Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 20, 2007

7:06 - The alarm clock hasn't gone off yet, but the phone rings and my first thought was, Who would call in the middle of the night? Then it was a realization that it was not, in fact, the middle of the night but actually morning, and my next thought was, whoever is calling this early has got to have bad news, like they won't be in church and need a substitute, which was immediately followed by a confusing series of thoughts about what day it actually is. It's tuesday, and by the middle of the 3rd ring, Boy #1 has answered the phone. Turns out it's his friend, telling him he'll bring the backpack that #1 left at his house yesterday to school for him. I can't fall back asleep for the next 20 minutes, but that doesn't stop me from hitting the snooze button. After all, I know for sure that #1 is awake, and I can hear him having breakfast in the kitchen.

7:38 - I get up and make sure #1 is indeed ready, and he is. #3 is downstairs also, watching Arthur on tv. #2 comes down at about 8:00 and immediately disappears into the craft room to watch Curious George, which is the same show that #3 is now watching on the big tv, but this way they don't have to be in the same room.

8:15 - DH goes down to watch the kids, and I go up and shower. I come down at 8:40 to find #2 throwing a fit about not wanting to go to school, but I'm fairly full of patience today and don't get mad at him or anything. He's throwing this fit from his bedroom, and he is already half-dressed, so I think this is more a way to get his complaints off his chest, rather than something he intends to really stick to.

I have to email the pictures for my photography class today and look for my camera so I can download the pictures I took yesterday. My stomach turns when I realize that I left it outside last night on the grass next to the swing, where I put it while checking #1's math homework. I think maybe this is the perfect time to get a new one, that can do all the cool things that I'm learning about, but I'm guessing that because I was an idiot and left it outside, there will be a penalty involved, it's not just free camera upgrade time. Fortunately, it works just fine and I'm relieved.

I finish getting #2 dressed and he comes downstairs and together we look at the pictures I took yesterday for today's photography class. Finally the subject matter is something I feel comfortable with, and I have a hard time picking which pictures to submit, since the topic was portraiture and I took pictures of my kids. This distracts #2 easily, and by 9:00 he is perfectly accepting of having to go to school.

9:00 - DH takes #2 to school while my visiting teachers come over. They are fun to talk to, although I get the topic of my surgery brought up and we discuss fear of needles and incompetent needle-inserters, which starts to make me queasy, and finally I have to ask them to change the subject. The surgery itself I'm not afraid of, because theoretically I won't feel it, and maybe won't be awake for it, but it's the IV's, the blood-drawing, and most painful, the band-aids they are going to put over the incisions that will catch all of my neck hairs and have to be yanked off. I actually almost started crying the first time I had the band-aid pulled off of my neck in December, because it hurt that bad. Keep in mind that I have never once cried during childbirth, even with #2 when I didn't get an epidural.

9:40 - #3 is so cute, outside playing in his sandbox. I glanced in there the other day, and didn't actually see any cat poop, which is good as the neighbor's cat spends a lot of time in our yard and I've removed plenty before. I still can't decide which pictures to submit for my class, so I call DH to get his opinion, which is not effective since he can't see the pictures, and doesn't really care one way or the other. I complain to him that either I have to avoid listening to my book on my ipod today or buy a new one. I only have about 2.5 hours left of the book I'm listening to (the sequel to Twilight) and it's a fairly good read, entertaining without having to think about it too much (we're not talking classic literature here) and it would be nice to have a good, reliable book if I have to wait at the hospital for any length of time tomorrow. But I don't have a new book to follow this one up, so I need to ration this one, or search for a new book. DH says that if this is the biggest problem in my life right now, then he doesn't have much sympathy for me. That's understandable, but seriously, who wants to be stuck in a waiting room for any length of time and find out that the new book you downloaded is no good? I picked a bunch of losers lately, or maybe it's just that my attention span is very limited currently and I'm not willing to put up with anything that doesn't absolutely captivate me. And doesn't require deep thoughts.

10:00 - I hop on Audible and start browsing. Maybe some of these vampire books my dad has mentioned? I find them in the bodice-ripper, harlequin romance type section, and they look so stupid I can't really take it seriously. Dad, going from 40-hour war marathons to a book touted as "Sex and the City meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer"? Hmmph. Maybe I'll have to give his suggestions a little less credence from now on. But I still decide to call him and check if Anne Rice vampire books are any good.

10:40 - I call and chat with my mom for about half an hour. Her current book does not meet my brainless requirement (I think she said Washington's Crossing?) so I leave a message for my dad to call me back. She gets to hear first hand the annoying "please" that #3 has been doing lately, this time over wanting some pancakes, which we don't have. I actually had to tell him yesterday to stop saying please, which I can honestly say in my 9 1/2 year stint as a mother I've never said!

11:20 - I sit back down at the computer and respond to some work emails. We finally put a big notice on our "contact us" page saying that we don't do custom animation/illustration projects anymore, so don't bug us about it! Well, it's nicer than that, but that's the sentiment behind it. Anyhow, we still get about one a week who ask for custom work, but they try to be crafty about how they propose it ("We've got this great project we want to collaborate with you on...") I've got a couple of those to reply to, which is not, shall we say, at the top of my priority list, since we did try to tell them once already that we don't do that. But as we have learned, it's always better to be nicer than you have to.

11:50 - Read some google news, consumerist. at 12:00 I make the mistake of telling #3 that we're going to Costco, and he spends the next 17 minutes standing at the door to the garage, saying "I want to go to Costco!" and "Come here, mom, come here!" while I tell him that we need to wait for #2 to get home. Sheesh.

12:20 - #2 comes home while I'm in the bathroom. I come down to find him hiding on the basement stairs and the first words out of his mouth are "I don't want to eat!" I say, "You don't want to eat when we go to Costco? Are you sure?" He's thrown by this development, because clearly he was expecting a fight, so he says, "Okay, but I get to pick the table!" I say that's fine, but he hasn't gotten his aggression out yet, so he says "And I'm bringing this toy!" It's a 4-inch long Lego Bionicle, so again I agree. He apparently can't find anything else to argue about so he happily gets his shoes on and gets in the car.

1:15 - We've finished our Costco shopping and order our food - I've been ordering a whole pizza lately so that I can bring some home for #1 who gets very disgruntled when we have fun while he's at school. I've tried to tell him that when he was #2's age he got to do all of these during-the-day things, and when #2 is 9 he'll be missing it too, but none of that matters. Which makes sense, but still it's frustrating all the way around. The kids do really well sitting and eating, there are no giant smoothie spills this time, and my white shirt manages to stay white. At 2:00 we are on our way out the door, when the pointless door-check lady stops us to check my receipt, and then in one swift movement erodes my authority as a parent - she takes the kids' hands and draws a smiley face on them, with a sharpie no less. There goes every single lecture about NOT drawing on your body (which I have had to give many times) and I wonder if there is a policy in Costco's corporate manual regarding child-defacement. The only redeeming thing is that #3 loves his "happy" and spends the majority of the car ride home kissing his own hand where the graffiti is. That's fine, I guess, but the next time my kid gets the bright idea to color all over himself with magic marker right before, say, church, or a doctor's appointment, or whatever, I'm dropping him off with the door-check lady at Costco.

2:15 - I can't help myself, I plug in my ipod and listen to my book while I'm unloading the groceries from the car. Honestly, what else am I expected to do at a time like that? Not listen to anything? I've thought about resurrecting a discarded book and trying to listen to that instead, and save the good one for tomorrow but that seems like a double punishment. When I finish with the groceries, I sit on the front porch and watch #3 play in the front (where he obstinately plays chicken with my neighbors car until one of the twins from next door finally gets him to move, as I'm yelling at the top of my lungs to try to get him to move. Fortunately the neighbor was yelling at him to move also, so there was no danger ... this time). I finally decide on a new book, which comes highly reviewed, called Water for Elephants. I almost got The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which also comes highly reviewed but was about a woman who gives birth to twins, but one has Down's so without her knowing the doctor gives the baby away and tells her it's stillborn. Maybe a little too depressing subject matter for a woman 2.5 months away from having a baby herself.

2:55 - I'm still sitting on the front porch when DH calls on the ichat to tell me that he's decided what we are doing for our anniversary in 2009. I think this is slightly premature planning, since we don't have plans for Anniversary 2007 yet, which is in 2 weeks, but I humor him. Apparently in 2 years we are going to Dodger's Spring Training, which was my original idea, but in 2009 they are moving to Arizona, which is a substantially more convenient location. I tell him that we can go ahead and pencil it in, and then I tell him about a climbing dome thing I saw at Costco that the kids would love for our backyard. He says, we just spent an arm and a leg on a new swingset, and I say, well this just costs a foot, and it's just something to think about for next year. He concedes that if he is able to plan for Anniversary 2009 I can plan for Backyard Purchase 2008, and we are agreed. My other neighbor comes outside, says hi, and gets in her car before I can explain that I am talking to DH through the computer, I'm not just sitting and talking to myself out loud on the front porch.

3:15 - #3 is going in and out of neighbor's houses so I need to stay outside to supervise, otherwise I won't be able to find him (I can't guarantee he will come home and I don't want to have to call everyone to try to find my 2 year old. Again, the tv announcers voice in my head tells me it's a bad idea.). Lo and behold, one of the tree-trimming companies I called yesterday shows up to give me an estimate! We have fairly bad luck in getting people to show up, mostly because our address is hard to find (every house in, well, Utah has an address that is a directional coordinate: something East and something South - we have a street name, and it stinks.) I've learned to warn people over the phone to either get directions from me or to look it up, because people assume they can just find anything, which is usually true in Utah, but is a misleading notion in our case. The tree-trimmer gives me some great information about the tree in our front yard, a catalpa, and an estimate about the rest of the trees. I like him, he's the guy who does the trees on the BYU campus so you know he's got some experience, but his price was more than 3 times the guy who came yesterday. I think we are going to go with the cheaper guy and possibly just get the expensive guy to do the one in the front yard.

4:00 - I get online and learn even more about Our Fascinating Tree, The Catalpa. I think it's not doing very well, because the internet says (which is the beginning of a very trust-worthy sentence) that these trees have beautiful flowers in the spring and annoying bean pods it drops in the fall. We've seen neither. it also attracts a particular brand of caterpillar which we haven't seen. All of those things are why this tree is considered something of a nuisance, although I've really liked it. Mostly because it's different, no one else around really has one. Lo and behold again, the third guy I called about getting an estimate actually calls me back, so I tell him I think we've made a decision already, I don't want to waste the guys time.

4:30 - It's time to start thinking about dinner, which is, as always, a frustrating time of day, made worse by the fact that I will be at my photography class tonight and therefore cannot bring all of my maternal guilt to bear on my children in an effort to convince them to try the food I've cooked. So I'm trying to come up with an alternative. I think the perfect thing would be pigs in a blanket, but while I have plenty of pigs, I am fresh out of blankets. And unless I can pawn my kids off on a neighbor, I don't think I'm up to going to the grocery store. I bought another new cookbook at Costco today - this one had lots of pictures, which is always nice, and is called "Great Food Fast" which generally means few ingredients and simpler meals that my kids might actually eat, with the bonus that it is by Everyday Food (a part of Martha Stewart Living, back when she was a felon and the company didn't want her name on stuff).

I'm saved by my dad calling and we talk for about an hour. I've said this before, but it's cool when I can talk to my parents like they are my friends. I mean, they are my friends, but with a 25 year age difference or so, it's not like we are exactly peers. But I think as I've gotten older the age difference, and the authority difference between parent and child, aren't really an issue. I feel a little selfish, because I enjoy talking to them so much, and I've got all sorts of time on my hands, but they normally call when it's late on their end, so I know I'm keeping them up. But hey it's not my fault that they are so darn interesting! Anyhow, I have now run my running-out-of-book dilemma that I mentioned earlier to both of my parents and before I could even get past "So, I've got 2.5 hours left but I need something to listen to tomorrow..." they both completely understood the situation! Of course I have to choose between finishing this book today or saving it for tomorrow! Of course I run the risk of picking a boring book and then what would I do in the hospital with -horror- NOTHING TO LISTEN TO!! My dad tells me he's got a book to recommend to me, The Class of 9/11 - which I realize that he not only recommended it to me before, but actually mailed to me on a cd. So I've got an audiobook ready to go.

Maybe it is a selfish thing, to like my parents so much, but not selfish for time's sake, but for the ease with which I can talk to someone who has such a basic, fundamental understanding of me. My family has this communal reservoir of experiences, and memories, and likes/dislikes that I think makes it so that anyone in our family just understands each other better than someone else. I have known my husband for almost 12 years now, and we understand each other pretty well, but I've known my parents for 30 years - maybe it's more just the fact that they created me in their image, in their quirks, in their preferences and pet peeves. I love my husband's family, but there is no way that I'll ever know them the way I know my parents, and I have a feeling that there has been many an occasion when my in-laws probably don't understand me the way my own parents would. Being barefoot, for example, is a non-issue in my family. Or needing an emergency back-up audiobook, in case the first one is too boring. Or thinking a great way to spend a trip to Paris is to sit in a park and read books. Man, I wish they lived closer. Although maybe my family-related quirks would be exacerbated if I saw them more than once a year. I'd take that chance.

5:30 - I missed the call from the hospital telling me when to come tomorrow, so I call back. Turns out my appointment is, hang on to your hats here, at 6:00. Yes, that is A.M. When I told DH, he said, "In the morning??!?" And now we are presented with an instant dilemma - wake up three children, load them in the car at 5:40 a.m., drive to the hospital in Provo, drop me off, turn around, and get home by 6:15. Or do we leave them home, asleep, for 35 minutes or so, and be home about an hour before most of them even wake up. Some of my neighbors are outside, so I run out to ask if any of them happen to be awake at 5:40 a.m. so I could bring over the baby monitor at least for someone to listen to. No dice, but they were all happy to weigh in on the subject, and it was unanimous in the affirmative, we should leave the kids. In fact, I heard all sorts of things that they've done, in order to justify how not a big deal leaving the sleeping kids is. I told them my tv announcer theory, and they laughed, so I made them promise that if the house burns down between 5:40 and 6:15 tomorrow, that they tell Child Protective Services that I thought long and hard about this decision, I didn't risk my children's lives lightly.

6:00 - DH came home when I was calling the hospital, and now I leave him to watch the kids while I go to my photography class. The class starts at 6:30, and 30 minutes is about 15 minutes longer than it should take to get there, but of course I spend many minutes searching for my ipod, and then remember that I have to take the long way because of all the construction between my house and civilization, plus my slow, labored walk from the car to the UVSC building takes a while, so I end up getting there just in time. I'm thinking I've got a pretty good chance at winning this week, but when we watch the slide show of everyone's pictures, one of mine, the cuter one of #2, isn't in there. By the time I realize I ought to speak up, he's already about to take votes, and I don't want to sound like a jerk. Of course the same people won who always win, but you can't win if you've won before, so now he has to go through the pictures and tell us which ones not to vote for. I say, Why don't you just pull out the pictures from the 6 of us who haven't won yet? Everybody laughs, so I feel slightly better. But I don't win, I don't get a single vote, and this bothers me way, way, way more than it should. Especially since I happen to love many of the pictures I took yesterday, and the people that are really ever going to see them will feel the same way. Stinkin' artsy professional photographers slumming in an intermediate class! Seriously, several of them were done with studio backdrops and lighting. I really need to somehow figure out a way not to feel so bad about losing at something that matters so little, but I'm competitive by nature and just can't do it.

8:15 - I head home from class with an assignment to take a panoramic picture, which the teacher will professionally print for us for free. No pressure there, this is something that theoretically I will actually hang on the wall. I have no idea what to take the picture of, so hopefully inspiration will strike at some point. Soon. I have to stop at 7-11 and pick up treats for the kids for FHE (which I was supposed to do yesterday, which was actually Monday, but I blew it). I get home at 8:30 and watch the last little bit of American Idol and start catching up my blog while I drink my slurpee.

9:00 - DH's dad calls and talks to him about his dad's website, so we pause the tape of American Idol which he rewound so I could watch. I put #1 to bed at 9:15 and when DH gets off the phone he convinces me to come downstairs and watch a Weird Al music video on myspace that's an 11-minute song about going to the drive-thru. It is funny just because it is so mundane, and thinking that someone could make a song so long about something so boring. I excuse myself after about 4 minutes to go upstairs and write a mundane, and incredibly long, story of my day, which my guess is won't be as funny as if Weird Al was writing it.

10:00 - Well, I think I'm done here. I'm going to post this, with pictures to prove that despite what the artsy photography class thinks, I take good pictures (at least, I've got an eye for cute subject matter) and then I'm going to bed. Oh, and I'm going to try to download Sunday's Amazing Race overnight and put it on my ipod for tomorrow, so I should have plenty to do to keep myself busy at the hospital. Which means, I'll be seen first and have no time at all to do anything and they'll get me in and out in no time, right? Murphy's Law? If I feel well enough, I'd like to document tomorrow also, just because it is a different kind of day, but we'll have to see how I feel. I was told not to eat anything after 11pm, which incidentally is not the same as being told to continue eating right up until 11pm, which looks kind of like what I'm doing, but I've got 49 minutes left and a brand new box of strawberries, which #1 would devour entirely without sharing if I don't claim some portion now.

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