Monday, August 30, 2004

Flea's most recent post is about Hell Houses. If you don't happen to be from the bible belt, you may never have heard of them before. I never heard of one till I moved here several years back. No, it's not a haunted house like the scary ones with goblins and witches and chainsaw-wielding psychos. It's a church version, complete with sinners going to hell.

I was introduced to this phenomenon by a co-worker. Every year she'd try to get us to go, and none of us ever did. Honestly, it sounded creepier than the haunted houses we used to go to as kids. I can't remember what exactly theirs entailed, but I know it involved a drunk driving accident and the bad drunk kids going to hell. Drunk driving must be good fodder for hell houses, because a church near my house has one each year and they always manage to get ahold of a wrecked car and a crunched-up utility pole. Pretty cool props, but creepy nonetheless.

One of the things about the hell house thing that really bothered me is that the church would involve the youth group to act out the parts - including the little kids. They'd generally be angels in the "heaven" part, but still, I wouldn't want my 6 year old involved in that. I guess if your church is all about hellfire and brimstone, they start the scare tactics early on.

My family wasn't a big church-going family. Mom and I attended the local Congregational Church fairly regularly, but we weren't really that involved in the church. Which, by the way, I've been informed by some of my more God-fearing and pious Christian bretheren, isn't truly a Christian church since we're open and affirming (we welcome anyone who wants to worship regardless of race, sex, ability, or sexual orientation. Yep, we even welcome them homo-sekshuls.) And we ordain female and gay ministers.

Oh yeah, every year my church also had a big Halloween party complete with a haunted basement, costumes, and lots of candy. Maybe I am doomed to hell after all.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I just read Dooce's most recent post. I hope she is well again soon, that the doctors can quickly figure out the right meds to quell her anxiety. Anxiety is a demon I've seen my mom battle, and it's a nasty one. But I also know that with time and the right drugs, it can be tamed.


This week, the critters have been keeping me entertained.

One of the cats has been occasionally shitting in the tub. I busted her hopping out of the tub the other morning, with a freshly laid turd inside. So, I did what any good pet owner would do and screamed at her. I guess she got the hint, because last night I found shit on the mat in front of our shower. Great. Crap in the tub was definitely better than crap on a floor mat that now needs to be bleached. I pray it doesn't decline into shit on the carpet.

Yesterday hubby bought a new brand of dogfood for Lily. She wan't at all enamored with the old kibble stuff, so hubby decided to try Pur!na Beneful. She ran happily to the dish when he poured it in. The cats were also interested. All 5 surrouned her like pirrhanas after a hapless monkey fallen into the Amazon. She cowered in front of the food bowl and looked at hubby as if to say in a whispery, scared voice: "Help me." Hubby tried for a repeat performance this morning, since I missed yesterday's matinee, but only 2 sharkcats were attracted to the bleeding bait. Lily still got the same sad look and it was priceless. I think she would've asked: "I don't have to give my food to them, do I?"

Our street has a new resident. A hawk. I think it may be a red-shouldered, but I'm not sure. I can never tell one raptor from the next. It's brown and mediumish sized. Yesterday, it was perched on the speed limit sign at the end of the street. I tried to get a picture, but I couldn't get close enough without scaring it away. This morning it was perched on the roof of a nearby house.

The folks from another lab came back with a tiny tortieshell kitten today. They had discovered it at a field site. No momma or other kitties were in sight, so they brought it back to the lab. Oh, it's a sweet little kitty. Hubby would kick my ass if I brought it home, and it's full of piss & vinegar and would probably tear the house apart, but it's so cute, dammit. The PI from that lab said he'll take it if noone else does. It's nice to know that some of the faculty are as big softies for critters as I am. I could her the little thing wailing earlier, so I'm going to sneak some meat from my lunch over to their lab. Shhhhh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Freakin blogger ate my post. Here goes again....

On Monday we had our sex scan - Peanut is a little boy! Daddy was very proud and took the pictures of Peanut's "peanut" to work to show off. Men are such goofs. He didn't care to take the other pictures, only the important one.

The scan was amazing. What a difference between a 10 week-old fetus and a 21 week-old. In the first scan he was just a bunch of blobs: a head, a body, and leg buds. This time around we could make out the whole body and limbs. Bones are visible all over the body: face, arms, legs, ribs, spine, feet, toes. The toes were incredible. We saw the chambers forming in the heart and the heart just beating away. We saw the kidneys and bladder. During the scan, Peanut was bouncing around and waving his arms and legs.

I was elated all Monday afternoon and yesterday. Today I've been having mild cramps all morning, although they seem to have subsided, and it's stressing me out. The doctor said it's normal to have some crampiness, but I haven't had it last so long since the very beginning of the pregnancy - before I even realized I was pregnant. I'm trying to relax and will see how I feel later in the day. I know I can always call the nurse.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I have been in a shit mood this morning. I guess it's one of those moods pregnant women are notorious for. I've been stressed, missing hubby (who I've seen for a total of about 1 hour this week), and I'm worried about the baby. Lordy, am I worried. The peanut was really active for a couple days this week. Peanut kept pushing against my bladder and was bouncing around like a cranker on a trampoline. Then yesterday, Peanut didn't seem quite as active and the movements didn't feel as forceful. I'm trying not to stress over it since I have an OB appointment and ultrasound on Monday, and honestly, if something is wrong I don't think there's much that could be done at this point anyway. Peanut is too young to be viable outside the womb. Peanut is definitely still moving, and may have shifted position to where s/he's punching instead of kicking...that's what I'm hoping.

Then I started thinking about labor & delivery and caring for a newborn. Holy shit, am I scared. Can I survive labor? I'm petrified of having an epidural and want to avoid one unless it's medically necessary for a C-section or something of that magnitude. I decided I'm going out this weekend to buy a copy of "What to Expect the First Year". I'm so worried I won't know how to do anything for the baby. Will I put the diapers on too tight and hurt Peanut? How will I know if Peanut is too hot or cold? What if Peanut constantly screams? What if Peanut can't/won't latch on? How do I know if Peanut is sick enough to need a doctor? I have all those What If's and more roaring in my head.

The big stress this morning, though, was the experiment I'm setting up today. It's a chemical trial in the greenhouse....involving nasty chemicals. Of course the MSDSs provide no information regarding teratogenicity (my big concern) or carcinogenicity. Only the general crap that's on every MSDS like: "May be irritating to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Avoid contact". Well, I'm not going to sprinkle the shit on me like baby powder or snort it. My sweetheart of a coworker offered to weigh my experimentals out for me after he saw me at the fume hood suited up in a dust mask, apron, and gloves. I wrangled our lab helper into actually applying several of the chemicals in the greenhouse, so I've been able to pretty much avoid any contact.

I'm still stressed, though.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

This week has been an off week. I feel like I shouldn't even be complaining - my home, family, and friends are all safe. Many other people weren't so lucky in the wake of Charley. Several coworkers had severe damage to their homes, and a friend at work has her house full of family whose homes are currently uninhabitable.

The a/c hasn't worked all week in our building. All the other buildings are fine, it's just ours. Facilities just can't seem to get their brain around the idea that everytime the power goes out, our wonderful, 2-year-old a/c system goes down. They didn't even realize until Tuesday that it wasn't working. Hello? 95 degrees inside? Lightbulb, anyone? So yesterday the repair people came out and it was "fixed". It ran for, oh maybe half an hour, then quit. We actually cooled down to about 80-85 degrees. When someone from my lab called facilities their response was "Oh, it's fixed and working now. The repair guys were there earlier." How about you come and work in our sweltering lab, then you'll see how "fixed" it is.

Hubby is still working 12 hour night shifts directing traffic, guarding donated ice and water, and distributing said ice and water. Actually, nights are better than days because it's not as hot. Unfortunately, people drive like assholes day and night and he's nearly been hit several times. He gets Friday off, which of course is a day I'm at work. He probably won't make it to birthing class again this week and I know the teacher will have something to say about it. Sorry, but there are people in pretty bad shape, and our county needs all the help it can get to maintain order and get supplies to those that are without.

The final straw was last night when I got home. The dog had puke all over the livingroom. OK, it wasn't all over, but two huge puddles. The house stank. I got gaggy cleaning it up. Then I noticed she had also pooped on the carpet. I couldn't be mad since she was sick, but YUCK! So I took her outside where she pooped some more, then left her on the porch with water. I could tell she was still nauseous since she kept swallowing and smacking her lips and the porch is easy to hose off. I let her back in after an hour or so and we made it ok through the rest of the night. She's fine this morning. Hubby hadn't fed her any weird stuff, so we think she ate a rawhide chew and either choked on it or it just made her sick. No treats for her for a while.

Monday, August 16, 2004

We survived Charley unscathed, fortunately. Unfortunately, many people didn't. My heart goes out to the folks down in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands area, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and all the folks on the east side of our county. Many lost their homes or had major damage, many are still without power and water, and some lost their lives.

It's crazy the chaos Charley caused. The east side of our county basically has no gas - it's either sold out or the pumps have no power, no ice, and little food. Our side is fine, although the grocery shelves are thin, and some gas stations are empty now. Friends are staying home simply because they don't have enough gas to get anywhere.

A friend was visiting her family in Ormond Beach this past week. She was going to drive out and see us Saturday, but they were busy cleaning up the aftermath. She was able to pick up a rental car yesterday, but it didn't have much gas (none of the cars there did), she couldn't find a gas station close by, and had to return the car for fear she was going to run out.

Hubby's been very busy pulling night shifts until things settle down. He was sent out in the wee hours of Saturday to assess damage and said it was horrible. Trees and power lines down everywhere, a broken gas main shooting flames, and roads washed out. Now he and the other detectives are on nighttime traffic details trying to keep people from running each other over at intersections without power. At least he's gotten a little break from his caseload, but I'm sure things will be piled high waiting for him.

Mom and her roommate stayed with us during the hurricane since we all were worried about the safety of her mobile home. They went back home Saturday morning to no electricity and apparently no phone. I asked if they wanted to come back to our house, but they refused. I finally was able to call her this morning and she dropped the bomb that she's asked roommate to move out. She claims roommates moods are unbearable. Mind you, roommate is 85, has heart problems, and her elderly sister just underwent surgery for breast cancer, and the outlook isn't too hot. Of course she's not happy happy. Mom is going to call me tonight, but I'm already stressed. Mom may not like living with the roommate, but I see her spiralling back down into depression if she's alone. She'll end up isolating herself again...actually she basically is isolated - roommate, her neighber, hubby, and me are the only people she regularly interacts with. She has no friends nearby. I told her to make sure it's what she really wants. I can't cope with being her lifeline everytime she crashes. And I have a baby on the way. Once the peanut arrives, my life will take a big shift away from being Mom's mommy.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

This morning I was stupid enough to listen to one of the dumbass morning radio shows for about 5 minutes, which was all I could take without beating the crap out of the radio. The topic was about gender-specific toys for children and whether or not boys should be given dolls or ea$y-bake ovens or whatever. One caller stated that she felt it was wrong because "that's just the way I feel." I wanted to puke. It's funny how it's OK for girls to play with trucks or trains, but it's not OK for boys to play with dolls other than army dolls or superheros. Which basically comes back to the whole ass-backwards thinking that "boy" stuff is better and more acceptable than "girl" stuff - that somehow "girl" stuff is stupid and fluffy and not "good" enough for boys. It's also one of the reasons I didn't want to find out the sex of the baby before birth (hubby wore me down and we're having the ultrasound in another coupla weeks). I know we will be buried in a flurry of gender-appropriate pink or blue stuff from family and friends, and I wanted to avoid that. I also wanted the big surprise at the baby's birth. Oh well. I got so sick of hearing "Well if you don't find out the sex we won't know what to get you." Ummm....last time I checked babies really didn't give a crap about the color of their clothes, blankies, binkies, bottles, etc. Onesies come in plenty of neutral colors and patterns and I have a feeling that's what the peanut will be wearing for a while.

Anyway, back to the whole boy/girl toy thing. It pisses me off. Why should it matter what your little one wants to play with. And why should a child be denied to opportunity to expand her/his imagination by playing with a new toy. All the gender-specific homophobic crap our society presses on us makes me angry and sad.

Oh, and I've been told by a couple of people I'm having a boy since I'm only carrying in the front and didn't actually puke when I had "morning" (haha) sickness. Girls get the bum rap even before birth. Get fat and dumpy and grow a big's a girl! Puke your guts out and feel like shit...definitely a girl! Grrrrr.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I called Dad yesterday since it was his birthday and had a really nice chat with him and Stepmom.

They went to my aunt & uncle's house this weekend to visit with them and my cousin and his family who were visiting from out-of-state. My uncle and cousin (not father and son) are a hoot. They both have amazingly funny senses of humor and are always up to something. Cousin's little boy, who can't be more than about 7 years old, is a super-smart little guy and is a ton of fun to be around. His mom tells me that everytime they go to the library, he always checks out the science section. This year he's into engineering & electrical stuff, last year it was natural disasters, and before then it was dinosaurs.

Aunt and Uncle have quite a character for a neighbor. When he moved in and saw their little fish pond in the backyard, he had to build one, too. They ended up with a big, joined pond that's full of fish. The neighbor also aquired a couple of chickens and a rooster from jobsites/friends. Mind you, they live in the city limits in one of the more upscale areas. Eventually, one of the neighbors complained, and animal control told him to get rid of the rooster, and they he could keep one chicken as a pet and no more. Apparently the chicken is very tame and friendly and likes visitors. When the family sat down outside for dinner, the chicken came trotting over for snacks. She loves beer and steak, and also eats chicken - that little cannibal. Dad was very much entertained by the whole thing.

Uncle also shared some sad news. When Gramma went into the nursing home, an aunt took her dog. The dog was hit by a car a few years ago, nearly killed, and expected to barely walk after recovery. She made an exceptional recovery and was able to run my aunt's lab ragged. A few weeks ago, my aunt was travelling with the dogs on I-95 and had car problems. She pulled over to check the tires, and Gramma's dog got loose and ran into the highway. My aunt called the state police in a panic and a short while later one of the officers came back with the remains of the dog. From what Dad said, the dog ended up splatted over 3 lanes. Gramma probably isn't coherent enough to understand so I'm pretty sure the family won't tell her. I'm not sure if I should tell my mom - she's the one who adopted the dog for Gramma when Gramma spent a summer with her, so she and the dog had a bond.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I managed to keep hubby's gifts a surprise. He never found the hiding place (or at least won't admit to it). He was very happy with the loot he got from my parents and from me. Sadly, his own parents didn't even send him cards, although his mom and dad did call him. I felt really bad for him because I know he took it hard. He's been extremely stressed out with the night class he's taking, and then his parents not even making the effort to send cards was the cherry on top of it all. I know I'd feel really badly if my family did the same.

We finished the day off with take-out from the best pizza place in town, and a copy of The Butterfly Effect from Bl0ckbu$ter. Not a good choice for a pregnant woman, but neither of us knew exactly what the movie was about. Let's just say I won't be checking the mailbox anytime soon.

This week's birthing class was much better than the last. We had a good time and finished about 45 minutes earlier than last time. Mr. Mouth wasn't there (surprise, surprise). We did feel bad - his wife is having severe headaches, something along the line of cluster headaches, and couldn't make it to class. I really hope she can get through them with acupuncture.

On our way home, we stopped at a chain pharmacy for some protein bars for me. I don't generally eat a lot of meat and am not too fond of beans, so I'm not meeting my minimum protein requirement every day. I tried the first bar yesterday and it was vile. I could taste all the nasty vitamin supplements that are in it, and then realized that the added vitamins in it, plus my prenatals may not be such a great idea.

As we were leaving the parking lot, an owl swooped down about 4 feet from our car, in pursuit of a huge beetle. I think he heard us yelling "Holy shit, did you see THAT?!" and got scared and flew up into a nearby was the bug's lucky night. It was one of those amazing, spiritual nature moments. At first I thought it was a barn owl because he looked very pale, but I didn't notice a face disk, and he seemed too big. I was too much in shock to really get a good look. I'm pretty sure there were no ear tufts, so it may have been a barred owl, but I remember them being darker. Regardless, it was awesome. I never would expect to find an owl in a parking lot next to a busy 4-lane road.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Tomorrow is hubby's birthday. For the past week, he's been bugging me constantly about what present he's getting, if I already have it, and where it is.

Hubby, if you're reading, this is for you:

Maybe I have your present, maybe I don't. Maybe it's in my desk drawer, maybe it's in the trunk of the car, maybe it's under the bed, maybe it's at the neighbor's house. Or maybe you're not getting anything at all. :P

Monday, August 02, 2004

We finally took an invite by friends to hang out in their pool this Saturday. It was awesome. They fed us, and allowed us several hours of leisure time in the pool. My back is grateful for the respite! Their 2 little girls swim like fish and kept us entertained.

Last night we finally made it to the birthing class. It seems that we probably haven't missed too much so far. All the couples seem nice, except for one husband who will not shut his yap. We all have questions or comments which is fine - we can learn from each other's questions. But this guy kept interrupting the teacher and spouting off commentary. I started to get really annoyed. Since he's not anyone who will be pushing out a baby, nor is he anyone with firsthand experience to share, I really don't care to hear his bullshit.