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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pool party

I have found the way to clear out a public pool.

Puke.

Yup, there we were at Maxine's pool party yesterday. The public pool was pretty crowded, a 90-degree sunny day will do that. Max and her 14 guests were all splashing around. I was wondering how I might gather up the kids and get them all back into the room for cake and presents, when the solution was right before me, floating around in the water.

A kid (not one of the kids at our party) threw up in the pool. Ick. Gross. Disgusting. I was so happy I wasn't in that pool at that moment. The lifeguard blew the all-out whistle. Those poor teenage lifeguards, skimming bits of puke from the water. I'm sure they signed up to stand around looking good and getting some sun this summer. Oh yeah, they might have to jump in and pull a kid who got in over his head once in awhile, but cleaning up after someone lost their lunch in the pool? I'm guessing they didn't cover that in the training.

We had cake and opened presents and then the pool was ready again. The parents all looked at each other and kind of shrugged. The kids didn't seem to care what had happened in that water 40 minutes earlier.

Meanwhile, the crowd at the pool thinned by half. Lightweights didn't want to wait to get back into a contaminated pool. I kinda figured it probably wasn't the worst thing to be in that pool. (I was witness one morning when the girls had swimming lessons there to what multiple 50-pound bags of dog food look like when they're dumped in the pool.)

Hopefully, everyone at the party had lengthy showers when they got home.

posted by Laura at 11:13 AM | 3 comments

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Maxine

Last night I slept much better than I did seven years ago when I knew that at 7 a.m. I would be going in to the hospital to be induced to have my first child.

Of course, to listen to my gynecologist talk, it sounded like she scheduled me for a day at the spa. Two years later, this same woman delivered her fifth child in the car on the way to the hospital and made the front page of the paper for it -- so really, what did she know? But I loved her so. She induced me on my actual due date because she thought the baby would be big (8lbs 6 1/2 oz, she was right!) and because she was going on vacation the next week and gave me the choice to have her there or have a partner do it.

So back to the day at the spa. As she described the induction it would go like this: Come in, break my water, walk around for a little while, hop into the jetted tub for a bit, and then I'd leave with a beautiful baby. It sounded lovely.

Then she broke my water and I had my first contraction. Holy crap. I made it two trips around the hallway before I just wanted to be back in the room. On the first trip we ran into a woman being pushed in a wheelchair, she was sobbing. I didn't know what was wrong and, at that moment, I didn't want to know what was wrong (a rare occurrence for this curious kid).

Next round we ran into another couple making the same laps. Suddenly I felt like I was in the mommy Olympics. First one to go 26.2 miles would win! I didn't want to be part of the competition, I just wanted the contractions to STOP. So, we went into the room for the next 11 hours of labor.

I did get a little time in the jetted tub. But it had the feeling of a hotel room bathtub and the drain wouldn't close. So as I sat there trying to do all that breathing crap, the water kept draining and I was ready to scream it was bothering me so. No focus to be found in that.

I hung through the first 5 or so hours, but then knowing that I was only at 4 cm, I was over it. I had never worked so hard for so little result. So they brought in the tall, handsome anesthesiologist (I'd really like to see him when I'm not in labor to see if he's a tall and handsome as I remember -- he was there to drive a needle into my spine for both my deliveries and the second time around when he came into the room I said, "You're my favorite." I think he said, "That's what all the girls say."). The next few hours were lovely again.

But then the clock start running out. See, my labor nurse was getting ready to go on vacation and she was due to get off at 7 p.m. I also had decided I didn't want a labor that lasted longer than 12 hours. And I am a deadline-driven person: My water was broken at 7:30 a.m., in my mind I had until 7:30 p.m. to get that baby out.

At 6 p.m. I told a lie. I looked my doctor in the eye and said, "I think I need to push now." Having never had the urge to push, I thought I was convincing (a little different than the second go around when after being checked and told I was at 7 cm, turning over and suddenly having the urge! That time there was no mistaking that this was a woman who needed to push). She, being the awesome doc, said, "OK, we can start." It was about 30 minutes later that I learned what the urge to push feels like and the doctor knew I had lied. Didn't matter at that point. My nurse was checking her watch, she had to pack still. At 7:13 p.m., Maxine was born.

The days between June 21 and June 29 are a little bit of a roller coaster for me every year. The year before Maxine was born I had a miscarriage on June 21. I now know that if I had that child, I wouldn't have Maxine and I can't even imagine what my life would be like without Maxine. My Nana's birthday was on June 26. She was a very important part of my life and she passed away when I was about five months pregnant with Maxine. That one still hurts. I wish more than anything that she could have met Max just once. But, I guess she had to go so that she could be Maxine's guardian angel.

And, of course, June 29 is the day that my life changed forever.

posted by Laura at 7:54 AM | 4 comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

a question and a comment

Why do they call soccer shoes "boots"? (Madison was crushed when she learned she would not be wearing actual fashion boots to play.)

If you're a contestant on Jeopardy! and you wear a bowtie you'd better win. Because if you lose wearing a bowtie you look like a real dope.

posted by Laura at 7:41 PM | 0 comments

Monday, June 27, 2005

Nicknames

We know the names of a lot of people in our neighborhood. But those those we don't know, we have some nicknames. Not all of them are nice, but they are mildly entertaining. I didn't realize until yesterday just how often we use it in conversation between the two of us, and just how dangerous that could be if I ever forget who I am talking to.

For instance: There's Ally McBeal: Skinny lawyer girl who lives on our block. She's married to Caretaker. (We should know their names as we've done some charity dinners with them, but between us it goes like this: (Driving by jogger) Oh, that was Ally McBeal.)

It's all part of our couple talk. So much of that talk is influenced by television and pop culture and now kids. It's not uncommon to hear us say (extra credit if you can actually identify the source of these -- especially since I think over time we have butchered them):

- "I love you, Pepsi"
- "Math is hard."
- "Your modern machines frighten me."

And from the girls come things like: 'coons (cartoons), buggle gum, hos-a-bul, mazagine ... I better stop. As I think about all the cute mispronunciations, I'm reminded again how they're growing up and actually speaking like real people. Sniff.

In the meantime, let's get personal -- tell me about your couple talk.

posted by Laura at 9:38 PM | 1 comments

Add toner

Here's looking at a half-full glass.

In the middle of copying exams for Wednesday's class, the toner ran out. For nearly anyone else in my department this would have been tragic because the keeper of the knowledge of the copier is at a doctor's appointment this afternoon. For me, not so much. I learned long ago how to change the toner in this machine and have saved many colleague's asses in the evenings when they have exams scheduled.

And this is where the glass gets half full. Next to go on the copier was the stapler. But guess what? It used its last stapler on my last exam! (And, of course, in the world of copies having to staple your own is not the same predicament as being out of toner.)

I also got to have lunch with one of my favorite people in the world today. The French onion soup that I got was put under the broiler a little too long and it didn't taste as fabulous as it normally does. But the company was fantastic, so really, I can't complain.

posted by Laura at 3:22 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Enough already

I never knew the meaning of bittersweet until my daughters started growing up. This weekend two major milestones were met.

First, I was going through toys and the last of the Fisher Price Little People toys are in bags heading to Goodwill or ARC. They're bulky and dirty, and for reasons I can't explain I'm just not ready to let them go yet. (Good news, after the toys sat in the bag for half a day, Maxine came to me and said, "Mommy, we've been kinda playing with the Little People house again.")

Today, while we were taking advantage of the sales on dryers at Sears, the girls and I took advantage of the fact that Sears is in a mall. We hit Children's Place for some of their Monster Sale stuff. And then we walked by Claire's. We had been talking about getting Maxine's ears pierced for her 7th birthday. Well, her birthday is just three days away, so guess what we did? Oh it broke my heart to see that sweet face look at me and the Claire's employee and ask, "Does it hurt much?" And to see her virgin ears get pierced (I did make her promise me that this is IT, no more piercings after this!). The only reason we were able to do it today was because we had our camera with us, so the whole thing is documented.

She's so excited, I'm excited for her, but still I have this overwhelming feeling of sadness that can only be chalked up this: my little girl is growing up.

posted by Laura at 8:34 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Continuing a theme

The midlife crisis theme started there. I will continue it here, sort of.

While driving home from Herbie today, we ran into a little rain. A man with an "interesting" hairline had to pull over to put the top up on his Lebaron. The girls just didn't appreciate it when I said, "Stinks getting caught in the rain with the top down on your midlife crisis."

Meanwhile, Herbie was a hoot. When it comes to seeing movies with my daughters, my standards are low. If I'm even mildly entertained, and not offended, I'm happy. But what brings me the greatest joy going to the movies with the girls is sitting between them and sneaking glances as their faces light up with joy. How I wish I could bring my camera in to capture that look on their faces (but somehow I think when they say no cell phones, pagers or laser pointers, it's probably implied: No flashes from cameras either!)

posted by Laura at 9:02 PM | 5 comments

Take the rest of the day off

It's just 10:30 and already I have:

- walked
- finished and submitted my article that was due today (had until noon, got it in at about 8:45 a.m.)
- highlighted my hair
- conducted two research calls for my regular freelance gig
- emailed an author of a book I'm reading about freelance writing asking for contact info for a national magazine (she already responded with the information I asked for!!! if that's not a reason to sign up for her online course, what is? Sure, I'm plugging here, but she got back to me in less than 10 minutes, you'd plug too!)

I think I am going to take the rest of the day off and take my daughters to a movie. Feels like "Herbie Fully Loaded" kinda day to me.

posted by Laura at 10:37 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Things I know to be true

1. While I'm convinced sushi is the perfect food, it's just not as good when it's eaten out of a Styrofoam box.

2. Writing is a lot more fun when you're not on deadline.

posted by Laura at 8:28 PM | 0 comments

Monday, June 20, 2005

Retail revelations

We ran to the mall yesterday. Seems as though dead birds in a dryer vent might actually do permanent damage to said dryer. And there is nothing worse than going shopping for a dryer. It's boring. It might make my life a little better to get the laundry done faster, but it's a dry (ha!), dull shopping experience. All dryers are white. All dryers have timed drying and automatic drying. Some dryers are slightly bigger than others. But really, other than a huge variation in price, a dryer is a dryer is a dryer.

While at the mall (we were there checking out Sears' offerings in the dryer arena), I noticed that despite the fact that calendars say summer is just getting started, retail outfits say summer is over. Already they are starting to put summer stuff on clearance. The girls haven't even started swim lessons yet and I believe that it will be tough to find bathing suits in another week or so. As though summer doesn't go fast enough already, is it really necessary to have clearance sales before it's even started? But with Father's Day behind us, and a small advertising blip for Fourth of July, the next big ad push will be Back to School.

Of course, I decided to take advantage of some of the sales. And I am happy to report that even though the scale hasn't budged much since I started walking a month or more ago, clothes are starting to fit me differently. (I needed some encouragement like that!) I was trying on my usual sizes, only to find that they were loose. Thank goodness. I'm not out there every morning at 6 a.m. (regular walking partner is back!) just for my health.

Oh wait. I guess I am out there every morning at 6 a.m. for my health ...

posted by Laura at 7:49 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Make up my mind

If you were going to Vegas with two very underage kids, where would you stay? In our house we've narrowed it down to the Luxor or Mandalay Bay.

Here's some info you might want to know before you make up my mind:

- The girls would be happy to stay in a hotel in town if they get to spend 6 hours or more a day in the pool.

- Mandalay Bay has the best pool in Vegas according to The Travel Channel. A "beach", a lazy river, etc. etc. etc.

- Luxor has pyramids.

- Mandalay Bay costs about $50 more per night. That will total $150 more when we're there.

- I'm on hold right now with Luxor to see if their guests can use the pool at Mandalay Bay since they're owned by the same company (THAT would make the decision making easy -- well darn, it should be so easy. Luxor guests cannot use the MB pool.).

posted by Laura at 8:16 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Silly me

As if the pain of trying on bathing suits is not enough. I got into the dressing room with some that I thought would be OK (and they're cheap more importantly!). I reached down to take off my shoes and realized, while I had two Tevas on my feet, each foot had on a different style.

posted by Laura at 12:25 PM | 1 comments

What was I thinking?

Next time my regular walking partner is out of town, will you please remind me to just go out by myself instead of agreeing to meet another neighbor at 5:15 a.m. (the 15 minutes came when I could not get my butt out of bed on Monday to meet her at 5 a.m.). I enjoy waking up early, but that's a bit too early. And this is summertime. The girls get to sleep late, so I should get some of that same benefit, right?

Meanwhile, as much as I'm dragging my tired self out of bed to go, I feel great once I get home.

But really, remind me, OK?

posted by Laura at 7:24 AM | 0 comments

Monday, June 13, 2005

Randomize

1. I think my husband is trying to kill me. He keeps trying to enjoy this late spring weather with open windows all over the house. I would love springtime in Colorado except for the fact that I'm allergic to springtime in Colorado. I can only take pleasure in knowing that he's killing himself too with his allergies (which this year have been worse than mine).

2. I really don't like the first day of classes. It's like a first date. Except that you have to go on 15 more dates with these very same people. I almost always think of something I should have said but didn't. Thankfully this afternoon I at least didn't say anything that I wish I hadn't.

3. I'm in a period of devastation right now. My best friend at work (the only person I can really talk to and dish with!) just told me last week she's leaving. We started at the same time, so we had that special bond of finding our way together. She really is the most amazing person, who inspires me, listens to me, laughs with (and at) me. Truly, she's the only person in the department who I completely trust. With her I can speak my mind and know I'm safe. When I say she's leaving, she's just taking a job across town. I know we'll still be friends and get together often. But my job will be a much lonelier place without her there. I need a new work best friend, and I just don't see who can fill her shoes.

4. After class tonight I wanted sushi. Instead of eating tender, raw fish, I had overcooked, grilled cheeseburgers and corn (yup, the corn was overgrilled too) at my mother-in-law's. Free dinner is always good, but to go from craving raw to eating burnt was a hard free meal to swallow.

5. Speaking of sushi. I've decided I want to make a documentary. I want to call it "Sushi Me." I will eat nothing but sushi for all my meals for 30 days and we'll document my weight, my health, my state of mind. I'm guessing I would be in better shape after 30 days of sushi. The only parts I'm struggling with are: 1. where will I find sushi for breakfast (I just don't trust myself enough in the kitchen to prepare sushi for myself) and 2. the cost. Sushi is a bit of an expensive habit, so three meals a day for 30 days would cost ... a lot. How long do you suppose it would take before I got tired of sushi? It's the one food that once I'm done eating it, I want more of it. Not right away, but SOON. Not sure that would last the entire length of my experiment.

6. (and last) I appreciate the service that McAfee Spamkiller provides, but it's starting to bug the crap out of me. I subscribe to a number of different daily lists and it keeps grabbing them as spam for reasons such as "Message contains mostly images." So frickin' what? I'm a bit of a ditz because I don't even notice my daily messages aren't there until I remember to sporadically check the blocked mail. It's a miracle I get any email at all between SK and Outlook's junk email folder.

posted by Laura at 8:03 PM | 1 comments

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ewwwww.

Sometimes being a grown up stinks. Just ask Brent.

Two days ago our dryer stopped drying. I was thinking I was going to have to give back my iPod for a birthday dryer. Brent decided to check things out and see if perhaps the birds that have been coming and going through our vents might be the problem.

They were.

When he pulled off the silver tubing stuff (yes, that's technical talk that any hardware store employee would be sure to understand), he found a dead bird. And then he did some digging into the ductwork in the wall and found another dead bird.

It's so gross I can't even stand it. And he's off at Home Depot (the third trip this weekend) picking up some more of that flexible, silver tubing stuff.

I just hope that when we start the dryer again, the clothes will actually get dried!

posted by Laura at 7:53 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Trying WAY too hard

Last night I met two friends downtown. Our outing involved dinner (we were supposed to be enjoying margaritas on the patio, but instead were bundled up instead sipping sangria -- sure we're still recovering from a drought here, but really, the first time I'm out in the evening with other adults and it has to rain?) and drinks.

For our after-dinner drink, we hit a new bar call The Rendezvous Lounge. Except apparently they think it's the "Rendez Vous" lounge, which bugs the crap out of me. I should have stayed away just on principle. (Poking around, I see it sometimes written as Rendez-vous, but never two words. Sorry, as a former editor it's hard to get over these things.) As it's painted on the window, it looks like one word. But on the door they actually have in sticky letters: What happens at Rendez Vous stays at Rendez Vous." (Reason number two I really should have not given them my $9 for a martini.)

We walked in from the rain, and it was dimly lit. But it was light enough to see the woman just inside the door straddling a guy and grinding. Apparently some people believe this "what happens here stays here" crap. Except we live in Colorado Springs. I'd hate to see what's going on in Vegas these days thanks to those commercials. There's just not enough alcohol in the city to get me to do a lap dance in public. When she wasn't on his lap, they were still making out. And it wasn't polite making out either. It was shoving tongues down each other's throats kissing. It was 8:30 p.m. and they were out the door. (Seriously, I don't know how the guy could get up and walk after all that.)

Our waitress had thigh-high leopard print boots on, and a wig (we concluded) and had an accent that reminded me of Natasha from "Rocky & Bullwinkle." Nothing real about her. Or the entire place. It wasn't very crowded. Just two couples getting it on in the front, and four other women besides my two friends and me. Once the grinder and her guy left with their friends, and the others left, we were outnumbered by the staff.

Give the status of our downtown, this place will never survive. It's the umpteenth martini bar to open in a four-block radius and simply put, it's trying to hard to be hip and cool. I hate to sound like a marketer or, worse, an old fogey, but this place needs a catch. And "what happens here stays here" ain't gonna do it.

posted by Laura at 5:45 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Paralyzed by the options

My birthday isn't until tomorrow, but I got my iPod mini (in pink!) today. And I got a couple gift certificates to buy some songs. Suddenly I can't remember what music I like but don't have. I am sitting at the computer thinking that it will take me another 35 years to make it through the $30 of gift cards I have (or, it could take me about 30 seconds if I could just give my brain a kickstart!).

Of course, the first thing Maxine said to me was, "Mommy can I share your iPod?"

posted by Laura at 9:34 PM | 2 comments

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

B-b-b-b-b-benny!

My daughters love music. They have their own collection of CDs at this point (including the classic first album by Madonna, because it really is good, girl dance music). But I'm busy trying to influence their musical tastes and memories.

I have clear music memories when I was a kid. In my mom's record collection, I loved listening to "Dark Side of the Moon." And because my dad had an apartment right across from Billy Joel's saxophone player, I had all the words to "The Stranger" album memorized at age 5 or 6. (Oddly enough, I still love that album and can sing every song word for word! And for the record, "Just the Way You Are" is still my favorite love song of all time.) I also LOVED "Benny & the Jets."

I see this musical shaping as a great responsibility. My girls will actually beg to hear "Benny & the Jets" when we're in the car. But I wonder, will they have memories in the future of listening to Lyle Lovett and Coldplay and Bob Mould while we cruise around town.

So, today I pose the question: What music did your parents listen to that you still love? How did they shape your musical tastes? What do your kids listen to?

And another question I pose: Do I want an Ipod (or an Ipod mini) for my birthday this week?

posted by Laura at 8:46 AM | 1 comments

Monday, June 06, 2005

Workplace hazards

Today I met a co-worker at a local beer/pizza joint. Yes, the emphasis at this place is the beer. Food is secondary. With one week to go before summer classes start, we met to talk about a class that we both teach -- I'm teaching it this summer. A brainstorming, fueled with Honey Brown Ale (for me) and black & tan (for him). It's moments like this, talking about work (which for us is the equivalent of actual work) while sipping a cold beer, that I realize how very cool my job is.

But, we chose to sit on the patio. And after we spent 3 hours chatting about classes and stuff (heavy on the stuff), we left. And now I have a sunburn. Apparently, I'm too busy getting my daughters covered in sunscreen in the mornings to remember to cover myself too.

Damn! And ouch.

posted by Laura at 9:31 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ouch!

So, I decided it wasn't a sign and went ahead to my appointment for the eyeliner.

Thank goodness for Lidocaine. Otherwise, I might have a little brown mole-looking thing on my eyelid and nothing else. After a couple passes, to break open the skin apparently, the nurse puts the painkiller on and it sure did the trick!

But, you can quote me on this, I won't be doing THAT again. My eyes are a little swollen and funny feeling from the numbness, but they are tender. It feels like someone tried about 24,000 times to poke me in the eyes with tiny little needles, but my lower eyelid got in the way. (Disclaimer: During an intense moment of labor with Maxine, I grabbed Brent's arm and said, "We. Will. Not. Be. Doing. This. Again!!!!!!!" Fast forward 22 months and there we were again. So I can't quite be trusted.)

posted by Laura at 6:06 PM | 0 comments

The struggles of parenthood

First, I must say, I would not change a thing about our "family planning" if I could. Our girls are 22 months apart. That means I'm in the joyous time when people ask, "How old are your kids?" I get to say, "6 and 5" and sound a little crazier than I really am.

That said, having two girls so close in age is a royal pain in the butt. Especially once one is in school and the other is not. Before school, they played together with kids in the neighborhood. The little one decided she's just like the big one. In the 'hood, they share friends. In the 'hood, they're connected at the hip. But now, the one in school makes friends, gets invited to birthday parties and play dates. The one in school does not (yet). The one not in school doesn't understand why she's not invited along on these outings.

I know things will get better next year when she's in school and suddenly we'll have even more parties and play dates to coordinate. The sting won't be so bad when she's not invited along with big sister because she'll have her own date book to keep.

Meanwhile, that doesn't help me this summer. I just got off the phone scheduling a play outing for Maxine and a friend next week. I'm guessing that means Madison will ask, "Why can't I go?" Followed by some tears and some coercion by mom to make her happy again.

posted by Laura at 3:23 PM | 0 comments
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