want to see a graphics designer amuse themselves for hours an hour? Introduce them to Pieces of Flair. You can get it with credits, or you can make it. (See one of mine on the left.) Oh my.

I found, after making 20 pieces of flair that the mean, mean application will not let you make any more for 24-whole hours. Don't they understand how many more pieces I could have made before getting bored and abandoning Facebook for the day?

Well, I would add more to this post, but I must get back to Scramble work.


The Dumbest Question I Have Heard All Day

J (to me while meeting his mother for lunch): Um...could you maybe try not to look like you feel quite so bad?

Me: Sure, honey. Let me refocus my attention from trying not to throw up all over our table, and make sure I have a pleasant smile plastered on my face.


Vacation Highlights

The beach last week was truly wonderful. If I wasn't so lazy, I would post some of the pictures I took. Knowing me, I'll be lucky to dump them off the camera before my memory card fills up.

I decided that the easiest way for me to share the highlights of my trip with you is to come up with a list - well, two. We'll start out with the not-so-great list (it was harder to make), and end with the great. I like to end on a high note like that.

The Not-So-Great

  1. Morning sickness (or in my case, afternoon sickness). That's totally not the beach's fault, but I had to throw it in there because it was certainly a downer. Frequent trips inside for the bathroom was no fun either.
  2. Being the whitest person on the beach. I had to stop my regular spray tanning after finding out I was pregnant since the fumes are bad for the baby.
  3. A weird streak of sunburn on my right arm because I missed a spot when I was slathering on the sunscreen.
  4. No going out in the ocean for me. I love to float around past where the waves break, but not this week.
  5. My mom thinks that pregnant women should not use nail polish. (But then my toes will be NAKED!)
  6. J had to leave Monday.
  7. I lost at miniature golf. Badly.
  8. No one would go eat Japanese food with me. No one trusted that my stomach would hold up.
  9. Riding three hours (due to traffic - should have only been 45 minutes) in the car down to another beach with an outdoor shopping/amusement center, only to walk around in the pouring down rain.
  10. The wind knocked someone's umbrella up and down the beach - right into my umbrella. My umbrella - you guessed it - decided to take the trip down the beach as well, and I had to frantically chase it before it became responsible for serious injury.

The Great

  1. My family was so sweet to me. A bit overprotective, but really sweet. They carried all my stuff for me. Insisted, even. And, when we had to ride in the car in groups, I always got to ride up front.
  2. Sitting out on the beach all day in the perfect weather. It was not too hot with a little bit of wind. Perfection.
  3. Catching up on some serious reading time while sitting out at the beach.
  4. Dipping my toes in the ocean.
  5. Going on secret ice cream trips with my dad - who has an ice cream addiction. For example, while we were out shopping one day I had driven separately. "Mom, I should really head on back now. I'm so tired." We just left out the stopping-for-ice-cream-on-the-way-back-to-the-condo part.
  6. Spending time with my family, who I don't get to see all that often. Baby Alison was the center of our attention. She loved the beach, so we know that she definitely shares family blood.
  7. I beat all my family at Shanghai Rummy, of which I am convinced takes much more skill than stupid miniature golf.
  8. The endless breadstick supply at Fazoli's, and the awesome pizza at Sharky's. Our waitress at Sharky's dropped one of the pizzas on the way to our table, poor thing - I can really identify with that - so she gave us a discount.
  9. Riding three hours (due to traffic - should have only been 45 minutes) in the car down to another beach with an outdoor shopping/amusement center, only to walk around in the pouring down rain. Okay, so it was funny. My cousins that were in the car with me are hilarious, and so much fun to be around. Plus, the shopping center had an "It's Sugar" with all kinds of candy that reminded us of the good old days when my grandfather spoiled us all with an endless candy supply.
  10. Getting to tell all my family about our upcoming addition and see the happy screams, hugs and crying that went along with that.


Guess Who's Got a Case of the Mondays?

Me, that's who.

I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.


So I Guess Our Church Knows

While I was gone this week, my husband & my mother-in-law had dinner with an associate pastor at our church. During the morning service today, I heard him call my name. "Will you please stand?"

I love to have several hundred pairs of eyes starring my way.

"We have some wonderful news. J & I are expecting their first child!"

The crowd erupts in applause.

So now our church knows!


Coming Home

Today I'm coming home from the beach. I always have mixed feelings when vacation is over. I'm sure that by this time I will be missing my dogs like crazy. Oh, yeah, and I'll probably miss J too. I will not have seen him since Monday.

I'll walk in the door excited to see all of them. I'll rush into my husband's arms. My dogs will be climbing all over each other to get to me. Molly will bark and whine until I pick her up and snuggle with her a little bit. Max will do this little snort thing that he does when he's excited. I'll rub their ears and talk baby-talk to them.

Then, the post-vacation blues start. You know, the one where you realize that you have to do all the laundry. The one where you realize you have to get ready to go back to work. The one where you remember all the bills that you have to pay and the groceries you have to buy. The one where you are just so tired that you need another week to just sleep.

So, by the end of the day that will be me. Me - wishing I could turn around and go right back to the beach.

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)


Who is the Strongest?

When I was growing up, I was really close to my cousins. I didn't have brothers or sisters, so they were it for me. Getting to spend the whole week with them at the beach was tremendous fun for me.

I have always been a pretty cautious person. I'm not the one to volunteer for high-risk-of-injury type situations. But around these guys? Danger never crossed my mind.

When we were at the beach, we had an unspoken game that we played. Who was the strongest of our group? We would do things like standing on the rope in the pool that divided the deep end with the shallow end and see who could push each other off. My family is very competitive, so this stuff was serious business.

The dumbest thing we did was to stand in the ocean where the waves were breaking and see who could refrain from being knocked down. Now that I look back on it, it seems even more stupid. You don't mess with the ocean. It will always win any strength contests.

We would stand there forever, letting the salt water poor into our ears and nose and mouth. None of us would break down and give up. Even when one of us would be knocked down, we would get right back up and stand there again.

At the end of the day, we were forced by our parents to come inside. We would be all bruised and battered. From just standing.

If we weren't competing for strength, we were playing cards. Violently. Slap Jack and Spoons took whole new meanings with the introduction of sharp rings and fingernails.

I'm guessing this year will be different now that we've grown up a bit. We're still competitive, but I think we can manage not to cause physical harm to one another. I'll be pulling the pregnancy card - just in case.

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)


A Lone Baby Sea Turtle

One afternoon, when I was probably about 13, my parents & I were sitting out on the beach. It was low tide, so the shoreline was huge. I glanced up to see something moving around the dunes. I thought it was just a plastic bottle blowing in the wind, so being a tree-hugger, I got up to walk over and throw it in a nearby trashcan.

When I approached, I realized that my assessment was completely wrong. It was a tiny, baby sea turtle who was late coming out of a nearby nest that had hatched the night before.

Our beach has a sea turtle patrol that monitors the turtle nests. When they are ready to hatch, the volunteers set up a "walkway" for the turtles to make their way to the ocean. They do this by carving out a path in the sand. No one is allowed to touch the turtles directly or interfere with their journey. It's something the turtles have to do on their own - a learning experience if you will.

The volunteers do intervene behind the scenes - keeping tourists away from the turtles, monitoring seagull and crab activity around the area, etc. They also have a big fluorescent light that they use to represent the moon to the babies in case the moon isn't visible the night they hatch.

Having seen this procedure unfold for a number of years (and watched a documentary on TV), when I saw this baby sea turtle I knew this situation was less than ideal. Since it was afternoon, there was no moon over the water for the baby to follow. The sun was in the top of the sky, so it would be easy for the baby to get confused. Plus, it was low tide and baby turtles are tiny. It was a long, long way for him to go. I couldn't pick him up and take him - first, because it was not a good idea for his development; second, because there is a steep fine for picking up a baby sea turtle.

I remembered something from the documentary I saw. A rescuer was trying to figure out a way to lead the baby turtles to the water on a moonless night. (Apparently, he didn't have his florescent light like the volunteers I knew.) The rescuer had taken a white shirt and the baby turtles followed his white shirt.

I just happened to have a white t-shirt in my bag. I made it my personal mission to see that this turtle survived to see the water. By this time, people were gathered around on the beach to see what was happening. The little baby turtle steadily followed my shirt. After a long time went by, he finally hit the water. It was beautiful.

I sat at the edge of the water with tears pouring out of my eyes for a long time.

I know that baby sea turtles have a low survival rate. But, I want to believe that little guy made it. The experience was life changing for me. I had a respect for nature before, but that increased ten-fold. If we don't step in, beautiful creatures like sea turtles won't be around in the generations to come.

Visit the Sea Turtle Restoration Project for more information about sea turtles and sea turtle rescue.

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)


Something in the Water

My Uncle Mike, whom I mentioned briefly in yesterday's post, has always been a prankster. He's the guy who slaps your back at Christmas and leaves a huge gift bow in place. At the beach, he's the guy out with you in the ocean who dives under when you are not looking and grabs your leg, pretending to be a shark.

A few years ago, he and and my aunt (his wife), were out in the ocean body surfing. There were not many good waves, so they ended up just floating around for a good while, laughing and talking. All of a sudden, Mike stopped talking mid-sentence. My aunt looked up, and he was no where to be seen. She just assumed he was playing another one of his tricks.

Then she saw something dark and large moving behind her in the water. She hightailed it towards shore, where she saw Mike way ahead of her, yelling and running towards the rest of us like a lunatic.

It turned out that the big dark shape was a sea turtle. At our beach, sea turtles come up every year to build nests in the dunes and lay their eggs. It's an incredible sight. Months later, watching the hatched baby turtles coming up out of the nest and waddling toward the water is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen in my life.

Anyway, Mike had seen the dark object, and instead of playing white knight and dragging my aunt out of there, he left her there as a sacrifice so he could get to shore safely. This is a story he will never live down. We remind him every year. I guess that's what you get for being the prankster of the family!

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)


Going Crabbing

During the family beach trips of my childhood, we became very ritualistic. We would have a go-cart night, a night of pizza on the beach, a night of miniature golf, and so on. At least one night, we would organize an event we called "Crabbing."

To go "crabbing", you need some flashlights, a large box and a group of crazy kids. My cousins and I fit the bill perfectly.

We would wait until sundown, and then head out toward the beach. The adults would follow behind, because apparently it's fun to watch your children make fools of themselves on the beach.

When the sun goes down, sand crabs of various sizes sneak out of their holes and run around looking for food. Those poor little unsuspecting suckers.

When a crab was spotted on the beach, we would frantically run down the beach - using our flashlights to spotlight it - and chase it until it froze in horror. Then we would throw sand on it, scoop it up and throw it into the box.

This activity requires two levels of bravery. First, picking up a crab is not easy. In case you didn't know, they are more than willing to pinch the daylights out of your fingers - or anything else they can get hold of. Second, the person carrying the box ends up with a bunch of angry crabs scrambling to get out. And some of them can climb. That person doesn't have enough hands to carry a flashlight too, so you can just imagine that hearing a bunch crabs scrambling to get out doesn't make you feel very warm & fuzzy.

After we caught about thirty, we would turn the box over. Then the crabs would take off in all directions. Inevitibly, my uncle Mike would sneak up behind one of us or even the adults - blade of grass in hand - and poke at his victim's ankles (imititating a stray crab). That trick never failed to get his chosen victim, and he always got a big kick out of the ensuing panic.

So next time your family goes to the beach and can't think of anything to do one night - grab a box and head out to the shore.

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)


That Smell

I met J's extended family during Easter vacation, 10 years ago. We had been dating for about two months, and he asked me to come down to Ruralopia with him during our Easter vacation. Being the introvert that I am, knowing that I would be meeting such a large group of people at once immediately overwhelmed me. But, I knew that it needed to happen sooner or later, and that I might as well go ahead and get it over with.

When we pulled in the driveway after an eternity in the car, my stomach dropped. They were all outside. Waiting on us. Waiting to check out the new girlfriend.

As all eyes turned to me, I opened the car door. As soon as the wind from outside came rushing at me, I immediately wished I could slam the door and crawl into the trunk.

No, it wasn't embarassment that fueled my stunned reaction. It was a terrible, horrible smell. It was something that I had never smelled the likes of before. It was so bad, that it could peel the paint right off the car.

It was all I could do not to display the horror on my face.

I found out later, that the source of this smell is a chicken house of around 10,000 chickens. Luckily, the people who owned the chickens retired from that business shortly thereafter, and I'm especially grateful now that I live there.

What I've found now, though, is that some people (luckily not any of our surrounding neighbors) actually fertilize their yards with the very source of this terrible, horrible stench. Oh, the humanity!

(Daily post prewritten - I'm on vacation!)


Please Leave Your Audio Equipment at Home

A few years ago, I went to the beach with J's family for our annual Labor Day weekend beach trip as usual.

J's family does not know how to enjoy the beach. Like J (see yesterday's post), few of them ever get out in the sand/water. So, as in years past, I found myself sitting alone at the shore. I was enjoying the solitude. I was reading a good book, and completely relaxed.

After a while, J's cousin's wife's mother, stepfather, sister and kids (got all that? Basically they are in-laws of my in-laws. Okay, maybe that's not so basic. Anyway.) joined me at my spot on the shore. That's fine. These are nice enough people. Or so I thought.

They put up a tent and spread out a blanket. The kids started playing in the ocean. Then, to my astonishment, the sister pulled out her jukebox. And turned that humongous alien contraption to country music. Full blast.

Anger doesn't begin to describe my feelings. This was pure and simple noise pollution. I'm sorry, Country Music Lovers. My husband is one of you. I can't stand it. But, I wouldn't have been able to stand music I like either.

It's the beach. SOME of us like the sound of the OCEAN. And those same people would MUCH rather hear the OCEAN than YOUR MUSIC. NOISE POLLUTERS!

So, if you are one of those people who disturb the rest of us beachcombers with your music? Show some respect to those around you. BRING YOUR HEADPHONES. Wouldn't you rather carry your i-Pod than have to pack a whopping JUKEBOX?

(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on vacation!)


Checked Out for the Week

I am leaving today for the beach. By the time this publishes, I will already be there. I'm going to write up some random posts to publish while I'm gone. My OCD requires that I have at least one post per day, even if the day it is written doesn't match the day it publishes. I'll be back in my routine on 8/18.

The above picture is a thumbnail of a stunning beach desktop image from an anonymous source. The beach I am going to, while beautiful, is neither secluded nor pristine. And I don't care.

I love the beach. I love the sound of waves rushing to shore. I love the smell of salt water. I love the feel of the breeze and the sand beneath my toes. I could literally plop my chair on the sand and sit out there all day. I've been known to do this occasionally. And, occasionally it has been the reason that I get blistered with sunburn (I know, I know - I wear a high number, but I sometimes forget to reapply!). Sometimes I read, sometimes I just sit.

If you have been with me for a while, you may notice that in that last paragraph I sounded almost patient. Never fear. The beach is the ONLY place that I can sit and do nothing.

J does not share my sentiments. He hates the sand. His feet usually go no further than the pool, if that. He does use beach vacations to sleep, watch movies and play X-Box. I know. Crazy. For those reasons, he will be coming back Monday.

We're going to the beach this week with my family. My extended family. We used to go to the beach for 2 WHOLE WEEKS towards the end of summer. We haven't been able to all get it together to do this in years, so I'm very excited about this week.

We are sharing a 2 BR/2 BA condo (oceanfront) with my parents. I hope this works. Especially after J is gone. He acts as my buffer sometimes. I can already tell that my mom is going to be scrutinizing my every move - especially my eating habits.

So, here's hoping for a week of fun (please, please) and relaxation (please, please, please)!


Lunchtime Ramblings

If they did a better job cleaning the floors here at my office, I would be laying down there now, writhing around, moaning and holding my stomach in agony. Since that type of dramatic episode would probably not help my career, it's probably a good thing that my OCD is stronger than the royal fit my stomach is having at the moment.

My office has three single-occupant bathrooms that we all share. All of them are downstairs, and my office is located downstairs. That's old-fashioned, physical stairs, folks. There are no elevators, escalators or the like. The bathroom closest to me doesn't have a fan that runs. This is a problem, because I don't want to interrupt the entire customer service department with the sounds of my heaving.

The other two bathrooms are right across the hall from each other. Across the building. So, I have to walk by the glass walls of each office in the hallway. There's nothing else over there, nobody to pretend to go visit, etc. When you head to the bathroom, there is no playing it off. And, since I have been pregnant, let's just say I have already been a frequent visitor. I'm trying to hold off my next march down the hall for as long as humanly possible.

Tomorrow I'm leaving for vacation. I'll be out of the office for a week. It seems like the week before vacation is the slowest possible week ever. Add the queasiness to that - and you have me feeling miserable and whiny. But, at the same time, I am still super-excited about our baby, the wonderful day that we had yesterday and the fact that tomorrow I will be lounging on the beach.

I'm also having trouble with my train of thought. This post probably reflects that - it has been very random, and I am no longer sure where I'm going with it. Even though I will be gone next week, I put together some various posts to continue with my daily post goal.

Well, for now, it's back to work for me!


6 Weeks, 4 Days

Dear Unborn Baby,

Today I saw you for the first time. The doctor didn't even have to point you out on the screen. I knew you immediately. This probably has something to do with the fact that I have been studying everything that I can find about you on the internet since we found out about your existence.

I know that this week your nose, mouth and ears are beginning to tape shape. Your organs are still forming. You are about the size of a lentil. Dr. F confirmed that today. We found out you are .35 cm in length.

I have been afraid about your location because of my progesterone levels being border-line low. Today's ultrasound revealed that you are perfectly placed. I almost jumped off the bed when we saw that. I had prepared myself for the worst, and for once in this journey, everything is perfect.

When I saw you, I cried a little. We have waited so long for you, and every precious moment like this makes our battle for you worthwhile. You are still so, so small, but we love you very, very much.

We got to hear your tiny heart beat. It was the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard. Words cannot express the emotion in my heart as I heard that gentle "whoomp, whoomp". We could see the pumping of your heart on the screen, and each movement reminded us of the miracle that you are.

For the last few days, you have been trying to make sure that I know about your existence. I'm queasy a lot now, and very, very tired. But I promise you that I will do my best to make your journey to life the best it can possibly be.

It's still very early on, and we could still lose you, but today's results significantly increased our hopes. You will always mean the world to me no matter what happens.


Your Mom


Trying to Keep Quiet

My co-workers must think I am dying. I keep missing work for doctor appointments and coming back with bruises on my arms from blood work. I stay exhausted all the time, and I'm developing dark circles under my eyes. I'm distracted and forgetful. I get continuous looks of concern.

99% of them are guys, so I'm pretty sure they don't suspect pregnancy as an option.

The other woman in the office probably has it figured it out, or if not - she's close. She is our receptionist, and sees me coming and going. One day she asked me who my doctor was. I stood there dumbfounded - taken completely off-guard. I couldn't figure out how to get out of the situation without revealing too much.

"Dr. F," I replied timidly. Her response - "Oh, I know him. He goes to my church. I see Dr. B in that office."

Oh my. So, I'm sure she knows. If not, she knows it's something related.

I did tell one of my co-workers that I trust to keep his mouth shut. I thought someone should know in case something happens and I need to leave, be out, etc.

I am having trouble concentrating, and the work days just drag on and on.

My absentmindedness has increased 300%. Not just at work. The day after I took the home pregnancy test, I forgot to wash my hair. Yes, I forgot to wash my hair. (My hair is golden blonde and very fine. It requires everyday washing. Otherwise, it looks oily.) I stood in the shower that morning and took a bath. My hair was wet afterward. It was not until after it dried and I left the house that I realized that I hadn't shampooed it.

Speaking of hair, today it feels weird. I guess it's the time where I stop losing as much hair due to hormonal changes and it begins to feel thicker. I know I washed it today!

Anyway, it's getting harder and harder to disguise my fatigue, nausea, etc. and continue to let my co-workers think that I have a dreaded disease. I'm still going to hold out as long as I can.

BTW - Tomorrow is my ultrasound. We are super-excited and super-nervous.


Hello Grandma!

I ordered two new swimsuits for my beach trip next week. Although I'm only at 6 weeks, my proportions have already begun to change. You wouldn't notice in my everyday clothes, but swimsuits have a way of displaying these things.

I ordered these swimsuits with forethought in mind. In a few weeks, J's family goes down for the weekend, so I had to have something that would grow with me. So, I bought a swimdress and a two piece halter/swimshorts combo.

I've been very worried that the swimsuits would not make it in time. But, yesterday they finally came. I pulled myself together, held my breath, and tried them on.

The shorts look fine. The dress? It looks just like one that my grandma would wear. I thought the modern pattern would help that, but no - grandma all the way.

J gave his typical "fine" answer when asked. Hearing "fine" doesn't help. It's like the most unhelpful answer ever. "Fine" really just means "I have no opinion, so please stop asking me this kind of stuff."

After trying on every swimsuit I own, I have come to the conclusion that grandma looks a lot better than bloated denial. So, next week, I'll just have to accept it.

And since I'm going to embrace the grandma look, I'll have to find a wide brimmed straw hat to keep the sun out of my eyes too. Then I'll be able to completely recreate the photo that I have of my grandma waving at us while relaxing in her chair and soaking up the sun.


Back to the DMV

Groan. Sigh. I got stuck going back to the DMV again, and yet again, it didn't turn out as I hoped.

This time, it was for a title. We paid off my Jeep earlier this year, and never received the title in the mail.

This could be because:

  1. We moved and it did not forward correctly.
  2. Much like the rest of our mail, the Ruralopia maillady put it in the wrong box and it was lost that way.
  3. It could be in the garage of our former mailperson from the city we lived in before moving to Ruralopia.

Perhaps that last one deserves a little more explanation. Shortly after we moved, the mailperson of our former location was charged for hoarding mail. Apparently, the authorities went by their home after receiving a tip, and found tons and tons of mail in their garage. They hadn't bother to deliver it. With my luck, this is the most plausible explanation for my missing title.

Anyway, the bank was unconcerned by what happened to the title - all they would do was send me the letter that notarizes the transfer. Now I have to go the DMV, wait in line and pay to get a new title.

I decided to get this over with today during my lunch.

Much like my other DMV story, I realized while waiting in line that I may not have the cash needed for a new title. When my number was finally called, I told her upfront that I needed to know the cost before proceeding. $20. I had $20. Hallelujah!

"But, baby, you will need to have your co-owner here before I can get you a new title."

Of course, J was out at lunch with his co-workers. He didn't drive, so he couldn't leave to meet me. My lunch was wasted.

Guess how I will be spending tomorrow? Miserable at the DMV.


Temptation and the Breaking of Secrets

J & I agreed early on that we will not share the news of our pregnancy outside the circle of people closest to us until I am a little farther along. You know, other than the entire Internet. But you, Internet, don't know where we live or have to see us every day.

Anyway, I just want to explain a little more about our thought process. We have a close circle of family and friends. These are all people I wanted to tell in person (or by sending a text message picture of a pregnancy test). I want these people to know before we break the secret wide open and allow people to tell whomever they want to.

Next week we are going to the beach with my family, so I'm waiting until we are all together down there to tell everyone. Since there is only one other great-grandchild to my grandparents, the news will be especially meaningful to my family. I fully expect them to completely freak out. J's extended family already has a gazillion kids, so one more, while joyous, is not an OMG-kind of a reaction.

So, my sister-in-law/best friend told her parents. That's okay. I consider them in the inner circle and I am fine with that. Then she told another of our friends. That's okay too. This friend happens to be my massage therapist and she would have found out this week anyway.

My mother-in-law told her sister that we barely know.

Wait just a minute. This person gets to know before my family whom we are close to? I accepted her explanation through clenched teeth, but I have been silently fuming - blame that partially on hormones - ever since.

Why did she tell? "Oh, it's so exciting." Yes, it is super-exciting. NO ONE is more excited than J & I. But that's really not why she told. See, this aunt we don't really know called to tell my mother-in-law that her son who just got married, like, last year, is having a baby due April 4th. So, my mother-in-law used our unborn child to one-up her.

And although I barely know this aunt, I DO know that she is a gossip. So lots of other people will know before my beloved family.

Silly, right? I'll get over it. I'll be over it as soon as I get that OMG reaction from my family next week.


Why I Can't Work at a HelpDesk

My parents came to visit today. My mom has been having trouble with "some stuff on her computer." My mom thinks that since I have a degree in computer science that I am an automatic candidate for desktop support issues. (Which, by the way, I'm in web world, so I don't keep up with desktop support. Sorry.)

Mom: I can't see the pictures Karen sent me.

Me: Did she send them in an email?

Mom: They are in the Kodak gallery.

At this point I'm confused. I don't know what Kodak gallery she is talking about. I don't know anything about Kodak galleries, and I don't know Karen.

Finally, an hour later, we establish that Karen sent her an email forward. This email had a link in it, and she needed to click on it.

VoilĂ ! The Kodak gallery.

I plan to hunt down this Karen and throw eggs at her house. She should never, ever send my mother forwards - especially ones with pictures of any kind.

So, I finally convinced my mom that there is nothing wrong with her computer, and that the problem is that she still has dial-up, and this is a horrific sin against the internet. Then, she proceeded to spend the next hour online so she could see all the stuff like that - the forwarded stuff with sound and graphics and power points.

When she goes back home, I'm sure she will forget everything we talked about, refuse to fork out the extra bucks for a faster connection and call me when she gets the next forward. In the meantime, I'll be stocking up on eggs and looking up all the addresses of her friends.

Bark Through the Night

Last night, Molly barked all night. I guess that she believes this is the best way to prepare us for children. J got up with her at least 4 times.

He finally moved her to the other side of house, in the guest bathroom with 3 closed door separating us. Silence.

Then Max barked.

He didn't understand why Molly was gone, and he missed her. J had to get up and move him in the guest bathroom, too.

Spoiled, rotten dogs.


The Perfect Shot

J likes to target practice. I, on the other hand, do not like guns whatsoever. J thinks that since we are so far back in the woods I need to know how to defend myself. I do. I will call 911, run and hide for the hour and a half it will take the police to get to my house. There are lots of hiding places in my house and the surrounding the woods.

Okay, well realistically, I probably could call 911, but I would freak out to much to run and hide. I'm sure I would freeze in place. Anyway.

So, after months of nagging, I finally a while back gave in and told J that I would try to shoot the target. The target looks somewhat like my preschool rendering above. You just push it down into the ground.

On my very first shot ever, I hit the center of the middle target. J was so impressed. "Do it again!" he says. Yeah, right. I have learned to always, always quit while I'm ahead. (I also knew that I could never, ever do that again.)

A few months back, he bought a handgun. An EXPENSIVE handgun. WITHOUT my permission. (We always discuss big purchases.) I was so, so upset. J knew it too, and he almost felt guilty. And, that's the story of how I got my beautiful new china cabinet.