Thursday, March 29, 2012

A request from the Laundry Fairy....

Dear Hubby:

As with many things in our day-to-day life, laundry has stages. It has phases. It is not complete until all the phases are done. Let's explore this together, shall we?

1) Dirty clothes get sorted
2) Dirty clothes of like types get put into the washer 

3) Detergent is added
4) The washer gets started
5) The now-clean clothes get moved to the dryer 

6) Dryer gets started
7) Clean clothes are removed from the dryer
8) Clean clothes are folded
9) Clean clothes are put away

I'm feeling generous.  Let's codify #9.  You put away your own clothes, I'll put away my clothes and BabyBoy's clothes, I have a "system" when it comes to his stuff, constantly cycling out outgrown and in new things that were bought on sale and off-season.  It's not reasonable for me to expect you to understand that system.  

What is not optional:
Number 5: If the clean clothes do not get moved to the dryer, followed by #6, then the clothes get stinky and mildewy and we have to start this all over. Do not skimp on #5.

The continued complete breakdown of #7 and #8: You cannot say you "did the laundry" if you remove the clean clothes and throw them on the floor in a pile. Got it? That is not "DOING THE LAUNDRY". That may be washing the clothes, or putting them in the dryer, but a pile on the floor is more work for me. Don't do that.

The Laundry, Dirty Dishes, Run the Dishwasher, Take the Garbage out, Cook the Food, Clean the Kitchen, Empty the Diaper Genie Fairy 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

He WHAT?!?!

Last Sunday, I was putting away laundry upstairs while Hubby and BabyBoy were downstairs.  I heard a THUD, followed by a wailing cry from BabyBoy and hubby called out for me to hurry downstairs.

I rushed down the staircase (Somehow managing to NOT brain myself on the low ceiling on the way down) to find my son, bleeding profusely from his toe, with a cordless drill on the ground and the power pack for the drill  to the side.  Hubby was holding the boy, trying to comfort him.  The minute BabyBoy saw me, he cried "MAAAAMAAAAA!" and reached for me.

I scooped him up, and put pressure on his bleeding toe.  "What HAPPENED?"

"Well, he somehow managed to disconnect the battery pack from the cordless drill and dropped it on his toe." Hubby replied.

"What the FUCK was he doing with the cordless drill in the first place?" I hissed in reply.

"Well, he wanted it.", he explained rather lamely.

"I've asked for a pony every year for my birthday since I could TALK and I don't have one yet.  You don't give him everything he WANTS!"

Complete tone of voice shift,  "Let Mama see, sweetie, let me see your toe." BabyBoy was already calming down from the nearness of the familiar.  While it was bleeding a lot, it didn't seem to be fatal.  The weird hoof-like edge of his big toe nail was gone, and there was a small cut at the end of the toe, but he was tolerating pressure well, it wasn't bruising, and I could wiggle it with no pain response from him.

"Particularly not POWER TOOLS!" I turned my back, shaking my head.  How is this something I need to explain to another adult?

"I don't think it's broken.  We'll see how he walks when he's calm enough to try." I sat down in the rocking chair and snuggled my baby close.  We've had a relatively small number of accidents that make him bleed - I can only think of one toenail trim gone awry in the first week, and once where he sat down hard and bit his lip.  This was definitely our first 'stupid accident, baby got hurt' experience.

Hubby came over with tears in his eyes "I didn't think he'd get hurt.  I feel bad he hurt himself."

"He's ok.  I know we need to let him explore.  You didn't mean for him to get hurt.  He's ok."  I was reassuring us both out loud.  I needed to NOT continue to beat Hubby up about it, he needed to hear BabyBoy was ok, all three of us needed to calm down and breathe for a minute.

I fashioned a spectacular end-of-toe bandage out of cut down gauze pad and medical tape, and there are no apparent long-lasting ill effects.  It will be interesting to see how his weird toenail part grows out, but since it hit the tip and not the nail bed, I'm hopeful he won't have an odd-ball big toe for the rest of his life.  In the meantime, power tools get put away when we're done using them, instead of left on the floor.

Now.  Where's my fucking pony?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spa Day

I have a tradition - when I ship a product, I take a day off work and spend it at an amazing local spa, Olympus Spa.  Olympus is different from any other spa I've been to - it's a Korean women's spa where they offer a variety of traditional Korean treatments as well as the more traditional spa services.  There is a large communal pool area, with a variety of temperature soaking pools where clothing is prohibited.  I spend at least the first 20 minutes giggling to myself and thinking "SHE'S NAKED!" before that becomes a part of the experience that I don't notice.

For this product ship, I booked a massage, full body scrub, and a moisturizing treatment.  It's been a pretty wet and cold winter in Seattle, and I was really looking forward to a day of being warm and relaxed.  My Mother in Law was scheduled to arrive Friday evening, and I had a long weekend of playing host ahead of me.

I arrived feeling pretty shitty.  BabyBoy was home sick with pink eye, a PENIS INFECTION and an ear infection and I was feeling like a selfish, bad mom for leaving him.  It took me a while in the massage to start to relax and feel like I was really there for ME.  One of the things I've found incredibly effective during a day at Olympus is that I assign the stresses that have built up, the demons that haunt me, and the people that have pissed me off to different parts of my body.  I also give the good things, the things that I want to nourish body parts, and as I move through different treatments, I give myself permission to let go and I also choose what I'm going to hold close to hold me over until the next time.

First up was the massage.  It was a perfectly nice, not long enough massage.  I think she could have devoted the whole hour to my neck muscles and the tension in my jaw, no one part of my body felt like it got enough work, but it was a good start to the day.  After the massage, I grabbed my phone to check in on BabyBoy, and I went into the Mud/Jade energy room.  They have 7 different far-infrared heated (or cooled) rooms, each based on a different earth element, and each with different properties.  The Mud/Jade room is heated to 170 degrees, and the floor and walls contain dry mud, jade, rose quartz, aventurine, aquamarine and germanium, which are though to promote blood circulation and release the toxins that are located within the body.  It's the hottest room there, and after 11 minutes I felt like I was actually WARM for the first time in months.   Afterwards I jumped into the Evlan stone reading room to flip through a magazine for a few minutes before I went into the cafe for lunch.

I made a critical error in ordering the yakisoba for lunch, it had a lot of broccoli in it, which is a proven cause of massive flatulance for me.  It was tasty, and I didn't even give the fart potential a thought when I ordered it, regret came later.  They also made me a lovely hot tea, which was simply hot water, honey and ginger pieces.  I read for a bit, and enjoyed my lunch before heading into the pools for the naked portion of the day.  I made one last text check-in with Hubby, BabyBoy was sound asleep for his nap and doing fine, and I finally let go of the voice inside that was calling me a selfish, bad Mommy and decided to enjoy the rest of the experience.

Photo from Olympus Spa Press Kit
Before a scrub, you have to soak for an hour, with at least the last 15 minutes of it being in a 104 degree pool.  I showered first and then poured some hot mugwort tea all over my body for the detoxification benefits before heading into the wet sauna.  Wet sauna, 104 degree pool, 60 degree plunge (OH GOD THAT'S COLD!), then into the 97 degree pool for more soaking before my scrub technician came looking for me to order me into the 104 degree pool for the last 15 minutes before we got started.  Her name was Sunny, and I was calling her "Sunny the sadistic scrub technician" in my head by the end of the afternoon.

During the soaking, I tried hard not to stare. It was busy for a weekday, and I am a bit voyeuristic by nature.  I've always loved watching people, making up stories for the lines on their faces, and watching how they move and interact with others.  Women of all shapes and sizes were there.  Tattoos, scars, mastectomies, beautiful young girls, "less than ideal" bodies (my own included) - it was a day where everything seemed to be represented.  I wondered about their own personal journeys and the roads that brought each of them there on that day.  I thought about my own marks and scars and I wondered if any of them were wondering about me as well.  It's always a treat to go to the spa with a friend, but I love the days there by myself, as well.  I like letting my mind wander without the pressure of conversation.  I watched small groups of naked woman, chatting around the mugwort trough like it was a table at a cocktail party.  I watched women that were there alone like me, relaxed with their heads tipped back and their eyes closed, and I let my mind go where it will.  I was safe, I was warm, and I was wrapped in the womb-like relaxation of the water.

In Gloria Steinem's first book, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, she includes an essay, "In Praise of Women's Bodies," which describes a few days at an old-fashioned women's spa. "Gradually, skinny bikinis, queen-size slips, girdles and other paraphernalia begin to disappear from our bodies and our lockers, like camouflage in a war we no longer had to fight. Without those visual references, each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on its own terms. We stop being comparatives. We begin to be unique. I know that fat or thin, mature or not, our bodies wouldn't give us such unease if we learned their place in the rainbow spectrum of women. Even great beauties seem less distant, and even mastectomies seem less terrifying, when we stop imagining and try to see them as they really are."

Photo from Olympus Spa Press Kit
Sunny came for me.  We went into the scrub area, where I started out face down on a plastic covered table, head pillowed on a towel, and she asked if I had any skin sensitivities.  I told her that I have a fair number of moles/freckles and that the raised ones are sensitive, but otherwise, I was fair game.  She took me seriously and started in, armed with nothing more than scrubby mitts and some Dial soap.  As she started working, I thought about the different body parts and the failings they represented in my mind.  She worked to slough off the dead skin and I let those negative thoughts go down the drain with the dead skin.  She did two complete passes with me face down, then two complete passes on each side, and then two complete passes with me on my back.  By the second pass in each position, I was gritting my teeth at the line between "that hurts so good" and "OK, that HURTS." As she rinsed off the dead skin with hot hot water, it stung and smarted on the new skin.

Instead of focusing on the way things were hurting, I tried to focus on the voices in the water.  I could hear the murmur of people talking in the pools, I could hear the voices in the running water.  I could hear my mothers voice in there somewhere, the voice of my best friend, the voices of other wonderful supportive women in my life.  To me, it sounded encouraging and loving.  They were encouraging me to let go of the things that don't matter and to focus on the things that do.  My husband, my boy, the love that surrounds me if I would only let it sing.

On the final pass while on my back, I was also quite distracted by a mounting urge to fart.  Damned broccoli!  I cannot think of a worse possible location for this urge - I'm wet, laying on a plastic table in a tiled room.  There was no chance that I could pull it off without being noticed.  I lost my feeling of zen, I lost the voice of my mother, and my brain chanted "don't fart.  don't fart.  don't fart."  I'm sure I would be neither the first nor the last person have an ill-timed passing of the gas, but I didn't want to be that person on that day.

Sunny the Sadistic Scrub Technician turned me loose to use the restroom and instructed me to wait in the dry sauna until she came for me for the moisturizing treatment.  I trotted off as fast as my arthritic ankles would let me to the restroom to relieve my urge to flatulate, and then I went to the dry sauna, as instructed.

Sunny came for me, and we repeated the face down position for the moisturizing treatment.  For this part of the day, I focused on the positive.  I gave each area of my body a positive thought that I wanted to hold close to my skin, one that I wanted to lock in with each moisturizing .  Sunny started with my toes, working through to finger tips, first with warm olive oil, followed by warm milk, and finished with honey.  The final step on the back was scalding hot towels to take away the stickiness of the honey before I flipped over to my back to repeat the process on the front.

The front half included a mini-facial with olive oil based cream and ICE COLD mashed cucumber, which sat while the rest of the body got the same olive oil, milk and honey treatment as the back.  I continued with my affirmations, reinforcing my own positives and the support of friends and family while she worked.

At the end, I was clean.  Cleaner than most adults will ever be.  Before I had a baby, I would say I was clean as a newborn baby.  Now, I say I was as clean as a baby fresh from a bath after the last of the weird cheesy stuff from birth is gone, and the baby starts to plump up and turn pink.  Clean as, say, a one month old.  And I felt reborn and ready to tackle the next challenge.

A week of upheaval

We'd had a rather eventful week with BabyBoy - the previous Sunday (3/11) I had to take him to urgent care for a really persistent cough, and while we were there being treated for croup (again), the nurse practitioner said "Oh!  His ear is infected!"  They started him on Amoxicillin, and Monday morning I woke up to a baby covered in hives.  Off Mama went for the drop in hours at the pediatrician (for the record, avoid monday morning pediatrician appointments like the plague if at all possible.  All the SICK kids are there!).  The pediatrician said his ears were "absolutely pristine" and that there was no need to continue with a different antibiotic.  I stopped at the drugstore for some baby benadryl, gave him a dose and he passed out on the drive to daycare.

When I was headed to the pediatrician, Hubby said "if the doctor says he can't go to school, call me and I'll come home."  I took that at face value, and called him from a parked car at daycare.

"He's totally stoned on benadryl and has passed out.  I can't take him in like this.  I think I'm going to take him home, but I've got a couple things that HAVE to be done at work.  Can you come home?"

"Well, I have  A LOT to do.  Why don't you just wake him up and take him in?  It's their problem now." He replied.

I got mad, like seeing red, mad.  BabyBoy has not had a TON of sick days where he's had to miss school, but I've covered all but one of them.  I've also covered their closures for holidays and in-service time.  The inequality of the work load at home around our son was weighing heavy on my shoulders, and I replied, "He's not 'someone else's problem'. He's OUR SON.  You SAID you would help me today.  YOU need to do your part."

"He's got a note to be allowed to go to school.  Take him to school.   If YOU want to take him home, YOU take care of him." he snapped.

"Fine.  I'LL handle it.", tears in my voice, I hung up on him.  I bundled BabyBoy out of the car, and stuck my head inside his classroom door to let them know BabyBoy would not be coming to school today after all.

"He's ok, just really out of it with Benadryl and an allergic reaction.  I'm going to take him home."

By the time I got him back in the car, I had two new voice mails from Hubby.  Nether of them were very nice.  I called him back and told him I was taking BabyBoy home, and to do what he thought was best about participating in his care.That's my fall back, whenever I get completely fed up with him, I tell him to "do what he thinks is best".  I've never been pleasantly surprised by the decisions he makes when presented with that option, but at least I can feel like a martyr instead of communicating what I actually need.

In this case, he surprised me by coming home about 2:30, and I went into work for 2 hours to do what I needed to get done.  BabyBoy's hives continued to improve, and we thought we were out of the woods.

Thursday night, I was getting the baby ready for his bath, when I said "I think there's something weird with his penis.  It's all SWOLLEN looking!  Can babies get a stiffy?"  I brought the baby into the bathroom, "Does his penis look weird to you?"We both turned a critical eye to our kids crotch.  "Yeah, I think it's different.", Hubby said.  He poked, and squeezed, and gently moved the foreskin a bit.  BabyBoy seemed completely nonplussed by our attentions, and Hubby put him in the bath.

I texted two of his daycare teachers to ask if they'd noticed anything, as well as texting a friend with a boy a year older than Z to ask advice.  Then I made my critical error of the day.  I googled "Uncircumsized penis infection".  For the record, I cannot recommend this action to any parent, new or otherwise.  You can thank me for this later.

After scaring myself silly, completely losing my appetite and reading some parenting forum posts, we decided we would take a look at it in the morning and see how it looked.

Friday morning, BabyBoy woke me up with an enthusiastic "HI!" and I got him up and out of his crib.  I changed his diaper in the darkish room, then took him into the bathroom to say hi to Daddy.  Hubby pulled back the shower curtain and immediately said "What's wrong with his EYE?".  I took a look and said "OH NO!  PINK EYE!"

Very calmly, I said to Hubby "He can't go to school.  You're going to need to take him to walk-in hours, which start at 8.  Are you ok with staying home with him today?"

"I thought you have the day off?", he asked.

"I do, but it's spa day.  I've had this on the books for a while."  I was fighting hard to give him the opportunity step up and to NOT do what I typically do and give in.  I let 'spa day' hang in the air for a heartbeat or two.  It was crickets in response.

"I guess I can cancel," I mumbled.

"No, go.  I can REARRANGE EVERYTHING," he replied.  It did not sound enthusiastic or supportive.  It sounded resentful.  Perhaps that's just how I heard it, but it's how it sounded to me.

Throughout the rest of the getting ready, the topic continued to come up.  I offered twice more to cancel and each time he said he'd take care of it.  So I decided that was enough for me.  Worst Mommy in the World was going to leave her sick child and go to the spa for some pampering.

Before pampering, I ran around like a mad woman and did a bunch of housework supporting my mother-in-law's arrival later on Friday night.  Hubby and BabyBoy made good time at walk-in hour (better on a Friday than a Monday, apparently),  and they made it back to the house to pick up a diaper bag before going to the pharmacy and out to breakfast.  BabyBoy DID have an ear infection after all, which had somehow caused viral conjunctivitis (pink-eye, simply by the nature of making his eye pink) and an infection of the foreskin, all treatable by a 14 day course of a different antibiotic.  As a mom, the frustrating thing was that the pink-eye and PENIS INFECTION (I have found it is absolutely impossible to type those two words NOT in all caps, it just sounds icky and painful) probably would not have made it to the surface if the pediatrician on Monday had not missed the ear infection in the first place.

Upside, he's feeling much better after 4 days of antibiotics.  As a couple, we need to find a better, more equitable way to deal with the fact that we're reliant on a daycare provide that has strict rules about health issues, and sometimes that means missed time at work.  Perhaps it's just taking turns?  Perhaps it's luck of the draw - even day of the month is mommy, odd day of the week is daddy?  Any both-parents working families out there have advice?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Charming? or Charmed?

I've had the week off work for no reason other than "because I can".  My game is in limbo, approved for release, but waiting for the date when the marketing push kicks in from various sources.  There's just not a lot for me to do this week, and what's next is in a bit of limbo as well.

I've done a lot of errands and work around the house, but haven't really spent the time I'd like to just doing nothing.  I'm going to take my satisfaction in how much work I got done, and have a relaxing lunch with a girlfriend today to cap the week out.

The other day, I was headed on an errand and I just wasn't paying proper attention.  100 different things were running through my mind, I didn't like the song on the radio, and I looked down to change the station.  In the split second I looked down, I realized that there was a stop sign directly in front of me.  I locked up the brakes and still slid through the stop.  There was only one other car at the intersection, a Seattle Police office.

I didn't even wait for him to turn on his lights.  I just pulled over to the side of the road and waited for him.  I fucked up, I knew it.

As he walked up, I was leaning out the window saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I totally missed that sign, I'm sorry" before he even got the words "license, registration and proof of insurance, please."

I looked in my bag, then I patted my pockets, then I realized MY WALLET WAS IN MY PURSE and I had left the house with just my laptop bag, forgetting to transfer that critical item.  I started to stammer.  "Oh crap, I don't have my wallet!"  I pulled my registration out of the glove compartment, and what I thought was the recent insurance card.  Turns out, it was a year old insurance card, the most recent one is in my wallet, right behind my drivers license.

I found not just one, but TWO registration forms. and was so shook up I couldn't tell which one was the right one - Washington state forces you to get new plates ever 7 years, so I had the original plates registration from last year and the current new plate registration.  I gave him both and said "I don't know my license plate number.  It's one of these."

Let's review what he saw:
  • No drivers license
  • Year out-of-date proof of insurance
  • TWO vehicle registrations, handed over with hands shaking so badly they were kind of crinkled.
  • Stammering, beet red woman, who can only say "I'm sorry" coherently.
Then he asked me my name, and I gave him my married name, he looked at the two pieces of documentation and said "That's not what it says here."

Right.  Because I got married, and I've been too lazy to change the title on my car to my married name.  I can't change the name on the insurance until I change the title. 

"Ummmmmmm, I mean here's my maiden name.  I got married."

He pressed his lips together and walked back to his car to call it in.  In a wild fit of giggling, I started singing a little known Nields song to myself, "Capture the Flag"

It all began three years ago
When I was speeding down the road
You followed me with your sirens screaming
And pulled me over
And after I'd convinced you
That my tears were penance enough
Well, you didn't give me a ticket then
But we sure used those handcuffs
- Nerissa Nields © 1993 Peter Quince Productions 

He came back to the car and handed me my sweaty documents.  I said "I am so sorry" one more time, for good measure.  And I fully expected the worst.  The "Step out of the car, Ma'am."  My face was on fire, and it felt like my scalp was trying to detach itself from both my skull and my hair simultaneously.  I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or not, but I did not rule out the possibility.

He looked at me very sternly and said "You know you ran that stop sign.  That's a 5 way intersection with 2 bike lanes.  People get plowed into here all the time.  They get plowed into by people like you.  People who aren't paying attention."  I started to cry. "You need to pay attention.  And put your updated insurance card in your car.  And carry your identification AT ALL TIMES.  Am I clear?"

"Yes, sir."  I whimpered.

"Slow down.  Pay attention.  Go home and get your wallet.  And have a good day."  He turned around and went back to his car.

I sat there breathing for a moment or two.  No ticket.  No car impounded for lack of proof of insurance, not even a warning.

I've talked my way out of more than one ticket in my time as a chronically late, underestimating traffic, likes to drive fast driver.  I've used a put-on southern accent, a little cleavage, and brutal honesty as effective methods.  I was younger, cuter, thinner then, and I'm not sure what I "used" as a tired, overweight, obviously frazzled 40 year old, but I'm very thankful that 1) I didn't hurt anyone running a stop sign 2) I didn't get a ticket.

It makes me wonder - am I still charming?  Or just charmed?