Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I’m still trying to get back into the regular routine of workdays, a week after returning from our brief vacation to visit Hubby’s family. His piece of land is looking more and more inviting. Hubby’s oldest sister put a very nice new mobile home on her land and had just moved in when we visited. Hubby and I are trying to figure out how to pay off some bills and start saving money toward an eventual little house on the land . It’ll be years before we have the capital to do it.

Peanut had an absolute blast with the grandparents. Papaw and Nana sent us home with a bunch of toys including a battery-powered scooter that goes forward and backward. Peanut’s not too sure about it now, but I have a feeling he’ll like it later. He loves the tricycle, but his legs are a wee bit too short to reach the pedals, which frustrates him to no end. He also came home with a toy bus and a toy plane, both of which hold adorable little passengers and light up and play music. He rocks out to the songs. Papaw took Peanut for laps around the backyard on the 4-wheeler. Each time he’d stop, Peanut would sign for more and exclaim “more more!” Nanny gave him a see’n’say (which I’m sure she was happy to get out of her house) and a cool toy that has a hammer and multicolored balls which can be smashed into holes.

Peanut’s gentle nature, especially with animals, impressed Nana and Papaw. When Hubby’s middle sister visited, one of her sons got after their dog with a toy bat and wouldn’t quit beating her. They couldn’t believe how gentle Peanut is and that all he wanted to do was pet and hug the dog. That’s one thing Hubby and I have worked and worked with him on. Neither of us can stand to see animals mistreated, so we started teaching Peanut to “pet nice” from the time he was tiny. He still sometimes smacks the dog or grabs a cat’s tail, but he’s generally very good to the critters.

He loved the squirrels, cows and horses at Nana’s. All we had to say was “Peanut, squirrel” and he would run to the window. He now responds with “moo” when we say “cow”. He’d run up to Nana and give her hugs around the legs…so sweet.

As usual, there was some minor family drama. Hubby’s youngest sister wanted to leave her dogs at Papaw’s house for the weekend, which he nixed. She stormed off and left then at Nana’s instead. On Sunday, which we had planned on spending with Nana, she dropped off her daughter and the dogs claiming she needed to break down the campsite, but we all knew she and the rest of the crew wanted to spend the day on their jetskis. She didn’t come back for her daughter until around 8 pm. We ended up taking our niece with us for lunch, both kids fell asleep in the car, so we got takeout instead, and it worked beautifully. Little niece is still on the whiny side, but she was a great playmate for Peanut and shared her toys nicely with him. He seemed to enjoy playing with her.

Hubby’s adult niece and her family were still visiting, having come in for her younger sister’s wedding (the one we skipped). She has a little guy just a few months younger than Peanut, so the two of them tore the place up. Her husband is stereotypical military, talks tough but has little to do with childcare. He left her alone with the baby and no car all day Saturday while he played on the lake with the rest of the crew. She and her mom went out on Sunday, and all he did was complain about having to watch his own kid and kept trying to convince her to go later in the day so he could go back on the lake for the morning. She stood her ground, told him he could go after they got back, and made me proud. She’s a stay at home mom on a military base overseas, and it sounds like she doesn’t know many people there. I’m sure she feels isolated and gets lonely and her husband being a dumbass about stepping up and taking responsibility didn’t impress me.

Hubby’s big sis mentioned something about younger niece wanting to buy/trade part of his property and Hubby laughed it off, basically saying no way. So maybe that’ll be the end of that.

We had a great visit, enjoyed seeing family and getting away from the heat. We even managed to squeeze in a movie while Nana and Papaw babysat. Peanut got so tired, he lay down and fell asleep BY HIMSELF. A feat probably never to be repeated.

I miss the mountains, the ferny scents, cool evenings, spring peepers, fireflies, winding roads, and being closer to family.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hubby is working a heartbreaking case involving a dead newborn discovered in a dumpster. He’s at the autopsy this morning as they have no leads and little information. They don’t yet know if the baby was stillborn or died/was killed after birth.

He couldn’t tell me any details yesterday, but told me to watch the news – I’d know which case when I saw it. It was the local news’ top story. The reporters had little information to give and interviewed the man who discovered the baby. It was so sad. You could tell that poor man was doing everything he could not to cry on camera. He said he wished he hadn’t found the baby, but he was glad she wouldn’t end up in the dump.

Any way you look at the situation, it’s heartbreaking. The baby had no chance at life and was discarded like a piece of garbage. I wonder about the mother. Was she young and scared? Did she give birth to a dead baby and freak out. Or a live baby who didn’t survive? If she had gone to a hospital to deliver, would the baby have lived? Did she kill the baby or leave it in a trash bag to die? I wonder what kind of terrible situation she was in to do such a thing.

Last night Peanut and I played outside, went for a walk, and snuggled before bedtime. When he woke up at 10 and wanted to sleep in bed with me, I was happy to oblige, to lie there and listen to his sleepy snuffles and snores. This morning we sat on the couch and snuggled while he at breakfast. The whole time I was so thankful to be with him.

This morning’s news included a story of a dead newborn found in a Tampa alley last night.

Please, if you live in Florida and give birth to an unwanted baby, take it to a hospital, fire station, or other emergency medical services center. If the baby is 3 days old or younger, you can leave it no questions asked, under the Infant Safe Haven Law.
Other states also have Safe Haven laws.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The memorial service for Gramma was on Saturday. Neither Mom nor I made the trip - plane tickets were too pricey and I still have very little time off. I would like to have gone, been with the family, and shared in their memories of Gramma, but since moving away from our homestate 12 years ago, Mom and I saw Gramma maybe once a year for the first several years, then rarely once she went into the nursing home. In a way I'm glad my memories of her are of when she was healthier and herself.

An aunt and a cousin collected memories of Gramma from her grandkids. Two of my cousins shared theirs via e-mail. Funny and touching. This is mine:

My earliest memories of Gramma are of riding in her car. She used to let me sit on the armrest in the middle of the front seat. This was something Grandpa P* would get onto her about, knowing it wasn’t a safe place for a little kid to sit (honestly, he was years before his time on that one). Gramma knew I was too small to see out the windshield without a booster, so she and I would pretend that I sat on the real seat, but as soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I’d climb onto the armrest. Our rides were generally to one of two places: either the drive-up teller at the bank, which meant a lollipop for me and a people cracker for Dottie**, or to Marcus Dairy for ice cream.

I loved summertime at Gramma’s. She’d take me to J’s pool and let me swim till I was exhausted. I don’t think she ever got in the pool, nor do I remember her wearing a bathing suit – she always wore one of her summer dresses and a hat. She’d sit under an umbrella and watch me or chat with one of the other ladies. When we got thirsty, she’d give me change to buy sodas from the clubhouse fridge. When we’d get back to her house, I’d freeze until I changed out of my wet bathing suit. Gramma always kept the air conditioner on high to deal with the “dreadful” Connecticut heat. I never could understand how she was comfortable with the house at 60 in the summer and 80 in the winter. It’s one of those Gramma mysteries.

One of the best parts of spending time over at Gramma’s house was her extensive collection of hats, purses, shoes, and costume jewelry. She’d allowed me free reign of her closet and I’d spend hours playing dress up. In high school, she loaned me evening bags for proms and dances.

Gramma was always good to Mom and me when Mom needed a babysitter in a pinch. I know it frequently was a struggle for Mom to find a reliable person to watch me, especially on short notice when I was sick with strep…which was often. Gramma would come to our house and sit quietly with me. Sometimes she’d read to me, otherwise she’d knit, watch tv, or read a book of her own. I don’t think she ever knew how comforting it was for me to have her there.

When I was older, Mom would often have Gramma over for dinner on Sunday and many times we’d drive over to NY State to look for dirt roads. Gramma would comment that soon “Little S” would be driving and how much she’d worry about me. Mom and I would pass a silent look – by then Gramma‘s car bore numerous scrapes and dents. When asked about her car, she’d claim someone must have hit her car in the parking lot, although she did once admit to scraping against a tractor trailer in The Windmill’s parking lot.

It seems Gramma had several versions of “winter’s coming”. I always thought goldenrod was the harbinger of winter!

Peeps, RC Cola, purple, and butterflies will always remind me of Gramma. I hope wherever she is, she’s in her comfy chair, with a cup of hot tea.

*Grandpa P was legally blind, so he had no idea where I was sitting if he happened to look out the window at us.

**Dottie was Gramma's beloved long-haired chihuahua. My cousin has memories of her being aggressive, but she was always a sweetheart with me. The only time I ever heard her bark was at the garbage truck. She may have had a thing against men. Her later dog, not so nice.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hubby and I experienced our first act of Peanut-related assholery this week. We totally brought it on ourselves, but the people were complete assholes about it.

We decided to eat dinner at 0live G@rden the other night. Peanut was good for the first 10-15 minutes, until deciding he was done with dinner and wanted outta there. At that point, our salad had just arrived and I was trying to enjoy my Venetian Sunset (yummy girlie drink) without gulping and getting knackered as I’m a complete lightweight. I asked Hubby if he wanted me to take Peanut outside, he said no and pulled Peanut out of the high chair and we continued trying to eat. The loud crying continued and I was past my point of comfort. I should’ve just taken Peanut outside.

A woman a couple tables over stands up and yells something to the effect of “Are you having a good time because we aren’t!” over the table next to us. Hubby yells something to the effect of “Do we look like we are?” back and tells me that there’s no way we’re leaving now. I was pissed, so I agreed, although I would rather have slunk out of there, screaming toddler in tow. He finally gets our waitress and asks her to box our food when it’s ready. She seems relieved. We wait, since the food is supposedly just about to come out of the kitchen. I can’t take it anymore and take Peanut outside. We wait outside a good 10 minutes (so much for food coming off the line). Shortly before Hubby comes out, the asshole family leaves. At first I have no idea who they are because I never saw the lady who yelled. As she’s walking to her car, she bitchily yells over her shoulder how we ruined their dinner.

The only reply I could think of was "Kiss my ass", which seemed too low-brow even for me, so I simply turned my back on her.

OK. I get it. I got it when they first yelled at us. Honestly, we should’ve left long before that. But it’s still no excuse to be rude assholes. If they had politely come over to the table or sent a manager to us and asked us to have consideration for the other patrons and leave, we would have. If she was so pissed off about her ruined dinner, she could’ve had the balls to speak directly to me, not pull the passive-aggressive walking away while yelling b.s.

The waitress was a gem, too. In case she’s wondering why she only got a $6 tip after putting up with us and our screaming brat, this is why: When a nearby table complained that they didn’t get their appetizer, she said it was because the crying baby had her so distracted so much. Within Hubby’s earshot.

I only got to drink a third of my Venetian Sunset. I so needed that drink.