Thursday, May 31, 2007

This week's big news story is of a man with multiple-drug resistant TB who flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon, then snuck back into the US for treatment, fearing he would otherwise die. Now the CDC et al. are scrambling to notify airline passengers and others that may have been exposed.

The man claims he didn’t know how dangerous his illness was until he was already on his honeymoon. Since his physician only recommended he postpone his wedding and didn’t ban him outright from flying, he felt it was perfectly safe and reasonable to fly overseas and proceed as normal. Knowing he had TB.

Now he’s quarantined, but he’s a smart and educated guy, and pissed that he’s got a guard at his door.

I dunno, maybe with my science background and all I’m more aware of the dangers of drug-resistant illnesses than the average citizen. Or maybe I just have common sense.

TB, whether run-of-the-mill, or super-scary drug resistant, is no joke. It’s a serious illness. And that drug-resistant shit can take months to get rid of. It can involve removal of lung tissue and months of hospitalization. It has a mortality rate in the neighborhood of 40%. According to one news report, a patient required an estimated half million dollars’ worth of treatment to get well.

So either this guy isn’t as “well-educated and intelligent” as he claims to be, or he didn’t give a shit about risking other peoples’ lives so he could go to his wedding. Luckily, he’s asymptomatic and not should not be highly contagious.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mom. Yeah, she’s not doing so well. I’m not coping so well.

I saw her this weekend. I talked for a couple minutes with the really nice tech/aide that’s usually there on weekends. He answered the door, so we had time to talk alone. She’s refusing meals. She’s skipping therapy sessions. She’s talking about wanting to die and wanting God to take her. To the point of pissing off her roommates and being placed in time out. She was accused of being a bigot by one of her roommates. Yes, Mom is bigoted (although she’ll claim she isn’t), but I don’t think the remark was a racist one. She told a roommate that an aide was being a wise ass. It turns out the aide is white and is married to the nice aide, who is black. Mom claims she didn’t even know they were married. I think she was being bitchy and said something stupid. I don’t think she was commenting on their marriage. Not that it matters. She should have known better than to say it. The treatment facility has rules of conduct and she’s broken several of them.

I spent all of maybe 15 minutes there before Mom asked me to leave. I’m tired of the “I’ve given up” talk. I told her I’m not going to join the pity party and I don’t feel sorry for her. She wanted to go into treatment and she got what she wanted. I can’t help that she makes poor choices. When she was in the hospital psych unit, they did everything they could to help her and even had the independent living apartment lined up for her. She decided she wanted this treatment facility instead. Once she got in, she wanted out. She wanted to play by her rules, not theirs.

I should talk to the social worker and see what’s up. How far they’ll let this go. He’s had nothing to offer in the past couple of conversations. I doubt speaking with the shrink will give me any more answers. He sees the patients once or twice a month and deals only with meds.

Around we go, in fucking circles. Things get better for a while, then something sets her off, and we're back at the bottom.
We took the camper on its maiden voyage this weekend. Well, if going to a campground 30 minutes away qualifies as a voyage. All the state parks were booked up for the holiday weekend and we decided a place close to home would be in our best interest. Hubby and I are veteran campers, but Peanut and the dog are newbies, and some people just aren’t cut out for roughing it.

We had a great time. We let Peanut stay up waaaaay to late Friday night, so he had a screaming meltdown at bedtime. “Nooooooo caaaaaamper. Go bye-byyyyyyyye. Sleep in mommyyyyyyyyy’s bed!” The solution was for Hubby to hold Peanut until he fell asleep. During that time, we were not allowed to talk, sing, look at, or touch Peanut. But once he finally nodded off, he was out for the night. Lily woke us up at some point, growling and whining at a resident armadillo. Then Hubby was called out for a murder at about 3 am. Luckily, he only had to assist a small agency that hasn’t dealt with a murder in YEARS and wanted some hand-holding. He made it back by breakfast time, so we all ate together.

The rest of Saturday was uneventful. We hung around, ate, went for a walk, and were lazy. Peanut wasn’t impressed with dinner, and had only licked the cheese off cheesy crackers for lunch, so we drove to a fast food place. He stuffed himself with a couple bites of yogurt, half of a chicken nugget, and a couple of fries. I’m surprised he doesn’t outweigh me with all the food he eats.

We got him off to sleep at a reasonable hour without much fuss. He did ask several times to go bye-bye, but didn’t cry or scream. Our armored friend visited again during the night, but Lily decided it wasn’t worth the effort to wake up. We all were nice and snuggly until 6 am when Hubby was called out to another freakin’ murder. So, we got up, packed up camp, and headed home.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Peanut isn’t much for singing. He chants a made up “Dee Da Dee Da” song every so often, but never a real one. He will tell Hubby or me to stop if we dare to break out in song or hum. The only acceptable songs are “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Stand by Me” which may be sung only at bedtime. If we ask him to join in, a quick “no” is the usual response.

Last night as we were getting Peanut settled down, Hubby asked him to sing. And to our surprise, he did. It’s one of those times I will remember forever. He didn’t carry the tune at all, but he was able to “sing” most of the words.

His renditions went something like “Twinkle, twinkle li’star how wonder you are. Up above world s’hi. Like inna sky. Twinkle, twinkle li’star”.

It was freakin' adorable.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I’m frequently seeing two themes on several blogs I regularly read: stay-at-home vs work-out-of-home moms and stepparents (mostly stepmoms since they are woman-oriented blogs) that dislike/hate their stepkids. Both of these issues bug me to no end.

Do I think it’s in the best interest for small kids to be looked after by a family member? In most cases, yes. I hated that Peanut started daycare at 3 months old, but that was out of financial necessity. Sure, Hubby and I could move back into one of the shitty county trailers, live on one income, and panic every time a severe thunderstorm warning came up (which is nearly every day in the rainy season and often means tornadoes) and have to evacuate during hurricane warnings, figure out what to do with the pets, etc. But honestly, I think our home is a safer, more secure place to raise a child. In order to pay the mortgage, utilities, groceries, and bills, it requires two paychecks. I’m sick of the insinuation that I’m a bad, greedy, heartless, or selfish mom because Peanut goes to daycare. Sure, it’s not a perfect arrangement, but it works for us. Peanut is learning to socialize. He has friends that he’s happy to see each day. He loves the playground and several of his teachers. I’m an introvert and I doubt I’d be comfortable at any of the local Mommy groups if I was a SAHM. (When I did try to make contact with one group during my part-time days to ask if they’d be willing to do any get-togethers in the afternoon so I could attend, no one bothered to reply.) Honestly, I’m not sure I could cope with being a full-time at home Mom and Peanut would get little interaction with other kids. My dream would be to work part-time and have Peanut in daycare part-time, but it’s not in the cards for us.

It’s also a classist assumption. Yes, Hubby and I could survive on one income if we drastically changed our lifestyle and sold our home. But that’s not the case for many families. What about single moms? Or two-income families that live at/below poverty level? Are they selfish because they have the gall to be poor and have children?

On the flip-side, SAHMs get a lot of flak, too. I don’t for a second feel that SAH moms are anti-feminist, wasting their brains/talents, or any of the other judgmental claptrap that gets thrown around. Feminism is all about women having the right to choose how they live their lives rather than having barefoot, pregnant, and kitchen as the default. Ironically, I’ve seen admissions from SAH moms who spend much of their time online or watching TV. That brings out my judgmental side. Is a checked-out SAH mom truly better than an engaged childcare provider?

The whole “I can’t stand my stepkids” deal raises my hackles. I realize blended families aren’t easy and stepparents deal with a lot of shit. The bottom line, though, is they chose to marry a partner with children, the children didn’t choose to have their parents separate and remarry. I thank my lucky stars that my stepmom is the awesome woman she is. If she had been nasty, my life would have been hell. It was hard enough being one of the few kids in my parochial school with divorced parents. I dealt with that crap daily: not enough money for afterschool activites/no rides home since Mom was at work, never the expensive, cool clothes, Mom never could come to any daytime activities or be a room mother, spending every other weekend at Dad’s – he lived in another town and I had no friends there. I was already insecure around my dad and stepmom and felt like an outsider at their house. I knew they loved me, but it never was my home. If Stepmom had indicated in any way that she didn’t like me, I would have been crushed.
The third time I peed today, I realized my underwear were inside-out. How could I miss that?

Hubby deals with a lot of stupid criminals. He decided if he ever wanted to turn to a life of burglaries, he’d get a great cover. He’d buy a big, professional looking van and detail it with: Freds Upholstery, Carpet & Kitchens Unlimited

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I donated blood today for the first time ever! It wasn't bad at all. I've had a couple of lightheaded moments, but have felt fine otherwise. I felt guilty every time we have a blood drive and I didn't donate, especially since I'm the coordinator for our drives at work. Today I finally sucked it up, got over myself, and donated. Blood is always in short supply and for some reason, participation has dropped off over the past year or two. Did you know one donation can help 3 people? Or that if you live to age 72, there is a 95% probability you will need blood at some point? Or that every 3 seconds, someone needs blood? (Statistics provided by the local blood bank.)

Our camper frenzy continues! It turns out the heavier one in town was too close for comfort (only 100 lbs less than our tow limit). I called the manufacturer and found a dealer 2 hours away. The cost is a bit more, but they have the size we want. We were pre-approved for a loan today, Hubby is orderning the hitch, and a friend kindly offered to loan us his truck (which is actually Hubby's old truck that we sold to him. We've borrowed it several times) this weekend if we don't get a hitch in time. Woo Hoo! I am so freakin' pumped. We have an obligation Saturday evening, so we may be camping in the back yard.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The visit with my Parents was great, but too short. We did a whole lot of nothin’ for the weekend. The weather was too hot to be comfortable for much outdoor time, so we spent a good bit of time at the house. We also fed the ducks, went to the playground, and went to the store so Grammy and Grampy could buy Peanut some clothes. I planned on buying some Cars toys, but the G’s insisted on paying for them, too. Every night since, ALL 7 of the cars plus a bus and a jet accompany Peanut to bed. As soon as he falls asleep, we move them onto the floor. Flo’s fins are sharp and it’s a matter of time until Peanut rolls over onto her. Peanut has been asking for them at least once a day – he enjoyed their visit, too.

I temporarily upgraded my Classmatesdotcom account so I could see who's visited my profile and send some emails. I’ve been getting tantalizing messages stating that several people have signed my guestbook (or whatever it is). A couple of them were people I don’t know, including a guy that has a buff photo on his profile. Trolling for dates? Hello, my profile clearly states I’m married and have a kid. The photos reinforce it. Not looking. Another was an old boyfriend of Best Friend. I signed his guestbook and left it at that. He was a nice guy, but things got weird with them. One of my sorority sisters visited - she was my reason for going through the whole pledging process. Because of her, I realized not all sororities are filled with carbon copy snooty girls. She was a ton of fun to hang out with, but graduated after my first year at the transfer school. She had gotten married the year before I met her. I always thought it was a little crazy – her husband was in the military and had the attitude I’ve seen in a lot of military (and cop) men: selfish and an asshole to his wife. They must have divorced, which is no surprise. It turns out she signed up with classmates a few years ago, found her first boyfriend, and married him! I’m itching to hear about it. I sent her an email and maybe I’ll hear back.

The last visitor was my childhood best friend. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I signed her guestbook then went back and wrote a quick email. She treated my like dogshit as our friendship ended, but that was some 20 years ago. Teens/tweens can be horrid to each other, and she may be a completely different person now. She wrote back and it turns out she has a family and moved back to our hometown several years ago. We've exchanged a few messages since. Who knows, maybe we’ll rekindle a friendship or a correspondence, maybe not.

Friday was Mother’s Day Lunch at daycare. It’s the first one I’ve gone to, since they didn’t have one last year, and the Peanut was an infant the first year. I was taking so much leave time then for illnesses, I decided to pass, not that he knew anyway. Of course, that didn’t stop me from feeling guilty.

It was sweet chaos. He ran up to me once I got there and asked to go bye-bye in Mommy’s car. He got upset when I explained we were there for lunch. I feared the worst when he shoved his lunch plate away, but he must’ve been hungry – he ate all his food, snatched some off my plate, ate part of his seconds, and finished off with cake. He was very well behaved and made conversation with me, the little girl across from him, and another mommy sitting next to him. I didn’t say much to the other moms – I don’t know any of them, although I did see Peanut’s “girlfriend’s” mom and said hi to her. I always feel like the outsider of a clique. I tried making eye contact with the mom across from me, but she didn’t seem very happy and avoided me. Oh well.

The weekend was a mixed affair. Hubby had training on Saturday, so we had the morning to hang out before he had to leave. We went to a camper supplier and looked at teardrop campers. OMG, I am in love. They have new ones for half price. We didn’t like either of their stock, one was too narrow, the other had a huge storage rack and is heavier than I’m comfortable with. They are tiny and would be perfect for us. Hubby’s going to talk to the owner since they're supposed to be getting another.

Peanut and I visited Mom Saturday evening. She’s worse, doesn’t want to eat, is isolating from the other patients, doesn’t want to bathe, is afraid of the group therapy room, and has missed at least one therapy meeting. She says she’s psychotic. I have no idea if she really is, if she’s convinced she is, or is looking for attention. She said she wanted me to take her home so she could stay with us and take care of Peanut on weekdays. Sure, I’ll let her crazy self take care of my toddler. What’s the worst that could happen? Peanut picked up on the bad vibe and asked if I was mad. How are little kids so freakin’ smart?

Mother’s Day was nice. Peanut was up at 7 and ready to eat, so Hubby made them breakfast while I slept in. They gave me two kickass dvds, “The Color Purple” and “Casino Royale”, and a simple, elegant bracelet. (Hubby, I really do like it. You did good!) We met up with BF and her family at the annual arts festival and baked in the heat while looking at some beautiful stuff. I scored a cool pair on seahorse earrings, and we dragged our sweaty selves home. Peanut and I splashed each other silly in the kiddy pool until thunder started. Hubby got to feeling lousy later in the day (bad festival sausage) so we kept the evening nice and low key.

Monday, May 07, 2007

As the adage goes, every story has three sides: yours, mine, and the truth.

One day after daycare, as Hubby was asking Peanut about his day and his friends, Peanut said one classmate, G, was bad. Hubby probed and found out G had hit Peanut.

Later in the week, while Peanut and I were discussing his day, he said G was bad because G pushed him. Hubby and I became a bit concerned. Was G a budding bully?

Yesterday we had a thunderstorm with a couple of close strikes. Peanut was frightened by it. As we were driving home from dinner at Best Friend’s house, Peanut said he was afraid of lightning. We told him it’s OK to be afraid, and that if he sees or hears lightning/thunder he needs to go inside the house where it’s safe. We asked if he was afraid of anything else. Ghostlight, Big Banshee, and G came up. Oh shit. Peanut is afraid of his classmate? We asked why and got the same answers as before: G is bad because he hits and pushes.

Hubby talked to the teacher this morning. Yes, G does hit and push Peanut, but only when he brings his toy airplane to school (which he’s not supposed to do, since bringing toys from home incites rotten behavior). Peanut wanted to take an airplane again today, so Hubby explained that G wants to play with Peanut’s toys and that’s why he acts mean. Peanut finally gave up the toy, but told another parent that he was mad because Daddy took his jet.

Friday, May 04, 2007

When Peanut is sweet, I want to smother him with hugs. Last night was such a good night. He ate dinner without too much fuss, then played outside with Hubby while I did some cleaning. (Dad and Stepmom arrive tonight and I don’t want to be too embarrassed by our house. Dad is very neat and clean – European clean.)

The two of them sat on the couch and watched “Smallville” together while I finished cleaning and putzing around. Peanut asked for Superman all week – he loves the show as much as Hubby. Then they lay on our bed and watched cartoons so I could watch a show in the living room. When bedtime rolled around, Peanut admitted he was tired and wanted to sleep in Mommy’s bed. He was so polite, we gave in. Peanut let Hubby brush his teeth without a fight. He even smiled so Hubby could get the front ones. (It’s amazing what a bribe can do.)

Peanut and I settled into bed. We snuggled and had a conversation in whispers.

Mommy, close curtains. Fan on.

Big spider?

Daddy put the big spider outside so she can eat mosquitoes.

Bad skeetos. Skeetos bite. Spider eat bad skeetos.

Big spider good.

Black Spiderman bad.

Yes, but red Spiderman is good.

Black Spiderman bad. Red Spiderman good.

T Rex has big teef. T Rex in Mommy’s bed?

No, sweetie, T Rex is too big. He’s sleeping in your room.

T Rex too big. Airplane too big. Go night-night.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Our baby mockingbird has fledged.