Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Around and Around We Go

It’s never ending. Our cycle of ick and germs and illness. Just as soon as one of us gets better and I start to relax we pull the Sorry card getting sent back to Go.

I was celebrating this morning. I took my 5th, and final, azithromycin pill to help play defense to the 10 days of amoxicillin I’d gulped down previous to that.

All because I insisted I wasn’t sick and that we should still go back to Chicago.

Last Friday, after what should have been a soothing lunch of my favorite Olive Garden soup, salad and breadsticks, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Like my throat was so raw from coughing that it was going to seize right up and stop working all together. So I broke and called my doctor. Bless her, she saw me that afternoon.

I can’t see anything wrong, she told me, but after 10 days of antibiotics you should feel 100%. You must still have some infection rattling around in your lungs. Here, take this. The z-pack will kill anything else that has gotten comfy in there. You should be fine in a couple of days.

And I am. So I relaxed and danced a little jig in my head this morning with my last pill.

That was at 6 am.

At 9 am things changed.

It’s never good when you see the daycare number pop up on your caller ID.

The thick French accent on the other end of the line told me: Umm, I was just changing Grace’s diaper and noticed her eye looks a little funny. You need to come get her. She has the pink in eye.

Huh? She what?

Her eye. It has the pink. Like Louis’ did. You need to come get her, she has to go home because she is contagious.

Huh? Then it dawned on me. PINK EYE! Son of a ….. Daycare germs strike again!

Umm, except those 5 days off 2 weeks ago? That left me exactly -1.5 annual and -24 sick in the negative. I can’t leave. Matt is stuck on sick duty.

Today’s visit to Dr. H turned out to be a good thing because she really is sick. Not only does she have the start of conjunctivitis, but like her mom, has the remnants of that ear infection still rattling around in there. Eye drops every 4 hours (fun!) and another round of antibiotics.

So Matt has gathered all his strength and is home with our sick child for the next 24 hours. Except, I’m sure if you could ask her, she’s really not sick. She feels fine. So instead of being home with a sick child that sleeps and snuggles, he is home with a highly contagious caged beast that is mad that she isn’t at school running around with her friends.

Good times, good times. Wish us luck.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Gracie has become fanatical with books.

It is both wonderful and horrible at the same time. I love the fact that she is fascinated by the stories right now, even if some of them just contain animal noises.

BUT. BUT. Oh my word - if we let her, she would bring us book after book after book for hours without any stop.

Last night I dreamt in children's books -

Cheezie Puffs and Oatie Crunch
What would little llama like for lunch?
Llama Llama does not know
Llama Llama wants to go.

Could be fun, right? Sure, except for the fact that I wasn't Mama Llama or any character in the books. I was just trapped reading the book. Over and over and over again.

How can I really complain though?

She is starting to point out objects and correctly identify them in the more basic books. Duck, ball, flower, bug, fish, boat... and every day there are new additions.

She is starting to identify pictures of animals and the noises they make. Cow=Moo, Dog=Woof, Cat=Meow, Snake=Sssss, Duck=Quack, Donkey=HeeHaw... and how do you not love a kid making donkey noises?

Oh, and lets not forget Snail=Schlllerrrrrrrrrch. Even though Grace has yet to say either snail or schlllerrrrrrrrrch (which is Matt's amplified and high speed version of a snail trail (included at his insistence)) it is in fact one of her favorite characters in the Baby's First Animal book.

We have a book of opposites, and she is starting to understand the difference between back and front, smooth and rough, quiet and loud, hard and soft.

These are all fantastic developments. It is amazing to watch the light and excitement in her eyes when she bring a book over to be read.


Loaf of bread and Cream of Wheat,
Llama Llama wants his treat.
It's no fun at Shop-o-Rama,
Llama Llama mad at Mama!

The rhyming! Oh, it's a cute book. They are all cute books. And it seems like we have a million already, but they cycle through so quickly. Every 10 minutes you come back to the same book. Gracie's trinity right now is: Baby's First Animal Book, Goodnight Moon and Llama Llama Mad at Mama.

I guess the answer is to just give Amazon some more business and order more books though, huh?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Son Of A....

Remember my trip to Chicago?

My reason for dragging Gracie half way across the country that ended in feverish, hacking failure?

All I have to say is: Son Of A $!#%*!

Look at what Matt just forwarded me. The parade is no more.

I guess I really can't blame them. Getting to Western Ave. that day is like showing up for the Obama Inauguration. We needed to be on the road by 8am for a 12pm start. They don't even broach the subject of all the drunks either.

Still - that sound? It is of my heart breaking.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I lost my phone.

A week ago. I'm just now getting around to admitting to myself that it is gone forever.

Well, Grace lost my phone to be fair. Yes, I did give it to her. No, I did not pay attention to her movements with it after its gift. It could be anywhere really.

Well, not anywhere. I know it is somewhere at my parents house. Or in the garbage /Chicago area landfill. But if it is in my parents house, it might as well be in a landfill. They have a slight... clutter... problem, so my bright idea of turning the phone off before giving it to Grace so she can't call China has backfired on me.

I've always wondered how people could loose their phones. It was something that I associated with be dumb and/or drunk.

Hmmm. I definitely wasn't drunk, but I guess giving my phone to Grace does fall into the realm of dumb.

Anyway, not that many people call my cell phone, but this is my notice to all: I'm not ignoring your call. I have never and will never receive it at this point. At least until Matt and I get our act together and figure out what phone company we want our service to be with next and order a new phone.

On the up side, my new phone will definitely have a camera, so the next time I see the Granny-mobile with the army of saint statues across the dashboard I will be able to capture photographic evidence of the beast and share with all you.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Sometimes I wish I could freeze time.

When she sleeps through the night – which isn’t as often as we would like it to be lately – Gracie is sunshine.

- I would capture her smile and the joy she gets out of simple activities like chasing the dog around the kitchen. People who say they don’t like children have never heard a baby giggle. It melts your heart and lifts your spirit.

- I would hold onto her new sense of awareness and accomplishment when she follows (or disregards) instructions. The way she crinkles her nose when laughing and mimics our reactions to her antics.

- I would seize her new love of her under-the-kitchen-table fort where she hides and examines her greatest treasures (my kitchen utensils.) I am smitten with the way she adores the things I consider to be mundane, because I'm sure part of her fascination with my collection of spoons, spatulas and whisks is that they are mine.

- I would sweep up her new affinity for affection in the forms of snuggles on the couch and actual puckered lip kisses on the cheek. The moments are still fleeting, but there will always be room for her on our laps and in the crook of our arms.

These things, while not written nearly as eloquently or as beautifully as the images in my head right now, are the things that I created this blog to capture.

So I guess I am freezing time. It is written.

These words will now be here to remind me of her beautiful 17 month old antics when she is 17 years old and driving me crazy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ádh na nÉireannach (Luck of the Irish)

When I went back to work today, one of Grace’s daycare teachers commented, “Huh, I thought only little kids got ear infections!”

Yeah, so did I lady.

Let me start from the beginning.

I had made plans to fly back to Chicago with Grace this past weekend to attend the South Side Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. It always makes my mom’s eyes twinkle when she talks about my picture, the quintessential daddy-daughter of me on top of my dad’s shoulders at the parade, being on the front page of a Southtown years ago. It was family tradition growing up and one I wanted to share with Grace.

Last Wednesday though, the phone calls started. I was away from my desk and told daycare to try my cell if they couldn’t find me. When I came back into a reception area, I had 7 messages. One every 15 minutes. At 2:15pm her fever was 100.5. By 3:45 she was up to 102.3. I felt horrible listening to the panicked phone calls from the daycare teachers.

Thursday morning I took Gracie to see Dr. H. Double ear infection. She’ll be better in 24-48 hours, just in time to fly back to Chicago.

Friday, Grace went to school. I stayed home. I was run down and spiking my own low fever. If I stay home today, I can just sleep it off and be all better Saturday morning I kept telling myself. Oh, and did I sleep. 19 of the 24 hours my eyes were shut.

I still felt bad Saturday morning, but got on the plane anyway. Promises had been made. Schedules rearranged. Leave taken.

When we landed in Chicago I had a fever of 99.9, but went house hunting with my brother. By the time we were done, my fever was 102.1. I was so tired I couldn’t think straight much less make plans for the next day.

So there it was. No parade. No green beer. No bagpipes. No throngs of South Side Irish (a few generations removed from the boat) singing and celebrating in one big green obnoxious mess.

*Sigh* Why did I come again?

Sunday was more of the same. I battled fever and fatigue while Gracie refused to nap.

As soon as I got home Monday afternoon, I went straight to the urgent care center to get checked out. You know it’s bad when the doctor gasps when she looks in your ears.

Diagnosis? The worst double ear infection she’s seen in ages with a case of strep throat to top it off. Oh- and don’t be kissing on your baby or planning to go to work for the next 48 hours she warned. Your highly contagious.

Ah – so it would be a bad thing if I had just spent the weekend around someone who is immune depressed, huh?

In my head, I kept thinking 'Ádh na nÉireannach'. Luck of the Irish my arse.

You’d better believe that I choked down a Guinness on St Patrick’s Day though. I didn't enjoy it, but this illness isn't going to take EVERYTHING from me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Collar Color

Matt and I consider ourselves blue collar. Despite the fact the we are decidedly NOT blue collar any more.

We believe in the value of it. The work ethic of it. Which I suppose is what makes us good at our comfy desk jobs now. We both have worked hard, crappy, physically challenging jobs in the past. OK, Matt decidedly more than I have, but we've both lifted boxes and spent 10 nonstop hours on our feet for pay in the past.

This week, I have been pulled away from the above cushy desk job, and thrown back into manual labor as part of my overall 'Career Development Program'.

What that means is I am forced to organize, lift and instruct for a week in order for my office to justify paying me more money when I am back at my desk. I am good with that.

I'm halfway through this week and I am tired. I am sore. I am cracking in places that I'd forgotten about. On some level though, I am enjoying it.

It is blue collar. It is back to my roots. It is the first time in forever that I feel like I am truly earning my pay.

We have movers in the building this week doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. They are part of a VA program that takes in veterans that have had - issues- and gives them a job to get back on their feet. Some are a little -off- but for the most part, I like them. I like working with them. They don't complain. They don't have arguments over who's workload is harder and meetings they must attend. They are a team.

I've decided this week that if I am earning 10 times the pay as these guys, I should act like it. So I have been helping. Physically helping. Which apparently is shocking them, and my white collar peers. The quasi-leader of the movers, who rallies and energizes with his chants and yelps of encouragement, keeps calling me 'Mam and telling me not to lift anything.

Yesterday though, after I flung two boxes to make his next lift easier, he stopped cold and looked me up and down. Those boxes were heavy and you picked them up like they were 'nuthin. You alright 'Mam.

I just smiled at him and kept working.

Blue collar roots baby.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The *Smack* Down

Last Monday is was freezing with a half foot of snow falling onto the ground.

This Monday I ate lunch outside without a coat.

70 degree weather is a fickle friend. It embraces you with a warm hug and kiss, and then*smack*, knocks you upside the head with the price of that warm hug.

The price? Illness.

I should have known better. Sure, it is one thing for ME to run around outside with a short sleeve shirt and no coat. It is a whole other thing to have Grace run around outside sans coat, sleeves and shoes.

So again - the price? Illness.

Monday morning Grace woke up SCREAMING. At 2:30 am. And REFUSED to go back to sleep. I should have known something was wrong right then and there.

Then I got reports of Gracie throwing up her lunch at daycare. The teachers said they thought she had just choked on some beans though, so not to worry about it. She was just really tired. She had to be woken up after 3 hours of naptime with everyone else playing around her. At dinner time - at the opportune moment after she donned a bib, but before her food was placed infront of her - she yacked again.

Great. Now this is something to worry about.

This was followed with a fever and runny nose, which has now morphed into a higher fever and snot encrusted face this morning.

Oh, and did I mention that I am taking Grace back to Chicago with me on Saturday? To a parade with a predicted high temperature of 45 degrees? That is so not 70 degrees her body (and mine) is now expecting.

Damn weather. *smack*

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Face of Punk

Now that the process is over I can write about it.

I sold a gift. A Christmas gift from Matt to me.

And I feel guilty about it.

Matt bought me tickets to go see the Dropkick Murphy’s for Christmas. Their … quirky. Their …. a little out there for me. Their …. fun. How do you not love a band that comes up with a drinking, carousing song titled, Kiss Me I’m Shit Faced? It has everything – a thick Irish accent, bagpipes, vulgarity and humor. What’s not to like??

They are a punk band though, and I am suburban white bread. As much as I love the idea of rocking out to a CD in my SUV, the thought of getting caught up in a mosh pit filled with unwashed masses sporting piercings and tattoos gave me the cold sweats.

Plus, being completely honest, from the get go the idea of being out late on a Thursday night also gave me the cold sweats. Listen people, I go to bed at 9:30. The opening act wasn’t even going to start until 8pm. Not conducive for getting up at 5am.

When our tried-and-true babysitter backed out on us, it was a fairly easy decision. Let’s just sell the tickets.

Our friend Craig’s List gave us a buyer within a day, and in fact I just handed over the tickets to the lucky *ehem* lady an hour ago.

After talking to the buyer a few times on the phone, I started to have my doubts about the sale. She was SO nice. I kept thinking to myself, maybe I could show up in my cable knit sweater and pink Puma’s and not look like a fool. Maybe everyone will just be wandering around with pints and clinking with random strangers like a big transplanted pub. MAYBE I might even be able to dance and not feel like a fool.

If this girl can do it, why not me???

Then I met her. Whooo Nelly.

Crazy black eye makeup, without the flawless skin and bone structure that makes it work. Three piercings on her tongue. Yeah you read that right. Three. A stud in the middle and little hoops to the left and right. Completed by enough skull wear to open up her own punk boutique.

Ahhh. Me and my pink Puma’s will be staying home and enjoying a fine Zinfandel. Or maybe a glass of Guinness, sans mosh pit. Unless Grace decides to start one….

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

I hate the weather in the Mid-Atlantic. The weather casters just never know what's going to happen. Last night they were predicting "somewhere between 2-12 inches of snow!"
I'm sorry, there is a huge difference between 2 and 12 inches of snow.
I guess you really can't cast blame them though. There is a mountain range and other crazy assorted geographical formations to contend with that we didn't have to account for in the Mid-West. In Chicago we only have the Lake Effect. Which just always means more snow.

Here? Not so much. Panic ensues all the time over the possibility of 'The Big One,' much like the excitement over Nascar crashes. There are school cancellations constantly, just on suspicion of snow. More often than not, not a single flake sticks to the ground.
Last night it did. This morning it has.

Grace got her first official Snow Day. The first time we've donned the snow pants with coordinating booties. (Which caused my mom scoff at the fact that Grace didn't actually own any proper snow boots.) The first time gloves and hat were REQUIRED. The first time we've gotten to experience the parent's side of stuffing a squirming child into 5 layers.

We ventured outdoors and quickly realized that it probably is indeed hard to walk in snow that comes up to your knees combined with slippery polyester boots on your feet. (Read, Grace tried to take a step and face planted in the snow. She was mad. She was ready to go back inside.)
Let's just get the sled out!!! We can pull her!!! Oh, wait. We don't own one. (See 'proper snow boots' above.)
Our solution? Wagon! It's the best of both worlds. Grace could still go fast, but Matt had much more control and she was semi-secured.

The wagon redeemed her opinion of this winter wonderland and caused Grace to spend much of the day looking out the door saying. 'S.No. S.No. Hi S.No. S.No'