Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Nine percent is the value of my first of two raises. So I got a promotion and with that comes raises. In my division, we get two raises. The first one in November is your "promotion raise". The second raise in January is your "review raise".
People I know who had recently been promoted told me that they are usually 10% combined, or about 5% for the first and 5% for the second as long as you scored highly on your review, which you had to if you got promoted. This actually really bummed me out because that gave me a rather paltry overall raise because of where I started. I make good money, but not great, I know this for a fact. In the annual ACS (American Chemical Society) salary survey the past few years since I was hired on permanently I was on the low end of what a Ph.D. recent graduate should make (as long as I was NOT working in academia - those poor saps are abused.) ;-)
Compound this insult further by the fact that when I was hired in, I was hired in as a "nuclear physicist", but this was not my background. Therefore HR would not pay me commiserate with my peers, instead offered me a significantly lower salary despite the fact I had worked in the field as a post-doc. My division director came to me apologizing in advance of what HR's offer was. He claims (and I believe him) that he fought for me to be paid more because it doesn't change anything for them or the project. But they wouldn't do it. I was thrilled just to have a permanent position and accepted the very measly raise from my post-doc salary.
So I have been anticipating and dreading finding out what my raises would be. The 10% overall did not put me in a proper compa ratio range of the midpoint 2005 salaries. I was sure this was just one more way I was going to get screwed over.
Count me wrong! At 9% for my first raise, there is no way my overall raise can be 10%. It appears that my dreams were realized and that this promotion should put me at the proper compa ratio. Of course, counting chickens before all have hatched is a bad thing and so I guess I should just shut up now.
Monday, November 28, 2005
I am back to work today. Leif was SO excited to leave this morning. He wanted to carry his lunchbox to the car this morning at 7am. (We don’t leave till 8am.) I guess he was ready to get back to the routine, either that or mommy is just boring (or mean).
I go through a lot of guilt regularly that I am not a SAHM or at least that I don’t choose to work only part time. I worry that my son will grow up a bully and detached from family all because I did not stay home with him. I worry I am shortchanging him. I worry about how his life will be when he is in grade school and it is the summer and he doesn’t get to stay home during the day, the way I did.
Then I have weeks like last week that jolts me back to reality. I loved my week at home, I really did. But coming into work today was like a breath of fresh air. On Wednesday Leif and I went to Barnes and Noble. I took a lead from one of V’s comments about making Barnes and Noble an outing. Mom can get a latte and Leif can browse books. “Browse books”, boy am I funny. More like run from one end of the store to the other squealing and giggling while shoppers scowl at me as I chase him trying damn hard not to spill my precious Gingerbread latte.
It is days like the past five that bring me back to reality and make me realize that I am just not SAHM material. (We can debate the working part time one easily…) But life as a SAHM might just send both Leif and I right over the edge of sanity.
So far today, in the 4 hours I have been here I have not told a single person to “sit down on your bottom”. I have an important meeting in an hour… let’s just hope it doesn’t slip out of my lips to my division director.
It takes one hell of a lot of energy to be a SAHM. After the first day, I had exhausted my list of “things to do with Leif”, and I had four more days left. We went on many walks, we fingerpainted, we played in the yard (among the loads of dog crap, ick), we played Little People, we stacked Wedgits, we read books (The Belly Button Book by Boynton was read at least 23 times a day, no joke) we watched WAY too much Baby Einstein (because *I* needed the break). And at the end of each day I was exhausted, sheer exhaustion. Every SAHM has always had my admiration, I offer even more after staying home with my very busy 16 month old.
Being a working mom, for the most part is easy. (At least for me, I realize this is not the case for everyone.) I drop Leif at his Montessori school where he adheres to a strict schedule all the while having fun. He loves it there and I adore his teachers. I come into work, sometimes stopping for a latte on my way in (where my only worries with spilling it come in how big of a klutz I can be while unlocking my office door).
I sit at my desk and return e-mails, make phone calls and decide what I am doing for the day, when any meetings might be are, and schedule meetings as needed. This carries me for an hour or sometimes two. Then I might go work in the lab, or I might have a paper or proposal that needs writing. I might have data analysis at my desk to do. Or maybe I need to prepare my weekly teleconference. I do realize that I am lucky here, and that this flexibility in my job is partly what enables me to really enjoy what I do and that keeps me wanting to come back here.
So now, give me 3 months and I am sure I will be back to doubting myself as a working out of the home mom. But right now, I am fine with it.
Friday, November 25, 2005
I am so thankful for everything I have. A wonderful husband, who even though he really didn't want to, went to work today. A wonderful son, who is so full of energy and happy. A great family, extended family and some really wonderful friends. I have a nice house that is more than just a roof over my head, a job that pays well, and the freedom to spend time with my family.
Part of the reason that I love Thanksgiving is that it is a real food holiday. So for foodies, like myself, it is a great time. We served salmon pate with bread and vegies for dipping for appetizers. For first course I served cream of mushroom soup, which was spectacular, with a sparkling shiraz from Australia (Vixen), likewise very nice. For main course we had turkey that AB smoked on the BBQ, apple sausage dressing (tasted fine, I am not a dressing/stuffing fan), candied yams, brussel sprouts with bacon and white beans and parmesan (yummy), cranberry zinfandel sauce (to die for as usual), V made wonderful rolls (I just finished eating one a few minutes ago), mashed potatoes and gravy and the 1999 Magnificat I bought a week or so ago. Dessert was pumpkin pie with whipped cream - not my best. I tried a new recipe and it was not as sweet as it should have been, but acceptable. The best part of dessert was the ice wine K&V brought over to serve with it. Mmmm, slushy!
We had a great time chatting with K&V. The kids are getting to the age where they are interacting, sometimes competitively (one is playing with a toy and the other invariably wants it), but for the most part they are recognizing that there is another child around that can serve as a source of entertainment. Some of the favorite moments last night...
-Seeing Leif plow through his dressing and white beans.
-Watching the kids sit together on the couch watching Baby Neptune (aka Baby Crack)
-C decided to do "This little piggy..." on Leif's feet. His feet are so ticklish, so he was giggling and pulling them away, but C is persistant! She was so cute gently grabbing his big toes to wiggle back and forth.
-Leif now saying "cracker" or more phonetically... "cacker". Today everything is a cacker, cookies are cackers, chips are cackers, graham crackers are (more appropriately) cackers. So now he knows how to ask for his two favorite things to eat, "cackers and shooce!"
-Watching the kids dance to music.
So evidently while we thoroughly enjoy the conversation and company, the kids invariably become our highlight. It is so good to have friends with a child the same age!
My day has been not overly eventful which is nice. I worked on picking up the kitchen. I put Leif in the Kelty backpack, somehow got it on my back without dumping Leif, I have no idea how. And Win-dog, Leif and I set out on a drizzly walk. I wanted Winny up and moving (she ate a turkey bone we believe yesterday and I am scared to death). We walked about 2/3 of our normal walk before we headed back, meeting up with a few of Winny's friends on the way. She ran and played with them for a little while. I got home and got Leif off my back and collapsed. I keep meaning to go sew a couple more blankies for Leif, but I haven't yet. Maybe this weekend. I need to get it done mostly so that I can get the formal dining room (aka my sewing room and Leif's second playroom) picked up so we can set up the Christmas tree in there. I am really proud of myself for tackling a lot of sewing projects this past week. That is one area I am really bad about being all talk and no action. If I get my backlog cleared (2 more blankies!) maybe, just maybe I could make another quilt...
AB is picking up movies on the way home from work. Leif will be rousting himself anytime now from nap. The kitchen is cleaned, turkey and dumplings is on the stove. It is raining outside and cold. I did a little online shopping. I LOVE this time of year. I hear little sighs coming from Leif's room. Must go now!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
We decided not to paint the bathroom because well first, we should decide what we are going to do with the floor... I got the moldy area cleaned up, looks good, no real damage. Then I kind of pryed the linoleum back a touch to make sure the mold hadn't seeped underneath. There was no prying... the linoleum, entire corner lifted up. Ugh. There and then I decided I would tile the bathroom floor. Printed up instructions and we headed to Lowes for that stuff and a gazillion other things. Once there I started having second thoughts... the pretty tile was SO expensive. And AB's pleadings, "I really wish you would do this when I have time to help you". Ok sold.
I had plenty to do anyways. So the bathroom stayed as is, for now. The dog has had long, brisk walks each day. I painted Leif's IKEA table, I purchased it when he was in utero and finally got around to painting it. Truth is, I just didn't know what colors to use and wanted to wait until he started showing an interest in using it. Then I went to the fabric store and bought stuff to make Leif a couple more blankies (his comfort object that is falling apart), and a new Christmas tree skirt.
The Christmas tree skirt I finished last night and it is gorgeous if I may say so myself. One small replacement blankey is made and has been deemed an acceptable replacement by the only person who really matters... Leif. The house has been picked up, fridge cleaned out, pantry cleaned out, garage picked up, laundry done, Thanksgiving dinner started (cranberry zinfandel sauce is made, dressing base is made, pumpkin pie is done).
Back a mere 6 hours later... Leif woke up from nap. We played the afternoon away (fingerpainted and played outside - the dog poop MUST be cleaned up...). AB got home and the phone was constantly busy to the Round Table for dinner (who cooks the night before Thanksgiving? Apparently nobody.) So we packed Leif up and headed to Round Table. Huge mistake, HUGE.
I don't know what it is with my son, get him out of his familiar surroundings (home, daycare) and he turns into a complete and utter spaz. We were ready to leave before our pizza even arrived. Finally it arrived and we asked for boxes and immediately packed it up and headed out with one screaming toddler in arm. It just amazes me as I looked around the restaurant, a ton of families and many with kids Leif's age. All were calm and sitting in either the high chair or the booth and eating. Not crawling all over the table, under the table, grabbing the salt shaker, then the pepper shaker, then the red peppers then the parmesan (napkin holder, display flyer holder, forks, plates...). We removed everything from the table, lest it be flung across the dining room - Leif has an arm on him, and pleaded with the wait girl NOT to put it back on the table 5 times. Ugh. We were exhausted and were there for what, 10 minutes? I keep telling myself that the families with kids like the Leifer (those expressive, expressive personalities I am convinced), are just smart, know what their kids can take and stay home. We aren't the only ones? Are we?
So back to bragging about being Martha. I am Martha, the tasks I completed look wonderful. (We won't talk about those tasks that are sitting around half done.) I am working on the cream of mushroom soup, which *I* could make my Thanksgiving dinner each year. Who needs turkey? AB is parked in front of the TV, Leif is, thankfully, asleep. Whew. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And we are on the downswing of my fabulous 1 week off. Wah.
So V and I had a fabulous trip to Seattle on Saturday. We got up early and headed out. Stopped for lattes about 2/3 of the way there and pulled into Seattle at a whopping 10:21am. A full hour earlier than I had anticipated under the best scenario. Traffic was fine, even over the pass where lanes were restricted due to rock slides. This and the "Apple Cup" (WSU vs. UW) had us concerned about traffic.
We concluded that surely the Apple Cup would be played at the Seahawks stadium and therefore would start our shopping venture over at the University Village. We were wrong. Oh well, we got to the University, amazingly found parking and started shopping. Aveda, Kiehl's, Hanna Anderrson, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, Restoration Hardware - lunch break at the funkiest little sushi shop where the sushi zooms around the restaurant on a conveyor belt. The sushi was good, definitely not fabulous, but for those of us who have been deprived for months on end of sushi, it tasted wonderful. We headed through the Land of Nod where I picked up a cd for Leif (They Might Be Giants ABC's) and one for AB (A Barenaked Christmas - by the BNL's). A quick trip through Crate and Barrel. I normally dawdle here, but it was huge and I wanted to make sure we got on to our next stop - a real bra fitting and bra shopping.
So if you have nursed a child, you will know that things change greatly after nursing. Now that I am about 3 months post-weaning with Leif, things are pretty settled in. And while I am back to about the same size as before, I needed some new pretties. And in that department, we both scored.
A quick trip downtown, that would have been much quicker if the area around the Space Needles was NOT a huge maze. No matter where I turned I was going the wrong direction. Finally we get the car parked near the downtown mall and head in. I could tell we were both tired. We hit Williams Sonoma, JJill, Nordys, L'Occitane, Bose, the wine shop (for a sparkling Shiraz and I forked out the bucks for a Beaujolais Nouveau as well). Nouveau is just something you don't get in Washington. Even in Nevada, the Nouveau release was a celebration. Here, it isn't even mentioned. "What? There is wine outside of Washington?" Just kidding... since moving here we rarely drink anything but local wine and we love it.
We searched for FAO Schwartz briefly, only to find it has closed. Who closes an FAO? Then we got back in the car and headed back over the pass. We stopped for a decent dinner along the way. The entertainment was seeing all the high schoolers, that look like 6th graders, in their homecoming garb. I don't know what your homecomings were like, but wow, these kids were decked out. I wanted to break it to the girls however, that it was not spring. The skimpy prom dresses should be put away until April. In the meantime, put on your parka. I have a picture of my homecoming, I wore a black pencil thin skirt (mid shin and size 4, oh those were the days), a black long sleeved shirt and a paisley vest. Oh and my hair long and permed. Yikes. Have I dated myself or what?
Ok moving on... we got back safely. I emptied my goodie bags and was amazingly shocked at my purchases. 90% was for me (Merry Christmas NM), a couple ornaments for ornament exchanges, and a few stocking stuffers. The rest of my shopping list, untouched. Oh well, I guess that means I have a lot of shopping ahead of me. Back to hitting the catalogs and internet shopping because I cannot bear to make many trips (i.e., more than one) to this measly mall here.
Everyone have a super Thanksgiving. Time to go watch Martha Stewart Apprentice and remind AB that his wife could really give MS a run for her money.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Daycare calls yesterday afternoon. I am expecting to hear them say he is having the rash thing again. Wrong. This time it is a fever, 101.5F, he needs to go home. Luckily my afternoon was clear and I went to pick him up. When I get there they tell me that he needs to stay home until he has seen a doctor again about the rash and combo fever, and been fever free without Advil or Tylenol for 24 hours. Not horribly surprising I guess. But my mind immediately starts racing.
My schedule for Friday (today) was frighteningly busy. 4 meetings, some back to back, and I had plans to work late to help out on the completion of a major experiment. AB being fairly new in his job has far less flexibility and less time off. Ugh. And fear of my shopping trip to Seattle flittering away again popped to mind.(My selfish side setting in.)
I managed to get myself up and out of bed before 6am and get into work shortly after. I got the experiment prep work done, e-mailed a client and took care of some other work. I cancelled or wormed my way out of all, yes all four meetings. And then requested an approval for 24 hour building access to a building I don't normally work in, but where the big experiment is going to be run this afternoon, so that I can do my part this weekend... sometime.
We managed to get Leif a doctor's appointment for this morning and AB was able to delay going into work until after the doctor's appointment so he could be there. And also to give me a little more time at work this morning. Thank goodness.
What exactly do working couples do when they have TWO children? I am already falling short on hours from flexing as opposed to taking real time off for ONE child! I feel as though I am always bailing on meetings with the excuse of a sick child. I would not have it any other way of course, I don't want him coming home and staying with a neighbor or anyone else. But wow. I can see where some resentment can come from those coworkers with no children. They are right, those of us with kids take a lot more time off.
And what about people who lack the flexibility in their schedule. I have worked hard to get myself to a good point in my career before adding a child to the mix. And so I have loads of flexibility and available time off. But there are a lot of people out there who don't have this. I just can't imagine.
Ok, so back to the doctor's appointment. Our doctor is still quite convinced, and even moreso now, that the redness/rash is associated with a virus. He obviously has a cold right now. And the redness/rash was quite apparent during our visit. Which thrilled me, I really wanted her to SEE what was going on. It *was* however, still directly after Leif ate loads of Cheerios. So that "wheat allergy" or at least a combo reaction is still lingering in my mind.
The fever? Source was double ear infection. Of course. So along with a course of heavy duty antibiotics came a referral to an ENT likely for tubes. The thought of my little boy having to be put out for tube insertion scares me. I am enjoying the thought of him being ear infection free for travelling and over the holidays and such and during peak cold season. But it still isn't going to be the easiest decision I have ever made.
Ok, so moving beyond yesterday and today. I am so, so, so looking forward to my and V's trip to Seattle tomorrow. AB has no problem being the sole available parent tomorrow. I have the best husband ever. I did end up cancelling dinner plans with a few coworkers who were also promoted. They were all supposed to come over tonight. I had been hesitating on this for a few days now, fearful of the craziness in our weekend schedule. Now I had a very valid reason to cancel, I don't want Leif's friend, E, or her pregnant mom being exposed to Leif's cold. I know in their position I would not want to go for the visit either.
I hope everyone has a super weekend! I will return next week with tales of V's and my trip to the cool side of the mountains and also with loads of goodies!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Viral infection of some sort
Reaction from the chicken pox
Food allergy (falling on the list since today's episode was not food related)
On another note, work is good. On my good project the client is pushing really, really hard. And for good reason. She wants results and she wants GOOD results. We want to give her good results to. She is a very motivating person and I would love to give the project my all. But I can't. Not only do I have other projects to work on, but that project is nearing the end of the budget. $25K to support 1 project manager and 4 scientists and 2 project advisors is not a lot. And we are the bare bones project support. We will run out of money Dec 1. So sad.
At least I will be gone much of December! And this should also serve as motivation time to get other things done.
I had a meeting with my Co-PI on one of our projects. She went to a dinner get together that I bowed out of on Monday. There was just no way I was taking Leif to a brewpub after work while Hans was in class to shmooze, even though it would have been with my division director. And so far I can only be mildly accused of using Leif to my advantage with him. (His kids had the same daycare teacher that Leif has currently.)
Anyways, our division director approached C and asked her to get together with me and put our heads together. He wants to know what we would do with a half a million. What experiments would we do? What capabilities would we establish?
Wowzers. C's first response to him was that if she got a half million she would probably go vomit because her plate is too full already. Luckily he likes to hear things like that. (He told us previously that hearing things like that means he doesn't have to worry about finding us work.) He is submitting a $15 million proposal in conjunction with Berkeley and if they get the funding, and it is looking likely, $500,000 of that is earmarked for my and C's project. So get the ideas down... now.
So all in all, things are good here. I met with my mentor on Monday, he was back from DC for a day and fit me into his schedule. I should be working on a paper, but can do that tomorrow. I am keeping myself very, very busy which means I should never have to go crawling back to that awful PM for work!
We walk in and she looks at Leif after saying hi to me.
"Was he the one who was wearing orange on picture day?" she asks eyeing Leif.
"That's him," I said as I very unimpressively eyed the photos she was displaying on the wall. (Thinking that if my wedding pictures turned out that bad I would have been pursuing a refund.)
"Oh," she says and pauses, "*I* remember him."
This was an "I remember him" all said in the down tone. There was not a hint of inflection to indicate any sense of cuteness. Nope, the tone said in no uncertain terms to me, "this is that bratty kid".
I responded to her, "well let's hope he doesn't remember you".
She did get a couple cute shots, 2 of the 3 had him holding some nasty chewed up football and she asked if those were alright. Umm no. You should have told me to bring a prop. The third shot portrayed Leif's mischevious side quite well and I accepted that picture. We were then on our way. They should be in Friday.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I am posting this everywhere as I am searching for ideas on this... sorry for the repeat.
Yesterday Leif's daycare called, he ate the fingerpaint. Not a big deal, the kids usually eat some of the fingerpaint typically and they don't worry about it. But evidently after this "snack" he got very red on one side of his face. The took him to the office, called me, he was fine 10 minutes later. We didn't think anything more of it. (He had oranges and graham crackers for snack, things he eats routinely.)
Today there was no paint involved, but the same thing happened this morning only it was more intensely red. (Snack was animal crackers.) It happened shortly after one of the teachers wiped his face off. His teacher said it looked like blood was at the surface of the skin in his face and it was about to come through. They took him to the office, it went away 10 minutes later and all was fine. They called Hans and I and Hans called the doctor. I believe it did happen a second time as well.
Each time it was only on the right side of the face, neck and right ear and torso. But both hands turned red. The daycare director is convinced it is a wheat allergy. A couple of his teachers think it is a sensitivity to the washcloths or detergent they use. A few others think it is a food allergy of some unknown type. His mood has been great and he thinks it is funny that everyone wants to look at him.
I ran Leif to the doctor and her thoughts are that he either has some type of viral infection that is manifesting itself in this way. Or that it could be a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine. She is leaning away from it being a contact type reaction, although said it could be a food allergy, but wants more info before pursuing testing.
Anyways, she did write out instructions and dosage for Benadryl for them and we will keep that there for him.In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas on this? Seen anything similar? Any reactions to chicken pox (or any other vaccines)? Any ideas?
When I took Leif back to daycare I hung out with him for a little bit. He just amazes me. He went and got his plate and served himself up red grapes (the real reason I hung out - AB has a raisin allergy and red grape sensitivity). Then he got his little personal water pitcher and POURED himself water. I was shocked. (Ok, truth be told he poured himself and the very thirsty table water.) He sat and ate and took sips of his water.
He looked up at me and saw me watching, smiled and blew me two kisses!! Awww. Totally unprovoked and completely new to me. I guess that was my sign to leave, plus I had tears welling up in my eyes.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Thursday Leif had his 15 month well baby. 32.5 inches long (90th percentile) and 25 lbs 9.5 oz (just above 50th percentile). During these well baby visits he also gets the dreaded shots, DTaP and Chicken Pox this time. I hadn’t given much thought to his last DTaP at 6 months when he slept and slept. But evidently he falls into that 33% of kids who experience excessive tiredness. He was flat out not going to sleep though. That is until he completely crashed late in the day each day this weekend. This then meant he slept longer and later in the day, thereby throwing his entire sleep schedule off. I am really hoping that daycare prods him back into a good schedule today.
Speaking of daycare, Leif appears to be one of “those kids”. His teacher called today to tell me that he had eaten paint. They buy non-toxic paint and evidently all the kids eat it, but the reason she called was to tell me that after Leif ate it his cheeks and ears turned red. (It was white paint, not red.) He was apparently, in their thoughts, having a mild allergic reaction to it.
I asked her what he had eaten for snack this morning, besides the paint. AB has a weird raisin allergy and sensitivities to red grapes, however, not red wine (thankfully). Unfortunately I think his teacher missed what I was asking, English is her second language and sometimes there is a barrier there. (You should have heard her trying to get the twins to say “horse” the other day… it’s no wonder they wouldn’t say it, they had no idea what she was talking about, I didn’t!) I really adore her and she is a wonderful teacher. But I didn’t get an answer to my inquiry. Either way, the most important thing was that they were watching him for swelling and difficulty breathing, which apparently he had none of the remainder of the day. Silly kid.
The weekend was OK. It was just tough with trying to get Leif to nap when we wanted and be awake when we wanted. We made it to Costco where we spent $348 on who knows what. Apparently not what we needed since AB made a trip back on Sunday for the things we actually needed, but neglected to buy the first time around. Duh.
I bought pants that didn’t fit. I know I don’t wear a 30” inseam, I need a 32”. But I like my new CK pants so much that I had to try the 10x30 when I couldn’t find a 10x32. Ah well, after realizing how ridiculous I look in highwaters, and there is just no way were they going to be long enough, I sent them back with AB on Sunday. Leif got a few pairs of pants, too big for right now, but who can resist the little Levis in the tiny sizes for $11?
Then there was the wine… there is this one particular wine that AB and I fell in love with back in about 1997. We started a quest to amass verticals of this wine. (A vertical is a series of consecutive years, 1996, 1997, 1998 would be our current 3 year vertical.) The problem is that this wine was seemingly only available online for a small fortune; we used to buy it at the vineyard in Napa for significantly less. Well, lo and behold, Costco has started carrying THE Magnificat. This is very bad for our wallet. We did restrain ourselves and purchase one bottle of the 1999 to “taste” and see if we need to continue our pursuit of this nectar of the Meritage Gods. Or if we should, as was our plan the last few years when we decided we could not afford to continue the Magnificat verticals, look for high quality, moderately priced local wines that are age worthy. This is not hard to do in this area by any means. We have loads of favorites. But starting a new "collection" is such a daunting task. The good thing I suppose was that I passed up the Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Zinfandel was one of the most fantastic wines I have had and we enjoyed our last bottle this past Easter. Unfortunately they have quit producing zins.
Ok, wine talk for later… it should go in the wine blog, if I ever started contributing to that on a regular basis. I have given thought to opening up that blog to a couple of contributors… anyone willing to contribute? Let me know. (Some of you should know this comment is aimed at you…)
Anyways. So Costco was a big wallet emptier. The grocery store on Sunday was about the same given that I was bound and determined to rectify the situation our house is in. Meaning, we need snack food. More precisely, we need chocolate. I fixed that problem.
So the Master bath task has been set and we just need a trip to Lowes to get it going. This was put off thanks to one 15.5 month old who refused to nap. We have decided to do the bathroom in grayish lavender with pale blue shimmering glaze and a cream colored ceiling and doorways and trim areas. The cream color will be used to transition as well from the bathroom to the entryway of the Master bedroom. I worry about a choppy feeling to the house and am aiming for flow from room to room by using some similar colors. So that means that the only room that really stands out is the kitchen (no similar colors in there) and Leif’s bedroom. But I can deal with that for now.
My plan is to leave Leif in daycare for Monday and probably Tuesday. I am having a little guilt associated with this. I am home; I should have him at home with me. But I do have a lot of stuff that I feel I really need to accomplish and that I cannot accomplish with his helping hands. I am reminding myself that I will still have him home with me from next Wednesday thru Sunday. Then not to mention the two weeks I am taking off over Christmas… Next week will be good for him to get some more personal time with his teachers!
You know I was thinking about this when reading The Professional Slacker’s blog this morning. She is doubting herself as a SAHM. On the other side of the fence, I am feeling incredibly guilty at having “subconsciously” dropped Leif off 15 minutes early, the guilt associated with relishing a day here at work and not at home “working” at getting Leif down for a nap and hoping that daycare resolves his sleep issues for us today. Guilt, it is hard to deal with no matter what side of the fence you are on.
We tried everything. Pushed the little red button. Stuck our arm down and spun the wheels (without it on). Nothing. Ugh, what is a garbage disposal, $300 ish - and then someone to install it, or our time to install it? I was sick. I saw my shopping weekend flittering away before my eyes. I looked up on the internet, 3 sites said it would need to be replaced. Ugh.
I noticed on Sunday there was a 1-800 number on the unit. Hans picks up the phone and dials. I am positive it won't be open, it is afterall, a Sunday.
Wrong. Someone, a real person actually, answers the phone. After a 5 minute conversation and 5 minutes of Hans' time (spent soley in FINDING an allen wrench), it works!!
What a great company! Everyone knows nothing breaks Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST. This company actually staffs a helpline on a weekend AND they solved our problem. Kudos from our family.
Friday, November 11, 2005
This weekend will be a big inside the house chore weekend for us. AB was so happy to hear this. I am using this weekend as time to prep for my week at home over Thanksgiving. I am bound and determined to have everything I need for the projects I want to accomplish at the house so I am not running out to Lowes 520 times that week.
We have some minor repairs to make in our Master Bath. We have some slight (hoping it stays as “slight”) water damage thanks to our shower massager. We didn’t realize it was dribbling onto the top of the shower, pooling and running down the side until we noticed that the trim at the base was warping. Suddenly the reason why the floor was always wet after a shower was apparent. AB wasn’t just carrying out pools of water with him when he stepped out as I had accused him of so many times. Nope, as he adjusted the shower head for him (being that he is a good 9” taller than me), it loosened up over time and started dribbling. Something to stay on top of in the future.
Anyways, so we need to repair and sand out the affected areas, recaulk a couple spots and then repaint. I mentioned to AB this morning that I would like to do this, this weekend or next and then I can paint on Monday and/or Tuesday. To my surprise he didn’t start talking about how I would need his help. He said, “OK”.
I just about fell over. I am thinking this would be a good point to also start pushing my color preferences…
So I am excited to get to paint a room. Albeit, probably one of the most difficult rooms to paint in our house. Oh well.
I could use ideas. I am leaning towards a grey-ish lavender or periwinkle. Probably two tones. And I am considering dragging one wall, or ragging on a gloss coat to make it shimmer.
My questions start coming with what to do with the ceiling? Are painting techniques “out”… will I be regretting the decision in a year to drag or do a gloss shimmer coat? Then the logistics.
You walk into our Master suite to an entry area. You can turn right and go under an arch to the Master bedroom. Or take a left into a diagonal area that is the vanity area and large garden tub. Go straight ahead and under another arch to the shower/toilet. This last area is what will NEED to be painted. I will need the paint to extend into the vanity/tub area. But where to stop from there. Let me see if I can find a picture…
Anyways, this is my big chore I am looking forward to. We also haven’t been to Lowes in ages and I have a big list of must buys and I am anxious to look at the new Christmas village sets. I am cheap, I love my Christmas village, but it is Lowes brand. While I would like one of the high end ones, I just can’t justify it. I cannot only buy one piece a year, I need a couple pieces. Hence, that limits me to the lower end sets. Oh well, I like it!
Other things to do this weekend… hand molds of Leif and C and maybe a trip to one of the new wineries about a mile from the house. AB can watch football. I want to cook a pot of chili. And that’s about it.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
2. That shoe sizes are really only a suggestion. Mommy should be perfectly capable of wearing Leif's shoes and vice versa.
3. That brushing the dog's teeth daily is really necessary (and with your own toothbrush).
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
“The Night From Hell”
I hosted book club last night and had a fabulous time. I was concerned as I was the first one in the still early months of the book club to not boot husband and child from the house. I had planned on this until the time thing played out in my head. Book club starts at 7pm and ends at 9pm. Leif takes a bath at 7pm and is typically out by 7:20pm. If we miss this window, even by 45 minutes we are in for a hard night. So AB entertained C and Leif at the start of book club. (Leif kissed C three times on command and it was SOO cute, but probably not something we should encourage.) ;-)
C left with her dad when he finished class and AB put Leif in the bath and then to bed where he fell asleep hard. AB then took Winny for a long walk. The night went well.
Book club was great, we discussed The Kite Runner. While a really good book, I wouldn’t put it in my top 10. A few people I know list this as their favorite book ever. Part of my problem was that I never really identified with Amir, the lead character. I liked the book, I like the story of redemption, but for me it just wasn’t “all that”.
I served a yummy white bean dip that was super easy to make. The recipe is going into my pile “to make again”. I also made a pumpkin gingerbread “pie”, which I would call more a “cake”, but whatever. It was super and the recipe came out of Better Homes and Gardens. I love, love, love pumpkin pie and gingerbread both. What could be better than to combine them? Just about nothing. It was a super and very simple recipe that takes advantage of boxed gingerbread. Cheating, I know, but what the hell.
The night ended and everyone moved out visiting on the way. We had one new member, who I think fit in very well. Next month we are discussing The Dark is Rising which is a teen fantasy type book that won the Newberry award and was one of the inspirations for Harry Potter. Ok, I will be honest here, of everything we have read so far, this is the one which I am not looking forward to. I must get over this stumbling block in my own head about fantasy fiction.
So AB and I vege on the couch for a little while and head off to bed. At about 1:40 am AB gets up to a freaking out dog and a crying Leif. He puts Winny out and works to comfort Leif. Very shortly he realizes the problem, there is a very high pitch chirping. He calls me in to watch Leif while he searches out the source. I knew instantly. The fire alarm in Leif’s room had a low battery and was chirping every 60 seconds and man was Leif mad.
So at 2am I got dressed and got in the car and drove to the neighborhood gas station. They have every battery in stock EXCEPT, you guessed it, 9 volts. The scary guy manning the counter looked at me like I was a freak when I nearly started crying that he did not have a 9 volt battery. I headed to the next convenience store down the road, closed. Finally I am at Albertsons. (Ok, so they are all on the same block.)
I head into Albertsons and pick up 2 packages of 9 volt batteries. I wait, and wait. No one is around. The self checkout counters are closed. Finally after walking the length of the store looking for someone I find a guy who can call someone who knows how to use the register. I pay and leave.
I get back and Leif is pissed. He is tired and mad. AB replaces the battery and lets spazzo dog in. Winny can’t calm herself and is breathing heavy into the crib and running around. Finally, after an hour and a half, Leif gets himself back to sleep in his crib.
I go back to bed; it is now 3:15am. I am dead tired.
At exactly 5am… *CHIRP*…. quiet…. *CHIRP*! AB and I both go flying out of bed as mad as can be. The damned fire alarm in OUR bedroom was now chirping.
We head back to mad and AB is griping about he has a busy day, how is he supposed to function? Well you are in good company dear.
I know, fire alarms are a good thing. Am-241 is good for something. Yes, if you have a smoke detector in your house you ARE in fact housing a radioactive isotope (alpha source), and not only that, a fairly good sized quantity. Don’t worry, you will be fine, just don’t eat it, ok?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I am just not a huge people person. I love my friends, I love my family, but strangers, especially rude ones, just irk the crap out of me.
If you are one of those people who is interested in personality types I fall under the title of “Analytical Analytical” in the Wilson Learning assessment of social styles. There are four quadrants that everyone is categorized under (Analytical, Driver, Amiable and Expressive – or if you work on one of my projects than you have heard them as Rude People, Assholes, Pushovers and Fake…). Then there are subsets of each. My being Analytical Analytical puts me at the extreme of one of the four personality types. Probably not a good thing. This “not a good thing” is compounded by the fact that my versatility score was abysmal. This means I rarely adapt to make other people comfortable. And being the typical non-versatile rude analytical my response is “why the hell should I?” ;-)
So I call to schedule retakes for Leif’s “school” pictures. I should have taken note by the look on Leif’s face that the photographer was not a nice person. He is shooting daggers at her.After 30 seconds on the phone with her I decide to just ask for my money back to not waste her, or my time anymore. She reminds me that refunds are issued only after retakes are taken and they are deemed not acceptable by her. Give me a break… <>
Ok, so she starts out, “what exactly is wrong with the pictures”?
My response (in my head I am saying ‘he is looking at you like you are the devil’) but I switch to “well he just appears very unhappy, and he was crying beforehand”.
Ok, she agrees, retakes are warranted. When would I like to come in, reminder, I must be in within 2 weeks from last Friday for no charge retakes.
Well this weekend would work great, I tell her. Sorry she says, my hours are Monday thru Friday 11am to 5pm. I tell her that just isn’t doable. She asks why and I “politely" remind her that I work and that is why my son is in daycare. Well if I want retakes I will make it work evidently and why can’t I just pop him down there at noon?
Well let’s see, you open at 11am, that is lunchtime at daycare (a time when toddlers are notoriously cranky, at least mine). After that they go down for a nap. Up about 2:45pm. Going over lunch, not doable.
I plead with her, can’t you just refund the money, you have seen the shots? No dice.
She suggests I bring him by after daycare and I tell her that no, he is very fussy after daycare, ready for dinner. Well she will consider making an exception and can meet me at 8pm one night. Well great, so you want to come to my house and photograph him sleeping? We start the bedtime process at 7pm and last night he was out at 7:20pm.
Apparently I am just being “difficult” and she tells me that there is no guarantee that if she gave up her weekend (coming in for the 10 minutes she tells me it takes to shoot a picture is akin to “giving up a weekend”) and came in to take his picture that he wouldn’t be fussy then.
I responded that “actually I disagree with you. I know my son and could schedule this for when he is awake and most likely to be good for pictures”. Still a no go for a weekend slot.
She wins. Leif and I will “pop” by after daycare next Tuesday evening. There is some part of me that hopes he is in an extreme crappy mood so I can say “I told you so, why don’t you just not waste your time in developing and printing the reprints and just refund my money”.
Monday, November 07, 2005
November 19th is also, like I haven’t mentioned it umpteen times already, the first of 9 days off for me. Two weekends and a full work week, heaven. Just the thought makes me relaxed.
Today I stood in line for 1 hour and 15 minutes in order to get a free flu shot at my place of employment. Of course there is no charge code for sitting there chatting in line. Some work in the lab this afternoon with my friend A. He cracks me up. Leif is smack between the age of his two kids, so we have loads to talk about. So much so we often had to remind ourselves to keep working.
We had a good, relatively uneventful weekend. Shockingly I heard the words “I think I am actually bored” uttered from my husband’s lips. Boredom, what is that? He has one weekend where he doesn’t have to work, or study, and he is bored!!
Friday I had my “hot stone” massage without the hot stones. The massage therapist finished up and said, “ok we are done” and I was left wondering what happened to the hot stones part. Well I wasn’t charged for them. I picked up Mexican take out on my way home. AB had Leif in bed when I got home and we sat down and watched Eulogy and gorged ourselves on yummy chips, salsa and food in the comfort of our own home.
Eulogy was good, I would recommend it. We turned on Ladder 49 afterwards, I fell asleep and AB warned me that I was NOT to watch the remainder because it was very, very sad. He didn’t need to warn me a second time. I just cannot take sad things anymore.
Say for example that stupid scene from CSI. I don’t even watch this show, never have. Yet in the ad for the upcoming episode there is a clip of a baby girl in a play pen with the mom dead nearby. Just shoot me why don’t you. Just that scene makes me choke up seriously. And you know what, it also ticks me off. They play it at all times of the evening. Ick.
Saturday the guys and the dog went for a walk while I picked up the house some. We drove out to look at a new “community” where there are available lots. We found a few lots we liked, but we weren’t sold on the “community aspect”. You know, if I want to live out in podunksville, I don’t want my neighbors 10 feet away from my house. If I am sacrificing the easy access to a grocery store, the trade is not for loads of neighborhood traffic as we all run 10 miles to the nearest grocery store.
We just weren’t sold. The lots were actually among our 2nd to 3rd favorites, but we aren’t huge golfers. We both golf on occasion and enjoy it, but living in a golf community just maybe isn’t our cup of tea.
We got Leif home for a very short nap and headed to K&V’s house for dinner. The kids were a crack up. Dinnertime is always entertaining with the two of them as they try to outdo each other at the dinner table screech fest. C was a snuggle monster, while Leif did his best to exert his independence (over us) and mind control (over the cats). He was SO wound up it was frightening.
Sunday was a lazy day where AB made crepes (or swedies) and I gorged myself. We headed out to a nursery and debated on trees, a nice larger mature Scotch Pine or a small funky looking cedar. We waffled and waffled, until AB finally made up his mind… we purchased none of the above, instead we went with a Port Orford cedar. The exact same tree that we loved, moved (thanks to the dipshit landscaper who planted it under the eave of the house) and then died this summer thanks to the move.
We got it home and AB mowed the lawn (in November he likes to exclaim). Leif and I went outside and played and played. I picked tomatoes, likely the last harvest as it is supposed to hard freeze tonight. We have loads of green tomatoes left but I just can’t see picking another 100 tomatoes to ripen in the house when I have no time to do anything with them.
That afternoon I roasted a chicken, made mashed potatoes and sautéed swiss chard with cranberries. We worked on cleaning the house so I don’t have so much to do tonight since I host book club on Tuesday. I finished one of my huge projects, organizing my loose recipes. It was a multi-day event that I hadn’t undertaken since before Leif was born. I weaned and whittled down my extensive collection, convincing myself each time that YES, I can, if I have the need in the future find at least a similar recipe online.
We watched Desperate Housewives and headed off to bed wondering where our weekend went.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Today will be a nice Friday. Not a single meeting on the schedule and I have a hot stone massage scheduled for 6pm. Ahhh!
Here at work we have the option of doing offsite assignments in DC. These are usually available through our product line managers for specific clients. These offsite assignments are either coveted by about 25% of the staff as huge career advancing opportunities, or shunned by the other 75% as “why the hell would I pack up my family and move to DC for 2 years?” My opinion of them, at this point in my life, is the later.
Yesterday one of my coworkers came to talk to me on a mission. She wants to do an offsite assignment; however, the PLM has told her that it is a real stretch for her. The client who is currently looking for staff members has a list of people they are interested in and unfortunately her name wasn’t on that list. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have a chance necessarily, just that it will be an uphill battle for her. The PLM showed her the list of names and so her goal yesterday was to pay a visit to each person and find out if they are interested in an offsite assignment, in other words, she doesn’t want to waste her time applying if one of the list people was actually interested. So here she came to my office… “NM are you interested in one of the offsite assignments?” she says.
“No way in hell,” was my response.
“Good,” CW tells me. I was curious why she was asking me this and she explained that my name was on the list that the PLM showed her. Granted it was near the bottom, but on the list nonetheless.
I was surprised by this and mildly pleased that I made the list. But once again, absolutely no interest at this point in my life of packing up the family, renting our house and living and working in DC for 2 years. AB agrees, but doesn’t want me to discount it as a possibility for the future. (The thought of my Alaska flannel wearing husband living in metropolitan DC strikes me as a quick route to unhappiness, but the fact that he would not discount it immediately warms my heart for him.) I never discount anything like that, but the likelihood is not good that I will opt for that. Still nice feather in the cap to have made the list!
This weekend will be a nice change for us. It is the first of the month, so AB won’t be working. He also does not have exams, homework or papers to write. The plan is to finally head to a tree farm and look for a tree to place in our front yard in the spot that used to be occupied by our cedar. That means AB gets to dig a hole… apparently a joy for any guy whose childhood dream was to be a lumberjack. He also gets to mow the lawn… not a childhood dream for my lumberjack. Mowing the lawn in November… go figure. To my Alaskan this is just plain wrong.
I am starting to look forward to my trip with V to Seattle to shop for a day. It will be whirlwind to say the least. We are planning and mapping out the required locales as well as being giddy at the thought of lunching at a fabulous “I would never take a child here” spot. Christmas shopping is the goal… but we didn’t say who for. ;-)
Two weeks until I have a full week off for Thanksgiving. I am making my goal list for that week and it is frighteningly extensive and so far not including prepare Thanksgiving dinner.
Oh, funny Leif story… Last night while we were getting Leif ready for bed he found a tube of Desitin. He flipped the lid open, put a little on his finger, then reached back and wiped it on the butt of his sleeper. I ran for the video camera… perfect ammunition for teenage years. Too late… by the time I returned he had discovered that maybe Desitin was good to eat. Ick.
AB won the chili cook-off contest at work for “hottest chili”, not surprising. His green chili sends many rushing for relief and he prides himself in knowing that it burns on the way out too. (TMI?) Apparently this was not necessarily a victory to be celebrated because as he put it, there was no competition. His coworkers had no idea that chili should, in theory, have a little spice to it. However, his win secured him with a $10 giftcard for Quiznos, which he is using today to buy me lunch. And speaking of lunch, it is that time.
Have a super weekend!
Green Peppercorn Sauce
(Source: Colorado Cache Cookbook from the Junior League of Denver)
3 T butter
1/2 c finely chopped shallots (sometimes I use leeks if I have them, plain old yellow onions will work too.)
1/4 c brandy
1 T ground green peppercorns (these are the green ones in a peppercorn mixture, AB has sat and picked them out for me on a rare occasion, but you can buy them - I use nearly 2 T because we like the spice)
1 cube of chicken bouillion
1 t Dijon mustard
1 c whipping cream
1 T butter at room temperature
Salt to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and saute shallots until softened and transparent. Add the brandy and heat over medium high until reduced to about half. Add the ground peppercorns, bouillion cube and mustard and stir together. Add the whipping cream and cook until thickened over medium heat (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in last tablespoon of butter. Salt to taste.
We routinely serve this with pork, but I imagine it would be good with chicken or beef. I have also given thought to adding chicken broth instead of the bouillion cube to make a creamy soup base, but I haven't tried that yet.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Get rid of your 900 MHz phones. Baby monitors, the majority of them, also function on 900 MHz and therefore pick up every single thing you say when on similar channels. And unfortunately for you, baby monitors don’t have a wide range of channel choices to tune out and remain oblivious to your business dealings.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
It’s amazingly similar to giving a cat a pill. Oh while we are at it, making a toddler do anything he doesn’t want to do, sit still and be diapered, have his teeth brushed, get into the carseat, or be dressed, is quite similar to giving a cat a pill. And unfortunately I know far too much about giving a cat a pill. (AB would laugh at that last statement “a pill”.) I am tired, tired, tired of wrestling Leif to the ground to simply change a poopy diaper. And I am nearing the point of “fine, don’t brush your teeth, eat the plaque cleaning dog food instead, it must work look at Winny’s teeth” and resigning to the “well ok, let’s turn your carseat and see if you like it more that way. I am a careful driver, we aren’t going to get in an accident”. Clothing, not an option, going butt naked in November is not acceptable. But on the scale of battles, that one is minor, and one that on occasion Leif shows interest in helping with. Ok, so mostly picking out his clothes is what he shows interest in, but darn he is good at pulling his socks off.My 21 year old cat died a few months before Leif was born. When she was a young, spry 15 years old she was diagnosed with diabetes and liver failure due to extreme cirrhosis. And I never even realized she had a drinking problem. ;-) All kidding aside, amazingly, these aren’t life threatening illnesses in a cat’s life as long as one exercises diligence in administering three pills a day, some twice a day (a synthetic bile, Vitamin K and an oral diabetes pill for mild cases). Cal-kitty was a feisty one, as all calicos are. And for 6 years, everyday, she fought tooth and nail (literally and to the demise of many a tooth and nail) both for her life and against the pills that unbeknownst to her helped her fight for her life. During her 7th year of being drugged daily she encountered another “not necessarily life threatening illness common to cats”, kidney failure. I can’t remember if she took pills for this or not. In fact, I think I opted not to administer any meds and lean towards a “benevolent neglect” of the kidney failure. She was after all 21 years old.
A few months later she declined and I remember sitting in Leif’s newly painted nursery sobbing as she convulsed in my hands. I knew it was time, yet she had been in my life since I was 11 years old, so still I hesitated. We took her to the vet that Sunday as an emergency and Hans and I sobbed as she was put down. There are days when I truly wonder if her extremely feisty spirit wormed its way into the child growing in my uterus. Days like the last 5, when Leif cannot be convinced to do anything he doesn’t want to and simply changing a diaper becomes a screaming match and a battle of wills and sheer strength, I am quite positive that Miss Calley’s spirit lives on.
My single consolation in this battle of wills is that diapering can’t possibly last 6-7 years, can it?