Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seven years ago today

  • I was suffering from the effects of having to drink the equivalent of an entire Big Gulp every hour I was awake for the previous day, in an effort to combat a problem which it turns out I didn't even have.  My bladder would like to thank you for that experience, Ms. Incompetent Sonogram Technician.
  • I was worried about the fact that my baby's head was measuring several weeks "younger" than it was supposed to on the sonogram, which probably meant that the 0.25 ounces of bourbon I drank before I realized I was pregnant had seriously stunted my kid's growth and I might as well start looking into group homes for her for later in life.  Thank you again, Ms. Useless Sonogram Technician.
  • I was having to decide whether to go ahead and induce delivery early just in case Ms. Incompetent Sonogram Technician was actually correct and the baby was potentially in danger if she stayed in much longer.  Bitch.
  • I was calling Jason out of important meetings so we could go have a baby two weeks early.
  • I was so petrified I was going to fuck something up that I couldn't eat my lunch before I went to the hospital, even though I knew they wouldn't let me eat once I was admitted.
  • I was pissed I had to go on an IV right away - I had planned to work on my cross-stitch sampler project while waiting for the drugs to kick in, but I couldn't hold the needle or the hoop comfortably with the IV hanging out the back of my hand.
  • Don't even get me started on the whole "Big Gulps in the morning + insane volumes of IV fluids in the afternoon = 14,000 trips to the bathroom while hugely pregnant and dragging an IV pole and fetal heart monitor around with me" situation.
  • Or the fact that they wanted to monitor my output, so I had to pee in a cup.  I did crack the nurse up when I asked her what she wanted me to do once I filled up the liter cup in one sitting - dump and keep measuring, or just record it as 1000+ ml?
  • I was pissed that I was missing the premier of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I had planned to go see that evening, and which I had been anticipating for months in advance.  Turns out, when I finally saw it a year later on Netflix, it kinda sucked anyway.
  • I was so bored while I was waiting for the drugs to do ANYTHING that I had Jason read the newspaper crossword puzzle clues to me and write my answers in for me, because trying to write with the &$(*$(&$)ing IV in my hand wasn't fun.
  • I was trying to be brave for so long that the anesthesiologist was halfway home and had to drive back to the hospital to put in my spinal.
  • I was trying (and failing) to remember to roll over every so often so the anesthesia didn't settle on one side of my body.  Whoops.  Took hours to regain any feeling in one of my legs after the delivery.  Seriously - the thing was like having a telephone pole surgically attached to my waist, it was that unresponsive.
  • I was shivering uncontrollably no matter how many blankets they put on me, because apparently my body interprets "loss of feeling" as "oh my god we're stuck in a snowdrift and going to freeze to death if I don't vibrate like a tuning fork for hours on end."
  • I was inexplicably afraid of getting a catheter put in.  Rip a giant melon-sized head out of my hoohah? No problem!  Shove a tiny tube in my peepee? GAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA.  And then after they put it in, I was all - Wait, I don't have to waddle over to the bathroom and pee in a pitcher anymore?  Bonus!  And the nurse was all - Better get another bag, this one's full already.
  • I was bitching about how Nothing Was Happening For Three Hours, other than the peeing and the leg turning into wood and the shivering.  The nursing shift changed, and the new nurses checked on me, and told me to let them know if anything changed, and then went to look in on other patients.  
  • It finally occurred to me an hour later that the vague feeling of fullness "down there" might be worth mentioning to the nurses next time they swung through.  Yeah, right, she said, and she took a peek, and her eyes got really wide, and she said, DON'T PUSH, I'll go get the doctor.  Apparently what felt sort of like a tampon that was about to fall out was actually my kid about to fall out.  Who knew?
  • Push - Push - Push - there's your kid.  And the last one didn't actually count because I was laughing while I did it.
  • I was entertaining the doctor while she stitched me back up, with an impression of the look on the nurse's face when she checked on my progress.
  • I was trying not to be disappointed when the baby scored only 9 out of a possible 10 on the APGAR test. Don't get used to underachieving, kiddo.
  • Telling Jason that Wendy's was still open, and since I knew he didn't get me a push present he'd damn well better go get me a fruit salad before the closed - seriously, get out the door and get me some food, goddammit.  The baby will still be here when you get back in 20 minutes.
  • I was just beginning to experience a seemingly endless parade of nurses and lactation consultants and pediatricians and obstetricians and random people they found in the hallway who wanted to poke around at my boobs and tell me what the baby (or I) was doing wrong with nursing.
  • Not yet aware that the nameless nurse who showed me Saturday night that newborns are actually able to drink from a (tiny) cup would be my Personal Savior and Bringer of Hope that the Kid Won't Starve to Death Before Monday.
  • Never so happy as when the hospital confirmed that babies aren't allowed to sleep in their mother's rooms at night, they have to go back to the nursery.  Oh, thank you lord, for this 45-minute break between when the nurses are waking me up to check my vital signs, and when the baby wakes up screaming because she's super pissed that we broke her out two weeks ahead of schedule.
  • Trying not to notice that the leftover umbilical cord hanging off of the front of my kid looked exactly like a used condom.  Trying not to make jokes about "Gee, I wonder where she picked that up, har har har."
  • Admiring what I made.

And today?  Still admiring what I made, and the smart, fearless, funny, interesting, beautiful girl she's becoming.

Happy seventh birthday, Liza Bear.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 Lego Olympiad competition

This year Liza decided she wanted to compete in the Lego Olympiad as an individual, rather than a team like last year.  So when she kept putting off working on her project, and putting it off, and putting it off, I wasn't nearly as ticked.  The day before the competition I told her she had to either buckle down and prepare to represent her school well, or I wasn't going to let her go at all.  She thought about it all day, and after school she told me she was ready to work.  Yay.

She took her inspiration from an episode of her favorite show, Mythbusters, in which the team tries to escape from jail using a rope made of toilet paper.  We started with some screen shots of the episode to use as inspiration:

Her initial design wasn't terribly complex, but it still looked pretty similar to the building where the episode was made.  Unfortunately, when we ran the design through the Lego builder software, it spat out 70 pages of directions on how to reproduce it.  Um, probably not going to happen, but we'll bring them along just in case.

Let the building begin!  Liza was happy to see her friend Rachel shared her table.  Even if they weren't working as a team, it's good to have a smiling face nearby.

The judges circulated through the room during the build to make sure none of the grownups were helping and to talk to the kids about their projects.  Liza made good use of the photos and descriptions she made the night before, explaining how she came up with the idea and what it was going to do.

No, that doesn't look like the original model.  After a meltdown early in the build, she decided to scrap the more complicated building design and just go for the basics.  The original looked cooler, but honestly, this one was a lot sturdier, and it got the job done.

Look at how the projects are coming along ... Liza's got most of a building, and Rachel's volcano is done and she's working on the rest of her Hawaiian island.

Liza's finished model, "Mythbusters Toilet Paper Rope Jail Break."  Note that's Tory on the rope (which she made of dental floss so it was to scale), with Grant and Kari watching from below.  The minifigs were painted with wite-out, then she added the convict stripes with a Sharpie pen afterward.

Final judging time - Liza demonstrates that you can actually play with hers, and shows how the safety rope and winch work to keep Tory from falling when his hands slip on the rope.

The judges spent quite a bit of time looking over her project and talking with her about it.  I was good and sat far away, trying to ignore them and not helping her answer anything.  That's the hardest part of the competition, at least for me!

Liza was thrilled that she won a door prize, even if it was a box of Duplo blocks.  Then two of her school's Kindergarten teams won medals ... and then her classmate won a medal ... and then they called her name!

This is Liza's first actual non-pity award where she had to beat out other kids, they didn't just give the same thing to everyone who participated.  She won second place in the First Grade Open division.

Despite the fact that she didn't really prepare until the night before, I think she definitely deserved a medal for her work.  She planned, she built it all by herself and it worked when she was done. she was able to explain things to the judges coherently, and she was able to recover from her early meltdown and refocus on the task at hand.  Sure, it would be nice if I could have used the "See, maybe you would have won something if you'd started practicing more than 24 hours in advance of the competition" line, but hopefully this little taste of victory will leave her wanting to do her best next year.

Now, time to get cracking on the spelling lists for the Bee next Friday ...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A little game

Quick!  Find three things wrong with this picture:
1.  "Hey, let's take up seven prime parking spots by parking the bus where you can see it from the road, rather than parking around back in the logical location."

2.  "He's speaking in Lorain on Thursday, so let's stay in a hotel that's 20 miles away, even though there are plenty of business hotels located closer in Avon and Elyria."

3.  "Let's stay at the Radisson, even though there are at least five less-expensive business hotels within a quarter mile of it."

Nothing says, "I'm not an elitist asshole!" like staying in the Radisson when there's a clean, comfortable hotel ACROSS THE STREET that costs half as much.

Oh, and that campaign appearance he's making in Lorain today?  It's at a drywall factory where President Obama spoke when he was campaigning in 2008, which has since closed due to a downturn in the economy. Sounds great for the Republicans ... except that it closed during the Bush presidency, due to a downturn in the economy that happened during the Bush presidency.  While the outdated plant hasn't reopened since then, Ohio's unemployment rate is currently lower than it was when Obama took office, so it will be interesting to see how Romney's campaign can massage the data to make it look worse than it really is.

Living in a swing state is going to suck for the next few months.  Good thing we don't watch television anyway, and we rarely listen to commercial radio stations, so all we have to avoid are the 14,000 fliers we'll be getting stuffed in our mailbox this summer and fall.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I was all ...

So I was all, "Go clean your room," and she did.  But it still looked messy, and she didn't have places to put stuff.

So I was all, "Let's buy a loft bed," and we did. 

So I was all, "We might as well paint the walls while the furniture is all moved out anyway," and we did.

So I was all, "If you're going to be underfoot anyway, here, be useful," and she was.

So I was all, "Hold up, you're not the only one who gets to graffiti on the walls," and I did.

So I was all, "Dang, that looks pretty good!" and it did.

So I was all, "Wait, you want me to paint the drawer fronts HOW MANY colors?"

And that's what I'm doing today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love violets

That is all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Days 2 and 3 in Chicago

Again, in app-mandated wackado order:
- Shark embryos, sea jellies, and sea dragons (oh my!) at the Shedd
- Goofing off on the Ledge at The Tower Formerly Known As Sears
- Sue, Mr. "Look I Have A Goose," and a kid willingly eating chicken sate.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Spring Break + Mythbusters exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry = a perfect excuse for a road trip. Photos in an app-mandated wacky order show The Tower Formerly Known as Sears, the view from our swanky hotel room overlooking the river, proof that we survived the Metra trip to the MSI, proof that interleaved phone books really ARE that hard to pull apart, a creepy shot of my kid's future at Clown College, and proof that Jason doesn't drive the Mars Rover any worse than he drives a Nissan.

Next up: "We're going to take the El to the Shedd today, right, Mom?"

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Yep, that's a good sign

- I have to measure the amount of butter in our meal in cups (and I'm not the one making dessert).

- The kid has been up since at least 6am, and our company doesn't get here until 1pm.

- And did I mention she's hopped up on allergy meds, which make her simultaneously hyper, sleepy, and surly?

- I haven't checked, but there's a good chance I don't actually own enough serving dishes for the volume and variety of food I'm serving. Skillets on the table - classy!

- And I already had to ask my guests to bring their own containers for leftovers because we're perilously short on plasticware as it is.

- Number of new recipes I'm trying out on my guests: two. Hopefully the infamous "melt an entire stick of butter to grease the pan" cornbread will make up for any less-than-stellar veggies or ham glaze.

- My awesome carrot shaped candles don't fit in my candleholder that well, which Jason solved by jamming a piece of paper towel in around the base of the candle to stop the wobble. I don't think it will catch on fire when the wax drips down to the paper, do you?

- I have wisely managed to plan my meal so that everything gets baked at the same temperature. I unwisely planned my menu so that everything gets baked - the giant ham, the bread, the veggies, everything. I'm doing a lot ahead, but there's still going to be a lot of last minute oven slight of hand to get everything on the table while it's still warm.

- One of the things I'm preparing ahead is the roasted cauliflower. I love this stuff, and it's entirely possible that there won't be enough left to serve at the meal after I finish snitching pieces every time I walk by the kitchen.

- I have promised myself that I won't cut the cornbread until the guests arrive, because if it's whole I can't snitch from it. And I would totally eat the whole thing, given the opportunity.

- It's starting to look like it's going to "chance of rain early in the day" on us at lunchtime. Good thing I haven't hidden any eggs outside yet.

- Seriously, someone needs to come take the cauliflower away from me. It can't be a good idea to eat an entire head of it right before guests are due, right?

Monday, April 02, 2012

10 things I've been doing instead of blogging

(It's sad to say that the title came up automatically when I started typing "10." Guess I've been down this road before ...)

10.  Writing the Menlo Park Academy school e-newsletter every week.  Ever try to make field trip announcements, pleas for money, and reminders to FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP SENDING FRUIT CUPS TO SCHOOL - THE KIDS CAN'T OPEN THEM WITHOUT SPILLING SYRUP EVERYWHERE!!!11! fun and interesting to read?  Yeah, me neither.  Hey, at least I'm using my degree!

9.  Working at River Colors Studio at least two days a week.  Heh - I get paid to fondle the yarn and organize things. Plus, employee discount for the win!

8.  Designing a knitting pattern - my first one ever!  Go forth, and make ye a pretty scarf.

7.  Spending way too much time posting on Facebook instead of here, because the Blogger iPhone interface is craptacular, and not in a good way.  It won't let me put the photos in the right order within the text, it just dumps them at the bottom of the post in seemingly random order.  Booo!  If you're on Facebook and not already my friend there, look me up (Gretchen Frick Woods) and say Hi!

6. Going to Florida and forcing my mother-in-law to swim with dolphins ... you know, the usual.

5. Writing and editing all the text for the web site update we're doing for the school.  It's a complete scrap-and-rebuild-from-scratch operation, complete with all new photos, a lot of new text, better organization, and more useful information for parents, students, and prospective families.  My brain hurts.  I'll let you know when it's done, and we can all have bourbon and pizza at my house, 'mkay?

4. Getting the kid ready for the spelling bee (again).  Yay.  They held the spell-offs in their classroom last week, and Liza was one of the four kids who will go on to the school competition.  The official study lists haven't been released yet, so we're using some online lists to eliminate the words she already knows how to spell, a few each day.  Turns out that's a great way to use up the commute time to the bus stop - the kid spells really well at 7:30am.  After school?  Not so much.  Only way I can get her to practice after school is to take turns and let her quiz me on the eighth-grade words, which involves rather a lot of embarrassed cursing on my part.

3. Getting the kid ready for the Lego Olympiad (again).  Double yay.  She's going solo this year, rather than as part of a team, so if she can't get it together this year, at least she's not holding any of the other students back.  We had the first meltdown yesterday, but I think we've recovered pretty well, and she's coming up with lots of really cute ideas.  Probably not going to win her any medals, but I honestly would rather have her have fun than win.

2. Cleaning.  Did you know that if you want your house to stay clean, you actually have to WORK at it?  Who knew?  I spent March tackling one major area each week, so large portions of my house are decidedly more tidy than they were before.  I also have tricked the kid into doing her own laundry, including running the machines and folding all the clothes.  It's amazing what a little reluctant "well ... I guess you might be old enough ... I don't know if you can handle it, though ..." can do when you've got a kid with a stubborn independent streak.  Buy her a hamper she can carry on her own, mark all the proper settings on the washer, and she's good to go.  I haven't had to fish her head-first out of the agitator yet!

1. Did you know there's a Zuma app for iPhone?  Yeah, there went most of my March ...