Thursday, February 23, 2017

Maternity Left

Suddenly I only have a week and a half left of maternity leave.

I know I'm very lucky that I got to take ANY maternity leave and get paid for some of it, given the experiences of so many. However, (1) my leave sucks when I compare it to Niall's sisters' over in Ireland and (2) I'm still sad that it's almost over. I've wanted this baby FOR FUCKING EVER and it just seems unfair that I have send him to full time daycare before I'm ready.

I know HE will be just fine. He's little enough that he won't remember, plus he's getting to an age where he probably could do with more stimulation and interesting things. The daycare we're sending him to is local and really nice. On his first day they had a little welcome sign up for him and I do love seeing his little cubby with his name on it and all the cute little things they have there. So far he has been to four days over the last 2 weeks. I go back to work on March 8, so we are easing in. That's all good and fine [weep].

Now that it's mostly slipped away from me, I did not realize how much of maternity leave I would spend physically recovering from Baby Clover's birth. As someone who had never given birth before, I sort of thought that as long as I could avoid the major surgery option of baby removal, the recovery wouldn't be so bad. Ha. Ha ha.
After 43 hours of labor, with two nights of painful contractions that went away by dawn tacked on before that, my body was wrecked by the time Baby Clover made his debut. And I didn't realize it.
It felt SO GOOD to have the baby out and to be sitting up on the bed, holding my wee babe while Niall fed me my breakfast tray that I didn't so much notice the steady increase in pain and exhaustion until WHAM it hit me two days later. My whole body hurt. My arms and legs and back and business district. And I hadn't slept for a week before Clover was born, so I was already starting out sleep deprived.

I just hadn't realized how hard that would all be, even though everybody warns you how sleep deprived and exhausted you will be. It also didn't help that certain family members of mine have repeatedly told me that I have an easy baby. Oh, great! So it's me, then. I'm just a failure because I feel like this is hard.

I think I finally felt mostly physically back to normal after about three months. Clover is four months old now and seems to have started in on a sleep regression (?), but can it really be a sleep regression when his sleep has NEVER BEEN THIS SHITTY BEFORE? He has started waking up about every hour or so and I just want to cry. It's suckey but fine for NOW, but when I'm expected to function at work I don't honestly know how I'm going to do it. It's a good thing my job doesn't involve life or death situations! Oh, wait.

I suspect that he also might be teething because he is drooling all over the place and gnawing on everything.
He has also discovered his toes, which is just about the cutest thing ever.

And he babbles and laughs and holds his head up. He loves his bath and he hates his car seat to the point where he arches his back and scootches down to avoid being buckled. He's a tiny little PERSON with opinions and having him is everything I ever dreamed it could be and more. Going back to work full time is going to suuuuuuck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Baby gadgets

OHMYGOD OHMYGOD OHMYGOD EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE.
Deep breaths. Wait, no. That's a lie. I'm taking shallow, panicked breaths over here.

Shall we think about something other than the rapid dismantling of human rights that is happening before our eyes?

Clover is 3 months old (and change). I am happy to report that I no longer have scary late night thoughts about dropping him or him getting hurt. I still go extra slowly and carefully when I'm carrying him down stairs, but that's just good sense.
Also, today I realized that maybe the reason that I'm shedding SO MUCH HAIR is that I didn't shed any for many months and it's all coming out now. That's a thing, right?

How about some baby related items! It seems like every time I'm around my parents or sisters they make some comment about how there are so many more gadgetty things these days than there used to be. It's hard not to take this as "you have it so easy with all of your THINGS," but I don't think they mean it that way (and that's a topic for another day).

Anyhow, a few things I like (that you definitely don't NEED, eyeroll) for a baby are:

The Puj tub. It's a little squishy, foldy uppy insert that goes into your bathroom sink. I love it. My actual bathtub is a shower/tub combo with a glass door so that means that the door and the runner thingies for the door are in the way. Plus, why would I kneel in front of the bathtub when I can stand at my sink? I dread the day my baby gets too big to bathe in the sink. But when that day does come, the Puj tub stores nice and flat!

The Binxy baby shopping cart hammock. This thing is adorable. It's a little hammock that goes in your shopping cart. It's really nice when I am buying more things than can fit in the stroller and it is RIDICULOUSLY cute. People stop and exclaim how cute my baby is, which I definitely don't mind. I mean, look:

Oh, hey also, how about that bear suit? It's adorable and soft and it fits over Clover's clothes and is easier than a blankie to keep him warm. It seems to be on clearance at Target right now. I bought one in every size.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Last Good Day

Alternate title: I CANNOT FUCKING BELIVE WE ARE NOT CELEBRATING THE UPCOMING INAUGURATION OF MADAME PRESIDENT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON.

I guess the actual last good day was November 7th, when I set out my "I'm With Her" tee shirt and went to bed full of hope and excitement. On November 8th, I stuck an H sticker on the back of my newborn baby's onesie and we went out for our first solo outing to drop off my ballot. And then everything fell apart. And since then it seems like things are getting worse and more outlandish. I'm not surprised by the news anymore. I continue to be horrified.

I wrote a letter to our CURRENT president, Barack Obama, a few days ago. I don't know if it will ever fall into his hands, but I'm glad I wrote it. I didn't mention Fuckface von Clownstick in it, but just tried to focus on thanking Obama, the man who campaigned for hope.

I hope we survive the next four years.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

night owl, bookworm

Let's see, it's about 2:30PM and I've just gotten up. I mean, I've sort of been up and down all morning-- feeding the baby, changing his diaper, pumping. But right now is when I can call myself FULLY up.
Baby Clover was up nursing several times in the night. He sleeps in a little buzzy chair that's attached to the pack n play right next to my side of the bed, for easy access purposes. He wakes up, I'll nurse him, and put him back in the chair. But last night was one of those nights where he was nursing so much that I would just doze while holding him, which meant that the sleep I DID get was not exactly the most restful.
So then Niall got up verrrry early to catch a verrry early plane for a business trip. And Clover and I stayed in bed, because he is currently still at an age where his favorite things are: nursing, kicking, his hands, and being held. At about 11:30 it was time for his morning nap (I *think* I can say this now- Baby Clover usually takes a morning nap for a couple hours at around 11:30ish. Now that I've said that it'll probably change, right?) so I swaddled him up in a nice cozy blankie, gave him his soother, and snuggled him up on Niall's side of the bed. We both fell asleep and woke up a couple hours later. It was heavenly. And now we're up up. Clover is on his play mat, cooing at his toys and sucking on his hand.
Today is one of those days where I think we'll just be staying in our jammies all day. It's lashing rain (don't you love that expression- Irish people and their delightful sayings) and we've got nowhere we have to be.

Clover is 3 months old, which is apparently the time when I feel it makes sense to start reading to him. He has some delightful board books (such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Jamberry) that we've been enjoying. He definitely likes it, but I'm sure he just likes the fact that I'm talking to him. Yesterday I took my car in to be serviced and they gave me a ride to the nearby mall. There was an actual real life bookstore in that mall, so we hung out in the children's section for awhile. We bought Llama Llama Red Pajama and The Runaway Bunny. And today I went on Amazon and ordered Is your Mama a Llama? (Apparently we're going with a llama theme here), The Carrot Seed, The Happy Egg, and I am a Bunny. I went on there to buy the Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Just Born to Lead book, which led me to The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. board book and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters by Barack Obama (those should arrive on the 20th, so I suppose I'll read the book about Hillary Clinton and then Obama's book and then have a good long cry).
I'm planning to buy some more classics like Ferdinand the Bull and Where the Wild Things Are. And I also want to somehow get my hands on that tiny book Juniper by Robert Kraus, which seems to be out of print. It was apparently previously in this Bunny's Nutshell Library collection, but I associate it with other tiny books like Chicken Soup with Rice. And I just figured out why- apparently THAT was part of another Nutshell Library collection, which I have now added to cart. A HA! Any other book recommendations?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pregnancy purchases

While I was pregnant, I looked up various lists and asked for advice about what essential things I would need while pregnant/after giving birth. There are a few items that stand out to me as the VERY BEST ones, so I thought I'd write them down.

1. Body Pillow- In July I was about 6 months pregnant and starting to feel rather large and unwieldily. It was at that point, in fact, that I got my first "You're about the pop!" comment. Haaaa. No, sir. I have 3 months of this left. Anyhow, in July Niall asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a body pillow. He got me this one, which I LOVE. It's like a very long, very nice regular pillow (not one of those funky shaped specifically-for-pregnancy pillows). It's memory foam with some sort of cooling technology built in which was nice for always-boiling pregnant Jules (a stark contrast from always-freezing non-pregnant Jules). I really REALLY liked this body pillow. I would wrap my arms and legs around it and I found that it provided a good amount of frontal support, which I needed more than backal support. I don't like to cuddle with a person in bed, but BY GOD I will spoon the hell out of this pillow all night long and make it breakfast in the morning.

2. Shower Chair- This was a late in the game purchase. Or, end of the game purchase. Last day of the... game... purchase, if you will. That is to say, we bought the shower chair the day I ended up going to the hospital (not the day Clover was BORN (thanks to my excessively long labor), but the last day I was home before I came home with a baby). So I was very VERY uncomfortable at that point. Anytime somebody asked me how I was feeling I always said "big and tired." I was so big and so tired. SO BIG AND TIRED. Everything at that point in pregnancy was uncomfortable and exhausting. I couldn't get comfortable lying down or sitting. I couldn't enjoy eating because everything gave me reflux. I couldn't enjoy a bath because I was too big for the tub to immerse the majority of my body in water, plus there was all the HOISTING in and out I had to do. The only things I really enjoyed were milkshakes and going to the gym. And, to be clear, by "going to the gym" I mean spending 15 mins on the cross trainer and then sitting in the hot tub. As a bonus I got to visually offend everyone around me by being an enormous angry pregnant woman in a bikini. I did get some sick pleasure out of the horrified glances I got for daring to be that pregnant and out in public. So I guess there were three things I enjoyed- milkshakes, going the gym, and scowling at everyone around me. Where was I? Right, the shower chair! I was so big and tired that taking a shower was exhausting, so I decided that I wanted a shower chair. There are fancier and nicer ones out there, but I got the regular old utility one. And it's GREAT. It's sturdy and it fits in my standard sized bathtub/shower combo. I liked it the one time I used it whilst I was pregnant, and it was ALSO good for those several weeks after giving birth when sitting down to shower was a good idea. And now it is very helpful for shaving my legs.

3. Slippers- Another item I requested for my birthday was a nice pair of slippers. Specifically, these (in purple). I actually saved those nice slippers for home use. I brought an old pair to the hospital and wore them while I walked the halls during my seemingly endless labor. They were hot pink with stars on them and actually attracted a lot of attention, so that was kind of fun. If I ever find myself in the position of planning for a hospitalization again, I will probably buy some cheapie, flamboyant slippers for this exact purpose. The pink starred ones ended up um. There was some blood dripped on them so I threw them out instead of bringing them home.

4. Momwasher- Speaking of things that have to do with blood and general grossness after having a baby, let's talk about the Momwasher! It was one of my impulse Amazon purchases that I spent gift card money on. Listen, I know it's not that much different from the squirt bottle thing they give you in the hospital, but I found the Momwasher's angle to be appreciably nicer. And when we're talking about raw, painful sensitive bits I think we can agree that even small improvements can make a significant difference.

5. Exercise Bike- WAIT! Hear me out. My husband is someone who wants to work out just about every day and I love him in spite of this. Shortly after Clover was born, Niall came up with the idea that maybe we should buy an exercise bike to have at home so that he could get his work out in while not simultaneously abandoning me with our newborn. We ended up getting this one. It folds up and stores easily in the closet. And sometimes Niall rides it while holding Clover, which is just about the cutest thing. One of these days I'll probably use it too, but riding a bicycle is literally the last thing I wanted to do after having a baby.

6. Recliner- Now this is more my speed. I decided that I wanted to get a nice, comfortable recliner for nursing the baby and probably sleeping in whilst he was very wee. I came up with a whole list of reasons and went to present them to Niall. "I think we should get a recliner," I started. "GREAT!" He said, evidently not needing to hear my very well thought out list of reasons. And that was that. We bought a recliner and it's everything I dreamed it could be.

7. Yoga ball- Or exercise ball or birth ball or whatever you call it. This was given to me by my friend D and it made a nice addition to our assortment of places for Jules to sit while pregnant. Due to the aforementioned big and tiredness, trying a variety positions/activities was a necessity. The ball D got me has sand or something inside of it which prevents it from rolling the hell away when you go to sit down on it. The closest thing I can find on Amazon is this. We still have the ball in our living room even though I'm not pregnant anymore. We like to use it for sitting or bouncing the baby or just generally cluttering up the floorspace.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Potpourri

2017 is here. And that's good. Because I feel like 2016 was a series of various sized nightmares. With the exception of the birth of my darling baby boy, 2016 can pretty much die in a fire. I'm sure I'm exaggerating. I heard there was some good news about tigers and probably other stuff also, but the election and its aftermath have pretty much broken my spirit/heart/etc. As the results rolled in, I held my three week old baby and sobbed onto his tiny, fuzzy head. "Mama's sorry" I whispered over and over. Sorry for what? Not worrying enough? Not doing enough? Bringing him into THIS world instead of a better one? Yeah, all of that. Fuck. What is 2017 and all its trappings going to bring? I'm terrified.

***

I'm still mad at Google for taking away the Reader. I feel like it had a big effect on blogging, in terms of me reading them and writing in mine. And probably other people's too, I imagine. I wrote a sentence about my blogging community, but I hated that phrase so much I had to delete it. Anyhow, Niall asked me what my New Year's resolution was and I said I'd like to get back into blogging. Which, now I feel like I've set myself up for failure but whatever.

***

Our other resolution is to reconfigure our living room. We have a lot of open shelving storage and lately have been looking around the room and realizing that this little pip squeak is going to be mobile in a few months and... yikes. We don't have a huge amount of space, nor can we afford to move into a larger place, so we're going to have to get creative. Part of the problem is that we use our kitchen table as a desk, so we need to somehow get both functions out of the space. We went to Ikea yesterday and bought a smaller dining set. And we ordered a rolly stand thing for the computer. Once we get those things sorted, we'll be moving the couch where the table currently is so it blocks the big bookshelves. And we need a better filing system. Better, I mean, than "put the mail and important papers in a pile and set it aside until some internal alarm goes off and then panic and find the thing."

***

Is Hawaiian Punch equally bad as soda (Coke, specifically) or slightly less bad? I know it's bad, but HOW bad?

***

Today is rainy and I'm extra tired for some reason and Niall is at work, so I'm sleeping when the baby sleeps. He just conked out so excuse me, the couch is calling.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baby Clover

Baby Clover was born on October 14 at 9:36AM.
He weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 20 and 3/4 inches tall.
Now that he's out in the world, his name is Tiernan. But I think he will always be my Baby Clover.
I love him so much.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Potpourri

A friend of mine is pregnant and her baby shower next weekend. I can’t make it to the shower. BUT I put together a lovely package and mailed it to the shower hostess. So, my friend will have a nice gift from me to open at her shower. Which basically mean that I get, like, partial shower credit. BAM.
Maybe you’re already aware of this as an option but I only recognized it as a thing when it happened at my bridal shower. I had a friend who was unsure if she could make it to the shower, so she sent a gift to the hostess. She ended up not being able to make it, but I opened her gift at the shower and it gave me an “aww, how thoughtful” feeling toward my friend. It’s the kind of thing that has the EFFECT of seeming “above and beyond” in terms of effort, when it in fact is way EASIER.
[I swear I WOULD go to my friend’s baby shower if I could, but it is too far away and I have a prior commitment. This is not a suggestion that in any way should imply that I am a person who avoids baby/bridal showers on a regular basis, disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer.]

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I seem to have reached the point in my pregnancy at which putting on work clothes is a difficult task. Usually my work uniform consists of a dress, leggings, and boots.
I had to start wearing compression socks to work because my legs were getting swollen and a little painful. Putting them on is a bit of a pain but I think I’ve got a system now. I sit on the bed sideways in my underclothes and put one foot on the bed at a time and wrassle the socks onto my feet. Then, I’m usually tired and a little sweaty, so I don’t want to put on leggings. So I put on a pair of pants.
“You should buy the size you were before getting pregnant” said the lady at Motherhood Maternity. Bullshit. These pants are XL and are starting to feel a little tight. These pants are the pants I will be wearing for the next two months at work.
I also bought some new shoes. They are slip-ons and very comfortable and very boring.
They’re even more boring than the ones from this link because the ones I bought don’t even have the hot pink insoles, just plain black. But WHATEVER, I’m wearing clothes at work, gold star for me.

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I’ve been going to a different gym than usual. The one closest by my house is like a big warehouse. One huge room with a high ceiling containing all the equipment (plus a couple of adjacent rooms for individual classes and whatnot). The locker rooms are spacious and usually fairly well kept. I’ve been going to a slightly farther away gym because this one has a pool and a hot tub. Sitting in the hot tub after working out is very nice and relaxing.
However, this new gym is unfortunately more gross than the old one. The locker rooms are teensy with weird small hallways between apparently added-on spaces. The whole thing is just more stinky, possibly because of the smaller more enclosed spaces. And the people there seem to be more prone to be gross in this gross place. There are clumps of hair in the shower drains. There’s always some woman using the (ONLY) hand dryer to dry her whole body or someone else exfoliating her feet or deeply Q-tipping her ears on one of the locker room benches. And more than once I’ve run into this lady in the hot tub who drinks this POTION that makes my stomach turn. It looks like maybe iced tea with, like, whole baby carrots and garlic cloves in it? I honestly have no idea what’s in it. There are little orange oblong bits and round white bits and some of them sink to the bottom of her water bottle and some of them float. She sits in the hot tub and takes big gulps of it and drinks/CHEWS it noisily and I just cannot even.
And the design is weird. To enter the gym, you walk up a flight of stairs. You sign in at the front desk. Then you walk DOWN a flight of stairs to go to the locker rooms. Then it’s back up the damn stairs again if you’d like to use any of the workout equipment.
Despite its grossness, I’ve been going to this gym really solely because of the hot tub. I try not to think about the (high) possibility that people are also gross IN the hot tub when they’re gross everywhere else.

---

I passed my glucose tolerance test. I had heard a lot about it being HORRIBLE, but it wasn't so bad. I downed the syrupy beverage and really the only issue was some icky burps during the hour I had to wait before the blood test. So that test was fine.
But, unfortunately, I’m mildly anemic so my doctor said I should start an iron supplement. I’m going to start with changing my diet first, though, and see if that makes a difference. I have definitely not been eating iron rich foods.
There was the week when I could only eat Spaghetti-Os. Then there was the week when I could only eat Cheerios. Buttered noodles have also been a staple in my diet. Since I’m not feeling as sick anymore, I’ve definitely been able to eat more different types of things but iron-rich foods haven’t so much been on my radar. I basically eat unintentionally vegetarian during the week and then splash out a bit on the weekends.
Anyhow, I’ve been snacking on crackers with goat cheese and spinach leaves at work. And over the weekend Niall made tacos so I have leftover taco meat that I’ll be eating all week.
And I have a cast iron skillet that I’m going to cook in more, once I figure out how to “season” it properly so food doesn’t just stick to it.
And I also bought this Lucky Iron Fish. I’m planning to make the iron-citrus water and, y’know, drink it.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cat update

Bowie’s behavior continues to mystify.

He hasn’t peed anywhere inappropriate recently (*knocks furiously on desk and own head*), but he seems to still be more… anxious? restless? annoying? Than usual.
 
Like, in the evenings at our old place he used to just hang out in the living room or wherever we were. He would lie down on the back of the couch or curl up in a chair and take a snooze. Now usually starting at about 8PM he just won’t settle down. He’ll stalk around the room and go over to the bookshelves and knock the contents to the floor. He’ll knock papers off the desk and shred them into tiny pieces. He’ll stand at the front door and meow. He’s 12 years old, so I sort of thought he would get LESS active and crazy over the years, but it doesn’t seem like it. And it seems like it coincides with all the big changes in his life, but I don’t know how to fix it.

About, oh, a year ago I want to say (?), the vet (old vet, not new vet) told me that Bowie was too heavy at 26lbs and needed to go on a diet or else he would get diabetes. The vet recommended Fancy Feast Tender Beef because it’s high in protein and doesn’t have fillers or grains. So now he gets one can of Fancy Feast Tender Beef in the morning and one in the evening, plus a tiny scoop of dry food when we put him in the garage at bedtime.
As a semi-related side note, have I told you about my former cat sitter who shamed me about Bowie’s food? He texted me while I was out of town to tell me that Bowie had eaten HIS ENTIRE BOWL OF FOOD from the previous day and maybe I should consider an automatic cat feeder. I was like 1. Call me when the cat DOESN’T eat his entire bowl of food. Then I’ll be worried. And 2. Are you trying to talk yourself out of a job?
Anyhow, I digress, but it was just an interested incident of someone worrying about my 26 pound cat being UNDERfed.

On his new diet, Bowie went from 26 pounds to 17 pounds. HE LOST NINE POUNDS. That’s like, a whole normal sized cat. His bones started to stick out more. And now he's all jittery and anxious. So maybe he DOES need to eat more now? About a month ago I decided that if it would make him HAPPIER, I would just give him more food. So I bought this automatic cat feeder to give him little snackies while I was at work. I had it for a week and a half before Bowie managed to break it so that the lids won’t close anymore. So then I started leaving him a little extra food in the morning before I left for work and he started puking on a daily basis. Because apparently he will just EAT ALL THE FOOD if you just leave it out.

I’ve started trying to give him more attention when I first get home from work and later in the evenings.
I’ve tried distracting him with the laser pointer when he starts throwing papers on the floor.
I’ve tried squirting him with water when he does his annoying habits.
I’ve tried opening the balcony door and letting him wander out there in the evenings.
I’ve tried sprinkling catnip on his scratch pad.
I’ve tried giving him an extra little snack in the evenings and a bigger one at bedtime.

Nothing has changed.
I think my next step will be one of those anti-anxiety cat collars or diffusers. Anyone have experience with that?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Catastrophe

As you may recall, my car was stolen (and miraculously returned!) and at that point Niall and I decided that it was high time to skedaddle out of our current apartment and live somewhere else. I happened to find our new place the very day my car was stolen, in early November. We signed our new lease and gave notice at our old place in mid-November and started frantically packing.
We moved everything and were out of our old place by December 12 and do not get me started on how crappy our former landlords turned out to be. I can’t even revisit it because it made me RAGE CRY and I just cannot.
Anyhow, so we were fully moved into our new place on December 12 and then we left for Ireland on December 23 for two weeks. We returned in early January and then Niall had to go to Phoenix for work for a few days and things were hectic with both of us going back to work after vacation. On January 30 I got my first shadow line on a pregnancy test. So that week I was on pins and needles, peeing on a stick least twice a day (since my period wasn’t even due until February 5). We had decided to have a Super Bowl party on Feb 7 (we had sort of halfheartedly done one the previous year and it was really fun, so we decided to make it an annual event), which meant that on Feb 6 and 7 there was frantic cleaning and prepping our house for guests.

Also in the evening of Feb 6, the cat, Bowie,  started acting weird. The first thing I noticed was that he peed NEXT TO his litter box. I was pretty annoyed by that, but then I realized he was walking kind of gingerly. And then as I was paying more attention to him that night I realized he was sitting kind of funny and he kept getting up. He wouldn’t just settle down for a snooze like he usually does. He was clearly uncomfortable, so I decided that I would take him to the vet in the morning (it didn’t occur to me to just take him to the emergency vet right THEN, which I now realize I should have done).

We usually put Bowie in the garage when we go to bed, but we let him stay in the house that night. The reason we put him in the garage is that he’ll usually start being a pest in the wee hours- walking around, jumping on things, meowing loudly, scritching at doors, generally being a cathole. That night? Nothing. He didn’t make a peep. But then in the morning I walked into the kitchen and he was fine! Normal energy level, acting normal, didn’t seem to be in pain, peeing in the litter box. So… okay then. I decided not to take him to the vet, and I couldn’t get an appointment that day anyhow.
(We had the Super Bowl party, it was fun!)

The next day later Bowie peed in the closet.

Two days after that I caught him right before he was about to pee in the closet AGAIN. I called the vet. They didn’t have any appointments. I ended up taking him to the emergency vet. For $400 they took a urine sample, determined that he might have a UTI, and gave me 2 weeks’ worth of antibiotics for him. He seemed to do better. Then they called a few days later to say guess what! The urine grew nothing, so he does NOT have a UTI. So, I’m a nurse, you guys. And I did EXACTLY the thing I tell my patients not to do. I kept giving Bowie the antibiotics for the rest of the week. So he ended up taking a weeks’ worth. And I dunno, he seemed better! He didn’t pee anywhere.

And then a couple weeks later I found a puddle of pee in the closet again. So I finally made an appointment with a regular vet. Since we had moved, I wanted to establish care at a local vet office. So we went to the new vet. And I think he either is or is related to Dr. Dolittle because wow. This guy. At first I was like oh who is this weird hippie doctor with a ponytail? He breezed into the room “Hi I’m Jerry. Don’t get up, I’m pretty casual. The first thing to know here is that at every appointment I’d like to start with a very open and honest conversation just to make sure we are all on the same page and that we’re having good communication.” WOAH. Okay then. I told him what had been going on with Bowie. He enthusiastically explained that the peeing in the closet could have been physical (UTI) or behavioral (cathole).

I had explained to the vet that the emergency vets said Bowie’s urine test had come back negative. And he explained that it Bowie still MIGHT have had a UTI.
See, as I mentioned, I’m a nurse. The way we get urine samples from people is we either have them pee (most convenient!) or if they cannot pee, we stick a tube up through the peehole and into their bladder and collect the urine (least convenient!). I was unaware that for a CAT, they do not stick the tub up through their business, they use a needle through their belly and collect urine directly from the bladder. SO, if Bowie did have a UTI that was somewhere OTHER than the bladder, the test would not detect it. So MAYBE that medicine did in fact help clear up a lower down infection. Huh.

The vet asked if we could think of anything else that could be affecting Bowie, emotionally or behaviorally speaking. And, well, yeah: We moved rather quickly and frantically, and then Niall and I went out of the country and left Bowie with my parents for 2 weeks soon after moving, and then we were suddenly in the new house, and then Niall went away for awhile and came back, and then I got pregnant (COULD THE CAT SENSE IT?). And then there was the frantic cleaning before our Super Bowl party. Oh, and Niall and I also remembered that our new landlord saying that she replaced all the floors in our house, because the previous tenants had 2 large dogs. So perhaps there are some lingering dog smells in the house?

The vet was like. Uh. Yeah that’s a lot of stuff.

So we came up with a plan: I would buy a blacklight and search the WHOLE house for cat pee. I would also buy special cat-pee removal cleaning product because other cleaning products don’t actually break up the enzymes and cats can still SMELL the pee, so they’ll still want to pee there. And then clean up all the cat pee I found, to make sure there aren’t any traces anywhere there shouldn’t be. And the vet would do a blood test to see if something was wrong, some physical reason Bowie wasn’t feeling good that was making him act out.

We didn’t find any more cat pee in the house (yay!), and the blood tests all came back fine (also yay!). The vet had also mentioned that indoor cats sometimes tend to go a bit stir crazy since normally cats roam about 5 miles per day and indoor cats have that taken away from them. He asked if we have a cat tree. Uh. No. I do not have a cat tree. I don’t have room in my life for a cat tree. But then I realized that our house DOES have kind of an odd nook. It’s like a miniature loft over the stairs that you can’t access without precariously balancing a ladder on the staircase. So I got the idea in my head that it could be Bowie’s area. We went to out and bought some shelves and got a new cat bed and scratcher thing and now Bowie has his own little loft!
It took a bit of convincing to get him to learn to jump up the shelves into the area. We used food.
Once he got the hang of it he can bound up there in no time.
He seems to like it!

The next day Niall went to the gym. He was walking to his car outside our house and exchanged a few pleasantries with our nextdoor neighbor lady. Then he noticed a LARGE SNAKE on the ground in the neighbor’s driveway. As Niall got into his car, the neighbor PICKED UP THE SNAKE and took it into her garage.
So… apparently our neighbors have a large pet snake? I’m thinking THAT might be causing Bowie (and now me) some anxiety.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Undignified

And now I shall discuss some of the less dignified side effects of pregnancy. As a sidenote, I hope this post doesn’t sound too complainey. I’m SO thrilled to be pregnant and I haven’t forgotten how lucky I am. Just want to make that clear before I dive in.

Pretty much from the moment I got a positive pregnancy test I started feeling a low-grade queasiness throughout the day. It came and went, but was mostly there all the time. An undercurrent of nausea peppered here and there with instances of feeling okay and bouts of puking.
Maybe I should have kept a better timeline of my symptoms because when I describe them I find myself using a lot of wishy washy language, but alas. From around week 6 to week 14 I was puking nearly every day. Which, I didn’t think was a huge amount since I’ve heard so many stories of pregnant ladies puking, like, every HOUR or something. I would usually just feel kind of mildly queasy all day and then have one big session of puking in the evening after dinner. It was, on the whole, a rather frustrating existence. I would battle against the nausea to eat something and then either throw it back up or not, but either way I would be hungry again in like an hour and a half. Second verse, same as the first.

Once in awhile I would puke at work. Like this one day I felt like I really wanted to eat a cucumber, so I walked to the fruits & veggies stand down the road and bought one. Then I brought it back, sliced it, and ate it at my desk with a side of ranch. I was so smug and proud of myself like Look at me and my healthy snack! Gold star for feeding my baby VEGETABLES! And then as soon as I finished it I had to run to the bathroom (AT WORK) to throw it all up.
I’ve found that puking at work is especially miserable. Afterwards I usually do feel better, but I also kind of want to lie down and feel sorry for myself for a little while, which is difficult/impossible to do at work. Plus, it’s just grosser to get sick in a public bathroom rather than in my own at home. PLUS, sometimes I would be puking so hard that the toilet water would SPLASH ME IN THE FACE.

At weeks 14 to 18 ish the puking dwindled down to maybe two or three times a week. And at about that time I also started having, erm, accidents while I was puking. I would throw up and sometimes ALSO PEE MY PANTS, which just feels like a new level of undignified. This is my first baby! I thought incontinence issues weren't supposed to start until one has already given birth!
I brought an extra pair of undies and leggings to keep in my desk drawer at work, just in case.

Plus, there was the exhaustion. The entire first trimester I was JUST. SO. TIRED. So tired! How do women do this with other children? I don’t understand. It was literally all I could do to make it through the workday, get home, battle with my stomach for dinner, and lie down for the rest of the evening. AND the first trimester is traditionally the time of pregnancy when most people try to keep things quiet for one reason or another. So I was miserable and tired and pukey at work and I didn’t even feel like I could tell my coworkers. Of course, knowing I was pregnant since week THREE made the first trimester go particularly slowly and I ended up telling my coworkers I was pregnant when I was at week nine + change. Some of them had already guessed after seeing me run to the bathroom wearing my anti-nausea wristbands and looking all ghostly white and sickly.

Things that are especially wretched to throw up, an incomplete list:
-          Cucumbers
-          Sushi (hold your fire! It was just and avocado/rice roll) & soy sauce
-          Tuna sandwich
-          Fries & ketchup
-          Ramen noodles
-          Tomato soup
-          Potato soup
-          Caprese salad
-          Popcorn

Things that actually aren’t so bad to throw up:
-          Waffles
-          Ice cream sandwiches
-          Chicken tikka masala (surprisingly!)

At this point (21 weeks) I’m feeling a bit better. Within the past few weeks I haven’t puked nearly as much and I haven’t had that continuous undercurrent of nausea [*knocks on wood*]. I hope I didn’t just jinx that. I did recently vomit popcorn in the Target parking lot and the chicken tikka masala episode was last night, but really it hasn’t been so bad. I feel better overall. I am also starting to feel a big squished. And in the afternoons I’ve started getting heartburn pain in my stomach which later turns into feeling the hot stomach acid in my THROAT.

Oh, and I’ve been waking up for the past week all gross and soaking WET because apparently pregnancy NIGHT SWEATS are a thing. I don’t feel overheated, I just wake up in a puddle and it’s so gross and undignified. I just ordered a waterproof mattress pad from Amazon and I’m regretting getting rid of all my flat sheets because having an extra sheet or two would be useful right about now. I'm basically a hot mess. Well no, not a hot mess. Just a sweaty one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

nesting and resting

The nesting instinct is strong right now. I want to get baby Clover's room ready for him! I want to start folding and putting away baby clothes and organizing all of our adorable baby things (which is like four things at this point, but STILL the need is strong).

Here's the deal: Clover's room is our spare bedroom, which used to have a desk and some miscellaneous shelves and a bed in it. A friend was getting rid of her really nice gently used crib so we took it off her hands for practically a song. We got rid of the desk (and by that I mean we put it in the garage) so now the room has a bed, the crib, and some miscellaneous shelves.

I went into Clover's room full of purpose today, armed with trash bags. I was going to donate, toss, and recycle as much stuff from those shelves as I could!
But then I got in there and I sat down on the bed and I realized there really isn't that much stuff on those shelves. I have some little file boxes (not just regular cardboard boxes, the decorative looking ones) and those should go in my bedroom. And nearly everything else is office supplies, which need to be consolidated and also probably put in the bedroom, but right now there isn't room in the bedroom.

So I went into our bedroom to clear some space for the file boxes. But then I realized that the tall skinny bookshelf next to my side of the bed is kind of the perfect size for this weird tall skinny closet we have in the hall that has no clothes bar (we've been awkwardly piling things in the closet but that doesn't really make the best use of the space). So really I should move the tall skinny bookshelf into the hall closet and move then one of the littler shelves from Clover's room into my room to hold the file boxes and whatnot. And Niall is out of town for a few days for work and I probably shouldn't be moving furniture by myself (because (a) my arm muscles are purely decorative, and (b) all of my innards seem to be getting rather squished and I think my lung capacity is suffering from it (I got out of breath just from hurrying around the grocery store the other day)). So, okay. When Niall gets back, we (he) will move the shelves around and THEN I'll really do some organizing and move things from Clover's room into our bedroom.

But I really wanted to do SOMETHING, since I had been so full of purpose earlier. So I ended up cleaning out my nightstand. I cleared everything out of it, tossed a few things, moved a few things to other places, and put things away properly and neatly in the drawers. And after that I was exhausted and had to have a little lie down.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Precious Cargo

One of the reasons that Niall and I decided that now was the time for me to get a new car was this:
That right there is a BABY BUMP.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? ME NEITHER.

Baby Clover (nickname) is due October 16. And if I know anything about babies and due dates, I’m sure that baby Clover will arrive PRECISELY on that date. Har har.
So that makes me 20 weeks pregnant right now. This ish is getting real.

I’ve known I was pregnant since the first moment it was possible to know. I took a couple of those discount peestick tests from Amazon a solid 6 days before my period was due and got the faintest shadow line possible.
Do you see it?
So then I drove to Target and got an actual pregnancy test with, like, a plastic holder part and everything and the tiny line appeared.
How about now? Do you see it?
And it kept appearing and getting darker all week! Niall may have gotten a little weary of me waving peesticks in his face LOOK AT THIS DO YOU SEE A LINE I THINK I SEE A LINE.
HOW ABOUT NOW?
Anyway. We’ve been to the doctor, I’ve had blood tests and ultrasounds and whatnot and it looks like there’s a real actual BABY in there.
And we just found out last week that it's a baby BOY.
Baby Clover
I get to have a baby.
I get to have a baby with somebody who loves me and wants a baby, too. I got married last year and now I’m having a baby.
How on EARTH did I get this lucky?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pour one out for Jamboree

I got a new car. But before we get too excited, let’s take a minute to appreciate my old car. I feel like I need to pay her the respect she deserves.
Here she is, fresh from the car wash.
The car I’ve had for the past 13+ years was a 1997 black Honda CR-V. We (*my parents) bought it gently used when I was a senior in college.


I named the car Jamboree. She served me well all these years. I’ve driven up and down and up and down and up and down and up the length of California. I’ve driven to Tahoe and Big Bear and Mammoth in the snow. I’ve packed it full of all my stuff on multiple occasions and moved.
LA to SF move, 2008
I taught one of my nieces to drive in it. I’ve gotten into several accidents (both at fault and non at fault) and walked away uninjured each time. I could fit into tiny parking spaces but also fit large pieces of furniture in the back.

And, as Jamboree and I both got older, I could park obnoxiously close to douchebags who felt entitled to take up more than their fair share of the parking lot with their douchebag fancy cars. I didn’t care if my door got dinged or whatever, Oh? You’re going to park IN THE MIDDLE OF two clearly marked parking spaces, here’s my shitty old car RIGHT UP IN YOUR BIDNESS. YOU DON’T GET TO PARK LIKE AN ASSHOLE ON MY WATCH.

Over time, Jamboree gained a lot of, ah, shall we say, character. One by one, all of the “creature comforts,” as my mother calls them, started failing. The clicker stopped opening the back hatch and then it stopped locking or unlocking the car. The passenger side mirror was shattered. The windshield was cracked. If it rained outside, it also rained on the passenger side floor. The air conditioner would only work if I was on the highway. The CD player would get stuck and refuse to play either the CD or the radio until I jammed an old hotel key card into it to jiggle things loose. I decided to embrace the quirkiness and covered Jamboree with USC bumper stickers and got a vanity license plate.
Fight On!
When Niall and I moved in together, we moved into a nice apartment in a nice area, or so we thought. We did not realize that the “nice” area was actually right on the cusp of a not so nice area. Which is fine, whatever. Except that we have two cars. Both of us need cars for work (I could go on a long tangent here about public transportation in SF and why the two of us specifically need our cars, but can you just take my word for it?). Our new apartment had a 1 car garage, which was GREAT. Niall tried to pull his car into it and ended up scraping the passenger side mirror and the driver’s side door because the garage is NARROW. So I started parking my car in there.
And then… Niall’s car got broken into 3 times over the course of 2 months. So we swapped. Niall learned how to squeeze his wider-than-the-garage-door car into the garage, presumably by some wizardry, and I started parking my car on the street. I decided to just leave the doors unlocked, but then I got to my car one morning to find it full of garbage and reeking of cigarette smoke, so okay fine I’ll lock it. And then it was broken into twice.
And a good morning to you as well.

And then the battery was stolen once. And THEN, one fateful November morning, I walked up to the spot where I had parked my car and it was just… gone.

Uhhh.

Huh.

Dude, where’s my car?

I called Niall on the off chance that he had moved my car in the middle of the night for some reason. Nope. I walked up and down the little street to make sure I hadn’t left it in a different spot and forgotten. Nope. I called the city to make sure it hadn’t been towed. Nope. ALL SIGNS POINTED TO STOLEN. Somebody stole my 1997 Honda with 255,000 miles on it.

I took a Lyft to the police station and reported the car as stolen. And then I went home and found us a new apartment on Craigslist.
I reported the thievery to my insurance company and picked up a rental car. And then I was stuck in limbo for some unidentified amount of time until the insurance company would declare my car a “Total Loss.”

After three or four days I was CERTAIN my car was in pieces spread far and wide, but I kept waiting. AND THEN. One morning I was on my way to work when my friend Daniel called me. I figured it was a butt dial, but no! HE FOUND MY CAR. He was cycling to work and noticed a junky old Hondy CR-V plastered with USC stickers. HE FOUND MY CAR.
JUST SITTING THERE
The car was totally fine! It was still in San Francisco, parked in a neighborhood, WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS. I looked like somebody was using my car like it was THEIR car. I don’t know what they were using to start the car, but apparently you can start an old Honda with, like, a screwdriver. ANYWAY, I called the police and told them I had found the car. They sent a cop over and released the car back into my custody. I gotta say, I wasn’t too impressed with the SFPD. I had reported my car as stolen and it turned up still in San Francisco. They obviously weren’t looking very HARD for it. And the cop basically glanced at my car and gave me a piece of paper. Call me na├»ve, but I thought he might go knocking on some nearby doors or dust the car for fingerprints or… ANYTHING AT ALL.
(Here is the part in my story where people like to point out that car theft is SO common that the police just don’t even have the time or resources to deal with it and I reject this because, come on. I feel like doing NOTHING AT ALL to isn’t going to stop many car thieves. But whatever [sarcastic jazz hands].)

Anyhow, I had my Jamboree back! It had a few new bumps and bruises, but nothing too serious.
I got a club.
WHAT NOW MOTHER FUCKERS.
For a few months everything was great!

And then Jamboree started making a sound like an old fashioned automobile. Chugga chugga chugga AWOOGA. I took it into my regular car place and they told me it was the muffler, but that I should take it to a muffler shop since they could only replace the whole [something] that would cost a lot more than just replacing whatever part of the muffler was malfunctioning. So I took Jamboree to the muffler shop where the mechanic seemed to take personal offense at the suggestion that it might be the muffler, “Who told you that? Did they actually DRIVE the car and hear the noise? Did they just ASSUME it was the muffler? Where’s their evidence.” After a few minutes of deer-in-the-headlights stammering, I sweetly offered to give Mr. Muffler the phone number for Mr. Auto Shop so they could hash things out, but muffler man declined. After a thorough exam, he concluded that he didn’t know where the sound was coming from but it was Definitely Not the Muffler.

Okay, fine.

So I just ignored it. And it went away!

Only to be replaced with THIS noise:
video

I promise you, I was not transporting a sea lion.

So Niall and I discussed it and we decided that it was time for me to get a new car. While Niall would have been happy to see Jamboree sold for parts, I was wringing my hands and having an emotional crisis. My carrrrrr. My Jamboreeeeee. She had been such a good carrrrrrr. I loved that car and nobody would appreciate it like me, would they?

As you may or may not know, I have a slew of nieces and nephews, several of whom are teenagers right now. I decided to give Jamboree to my next niece in line who is turning 16. She is pretty thrilled.

And fortunately, my dad seems to have the same sentimental streak as I do (or is it the other way around?). He took the car to his mechanic where they fixed, wait for it, the BRAKES AND STEERING. When I asked what I owed him, my dad said “Nothing! We have to keep Jamboree in the family!” So, to recap, I have a new car, my niece has a new old car, and my dad is the most generous man in the world.
Goodbye Jamboree, you've been an excellent car. Be good to my niece.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

38. do a race of some kind

Niall and I went to San Diego for Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving! This should give you a good idea of how behind on blogging I am) to visit my family. Being in Ireland, his family doesn't tend to do anything for Thanksgiving.

A few weeks before we went, Niall told me he thought he wanted to do the Turkey Trot. And I briefly lost my mind enough to decide that I wanted to do it too! After all, I did start going to the gym. And I thought I could do a 5k. That's what metric people call like a mile or so, right? Pshh no problem! (NOPE.)

Thanksgiving day rolled around and I rolled out of bed at the arse crack of dawn. We had to get there super early, you see, because in order to run a 5k with me, Niall had to FIRST run a 10k, because otherwise he would have been too antsy and left me in the dust. So he tired himself out with the 10k first and then ran the 5k with me. Just look at us go!
Full disclosure: I saw the camera guy and put on a nice big smile for him.
I started off pretty strong. I ran the first mile at a decent clip, but then I faded pretty quickly. I had to alternate running and walking quite a bit of the second and probably into the third mile. The course went along the street and then down onto a beach path. Once we got to the beach path I could SEE the big inflatable archway thing that was the finish line and I started running my little heart out. I didn't realize how FAR away the archway actually was so by the time I reached it my lungs were burning and my legs were jelly.















Woo hoo!
I think this photo is the most accurate representation of how I felt during and directly after the race:
"I'm dying." (Niall wasn't even out of breath. JUST LOOK AT HIM.)
But I did it! I ran (and walked) the 5k!

And then we went out for burgers.
And then we had Thanksgiving.
And I felt like I earned every bite of my delicious meals because I RAN (and walked) A 5K THAT MORNING.
In conclusion, Thanksgiving is an excellent day to run a 5k if that's something you're into. Maybe by the time Thanksgiving rolls around again I'll have forgotten how miserable I was and want to do it again.