Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Oh how I hate cleaning up oft-used baby equipment. But alas, it has to be done, so today I am washing Emily's carseat and high chair. The high chair we plan to put away now until we need it for the next baby, so while I HATE taking these things apart and scrubbing the gunk out of every piece, at least in the high chair's case the reward will be getting back about 9 square feet of my kitchen for a time, and that is good news. Cleaning the carseat just gives me horrible flashbacks to the week we spent in Bar Harbor where I had to disassemble and wash the whole thing twice in 3 days. And you'd think that it would've stuck with me how to disassemble the thing, but it hasn't so my fingers are already sore and my knuckles are torn up from unhooking seatbelt loops located in ridiculous places. I did a thorough cleaning of my car this week though, so after removing about 5 bowls worth of cheerios from my car, I guess it makes sense to remove the 6th bowl hiding in the carseat too. And the raisins. And the dried apples that just melt right onto everything and form a sticky disgustingly crumb-covered glue.

We are at that frustrating time of the year when it gets tantalizingly warm out during the day, but still drops into the 30s and 40s at night. The time of year when I get quite indignant because I realize that we actually have 6 months of winter, and our spring, summer, and fall weather is all crammed into the remaining 6 months of the year. So not fair.

But the warmth is definitely luring Emily outside. The girl wants to spend all her time outdoors these days, and while I will appreciate that when she's 6 and old enough to play outside by herself, I don't really appreciate it now when she's so young I have to stay out there with her practically the whole time. It really bites into the amount I can get done when I spend 3 hours a day outside, but I'm not going to tell my daughter to stop playing outside so I can do some cleaning, especially after we're just emerging from our 6 months of winter. I know I sound incredibly spoiled. The girl's lucky enough to be able to stay at home with her kid and she's complaining that she has to play with her all day? The truth is, I do have fun with Emily, and I do enjoy playing with her, but I just can't get over the fact that my house falls apart when I am not constantly cleaning it, and I am not really an "outside" person, because "outside" is where there is a lot of dirt and bugs and dog poop. I know I'm a prissy pain in the butt. On top of that, kids are not really into doing things that you find interesting, and it is not acceptable for me to read a book outside while Emily plays, so I spend all my time pretending to be excited about rocks and telling her not to throw sand. Also when I'm outside a lot, #1 I notice all the things that are irritating me about my yard (mostly caused by dogs) that it's too early to do anything about because there's still the risk of a freeze and #2 I get bitter because I get to witness the maid services pulling up to all my neighbors' houses and it makes it that much more difficult that I can't leave my child alone outside so that I can go in and clean. Note to self: Must get a grip and focus on treasuring these fleeting years in my daughter's life when she actually wants me to play with her...also work on your psychosis about needing to have a clean house.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, therefore it is Emily's day with Grammy, and my day to do all sorts of things that I usually have trouble doing with a toddler in tow. I plan to hit a few grocery stores, do some work on the house, and go to the gym. We got a free 7-day pass to Gold's Gym for this week, so we're trying it out to see if we like it enough to switch from our old gym. It's way closer to our house, which is totally awesome. It also has cheap massages for members, a women-only workout area (so if it's crowded and I'm having to wait for machines, I can just go work out there), and it's got much nicer decor. It seems to be a more "hardcore" gym than our old one. I was aware of BodyPump classes, but apparently there's a whole line of Body-something classes. "BodyFlow" is yoga. "BodyJam" is cardio dance. There's even a class called "BodyAttack". Haven't checked that one out yet. On top of that, there are posters all over the gym that say things like "When your body screams, tell it to shut up!" and "Push yourself beyond your limits" and "Be the hammer, not the nail". All very tough and inspirational :-) So we'll see if it turns out to be impressive enough that we'll switch over. It would definitely save us lots of time and driving, and it would allow Will to accomplish his goal of being able to bike to everywhere he needs to go.

Speaking of Will, he seems to be descending into the abyss of sickness once again. I was hoping April would be like February, the one month we've been healthy this year so far, but that's not how it seems to be shaping up. So Will's back on antibiotics, only this time it's a longer dose of a stronger drug, and it's fabulously expensive. Emily however has enjoyed quite an uncharacteristically long bout of good health (knock on wood) so it seems that Will is taking the fall by being sick as often as Emily used to be. I guess next year it'll be my turn to be slightly ill all the time.

Now I believe I will head to bed. Wouldn't want to get too tired and stress my immune system.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reasons why I am stupid, late edition

1. I decided I was sick of being too tired at bedtime to do any more than brush my teeth before falling into bed, so as soon as I put Emily down for the night I did my whole bedtime routine, then went downstairs to finish cleaning up. The problem is that my bedtime routine includes putting on eye cream which makes my vision pretty blurry, so I had to load the dishwasher and make Will smoothies with 20/1000 vision.

2. I made a frittata for dinner tonight, and I assumed it would cook in about 20 minutes (I swear I've cooked frittatas in 20 minutes before). I timed things perfectly to be ready for Will's arrival home from work since he only has a short time to eat dinner and then has to leave for his class on Thursday nights. Well, the frittata took almost an hour to cook, so I eventually had to just scoop out a pile of half-cooked egg, microwave it and send it with Will as he sped off to class. I'm lucky he still keeps me around.

3. When I saw that we only had 3/4 cup of steel cut oats left and not the full cup required to make 4 servings (the amount for which they had water:oat ratios on the canister), I procrastinated making them for far too long because I didn't feel like figuring out the water:oat ratio on my own for 3 servings. When I finally bothered to do the (2 seconds worth of) math, I realized it was 1/4 cup oats to 1 cup water. Duh. My brain has gotten so lazy and adept at avoiding doing any work that I can make figuring out a simple proportion take half an hour or more.

4. Emily has a shapes puzzle that actually says the name of the shape as you put the piece into the correct spot. It has a little light-sensitive eye in each spot that triggers the voice when the puzzle piece is put into place and blocks the light. Well Emily's favorite thing about puzzles is leaving the pieces all over the floor. The result is that some of the light-sensitive eyes are exposed, so when I turn off the lights to go to bed at the end of the day, I inevitably hear a man's voice coming from my family room saying "Octagon!". And I am inevitably scared out of my wits for a split second. Nothing like a nice adrenaline rush before bedtime.

5. I didn't even get my act together enough to write a post about how dumb I was on Thursday night until 2 days later. But shhhh, I'm back-dating it so nobody will notice.

A whole lot of nothing

So I know it's been a long time since I've updated, but as I sit here and try to think of an amusing anecdote or anything else at all worthwhile to relate, I come up with nothing. Lots of stuff has been happening, but my life seems to be stumbling along in a kind of disjointed manner these days, so all I have to offer is a somewhat disjointed blog post.

-The massage place was happy to work with me, so I now have a free 30 minute massage scheduled for April 15th, huzzah! Lets hope we don't spend the whole time talking about adhesions again.

-I am trying to get a schedule in place (again) so that I can have some structure in my life. I am partially horrified and partially enamored with the idea of having a schedule written out for each day of the week. Something like: 1:30PM - take Emily upstairs and read stories then put her down for a nap, 2:00PM - write out a menu for the week, 2:30PM - load up dishwasher and wipe down counters etc. I am horrified because I am not really a schedule person and just mechanically following a routine written out on paper every day seems boring, but at the same time it would also allow for guiltless procrastination because everything that needs to be done has been assigned a time so if my schedule says "free time", that means everything is taken care of and I really can relax for a bit. I think most experts agree that having a schedule is a good thing as long as you're not too rigid. It will be hard, because Will's schedule changes constantly. Last night he got a phone call at 2AM and had to go in to work for 3 hours to sort out some issue. Needless to say, the alarm was turned off and instead of waking up at 8 to shower and get a head start on the day before Emily woke up, I was awakened at 9 by Emily yelling "Poopy! Poopy!"

-I just put out a bird feeder, and I don't know why. It really annoys me the first week when the dumb birds won't go near it and you're waiting for birds to show up so you can ooh and aah, and it really annoys me after they finally start showing up when the greedy birds eat an entire feeder full of food every day and you are constantly having to re-fill it.

-I am noticing a disturbing trend in Emily's movie character preferences. Her favorite character in The Lion King? Scar. Alladin? Iago. Sleeping Beauty? Maleficent's crow. My daughter has evil leanings already.

-I have Twilight on Blu-ray from Netflix sitting on a shelf waiting to be watched. It is taking every bit of restraint I have not to put it in and watch it without Will. Actually that's a lie, there is also the fact that I don't know how to use the system downstairs in Will's man cave keeping me from watching it, and we can only watch DVDs upstairs.

-It is much more annoying to type "Blu-ray" than to type "DVD".

-I've decided that Bento box lunches are awesome and I must have a Bento box. I have spent far too much time looking through pictures of people's lunches here and here. I don't think I'll be fashioning small Japanese animals out of rice and seaweed any time soon, but I think the idea is perfect for toddler lunches.

-I am planning out a garden for my side yard, and I absolutely can't wait for May (or in some cases September...boo) when I can start planting things. This is the first place I've lived in a very long time where I plan to stay long enough to bother investing in making the gardens look nice.

-I also absolutely can't wait until it's FINALLY warm outside! Emily loves digging in the dirt, so I finally got her some new sand for her sandbox and she'll sit there for hours just digging. Her sandbox is right outside our kitchen window, we have a fenced-in backyard and two dogs who bark their idiot heads off the minute anyone even thinks about walking nearby so this arrangement allows me to get the kitchen clean without interruptions for the first time since I had a baby and it's GREAT! But I can't exactly plop my daughter out there when it's 40 degrees and drizzling so HURRY UP AND WARM UP ALREADY!

-As Emily starts talking more and more, I am noticing that she has a lisp, and she also has the same problem with R's her Aunt Krista had. "Bird" is "Buhd", "Roar" is "Waah". We might have to do something about that later, but it's so dang cute right now I don't want it to go away.

-I have decided on a theme for Emily's second birthday party. It will be a giraffe, or "Dash" party, since she and her little stuffed giraffe are inseperable. But once again, I am having issues. It is difficult finding giraffe-themed party supplies that #1 are not intended for a baby shower and #2 do not have other safari animals on them. I guess that's the problem with not having TV...she's not into Dora or any of the characters that are easy to find on party supplies, and while they make Disney princess-themed stuff, they don't make Maleficent's crow-themed stuff. Now I just have to think up some giraffe-themed alcoholic beverages for the adults.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Relaxation is a state of mind...I must've crossed the state line

Last week I decided it was about time to use the gift certificate for a massage that my mother in law gave me for my birthday last year. I discovered this little holistic health place when I was pregnant with Emily and got a couple prenatal massages there. The gift certificate technically expired in December, but I was prepared to fight them if they decided to be sticklers because come on! I got it in July, there's no way it should expire 5 months later (or EVER really, since they already have the money for it).

Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty head cold and fever yesterday (which prevented me from giving blood), and today I'm feeling pretty gross. But I decided to still go get my massage, since babysitting and everything was already arranged, and maybe it would help with my sickness-induced aching.

I walked in the door to be greeted by the sight of a man emerging from a treatment room with a stream of blood trickling down his forehead. I was more than slightly taken aback, but the guy seemed pretty chill and no one else in the waiting room seemed to notice, so I just took my seat and started filling out my questionnaire while the bloody guy went to the front desk to check out. If I were ever on one of those hidden camera shows, I'd totally be one of the people who notices craziness going on around her but chooses to ignore it, not one of the heroic people who stop to help.

So eventually the Unfriendly Secretary (hereafter referred to as U.S.) noticed the gore, and took the guy to the bathroom so he could wash his face off. In the meantime, the guy who owns the place stood in the waiting room making loud offhand remarks about how that happens sometimes when people on blood thinners get acupuncture and surely everyone knows that head wounds bleed out of all proportion to the trauma sustained anyway, with a heavy undercurrent of "Oh please God don't let all the clients get scared away by our blood-drawing accupuncturist".

Then my massage therapist came out to find me, and we went to the treatment room. She asked if there was anywhere I wanted her to concentrate on, and I said my neck and shoulders were sore. I also requested a tissue, because I couldn't imagine laying facedown for 30 minutes with a cold and not needing a tissue. She left for about 10 minutes, then came back without a tissue. I sniffed loudly, thus reminding her of the reason she had left in the first place, and finally at 12:12 the massage began, complete with nearby emergency tissues.

Apparently she took what I had said to mean I ONLY wanted her to massage my shoulders and neck, because that's about all she did. I definitely could've used some foot massage action too, so that was disappointing. She was also weird about giving me a running commentary about how the lumps in my muscles are "adhesions" where the muscles have torn and when they re-healed they attached to connective tissue (blech) and how they'll cause me problems in 10 years or so. She also did this weird thing where she had me lay on my back, then she shoved her hand under my shoulder and poked me while she moved my arm all over the place with the other hand. At one point she noticed the little catch I have in my shoulder, and said "Oh, that's because of an adhesion, I can feel you tensing trying to keep your arm from going in that direction". Um, #1 I am tensing because with all this crazy arm-flailing my modesty sheet is creeping down to a fairly un-modest level and I'd prefer to leave my bosom covered and #2 I have had that catch in my shoulder since I was a pre-teenage ballerina who couldn't do a port-de-bras without an unattractive arm jerk in the middle, so I seriously doubt it's injury or adhesion or whatever related.

The 60 minute massage finished at 12:52, bringing my grand total of massage time to a speedy 40 minutes. Then my therapist informed me that she wouldn't be downstairs when I got down to the desk, so she'd see me next time.

I was pretty irritated. Despite the strange arm manipulations and adhesion talk I had managed to get some benefit out of the massage so my muscles were feeling relaxed. I am also sick and feeling sorry for myself, so I between that and the generalized feeling of chill-ness I REALLY wasn't in the mood for a confrontation, but there was no way I could just ignore the fact that I only got 2/3 of the massage that I was supposed to get. After waiting while two people in front of me in the check out line argued with each other for a good 5 minutes about insurance and U.S. answered phone call after phone call, I finally got my chance. By then the arguing people had seated themselves and fallen silent, so I had an attentive audience for my confrontation.

Sara: Um, what was my masseuse's name?
Unfriendly Secretary: Jean* (name changed because I can't remember her real one)
Sara: She seemed to be in a hurry.
U.S.: Yes, she has an off-site appointment.
Sara: (after a brief pause to think of another less subtle angle of attack) Um, so when you have a 60 minute massage here, does the 60 minutes start when your masseuse comes to get you or....(trails off into expectant silence).
U.S.: {stares uncomprehendingly}
Two Arguing People: {listening with rapt attention}
Sara: Ahem...um...well...
U.S.: I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
Sara: (finally getting some courage) My massage was only 40 minutes long.
U.S.: Oh.
Sara: (takes off into nervous babble) Well she started at 12:12, I looked at the clock, and well, you saw her walk out the door exactly at 1 so there's no way I could've gotten a 60 minute massage and I looked at the clock when she was done and it was 12:52 so that's only 40 minutes....
U.S.: Hmm. Well she usually never hurries, what time did you say she started?
Sara: 12:12
U.S.: {looks at clock} I see. Well, I'll see if I can figure something out for you.
Sara: Ok, thanks. {leaves blaringly silent room in shame}

I just got angrier as I walked to the car. I was mostly angry at myself for the way I'd handled it (i.e. like a timid idiot), but also angry at the masseuse and the secretary. I was supposed to feel relaxed and happy after a massage! Instead I felt angry and tense!

My cell phone rang a minute or two later, and it was U.S. She told me she'd talked to my masseuse, and as it turns out she'd read the clock wrong. I'll bet you anything she was reading the clock on the wall that wasn't even working and not the digital clock by my head. Anyway, they are prepared to offer me a 1-hour massage at 50% off, and they really want me, the customer, to be happy, and please do call and make an appointment yadda yadda yadda.

So basically, in order to get my 60 minutes worth of massage that I had a gift certificate for (read: it was a gift and I didn't have to pay for it), I'm going to have to pay some of my own money for another massage. I probably would've been pleased at the prospect of a half price massage a year ago, but I've really been trying to be a responsible adult and focus on wasting less money on things we don't need, and massages/manicures etc. are lowest on my list of things we need.

It is nice that they're offering to make amends, but honestly this method of doing so has always really bothered me. At a restaurant, if I get bad service I'd much prefer having an item comped or being offered a free drink vs. a discount the next time I come. I've always felt like that kind of "apology" is nothing more than a sneaky way to get more business. The end result is that you give them more money when you really don't even want to go back there in the first place.

So I think I'm going to shoot them an email asking if they could just give me a free 20 minute massage or something like that. It's really only fair.

Plus I'm much better confronting people through a computer than in person, especially when my brain is fogged with sickness.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flying without feathers is not easy

I spent a large portion of yesterday flying around. A guy, Ted, who Will and I have known for awhile through his work is a recreational pilot, and he invited me to come along on a flight with him. I still haven't used my gift certificate for a flight lesson that Will gave me, and I haven't been up in a little plane since I was pretty young, so I decided it'd be fun to study ahead a little bit before my lesson :-)

I'll admit, I was kind of nervous. Those planes are just SO tiny, it was easy to imagine them being tossed to and fro on every wind current. I didn't used to get airsick, but turbulence seems to bother me more these days, plus I just get nervous about the niggling fact that you could fall out of the sky and plummet to your death if anything went wrong with the plane.

We flew down to the Shenandoah airport in Virginia, used the bathroom and got a drink of water, then flew back home. While we were flying over the Shenandoah valley, Ted let me fly the plane for a bit. To be honest, I was expecting it to be pretty easy. I know landing and takeoff are quite difficult, but you always see movies where pilots are relaxing and chatting and getting up to walk around while the plane pretty much flies itself. I guess that may be true for big commercial airplanes (or maybe I just shouldn't base my expectations on what I see in movies), but flying that little plane was hard, y'all! It felt just like trying to drive a big car on a sheet of ice, except that the plane can also slide up and down and roll side to side. Oh, and there are also giant invisible speedbumps that you could hit at any time. In a car you can basically hold the wheel straight and the car will keep going straight. In a plane, the wind is constantly turning you one way or another, so you have to keep adjusting in order to continue flying in a straight line. We also hit the biggest bump of turbulence of the whole flight while I was flying, and it scared the crap out of me! The landing at Shenandoah was harrowing as well...I'm glad Ted's such a good pilot because there was a crazy crosswind and he had to pretty much keep our right wing aimed at the ground until our wheels touched down to keep from getting blown off the runway.

What surprised me the most, I think, is how alone you are up in the air. I thought every plane had one of those screens like you see in control towers that shows if there are other planes nearby, but nope! There isn't even a control tower at all at our local airport, the pilots just have to play nice and take turns. When you're in the air you just have to look for other planes and hope you see them before they're too close! We passed a guy doing acrobatics shortly after we took off, and I have no idea how you could be doing dives and rolls like that without knowing for sure if there are other planes nearby. Plus Obama was at Camp David on Sunday but he left in the afternoon, so we had to be mindful of the boundaries, which change based on whether he's there or not. It was a lot to think about, and I wasn't even the pilot!

All in all, I enjoyed myself, and I am looking forward to my intro flight lesson. I am hoping that once my instructor has explained the physics of it all (i.e. when you turn this control it makes this part of the plane move which causes your flight path to change in this way...) I will feel more in control. I don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable enough in the air to consider pursuing a pilot's license, but we'll see I guess.

And on a completely different note, can I just say that it is TOTALLY unfair that we've only had about 3 warm days and there aren't even any green things out yet and already my allergies are giving me fits. Grrr.

And now, if you'll excuse me, daylight savings time has caught me unawares once again and despite the fact that it's still bright and sunny outside I really need to start making dinner! Emily is watching "Roar show" (Lion King) so I'd better get moving while she's distracted.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's like Christmas around here

Yesterday I brought in the mail, and I had:

-My first issue of Martha Stewart Living (I found a deal for 2 years for free!)
-A gift card from Victoria's Secret for a "free panty"
-A coupon from Kashi for a free frozen entree
-A free sample of Viva paper towels
-A coupon book with a bunch of coupons for foods I actually buy!

I love getting free stuff, but I especially love getting a whole bunch at once!