Thursday, December 08, 2011

One of those days.

When the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in 2001 I went to see it on opening night (the roommate of the guy I was dating had gotten tickets for all the guys in his apartment and their dates). I loved it, and gushed and raved about it at great length to my dad when I went home to visit the next weekend. My dad had introduced me to the books when I was in tenth grade and I could tell he was excited to see it, too.

My mom, because she loves my dad, took him to see it for one of his Christmas gifts. After their date, my dad and I joined in a mutual gush session, and at one point I turned to my mom and asked her what she thought of it.

Now, my mom is one of the cutest, sweetest, most awesome people ever. Period. She doesn't like to say bad things about people or things. She also, if given the choice, prefers to watch things like musicals and chick flicks where the swooning is more the result of hunky Mr. Darcy saying romantic things rather than because someone's head got cut off by a really ugly and probably very smelly orc. Just one of her little quirks.

So when I asked her what she thought of it, she paused for a couple of seconds and then said, "The scenery was really pretty." She thought for a moment. "And Bilbo's house was cute."

* * *

Flash forward to my day today. How was it, you ask?


Well, the scenery was really pretty.

And Bilbo's house was cute.

My mom once observed to me re: Viggo Mortenson: "Why does such an attractive man have to have such an ugly name?" She's got a point there. (Love you, Mom!)

Friday, November 18, 2011


I know my Floridian-born-and-raised husband would certainly disagree with me on this, but there are few things that I love the way I love sitting in the house with all the blinds open and all the lights off in the late afternoon of a late November day waiting for it to start snowing outside. I can smell the snow; it's right around the corner and I'm so excited for it.

I won't love it so much when I have to shovel it or drive in it or watch said husband come home and start madly searching for jobs in Florida while he mumbles angrily under (or over, occasionally) his breath about "the enemy from above."

But waiting inside, curled up with a blanket/good book/cup of hot chocolate/two snuggly kittens/the cutest toddler ever?

That's my favorite kind of snow, and I'm kind of psyched for it.

Sorry, hon. If it helps, I promise not to sing any Dean Martin songs encouraging that particular form of precipitation. Or at least not while you're in the room. Or at least not too loudly.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I've been really lucky since the Little Guy was born in that I haven't needed to take very many "sick days," as it were. The problem with that is that when I *do* need one, it feels like several sick days all saved up at once.

Which is what today has been like. Seriously, it reminds me of the first trimester except I can absolutely guarantee that's not what's going on. But it means that all I want to do is curl up in the bed and sleep it off.

That's not exactly the Little Guy's idea of a good time, though.

He's just learned to walk and he's in the process of giving up afternoon naps and isn't exactly impressed with the brand-new-and-definitely-not-improved model of Mommy, The Lump! So I've barricaded us in the study (the smallest room in the house aside from the bathrooms, which makes it the easiest to keep warm), which incidentally has tons of books, a desk, a TV and a Love Sac, so I can sort of nap and sort of keep an eye on the Little Guy without going over the line into neglect. He loves the chance to sit on the Love Sac and eat animal crackers and watch PBS Kids (okay, seriously, Martha Speaks? THAT'S NOT HOW ANATOMY WORKS), so it's really not as rough for him as you might think.

So with any luck, we'll both survive until Daddy gets home from work. And with any more luck, tomorrow will be better.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to solving the puzzling question of why on earth that dog is still alive if she's got alphabet soup stuck in her brain.

Friday, November 11, 2011

And here is a video for you.

Don't forget to De-Lurk, please!

I was going to write about Shelob's lair today but I am ridiculously tired and kind of brain-dead, and that story deserves a better treatment than I can give it in my present state of mind, so instead I'm giving you an awesome video. This song gives me the giggles every time I hear it. There are lots of other video versions, but I have a soft spot for this one simply because of the ponies (you'll see what I mean), which double the giggles.

The song is Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton.

And yes, if you were wondering, this is the same man who brought you that beloved classic, the IKEA song.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

De-Lurk Day 2011

There's a blog I read which for a long time sported the saying "I don't hate comments" on its sidebar. I can agree with this sentiment. (Confession: I don't know if the saying was removed because the sidebar was getting crowded or because one day the author woke up and said to herself, "You know what, actually I do hate comments," but I'm going to assume it was the former, because really. Who hates comments? Not me, that's for sure.) Another blogger has explained the reasons why it's okay to be a blog stalker.

I freely admit to stalking blogs and am well aware that there are some people who stalk my blog. I know this mostly because Google Analytics—which is one of my favorite toys, just by the way—shows some regular readers in places where I do not know anyone (or at least, I'm not aware of knowing anyone from these locations).

Which I think is pretty awesome. I like the fact that I can get to know a little bit about someone I've never met, or that I'm sharing my quirky little random stories and thoughts (because, let's face it, that's about as "themed" as this blog gets) with others that I wouldn't have had the chance to share them with otherwise. I like the way the blogging world shrinks the real world in some ways.

But in other ways, I'm a little sad that it tends to be so anonymous. I've found some really cool blogs from people who comment on this and other blogs, and I wonder how many more I'm missing because people are lurking and not commenting. I admit that I frequently lurk at blogs without commenting, usually because I don't want them to freak out about the fact that I happen to be lurking. It may take months of lurkage before I post a comment.

So I don't want any of you to feel worried about this. Following the lead of yet another cool blogger, I declare today to be official De-Lurk Day at The Scritchy Nib. Please leave a comment and let me know if you're reading the blog, where you're from, your favorite dessert, any requests you have for future rants well-thought-out commentaries, any questions you have for me, or anything else you feel comfortable sharing.

I love comments and I love finding new blog friends. Let's make this a day to celebrate both.

(And if you are a regular commenter, please know that I already hold you in the highest esteem, and feel free to continue in that excellent vein.)

Please note: In keeping with the theme, all of today's external blog links are brought to you by blogs of people I do not personally know, and at which I have lurked and subsequently de-lurked and commented.

And yes, if this post seems familiar, it's because it mostly should.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

How can you not love it?

So I don't have much to say tonight, or at least not much energy to say anything worth reading.

And that means it's time for a video link!

I love this clip and have shown it to several of you throughout the years, but it's always worth revisiting. (Stick around through the opening and watch the whole thing. It's worth it, I promise.)

And that, friends, is how you make an acceptance speech.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

An unforeseen benefit to having a son.

As I have mentioned multiple times before, I do not like spiders. They are gross and creepy and generally all-around-bad. I mean, they do have their good points like they eat other bugs and *spoiler alert* turn Peter Parker into Spiderman and save pigs from being eaten (although I can't guarantee those were both done by the same spider).

But really, I'd just rather not have them around.

I know some people who are more humane than I am and will rescue spiders they find indoors and transfer them outside on a piece of paper or in a cup or something so they can live a free-range spidey life. And that's cool if they want to do that. I do that with grasshoppers my cats drag in to play with, and with bees that get in the house if I can catch them.

But spiders? I have put them on notice many times before—if they come into my house their eight-legged lives are forfeit.

For me, a major perk of getting married was having someone to kill my spiders for me. Don't get me wrong, I can and will kill spiders on my own if I have to (the summer Shallow Man was out of the country for an internship featured several harrowing run-ins with large arachnids, which I feel like I've blogged about before). I am adept at the shoe swat, the stomp, and the turn-the-shower-on-and-wash-the-spider-out methods. I just would prefer, if someone else is around who can do it for me, not to have to get close enough to the spider to actually kill it.

I also figured that, as the mom, I would have to be the designated spider slayer for years to come while dad's at work because the kids wouldn't want to kill spiders (GROSS!). So I've been reluctantly resigning myself to the role of spider killer, and have even whacked one or two when my husband's at home so he knows I'm not a complete wimp (remind me to tell you sometime about the times when the spider I wanted him to kill turned out to really be as big as I said it was, rendering his rolling of the eyes totally unjustified).

So this afternoon I got back from an errand and had taken off my jacket and shoes. The Little Guy was standing up by the TV stand waiting for me to get his jacket and shoes, and just as I reached for his coat zipper, I saw a spider running on the floor. I turned to put one of my shoes back on so I could stomp it, but the Little Guy took one look at that spider, gave me a glance that clearly said, "No worries, Mom; I've got this covered," and he and his sneakers proceeded to stomp the living daylights out of that trespassing arachnid.

Wow. If I'd realized this was one of the perks of having a little boy, I'd've done it *years* ago. (Oh wait. Never mind. We tried.)

And now I dream of the day when I can just relax in a lounge chair and sip a fruity drink as my army of little boys stomps away all my spider-related woes. That's not too much to ask for, right?

Maybe I should've named him Samwise the Brave. . . .

Monday, November 07, 2011

In a funk.

The post title pretty much sums it up. I find myself feeling sluggish about life these days. The creative juices are flowing but seem to be trapped under a sheet of ice.

Like they're a mosquito stuck in amber and I can see them there and I know there's dino DNA to be had, I just can't get to it. And that's frustrating.

Yes, I'm a nerd. Said nerd turns around after an analogy like that and says, well, maybe it's for the best. You don't want to breed raptors, after all. That never ends well.

And I say, you know what, inner nerd? You're right. Plus it's a lot of work breeding raptors. It takes a lot of energy. I would much rather just snuggle up on the couch with a good book or with useless interwebs.

Inner nerd says, let's watch Jurassic Park instead.

But then the annoying industrious side of me pipes up and gives the rest of us a guilt trip about being unproductive, so I can't even lounge properly until the funk goes away but my veins are too full of molasses to actually get much of anything useful done, so, yeah. (In the interest of giving credit where it's due, it's not just Industrious Me's fault. The Little Guy also contributes a LOT to the preventing-me-from-lounging fund. Especially now that he's walking.)

This is all extra frustrating because it's keeping me from really enjoying November, which is usually one of my favorite times of year. (Yeah, I know that just adds to the weirdness. Whatever.)

I'd write an angry letter to someone, but I just don't have the energy.

Maybe I'll put in that Jurassic Park DVD instead.

If you see my missing get-up-and-go, please kick its wandering little trash back home to me. Much obliged.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

"How Long?"

This poem, by Darlene L. Young, really struck me today. She says, "I wrote this poem during a long period of chronic illness about how hard it is when you are pulled up to a stop in the path you thought you were taking in life, either through chronic illness, infertility, a crisis of faith, or something else." It was one of those moments where you read something that hits you exactly right, and expresses what you've been feeling so perfectly that it resonates in your soul. And so I'm passing it along to you.

How Long?

by Darlene L. Young, pub. Irreantum vol. 9-10

I find myself Lehi, encamped in a tent.
It’s pleasant enough here, with plenty to do.
Arise, retire.
Arise, retire.
Work and pray and dance.

I could build a house here and let go the dream
of the swaying of camels, the saltwater lapping.

But I heard a voice—and its memory has me
stretching my neck at the dry desert wind.
Still I hear only whisper of sand and tent flapping.

Arise, retire, and I used to pray
at every new dawn, “Lord is it today?”
Arise and retire. I no longer ask
but remain in my tent. You know I’ll obey.

I’ll make it my work to arise and retire
and cling to the ghost of the voice in the fire.
But, Lord, there’s the ocean.
And what shall I do with this lack of motion?
This poem copyright 2009 by Darlene L. Young.

Thank you, Darlene, for your poetry and for being amazing in general.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Hey, remember that one time . . .

. . . I wrote a blog post about my associations with Guy Fawkes Day?

Hey, me too!

Let's remember remember the fifth of November together.

I've never seen V for Vendetta; this is just pure geekery.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Just what I needed

I was going to write a different post today, but then I came upon these two blog entries from two separate blogs, both written yesterday, and both exactly what I needed to hear today. So I'm going to share them with you instead. Thanks to Casey and Ashley for being in tune.

Coincidence? I think not!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

So it begins.

Imagine this at our house tonight, only more manly and tough, and with the Little Guy instead of pigs. And without, you know, the singing. But other than that, this is exactly what our evening was like.

Yeah, we are in soooo much trouble.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Second anniversary

I've been thinking about two years ago, especially now that we're living in what was my grandparents' house, and thought it would be appropriate to post these once more.

Three for Grandpa, 1914-2009
The Secret

We have a secret, just we three:
The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry tree.
The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

Of course the robin knows it best,
Because she built the -- I won't say the rest --
And laid the four little --somethings-- in it.
I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute!

But if the tree and the robin don't peep,
I'll try my best the secret to keep.
But when the little somethings fly about,
Then the whole secret will be out.

- Anonymous

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside --

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown --
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

- Robert Louis Stevenson


A girl. Arms outstretched, swooping wildly
across the sky, returning mildly
to earth, on the end of a string
madly running, she catches the wind,
rises aloft. She holds the twine
to her ear to hear the wind sing.

A grandfather. Smiling slightly,
weathered hands grip his own string tightly
hovering steadily in the sky,
teaching her to hear the wind sing,
watching her swoop. He is remembering
the giddy new thrill of first learning to fly.


Touched you last, Grandpa!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


I'm hesitant, sometimes, to talk about ideas or goals or aspirations that I have. It could be that I feel like if I don't tell anybody then nobody will be disappointed in me if I don't finish what I start. Which, let's be honest, is something that does tend to happen with me. Or it could be that I feel like the magic will be gone if I say it out loud; that something will be spoiled once it's not just my little secret thing anymore. The result is that at any given time I may have two or three dozen little seedlings of projects or plans germinating in my brain that nobody else knows about. And I think that's okay.

That doesn't really have much to do with anything except that I wanted to say something without saying anything. You know, the way it's not as fun to keep a secret if nobody knows you're keeping it? Yeah. Like that.

In other news, the weather today was lovely. Not, perhaps, in an objective sense, but it was exactly the kind of fall weather I love most. Great for snuggling with a cute toddler, curling up under a blanket, reading a good book, sipping hot chocolate, or all of the above, and giving germination a chance.

Happy November, everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A to Z

Lots of thoughts I've had but not blogged in the last month or so.

*Finally saw the last Harry Potter movie and waxed nostalgic about growing up with Harry.
*Also waxed nostalgic on September 11.
*Took the Little Guy to the zoo, Thanksgiving Point gardens, the aviary, and the State Fair (not all at once), and a great time was had by all.
*Watched the Little Guy grow up more every day until . . .
* . . . He had his first birthday this weekend. (WOW.)
*Made donuts for the first time ever yesterday.
*Working on starting up a small business. Yeah. I'm going to have a preneur.

But today isn't about writing those blog posts. It's about being lazy but wanting to post something, so . . . meme time! (Thanks to megcellent for this cop-out.)

A. Age? 28.
B. Bed Size? Given the choice, king. But our room is only big enough for queen.
C. Chore that you hate? Lots of them, but especially cleaning the bathtub.
D. Donuts? Yes, please. (Hey, I made some yesterday!) Love Banbury Cross donuts in Salt Lake.
E. Essential start to your day? Brush my teeth.
F. Favorite color(s)? Varies, but I do love most shades of blue.
G. Gold or silver? Silver.
H. Height? 5'5" ish.
I. Instruments you play? Piano, kazoo. I'd love to learn how to play guitar.
J. Job title? Work-at-home mom. Best description would probably be Freelancer, Independent Contractor, or, now, Entrepreneur. I guess. Also Writer.
K. Kids? One, the best Little Guy EVER.
L. Live? For theatre, yes. For TV, usually DVR.
M. Mother’s name? Ellen.
N. Netflix? Oh, yeah.
O. Overnight hospital stay(s)? I think just two. Obviously when I was born (does that really count?) and when I gave birth to the Little Guy (for five nights because of the c-section—does that count as more?).
P. Pet peeves? Improper spelling, punctuation and grammar. (I saw someone the other day write "Can you blaim them?" No, but I can and will blame them severely.) Just recently I've also picked up a new one: Bicyclists who do not follow traffic laws. I would love to share the road with you, folks. But it's a lot easier when you don't run red lights or SWERVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY CAR WHEN I'M DRIVING 40 MPH. Thank you.
Q. Quote from a movie? Almost always. Today let's go with "I swear she ain't using real words." -Chicken Run.
R. Right or left-handed? Right.
S. Siblings? One older brother and three younger sisters.
T. Time to wake up? About 20 minutes later than I end up actually waking up.
U. Unusual quirks/phobias/factoids? Praying mantises freak me the heck out. Also snakes and really big spiders. And calling people on the phone. My main quirk is that I have a freakishly good memory for useless facts and trivia (see Quote from a movie above).
V. Vegetable you hate? Beets and nalcas.
W. What makes you run late? *sigh* What doesn't? I'm going to say that it's because, unlike George-Michael Bluth, I don't have a really good natural sense of rhythm.
X. X-rays you’ve had? Dental and once on my ankle when it got caught in a bike spoke when I was three or so.
Y. Yummy food that you make? I make a mean enchilada. And those donuts I made yesterday were pretty tasty. And the Geek Out Crew tends to like my Brie Bread and Cherry White Chocolate Twist.
Z. Zoo animal: Gotta love the monkeys and the penguins.

It's not much, but it's something. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The problem with blog-stalking.

I stalk blogs.

Like, all the time.

I love reading blogs and stalking them. Doesn't matter whose blog. Friend, family, acquaintance, celebrity of some type, complete stranger.

I'm usually pretty comfortable with this status. I don't really feel guilty for stalking blogs.

But every now and then it causes problems.

No, not with people who stalk my blog. I don't put anything on here that I'm not willing to let other people read. Stalk away (and leave a comment, you know, if that's what your heart tells you to do. Because contrary to what you may have heard, I don't hate comments).

No, the problem is that sometimes I find a blog that I love. That I enjoy reading. That brings me amusement and fun. And so I will continue to stalk that blog. I'll add it to my list. I'll get in the habit of checking it. I'll fret when a long time goes by without an update. It becomes part of my internet routine.

And then. Yes, then.

The blog author decides to make their blog private.

Sometimes this isn't really a problem, because it'll be someone I know and they'll know I've been reading the blog and I'll get an invite and everything will be fine.

But more often it turns out to be the blog of someone who I vaguely know but they have no idea I've been reading their blog for, oh, a couple of years, and at this point it's just too awkward to ask for an invite.

Because, you know, you don't want them to THINK you're some weird blog stalking-type person. There's a certain window of time where it's okay to let them know you're reading and enjoying their blog, and if you miss it, you can't really tell them without it being awkward. ("So yeah, I was wondering if you could let me continue looking in on the part of your life you post online even though we don't really talk that much in real life and the reason you made your blog private is probably to prevent exactly this sort of situation where someone is reading about you without your knowing them very well? Because losing access to your blog is kind of messing up my standard blog-reading routine.")

It's even worse than when someone just stops posting on their blog for good. Because in that case at least I know that everyone else is missing out, too.

But here, I KNOW they're still posting things and I just can't read them (and asking them to let me read would just be WEIRD)!

It's maddening. MADDENING, I TELL YOU!

Yeah. The Blog-Stalker's Dilemma.

It's rough.

"Seriously, you won't even know I'm there! I know, because you didn't notice me doing it before."

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

How can you not love it?; or, The ruler of the waves.

So today we took the newborn divider out of the baby tub so there was more room for the Little Guy to splash around. Seriously, I don't know why it took us so long to do it, because a funnier sight than the Little Guy reveling in the expanded size of his new watery kingdom I have rarely seen.

His first item of business was to turn around so he was facing the reclining wall of the tub, which gave him maximum splashage space. The next priority was to grab the little crab-shaped sprinkler cup that came with the tub.

And then, oh, then, he splashed.

He splashed with glee and reckless abandon and giggled and squealed and splashed and wriggled and shrieked.

And eventually he would splash enough to fill up the little cup. And then the next time he raised his hand to begin another splash, he would inadvertently hurl the contents of said cup directly into his face.

Then he would gasp and cough and splutter and blink.



Resume splashing/squealing/giggling/refilling the cup.

Rinse and repeat.

Poseidon had best watch himself; there's a new ruler of the waves in town.

Yeah, I love that Little Guy. And at least now I know that his nose has definitely been rinsed clean both inside and out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yeah, this isn't a real post.

Sorry to get your hopes up (assuming anyone is still reading this these days), but this is not a real post. It is a last-minute attempt to win a trip to Paris for me.

Yeah. I've neglected you all for this long just to make you read a post that includes me saying "If you don't enter, I have a better chance of winning." But c'est la vie.

See, I'm already ready to go! I should totally win!

I plan to do some real posts soon, but these last few weeks have been a bit crazy what with packing and moving to SLC and the slow process of trying to unpack and oh yeah I still am spending a lot of time taking care of the cutest baby EVAH.

So I apologize again, but you'll have to wait a little longer for a real post, because this one, well, isn't.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A few items of note.

In no particular order:

The Little Guy has his first ever real cold. I blame Shallow Man's freaky immune system. Usually the way sickness works in this house is that instead of everyone catching a bug in turn, I catch it twice and Shallow Man maybe coughs a couple times and is over it. However, this last week Shallow Man actually had to take two—count 'em, TWO—sick days. This same bug is the first thing that's actually gotten to the Little Guy. I haven't been sick at all. (Being hungover from lack of sleep after taking care of the Little Guy most of the night doesn't count.) It's not fun for LG or for me, but it is comforting to know that I won't necessarily have to catch everything three times going forward. (Have my menfolk met their own personal Cold of the Century? Only time will tell.)

The only thing LG hates more than vaccinations is having his nose wiped. Kleenexes are bad enough but heaven help you if you bring a nasal aspirator within twenty feet of him. At times like these, I think of the medical staff who debated so long whether he and his lungs needed to go to the NICU or not, and imagine how proud they'd be if they could see him now. Actually, scratch that. I'm pretty sure they could hear him from where they were. I'm pretty sure FRANCE could hear him.

When he's not about to collapse under the weight of just how mean Mommy and her evil Kleenex-weilding ways are, LG's new favorite thing is to bury his face in my neck and blow raspberries. Each time he does this, he then leans back to see if I noticed JUST HOW AWESOME HE IS, and gets the cutest smug little smirk on his face. Like, "Yeah, I just did that." (LOVE THAT LITTLE GUY.)

He's also tried to raspberry my chin, with less than satisfactory (to his way of thinking) results.

He's not quite crawling yet, although he's definitely thinking about it. With the way the cats keep taunting him by waving their tails tantalizingly close to his grasp, I give it another couple weeks at most. Heaven help us all once he's mobile.

I had another surreal I-swear-I'm-not-old-enough-for-that moment today when the pediatrician's office called today to do a survey on customer satisfaction and they asked for "the parent or guardian of Little Guy" and I answered "Yes, that's me."

Well folks, the sad little snoring and whimpering from the nursery are telling me that it's probably going to be another long night, so I'll sign off now. I've got a sad little boy to snuggle.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yes, I may or may not be seven years old.

In my heart of hearts, I still want to be a princess when I grow up.

So this website pretty much made my day.

So if I'm supposed to dress for the job I want, this is what I'll be wearing from here on out:

Admit it. Your inner seven-year-old is thrilled.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don't you evah . . .


This is an important message, kids. Pay attention.

Please note the appearance of one of my favorites around the 1:10 mark.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adventures in File-Digging: A Legal Sonnet

So I was going through my old files on my laptop the other evening and came across a file of things I'd done for a Creative Writing class I took in fall semester 2008. This was the first semester of my 2L year in law school and I was taking the creative writing class as a lark. During the poetry unit we had to write a sonnet. Now, I don't know about you (assuming you ever even thought about such a thing), but I can NEVER come up with good ideas for sonnet topics. So I turned to the old adage and wrote what I knew, or at least what was foremost in my mind at the time: my Wills & Estates reading.

Sonnet: Mnemonic, In re Estate of Wright
Exactly one year and four months before
his death, Lorenzo Wright set out to make
his will. Since Lo’s attorney was a bore,
in order to dispose of his Salt Lake
estate and property in Venice, he
decided that Grace Thomas from the post
office would do: she was a notary
public. Lo died. His heirs read the will. Most
got just a buck. The will was challenged (duh),
since even the will’s witnesses said Lo
was nuts. (Like how he gave his neighbor a
fish soaked in kerosene…) The court said “No.”
So: if you know your heirs, stuff and the drill,
Slight madness won’t invalidate your will.

Apologies to those who saw this on facebook already. I'm just trying to get into the habit of updating the blog more often.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Long Over-due Story of the Under-due Birth, Part Three and final.

When last we saw our heroine, she was still hooked up to several machines, on pitocin with an epidural, and still waiting for a baby to come. Kind of like the last time we saw her before that, except several hours later and much more tired.

At 7:56 a.m. Shallow Man posted on Facebook: "No news yet."

I had woken up a little bit before he had and spent some time just kind of staring out the window in the early-September-morning light, feeling grateful for our awesome view but wishing I wouldn't have to see it for too much longer. I was worn out, my lips were still chapped and dry from the oxygen mask during the night, I was hungry and my body was cramped and sore from not being able to change positions much. At some point (I can't remember now if it was during the night or that morning) they had determined that the Little Guy's heart rate did a lot better when I was lying on my left side, so I couldn't really even switch sides very much, and not for more than a couple of minutes.

The contractions were hurting, too, and I was having trouble with my epidural button. The anesthesiologist had told me that I could push the button for more relief when I needed it, but explained that it would take about 10-15 minutes to spread fully once I'd pushed the button, so it wouldn't be an instantaneous relief kind of thing. So I'd push the button and wait for the agonizing 10 minutes to pass. Only instead of getting better, the pain would worsen significantly in the interim, going from maybe a 2 to a 4 or 5. So I would push the button again when the time was up (it could only be pushed once every 15 minutes or so to make sure I didn't accidentally OD or anything) and start waiting again. By the time that waiting period was up, the pain would be at an 8 and I would be gasping and trying to hold back tears when the stronger contractions hit. So we'd hit the call button and get the anesthesiologist to come and do a quick hit directly into the IV line at my shoulder. Relief would instantly wash through me, I could relax, the world looked sunnier for a while. Until the hit wore off and I tried to push the button again. Rinse and repeat. (In retrospect it seems kind of obvious that the button was probably broken, but at the time I think I was too out of it to really put two and two together, and the anesthesiologist probably thought I was afraid to push it too much, as at one point he was telling me it was okay to just "ride that button" and push it as often as I needed to. For the record, I don't blame him at all. I know my coherency level dropped sharply as I crept higher up the pain scale.)

Around 11:00 a.m., in one of the lulls of direct-hit comfort, the doctor had come in and broken my water in an attempt to get things moving a little faster, as I still was hovering right around 4. I tell you, that is a weird sensation. But I was feeling giddy with relief from the epidural shot and was glad of ANY action tending towards forward progress. In fact, once they'd broken my water, I was feeling excited and positive again, and turned to Shallow Man and asked him to turn on the TV. He asked what I wanted to watch and I, without hesitation, asked for college football. "Because, you know, if we're watching something interesting and fun, it might encourage him to come out and see what's going on."

The BYU game wasn't starting until later that afternoon (if memory serves, it started around 4), so we just picked the first random game that came on. I think it was Iowa, but I'm not sure. At any rate, neither of the teams were ones I had any sort of stake in, which may explain why the Little Guy didn't fall for it. We ended up turning the game off once we started getting to the end of that Button of Doom cycle, anyway.

The repeated up-and-down of the pain level (especially the moments of 8s and even 9s) were really starting to get to me by mid-afternoon. I was able to take a nap at some point after a Direct Hit, but that only meant that I'd sleep through the 4/5 stage and wake up for a particularly nasty contraction in the 7/8 zone. Around this time I started getting vague thoughts about c-sections, but didn't say anything because I didn't know if it was some kind of prompting or just my pain aversion—"chickening out," in essence.

At some point during the day, they told me I couldn't have any more water; just ice. Something to do with not having too much water in the system in case of an emergency c-section or whatnot. (I honestly couldn't tell you what they told me because I was having a hard time concentrating on anything besides the stupid pain-and-button dance.) Which is all well and good, but at this point I had been in the hospital and in labor for well over 24 hours, hadn't eaten since dinner the day before, and I was THIRSTY. Ice, even flavored ice, was not cutting it.

After a particularly grueling hour, the nurse came in and checked me around 5:15. I knew she was going to say I was at least a 7, and the baby would be right around the corner.

"Well, looks like you're just above a 4 now," she said encouragingly. (All of my nurses during, as they put it, my marathon labor were amazing in this department. They walked the fine line between helpfully encouraging and disgustingly, unbearably and callously cheerful and they walked it well.)

I tried to say, "Are you sure?" but it probably came out as more of a whimper.

She thought for a moment and then asked if I'd like to have the doctor check, just to make sure. I nodded.

Once she left I stared at the ceiling, trying not to cry. Shallow Man was holding my hand, as he had been for most of the day, helping me through the worst of the contractions and being generally awesome and supportive.

Brief aside: I remember the chart describing the phases of labor in the pre-natal class we went to, and it said something to the effect of "Feelings towards partner during this time may either be of great love (leaning on them for support) or great anger, but either way are generally very strong." I had worried beforehand about the "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" route, and I had told Shallow Man in advance that if I did go that way to please forgive me in advance for any epithets I might yell at him, but it never got there for me. I was definitely a turn-to-him-for-support-er, and I have to take this moment to say that I never could have done it without him. I know he was probably freaking out, but he never let me see it. And honey, I'm sure those bones in your hand will heal eventually.

The doctor on duty was the third doctor we'd been through by now, and incidentally was the same doc I'd been scheduled to meet with the previous morning but who had been called away (I joked with him later that maybe the reason the labor took so long was because I was waiting for him to keep his appointment). He came in, checked me, and verified I was a 4, "and it shouldn't take more than another 7 or 8 hours." He was also being encouraging, but in my sheer exhaustion and pain he may have said years, not hours. I had been in labor for nearly 29 and a half hours. My rope was only so long, and I reached the end of it right then and there.

I dissolved into tears, sobbing as hard as my tired body would let me.

There was a pause as four heads snapped around to look at me—Shallow Man, the doctor, the nurse and the intern—and then the doctor slowly said, "Or, at this point, given how long you've been here and your blood pressure, a c-section would be an entirely reasonable option."

It was like that one word—reasonable—was a ray of light flung into the darkness. Yes, I am waxing cliche here, but it was as if he'd thrown me a life preserver as I was drowning in despair and exhaustion. All of a sudden, the little c-section thoughts I'd been having made sense; it wasn't chickening out, it was reasonable. Shallow Man didn't know for sure what I wanted, but was talking with the doctor about the options. I caught my breath between sobs and asked, "How long would it take for a c-section?"

The doctor replied, "Well, it'll take a little longer right now than it normally would, because the shift change is coming up—"

I panicked for a moment, visions of another hour or two swimming before my eyes.

"—but we should be able to get you in there by 6:00."

I glanced at the clock. 5:30. The waiting could all be over in half an hour. I felt confident for the first time in hours as I told him, "Let's do it."

The sense of relief was amazing for my body. I was able to calm down and relax; the pain didn't even seem as bad once the decision was made and I knew it wasn't going to take much longer. The nurses went to get things ready before they ended their shift, and Shallow Man gave me a quick blessing. Then he changed into the coveralls (let me tell you, watching him try to figure those things out was entertaining) and called our families to let them know the plan. (My mom was heading to the General Relief Society meeting, which started at 6:00. My sister told me later, "Yeah, she was there, but I don't think she heard a single word during the meeting.")

Once they wheeled me into the operating room, we were greeted by one of our nurses from the day before, as well as my favorite doctor from the clinic, who'd been called in as the secondary doctor. The room was freezing, but they put some kind of inflatable plastic thing filled with hot air on top of my chest and arms, which kept me warm and blocked my view of the proceedings. Shallow Man is a bit squeamish when it comes to that kind of thing as well, so he stayed up by my head and the anesthesiologist gave us a running commentary on what was going on.

He told me that I would feel pressure where they were operating, but that I shouldn't feel any pain, so he told me to let him know if anything started hurting. I remember feeling one small prick like being poked with a needle but that was the only pain. There was some tugging and then all of a sudden—

a baby was crying.

I looked at Shallow Man and I could tell he was thinking the same thing. Our baby was in the room. The doctor held him up to peek over the inflatable wall, but I couldn't see very well because I wasn't wearing contacts or glasses. At my urging, Shallow Man went over to the station where they were measuring the Little Guy, and I heard them noting down his statistics. 7 pounds, 6 ounces. 20 inches long. Born at 6:30 p.m. Then they wrapped him up and handed him to his daddy, and Shallow Man brought him over to me.

My arms were still secured at this point so all I could do was nuzzle his cheek with my nose. He was the most perfect baby I had ever seen, and he nuzzled me back. Someone took several pictures of the two of us and then the three of us, and then they took the Little Guy out of the room with Shallow Man in tow while I got stitched up.

The Little Guy ended up going to the NICU for about an hour because his lungs were borderline. Shallow Man told me later that he was so close to the border that the nurses spent just about as long trying to decide whether he actually needed to go to the NICU or not as he spent in the NICU itself.

In the meantime, the doctors finished on me, bundled me up in about 700 blankets and took me back to the room, where I proceeded to shiver violently for what felt like forever, and rejoiced when they told me I could have liquids again. That first drink of water was one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted.

What with the NICU and then the nursery and such, it was about three hours before I really got to meet the Little Guy, which remains my only real regret about the whole experience. Which, if you consider 30 hours in labor, is no mean feat.

Once I had my son in my arms, though, those 30 hours didn't seem so bad. Within minutes, I could no longer remember what life was like without him.

Even when everything was crazy in the following hours (when the morphine wore off and I couldn't keep any food down and STILL couldn't sleep) and days (c-section recovery is not that much fun, nursing was not much better at first, and my blood pressure took WEEKS to get back to normal but not before it sent me to the emergency room), I'd look at the Little Guy and smile. Holding him was the one thing that would always make me feel better, and I'm still completely in love with him.

I know I've probably forgotten some details, and I know it's been a ridiculously long story that was a ridiculously long time in coming, but I'm going to go ahead and end it with mush: I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat for our Little Guy.

Thanks for being so patient in waiting for this ridiculously long story to get posted. I promise to return to regularly scheduled non-birth blogging soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Long Over-due Story of the Under-due Birth, Part Two.

When last we saw our heroine, she was hooked up to several machines, on cytotec, and waiting for a baby to come.

In the weeks leading up to the birth, I had frequently mentioned to Shallow Man that the thing I was most looking forward to about being in Labor and Delivery was a chance to sit in the jetted tub. And now I found myself hooked up to so many machines and monitors with tubes and tape everywhere and was told that the tub was not an option. Nor was walking around. Nor was anything, really, except staying in bed.

This wouldn't have bothered me much (aside from the sadness of missing out on the tub) except my back was starting to hurt from staying in the same position for so long. But my body was reacting well to the cytotec, which was promising, and the contractions weren't too bad, so I was able to go the first several hours without needing any kind of pain medication. We set up the laptop and started working our way through "Arrested Development." I think we were on episode 4 when dinner came, which included chocolate cake for me. Once again, L&D trumped GD. Unfortunately, sometime in mid-evening they told me I couldn't eat anything more until after the baby came. I could have ice and water. The ice came in several flavors, though, which helped, considering the massive snow cone cravings I'd had all summer, so it wasn't that bad.

Except that the contractions were starting to get noticeable now. I was having a hard time paying attention to the show. The new nurses had come in at the shift change shortly after dinner and had checked to see where I was. The cytotec was working, they told me, and I was up to a little above a 2. You're doing great, they said. Just a few more hours, probably, and it'll be over. In the meantime, if I needed any pain medication, just let them know.

Around 8 I asked for some meeds but not the full epidural. I wanted to hold off on that for awhile so it would stay effective longer. (Foreshadowing here: Oy vay.) So they added another ornament to my IV tree (I couldn't keep track of what all they had hanging on my IV tree at what times, but the saline drip and the magnesium were constants, with a bunch of others coming and going. I think at the peak, I had two trees and something like 7 or 8 bags going, but I couldn't tell you what all they were). That helped the pain quite a bit and let me relax again.

While I'm thinking about IVs, a quick word about the anesthesiologist(s). The first one was Indian, I believe, and was the one who actually put the needle in my arm. I had a harder time understanding him explaining what he was doing because he had a thickish accent, but what I did understand was his excitement about my crazy veins. Apparently he had never seen veins like mine before (they moved or something while he was looking at them?) and he was going to tell all his anesthesiologist buddies down in the lab about my crazy veins. He left at the shift change with the first batch of nurses, and the second anesthesiologist took care of me for pretty much of the rest of the time I was in labor, although I did see crazy vein fan guy again the morning after the Little Guy was born.

Around 10:30 or so on Friday night, the cytotec is still working and I'm getting close to a 3 but the pain is starting to really bother me and the contractions are getting more intense. We all view this as a promising sign and after some consideration I decide to go ahead and get the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and took care of that around 11:00 and within minutes I could tell a huge difference. Shallow Man also pointed it out. I was finally able to get a bit of sleep, even in spite of the blood pressure cuff, which was set to take my BP automatically every 15 minutes. I couldn't see the monitor from where I was, but I knew that my blood pressure was still crazy high because EVERY TIME it took my BP, the monitor would beep out an annoying alert to tell the nurse that my BP was high. (Shallow Man admitted to me, later, that he when I asked him what the monitor said, he would tell me the numbers were lower than they were because he didn't want to freak me out.) Plus my arm was starting to feel a bit sore and numb from the constant checking, but the epidural trumped it at least for a little while and I probably was able to get a couple hours' worth of sleep there. Even if it wasn't GOOD sleep, at least it was something. (Shallow Man was able to sleep a bit on the couch, although he kept dreaming about tornado sirens because one of my IV towers also kept going on the fritz and beeping and that beeping sounded just like a tornado siren. Or so he tells me. I grew up where earthquakes are the natural disaster of choice.)

I woke up briefly around 1:00, when they told me they were starting up the Pitocin, but fell back asleep until sometime in the obscenely early hours of the morning when the nurse on duty informed me that baby's heartrate was low so they needed to put me on some oxygen to see if that would help. (I'm pretty sure this revelation didn't help the blood pressure monitor feel any better about the sad state of my blood, but, as I said, I couldn't see the numbers from where I was.)

I don't know how long they kept me on that oxygen mask but it felt like years. I was tired, I'd been at the hospital for something like 16 hours, I was uncomfortable and couldn't move, the mask was parching my lips and throat something awful, and one of the nurses out in the hall had chosen this time to start making loud impressions of one of the other patients. (Yes. I eventually pressed the call button to ask my nurses, all of whom were awesome, to tell the other one to be quiet because it is way too early in the morning and I just want to sleep! and she apologized to me. I spoke to one of the supervisors the next morning and let her know, and she apologized too and said they'd talk to that nurse and let her know that wasn't appropriate. But it was still awfully aggravating at the time.)

And thus, by fits and starts and fitfulness and lack of sleep, we made our weary way towards morning. The nurses checked me and after all that night's work, I wasn't even quite a 4.

At 7:56 a.m. Shallow Man posted on Facebook: "No news yet."

Part Three coming soon. I promise it won't be such a long wait this time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Long Over-due Story of the Under-due Birth, Part One.

This post may contain some TMI moments. Be ye therefore warned. (I won't feel offended if you skip it.)

It all began late in September. . . .

After my Monday appointment I had been told that I had mild preeclampsia and was told that I needed to be on modified bedrest. I didn't have to stay in bed all the time, but I needed to take it as easy as possible, so I arranged to borrow a computer from my place of employment so I could work at home for the foreseeable future, just as a precaution.

Thursday night we went to our prenatal class at the hospital, where we saw pictures of newborns and how they tend to look weird at first. My feet were swollen again. Still. Swollen feet was pretty much the norm in those last few weeks of pregnancy, but sitting in the hard plastic chairs in the classroom at the hospital tended to aggravate things.

Fortunately, the class got out about an hour early. The nurse who was teaching the class excused us and then said, "Next week we'll definitely take the whole time, though, because we'll be talking about breastfeeding, so be prepared." Thinking back on it now, I find this funny. Maybe if we'd been able to make it to that last class, it would have saved a lot of tears and frustration later on. Oh, well.

It was good that we got home early, though, because it meant that we had more time to set up the crib. We had originally purchased a crib from IKEA only to discover while trying to assemble it that the construction and design were sorely lacking in anything resembling common sense. The holes drilled for the pegs which attached the slats of the bottom of the bed to the frame were too small for the pegs actually to go in all the way, no matter how hard or how long we hammered away at them, so back to the store it went. We ordered a different crib off Amazon, but unfortunately cribs don't arrive in two days like all our other Prime orders do, so we had been waiting a bit for it to get there. It had finally arrived that afternoon and we were eager to get it set up so we could start getting the rest of the room ready.

I wasn't aware of it at the time, but Shallow Man told me later that he should've realized something was going on because I was acting really weird and out of it while we were putting the crib up. All I know is that it was taking longer than we thought it would (what furniture assembly doesn't?), that Shallow Man was getting grouchy (he tends to do that with furniture assembly that includes a lot of nuts and bolts in difficult-to-reach spots), and that I was tired and my feet felt like they were about to acquire their own zip code. So once we got the bed itself put together we decided that we would wait until the next evening to figure out exactly where in the room we wanted to (or could; it was a bit bigger than we'd thought) put it. This meant we also would wait until the next day to put the mattress and sheets in it. We also left all the packaging lying on the living room floor because we didn't want to haul it out to the dumpster in the dark.

The next morning, Friday, I stumbled over the boxes on my way out the door for my doctor's appointment. Shallow Man had already left for work (his co-worker drove him, as we only have the one car), and my appointment was at 8:50 so neither of us had had a chance to clean up at all.

I was scheduled for my 36-week appointment that morning and was told to arrive 10 minutes early so I could have my non-stress test before the appointment (by this point, because of the gestational diabetes I was having two NSTs a week). After waiting for about 40 minutes and seeing patient after patient arrive and get called back without my name being called, I checked with the receptionist. She explained that the doctor I was there to see had been called to the hospital to help with a c-section for a woman delivering twins, so they were a bit backed up, and would I be okay with seeing the nurse practitioner instead? I said that was fine, and sat back down to try and slog through some more of "North and South" (the miniseries is SO much better than the book). Finally my favorite nurse called me in for the NST, which went great. Everything was looking normal and the little guy was still healthy and active.

Then they took me over to the nurses' station to get my blood pressure. Based on the last few appointments and the new bedrest-ish issue, I was expecting it to be a little high, but nothing major. I was staring at the wall across from me when the monitor beeped.

"Oh, my." The nurse's eyebrows nearly hit the ceiling. I looked over at the display and then stared at the top number, which was 150. I couldn't even look at the bottom number.

"Well," the nurse said after a moment. "We'll try it again in a minute to make sure. But if it's that high, we need to send you to labor and delivery."

Of course this announcement helped my blood pressure calm down. Riiiiight. The next measurement was 161 over something like 96. Definitely panicking now, the first thought that came to me was "But I can't go to labor and delivery! I haven't packed my hospital bag yet!" (I had made a schedule to accomplish the last few tasks needed to welcome a baby with the goal of being ready by the time I hit 37 weeks. Packing the hospital bags was scheduled for Saturday. Of course.) I had to work hard to pay attention as the nurse explained that the hospital would check me and depending on their results I would either be put on full bedrest or go home with a baby. She gave me a hug and wished me luck, and I went out to the waiting room to call Shallow Man.

The next hour or so are a bit of a blur. Shallow Man's angel co-worker brought him to the doctor's office to meet me, and then we drove the four blocks to the hospital together, but it meant that I didn't have to go into Labor and Delivery alone. While I waited for him to get to the doc's office, though, I stepped into the bathroom to calm down and keep myself from crying. Then I called my mother, and then I worried. In particular, I worried about my hospital bag and the face that the new camera Shallow Man had ordered was supposed to arrive that afternoon and nobody would be there to sign for it.

A very delayed flash of inspiration hit me. I called my sister, who lived in Springville at the time. Let me just say here that of all the angels there ever were, she is the most angelic and awesome. She packed up her two children and went over to our house, where, over the course of the next few hours, she did the dishes, picked up and threw away all of the packing materials from the crib, put the mattress in the crib, washed all of the baby clothes and sheets we had, put sheets in the crib, arranged for our camera to be delivered at our neighbor's house (she was headed to the Brad Paisley concert with her husband in Salt Lake later that day and couldn't wait for the camera herself), arranged for said neighbor to bring the camera to us at the hospital, and packed up a bag each for Shallow Man and I, and brought those and the car seat to the hospital.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

Shallow Man arrived at the doc's office, we drove to the hospital, and we got me signed in. They put us in the biggest labor and delivery room they had, with a wonderful view of Mount Timpanogos (and an average view of the Macey's parking lot) out of the huge windows. I was told to put on the oh-so-attractive hospital gown and then they hooked me up with the fetal monitors and the blood pressure machine, just like a non-stress test only oddly stressful.

The doctor eventually came in and explained that if I were earlier on in my pregnancy, this is where they would do another 24-hour urine test to see if it was serious preeclampsia, but at this point, waiting that long would be a bad idea, so induction it was. He also explained that eclampsia (which comes after pre-eclampsia, go figure) involves seizures, "so we have to put you on anti-seizure medication. If I didn't you could sue me for malpractice."

So I was introduced to the lovely world of magnesium sulfate.

"And with magnesium sulfate, the way we measure how it's working is by urine output, so . . ."

And that, my friends, is how I got a catheter hours before my epidural.

I was barely at a 1 when I came in because I was so early, so they had to put me on cytotec before they could even start pitocin. It was about noon when they got me hooked up to everything and started the induction. Shortly after that, they let me have lunch, which, miraculously, included french fries and a milkshake. I felt like I was in heaven for those short minutes, and decided that if labor could pre-empt GD like that, maybe it was even worth the catheter. (It wasn't. It might have been worth it if the nursing student hadn't had trouble on the first try. . . .)

My sister brought our hospital bags over, and I had fun talking with my 3-year-old nephew for a few minutes before they left. Our neighbor brought over the camera when it arrived, and Shallow Man had fun playing with his new gadget for a bit after I made him promise not to take too many pictures of me. I had called my mom to let her know what the story was and she had passed the word around to the rest of my family. A quick post on Facebook had alerted most of our friends, and all that was left was a quick text to my good friend Megan. "Looks like I can't make it to your baby shower tomorrow after all. . . ."

And then all that was left for the moment, really, was waiting. The doctor had cheerfully predicted that while it probably wouldn't be over before his shift ended at six, it probably wouldn't take too much longer after that. "You'll have a baby before tomorrow!"

So we settled in for what we thought would be not too very long of a wait. Oh, boy, were we wrong on that one.

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Do you think they have a customer loyalty program?

I recently received the following email in my spam folder. My spam folder is a source of frequent amusement, and this did not disappoint:

I find several things interesting about this:

- The fact that Nigerian con artists apparently have found a way to get repeat customers. They are nothing if not resourceful!
- They are gutsy enough to put a warning at the end not to trust anyone else (but we're TOTALLY legit!).
- Judging by the total amount of money that has been set aside and the fact that "every affected victim" gets $3.4 million, only about 59 people have been affected. This is actually a lot better than my faith in the human race would have led me to believe.
- If you read the first sentence literally, it looks like the president of Nigeria is the one who rated his country the most corrupt in the world.

I think my favorite thing about this message, though, is the fact that, according to my research, the current president of Nigeria actually really and truly is named Goodluck Jonathan. Well, actually, it's Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, but I think that only makes it better. (Unfortunately, Dr. Silver Okoli appears to be an illegal fiction.)

This is right up there with the one where the sender claimed God had revealed my name to him as someone who was righteous enough to help him out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In Which Books Nearly Lead to a Disaster; or, The IKEA Incident

This is a story that should have made it into the 2010 in Review post the first time around, but somehow slipped my mind until now.

As you may or may not know or remember, our car broke down in November 2009. At the time we didn't have the money to fix it, so my cousin and his wife let us borrow her car (which they weren't using at the time) until we could get ours fixed in January, when we would have an influx of cash.

Along with fixing our car, we used a bit of said influx to get some badly-needed bookshelves from IKEA on which we could put our massive collection of books. And it occurred to us that Bertha (my cousin's car—I'm just going to refer to my cousin's wife as my cousin from here on out because it's so much easier and that's how I think of her anyway) was bigger than our car was, so it would make more sense to pick up said bookshelves in Bertha. Accordingly, we sallied forth to that great Swedish furniture store, which is located about half an hour away from our house.

At the store, we wandered through the showroom checking out furniture (half of which looked like someone hadn't gotten the memo that the seventies ended several decades ago), enjoyed a cinnamon roll, picked up the bookshelves we wanted from the self-serve warehouse, checked out, brought the car around to the loading zone, and started to fold down the back seat so we could load up our purchases.

It was at this point that our brilliant plan hit a major snag.

We couldn't figure out how to lower the back seat. We hadn't needed to lower it up to this point in our borrowership, and so it hadn't occurred to us to check on that prior to going to IKEA. Because of course the back seat would flip down—and it would be pretty self-evident how to do it once we started trying.

Except it wasn't. We poked and prodded and pulled and pushed (gently, as it was a borrowed car) on anything and everything that looked like it might be or contain or hide a mechanism for lowering the seat, all to no avail. So we called my cousin to see if she could tell us how it worked.

"Huh," she said when we asked her. "I don't think we've ever tried lowering the seat before in that car, so I really don't know." (Proving how amazing she is, she even offered to come pick us up in their other car, which we politely declined, as we were certain we could figure it out, and besides, IKEA, not to mention our house, is waaaaayyyy out of her way.)

The next step was, obviously, to call my brother and ask him to check up on the internet to see if he could tell us where the seat release was on the car. (Yeah, we don't have smartphones.) He said he'd look into it and call us back in the next five minutes or so.

Let me pause here for just a moment to mention that at any given moment there is a 75-ish% chance that Shallow Man has no idea where his cell phone is. Also, with the particular phone he had at the time, at any given moment there was a 90% chance that the battery was dead. I'm no statistician, but even I can tell you that this leads to a large amount of time spent looking for Shallow Man's phone with no way of finding it in the traditional way (i.e., calling it and following the ringing) because the battery has just died. This is what had happened earlier that morning, meaning we had one cell phone between us, namely mine. And right after I hung up with my brother, my cute pink phone gave out that ominous beep that puts fear and trembling into the hearts of strong men (and women): Low Battery.

I tried not to think about it too much, but as we continued poking and prodding while we waited for my brother to call back, it became increasingly apparent to me that his response would be unnecessary because I already knew what he was going to find:

This seat did not flip down.

It had never occurred to us that such a thing might happen. Bertha was a good 9 years newer than our car. Our car, even when it was new, had a definite paucity of features. Our car is not and never was (and, let's face it, never will be) the coolest, most tricked-out car on the block. So if our back seat folded down, obviously it was the most basic of features and would come standard on every car.

Apparently not on a 2005 Chevy Malibu.

My brother finally called back (I'm sure it was a much shorter time than it felt like to me) and confirmed my suspicions. I thanked him for helping us and then asked if by any chance he could bring his SUV and come help us out. I felt bad for even asking because he lives about 20 minutes away from IKEA in the opposite direction from our house. As it turned out, though, he was watching the kids and waiting for his wife to get back from grocery shopping and couldn't come right then anyway. So I called my mom and dad, who live maybe 3 minutes away from my brother.

They weren't home. My little sister, who answered, told me they had gone to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and that the show had started maybe 15 minutes earlier so it would be a long time before they were done.

I was getting a bit nervous at this point, and tried calling my cousin back to take her up on her offer of a ride after all.

No answer.

To recap:
We are, at this point, 30 minutes away from our house, with three large Billy bookcases (say hello!) and other assorted purchases, a back seat that won't flip down, no rope or bungee cords, the only people who I know for sure have cars big enough to help us are unavailable, and our only means of communication with the outside world may die at any moment.

So we do what any self-respecting people in our situation would do:

Call for backup.

Lost in Translation and her husband live just past the halfway point between our house and IKEA and also happen to be awesome.

I took a deep breath, said a little prayer that my phone wouldn't die before they answered, and dialed.

When LiT answered, I said without thinking, "Hey, would you guys be able to come bail us out?"

Stunned pause on the other end.

I realize my mistake. "No, no, we're not in . . . I meant figuratively bail us out, not literally." I explained our plight, and she said they'd be there as soon as possible.

I thanked her profusely but tersely as my phone beeped again, and told her, "Yeah, my phone may die at any minute, so if you call and no one answers, we're just waiting in front of the store at the loading area."

It took them a little longer to arrive just because they had to clear out the trunk of his car, but they got there soon enough and then all that was left was to wrangle three bookcases and assorted other purchases (I think this was the same trip we got a new desk/table for Shallow Man's office, but I can't remember for sure) into their little-ish hatchback and our unexpandable trunk. I don't know how—maybe Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger was watching over our cars—but we managed to squeeze it all in. LiT ended up riding in our car with us because the hatchback was packed to the gills (not that a car has gills, really; maybe if it was an amphibious vehicle. . . .) with bookcases. This was harder on her, just because it meant she had to listen to our repeated thanks for the 30-minute drive to our house.

We ended up taking them to dinner at our favorite Italian place as a token of our appreciation (we're always glad of an excuse to eat there anyway), so it all turned out okay in the end. My phone had continued beeping at intervals during the entire time we were waiting in the parking lot and on the drive home. It finally died as we pulled back up to our house after dinner, and I have no idea how it lasted that long. (This actually led to another adventure, when we discovered that when Shallow Man's phone had walked off it had apparently taken the phone charger with it, so we did end up being incommunicado for the next couple of days until the charger turned up.)

So the moral of the story is: Having a back seat that flips down really should be a standard feature on all cars. Also, LiT and husband are awesome.

Or maybe it just means that there is such a thing as having too many books.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2010, at last.

Yes, yes, I know I'm a month late for the year-in-review game. Just live with it.

Here are some of the awesome things that happened in 2010. As I suspected, it was a MUCH better year than 2009. (Although, let's be honest, it wasn't hard to do.) As always, if I didn't list something you thought was awesome, it doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it; I just can't remember everything.

*The new year began with what was probably the best party we've ever had or ever will have at our house. New Year's Eve: Geek Style brought awesome Jenga, lots of laughter, great conversation, and just enough craziness to ensure that none of those present will ever be elected for public office.
*Beginning the final semester of law school and feeling great about my schedule, even though it involved an 8:00 a.m. class three days a week.
*Actually making it to class on time for the first several weeks of class.
*Getting Baby (our car) repaired after she sat in the cold and snow for a month and a half after the big break-down in November '09.
*Having to repair a flat tire in the snow and gunk of our parking lot before we could actually take Baby in.
*Steve's Intermountain is the best mechanic's shop in Provo. Just sayin'. He's honest, doesn't talk down to me just because I'm a woman, and is genuinely nice.
*Staying home all day one Wednesday while feeling sick and crampy and reading.
*Aubrey's wedding with Kat and KEY.
*New red coat, yo.
*Rejoining ILMR and editing a really horrible article, but at least the head editors were much better.
*Working at WSP with an awesome team of editors and friends.
*Geek Night X. The second-best party we've ever had here.
*Making Mario cupcakes with KEY for Geek Night X. Yeah, I'm still proud of those.
*Shallow Man finding the trauco in an old box while KEY and I were decorating said cupcakes.
*Our already-decrepit fence blew halfway over in a major windstorm and we had no choice but to pull the rest of it down to avoid damaging the siding.
*More Just Jane, including the expansion to 10 members, with the inaugural meeting of the new, improved club also being the first non-Austen-themed, but still Jane [Eyre].
*Lunches with KEY, when they happened. And even when they didn't, the weekly "I'm so sorry for being a flake, but . . ." conversations.
*Starting to feel a little weird the last week of January/first week of February, but knowing it wasn't what it felt like.
*Buying cruise tickets with the Cruise Crew on Friday, Feb. 5th.
*Taking that test on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 6th, just to prove to my body that it wasn't pregnant so it could stop acting like it.
*Ten minutes later, when I could think again, wandering dazedly into the bedroom and, after staring at the ceiling for several minutes, saying to Shallow Man, "So . . . I think I'm pregnant."
*Driving to Walmart that evening to buy another test just to make sure, and having the car start acting really funny again as we drove there.
*While shopping, thinking of the most hill-free route to take home to save the car from going up any hills while it was on the fritz, then getting out to the car and finding out that it would no longer shift into reverse. This officially bumped the two days of Feb. 5th & 6th, 2010, into "Most expensive weekend yet in our family."
*Riding in a tow truck.
*Our ever-growing collection of Steve's Intermountain keychains. Finding out it was not the whole transmission, thank goodness, just the sensor. FINALLY having a functioning car, but being afraid to accelerate or go up hills for the next (okay, I'll be honest) three months.
*Walking to the Student Health Center on Monday afternoon to get the blood test and trying to figure out how far along I was.
*Getting the quantitative results back and wanting to sing.
*Feeling great until placement break (of course!) and then getting hit with morning sickness, big time.
*Working from home. A lot.
*Missing a lot of class. (My professors were all in on the secret and very supportive.)
*Going to a lot of different wards (our 9:00 a.m. meeting time didn't gel with my hours-that-I-am-not-hunched-over-the-toilet schedule).
*Julie and Julia for Valentine's.
*Telling the rest of my family (my parents already knew) at my birthday party. Much rejoicing.
*The tree in our backyard had to be cut down before the HOA would replace the fence (we at least got them to pay for the removal). It ended up being removed on the morning of my birthday.
*And thus we were introduced to the power of the pregnant sobbing. (Confession: I would have cried about the tree anyway. But I wouldn't have been reduced to blubbering.)
*Trying to make dinner for one of the pregnant sisters in the ward without looking at any of the ingredients, all of which made me sick.
*The saddest day of all: Baby decided not to let me eat bacon for the rest of the first trimester. This is especially sad when you consider that I had just discovered The Pioneer Woman's Fancy Macaroni the first week of February.
*Shallow Man took me to see 12 Angry Men performed at PTC in Salt Lake for my birthday. I snuck in trail mix and managed not to get sick during the performance. Lots of fun!
*Olympics! So much fun to watch. Also, they helped me discover the joys of pregnancy emotions (I have never cried so hard during a commercial).
*Bar applications. Yuck.
*Hire's and the Roquefort Bacon H. "Whatever that is."
*Cousin party and Rayman's Raving Rabbids. Whoa.
*Going to the first doctor's appointment in March and having everything look good. But, just in case, he scheduled a sonogram for the next week.
*Coming back to work after that appointment just to find out that the company had apparently imploded (not literally) in our absence and that all but a handful of employees were being laid off.
*We were not included in that handful. Actually, everyone from me down.
*Which meant that I got to break the news to all of my friends that they were being laid off. This included going to the homes of two of them who hadn't been in the office to let them know before they heard it from somebody else.
*Fortunately, seven horrible days later, we saw Baby for the first time, and heard the most beautiful sound ever: a strong, healthy heartbeat.
*Spilling the beans to everyone and seeing all our friends get so excited for us. (I put it on Facebook, and then it was true!)
*Viewing party for New Moon (mocking commentary mandatory!) and the Team Jacob t-shirt.
*Morning sickness escalation and the first prescription, which made it worse. Lost five pounds in one weekend alone.
*Getting the second prescription and starting to feel human again.
*Except for the only being able to eat Easy Mac part. But HEY, if that looked appetizing, it should give you an idea of the amazing effectiveness of that second prescription!
*Going to Cracker Barrel because spoiled pork chops made me cry. (Yeah, not fun.)
*SLA night II, which ended up being me, Motion deSmiths and Megan watching "She's the Man." Awesome.
*Going in for our 12-week appointment the day before my last law school classes. I had nightmares for the whole week leading up to it about the last time we went in for a 12-week appointment. But he found the heartbeat instantly. I may or may not have cried.
*Holy cow, I do not even know HOW I finished that last semester of law school. But I did.
*Last class of law school.
*Last final of law school (which is the closest I will ever get to living that nightmare where you have to take a final for a class you didn't realize you were enrolled in).
*Substantial writing, aka Major Paper (neigh!). It nearly killed me, but I did it.
*Last papers of law school, for the most useless class ever, and the professor who I'm pretty sure gave me a lower grade because I had the audacity to be pregnant while taking his class, even though I can't prove it. He was the only professor who wasn't 100% supportive and willing to work with me. He did work with me, but under protest and not without accusing me of unprofessionalism first. Blech.
*Graduation! I am so glad we got to walk in the Provo Tabernacle! We were the last class to be able to do so, as there was a fire in December and the roof collapsed.
*Partying, relaxing, and lots of sighs of relief.
*Hitting the second trimester two days before graduation, and briefly thinking that the morning sickness would stop. (It did leave me alone for graduation, thank goodness.) This turned out to be a lie—the sickness wasn't going anywhere for the next few months. But at least I could eat bacon again.
*Being re-hired by the publishing company as a part-time independent contractor.
*Mother's Day wasn't traumatic for the first time in several years.
*The toilet of lost souls.
*"Aw, hell."
*Cruise director Gary.
*Dennis, our waiter. ("Denniiiiiiiiis!")
*I ate escargot for the first time ever.
*Only having to send one plate back because I nearly gagged just looking at it (roast beef, of all things, which I love. Weird.)
*Cruise ship entertainment. ("You can't pay money for those shows!") The big talking purple couch.
*The Land Whale. ("Freeeeennnnnncch Toooooooooast!")
*Our seven-year anniversary, spent in Grand Cayman, with the most beautiful beach I have ever been to.
*The group excursion in Honduras—snorkeling, good conversation, yellow fish, not enough sunscreen despite reapplying frequently and liberally.
*Feeling Baby kick for the first time that I could definitely say was Baby and nothing else while standing waist-deep in the beautiful blue water at the beach in Honduras.
*Banana slug blisters. Apparently my pregnant skin does NOT react well to sunburn. (I haven't blistered since I was maybe 12, and never like THAT.)
*Magic shows with lame final tricks that rely on fictional sob stories.
*Piggy banks made out of coconuts, discovering ice cream and cinnamon, and an amazingly choppy boat ride in Belize.
*Karaoke and attempted dancing.
*Delicious food in Cozumel.
*Floppy hat!
*Trying to figure out what the heck the towel animal of the evening was supposed to be, and sometimes feeling glad that we didn't know.
*Renting a van and driving around Miami.
*Horrible service at Bubba Gump's, which I didn't notice because Baby had started the first-ever round of kick the bladder.
*Worst ever TSA experience at Miami international.
*Weather delay in Miami led to missing our flight in Dallas. After a mad dash across the airport on what ultimately turned out to be a wild goose chase (more Kick the Bladder ensued), we and the Smiths were given vouchers to a surprisingly nice hotel.
*Finally getting home, and the cats gluing themselves to our sides for the next day or so. ("Never leave again!")
*Early morning Spanish.
*Helping friends move.
*The most awkward dinner visit we've ever been forced to endure. (If you're reading this, it wasn't with you.)
*So much Gloria's.
*Camping for Memorial Day with our AWESOME NEW AIR MATTRESS. Seriously, it's amazing.
*Motion deSmiths left us. How we wept, precious!
*The Ultrasound on June 3rd. Despite having a feeling that Baby was a girl the whole time, as well as having a girl's name already picked out, baby very clearly showed us that he was a boy. He also was sitting curled up like a potato bug, blocking the technician's detailed view of his heart, thus necessitating a follow-up visit six weeks later (oh, darn!).
*Family camping trip. Lots of fun with Kick the Bladder and pit toilets. Wind so strong we felt like our tent was going to blow away with us in it. Being the cool hangout for our nephews because with the huge air mattress our tent was like a carnival bounce house.
*I remember we got our oil changed in June because the sticker they left on our windshield said that the date for our next oil change was the day Baby ended up being born.
*Southern Culture Night. Hands on a Hard Body. Lots of good food. Very Yes.
*I finally finished reading Great Expectations, and it was better than I had expected.
*Lots of fun trying to change our car battery. Riiiiight.
*But we got the car inspected and registered and such WAY before the end of the month. No sneaking around backroads like last year.
*Fireworks with the family for the fourth.
*Bar study all the time. Post-traumatic stress and such.
*Follow-up ultrasound, where everything still looked perfect. :)
*One year later, and thinking what a long way we'd come, and being happier on that day than I would have thought possible a year before.
*Actually getting to go to my mom's birthday party this year.
*Having to get a doctor's note in order to take food into the bar exam. ("Because not all pregnant women need to eat.")
*The Dreaded Bar. Two days of UNGH in which my feet swelled up to ridiculous sizes.
*BUT—my magic spreadsheet predicting the essay question topics was pretty much spot on. The only one I didn't predict was Property, but that was okay because it was still an MBE subject. Yeah, I felt good about that.
*IT'S OVER!!!!
*Dinner at the Mayan with Megan and Mr. G, just because it was there. It's still as cheesy as I remembered, although I was greatly angered that the chocolate pot was no longer a dessert option.
*Finding out that E was pregnant and S was adopting, and we were all having boys. Hello, three musketeers!
*Being able to say that we were now "After the Bar."
*Failing the other test I took that week. (Nasty glucose test.)
*Failing the other nasty glucose test I took the next week.
*Hello, gestational diabetes.
*Hello, sore fingertips.
*Possible pre-eclampsia (what is with these whale-sized feet?). Fun sample collecting.
*Celebratory post-bar pedicures. (So at least the whales had cute toenails.)
*Inception. Twice. Even though my feet hated me for it later.
*We bought a car seat and stroller! That felt like a major accomplishment, somehow.
*Trying to find a suitable crib.
*Trying to figure out what the heck to name the Little Guy.
*Tensions between Barrie and Joyce.
*Weekly and sometimes bi-weekly non-stress tests, as well as another couple of ultrasounds. Which do, incidentally, help ME de-stress, because I get to see the Little Guy and hear his heartbeat on a regular basis. We find out baby has a big noggin.
*Reunions and birthday parties.
*Reading The Hunger Games Trilogy and being very glad, as I hit the end of the second book, that I waited until all three were out before I started them.
*Pre-natal classes with uncomfortable chairs and videos.
*Blood pressure acting sketchy.
*Geek Nights, Just Janes, more tense moments.
*Bar results come out and WE BOTH PASSED. Holy cow.
*Baby shower!
*The crib FINALLY arrives and we start putting it together Thursday night after our class.
*Friday morning I go to my 36-week appointment, planning to run some errands afterwards and then wait at home for the delivery man to show up with the new camera we've ordered. Instead, the nurse looks at my blood pressure and sends me to labor and delivery.
*Did I mention I was planning to pack my hospital bag later that day?
*Shallow Man's wonderful co-worker brings him to the doc's office and we head to the hospital. My angel sister heads to our house and packs bags for us, arranges for a neighbor to sign for the camera and bring it to us (she was headed to a concert in SLC and couldn't wait for it herself, which only increases her angelitude in my opinion), and even cleaned up the boxes from the crib (which we were too tired to throw away the night before) and fed the cats. At some point in the next few days she even did laundry for us, and I don't know what all else. Let me take a moment again to emphasize that she is amazing and an angel. Thank you so much, sis!
*The short version here is that after 30 hours of labor, I had a c-section on Saturday night and the Little Guy made his entrance to the world. Shallow Man and I fell instantly in love with him and it's only gotten better.
*Adventures in hospital staying. I found out that morphine is awesome. And I have never been happier to eat a milkshake in my life.
*Finally made it home the next week, although I had to get a prescription for blood pressure meds because mine was still higher than they liked.
*Having a moment of panic when I had to sign the "Parent/Guardian" line on the hospital release forms.
*Near-daily visits to the hospital lab for bilirubin counts. We were nearly on a first-name basis with the nurses there.
*One night with the Little Guy on bililights and I hope I never have to do that again.
*A fun trip to the emergency room for me because my blood pressure was reading something like 201/120. Yeah. When we got there and it was only reading 175/105, they couldn't understand why that made us so happy. Meds were upped and things turned out okay.
*Tripping down the stairs one of my first days home alone with the baby. Not recommended.
*Shallow Man having to work till 11 p.m. most nights the week after we came home. Also not recommended.
*Much pain and suffering and frustration and tears (on both ends) trying to figure out the whole nursing thing. Thank goodness for the lactation clinic.
*Being sworn in as lawyers and actually getting to go to the ceremony. Wahoo!
*Oh, losing, like, 40 pounds in the first three weeks after the birth. I was back in pre-pregnancy pants two weeks after he was born. I don't know how it happened, but I'm not complaining!
*Making a Hiccup (from "How to Train Your Dragon") costume for the Little Guy for Halloween, even though he maybe should have been Mount Vesuvius.
*The arrival of two more geeklings (one before, one after the Little Guy, and both girls).
*Slowly and gradually healing.
*The Little Guy's blessing day. I've been waiting for that one for a long time. (Yes, I cried.)
*Going to the funeral for my great-aunt, the last surviving member of my grandmother's family. Losing one of the Little Guy's socks at the graveside service.
*Thanksgiving. And pie. But mostly thankfulness for being so blessed.
*The Little Guy's two-month appointment. He is a string bean—long and skinny, but very healthy and cheerful.
*Completing 30 blog posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo.
*Going to the Christmas party for Shallow Man's work at La Caille. Delicious food, even if the atmosphere is a bit silly. Two of his team members (sitting at our table) won prizes. We enjoyed the juxtaposition of our car being brought up by the valets at the fancy restaurant.
*The failed attempt to see my sister's quartet perform, and the encore just for us.
*Getting to see Red and Harry Potter in theaters when awesome people baby-sat the Little Guy for us.
*Finally leaving the publishing company for good and all.
*Working with Shallow Man again, only this time he's my supervisor, sort of.
*Little Guy's first smile.
*Little Guy's first laugh.
*Little Guy just being awesome in general.
*Another cousins party at the end of the year, this time with three new babies. :)
*We are a three-stocking family now!
*Spending Christmas at my parent's house along with my sister and her family because they were moving out of state on Christmas afternoon. Packing up their house in the days before Christmas.
*The best Christmas ever.
*Also the most tearful as we all gave our last hugs and goodbyes and my sister and her family packed up and drove off for four years of school in the South.
*One wonderful week of having a bread maker before it died.
*First eye appointments since the beginning of law school.
*Oddly, all of our invited guests for New Year's Eve ended up having to cancel, so we rang out 2010 as a family, with just the three of us. It was a good end to a good year, and I think the vast difference between the beginning and the end of 2010 were in keeping with the other surprises and changes that came along the way.

Yeah, all in all, I think 2010 is my favorite year yet. As the Little Guy grows and develops even more of a personality and gets even cuter (if such a thing is possible), I'll be excited to see what comes next!

You're on notice, 2011. You've got a lot to live up to.

I have to say, seeing as this post is a month and a bit late, that so far 2011 has not disappointed. Onward and upward!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yes, there's that.

In times of trouble, it is a great comfort to me to reflect that, were the need to arise, the Little Guy could, in fact, kill Macbeth.

Take that, Caesar.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best. Baby. Ever.

So I know I'm way behind in the blog posts I'd like to get written. There's still the birth story, 2010 in review, and a few others that I want to get done, but haven't. (All together now: Sometimes being a good mommy makes me a bad blogger. Sigh. Rinse and repeat.)

But I did want to take a brief moment to brag about my awesome child share this story. We just got back from visiting Shallow Man's grandparents in Alabama (and oh, the stories I could tell you about that trip. But that's for another time). We were pretty nervous going into it because although we have flown many times, we've never flown with a not-quite-four-month-old infant before. I was worried the Little Guy would have problems with his ears or the noise or have a massive blowout on the plane (yeah, I have a few more "I'm not blogging about poop" entries, too). I dealt with this anxiety the only way a mother can: by over-packing. But we flew on Southwest which = free checked bags. Which, of course = very yes.

I needn't have worried, though. Little Guy was, as per his usual, a champ. On each leg of the flights, I would start nursing him once we got in our seats, and he was completely asleep by the time we took off. He would wake up, briefly, once or twice during the flight and then conk out again in the face of the humming of the very large engines (our boy is curiously susceptible to the lulling sound of the car, so it wasn't too surprising that an airplane has the same effect).

The best part? At the end of each flight, the passengers around us (even one sitting right next to Shallow Man!) looked around when they stood up and said in surprise, "I didn't even know there was a baby on this flight."

Yeah, I know.

Best. Baby. Ever!

Unfortunately, between holding the Little Guy and worrying, we somehow neglected to get a picture of him being angelic on his first air voyage. Hopefully he'll do a repeat performance the next time we fly anywhere.