Friday, December 19, 2008

The last HOA meeting I attended was over 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with Peanut. Once he was born, the meetings fell to the bottom of my priorities. Not much is accomplished at the meetings anyway.

I decided to attend this year's annual budgetary meeting. OMG. Our HOA president is a jerk (which Hubby and I already knew) as are a few of our neighbors. Things nearly came to fisticuffs between the president and a very angry neighbor. Lots of yelling, posturing, and taunts of "Let's take it outside!" were parried. Thankfully, one of our cop neighbors convinced the president to go outside and cool down.

Once that (sort of) settled down, one neighbor stood up to chastize us for not acting professionally. She was right, the meeting was conducted horrifically, but she wasn't a prime example of proper conduct, either. Yelling and calling other adults childish is childish behavior as well. Then a "pascifist" neighbor delivered a lenghty speech on treating each other with respect, blah blah blah.

One of the best suggestions came from someone who suggested we follow a set protocol for meetings and was shot down by a member of the board. "We're all adults here, we don't need a list of rules." Ummmm, yeah, we do. I guess no one there has heard of Robert's Rules of Order. I don't know if I should email the HOA and suggest them. I only know the basics anyway.

Some good came from the meeting. We will be having at least 2 more in the next couple of months. One to elect a new board and another to address the concerns residents, some of which have been blown off by the president.

I also learned that roughly 5% of the homes in my neighborhood are under foreclosure. Sad.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A lot has been going on...

Mom called yesterday and decided she's not well enough for our planned visit. We'll see what happens. She may change her mind.

Bean has a cold and is back on breathing treatments. The wheezing has subsided, but he still has spells of fast breathing. He and Bean have checkups this week. I'll add that to my list of concerns for the doctor.

Money is tight. (Well, whose isn't? I know our situation could be much worse.) My 6months of half-pay coupled with Hubby's loss of special details has really hurt. At least I'm back on full time and he should get some details in January. We're dipping into savings for overdraft protection at the end of each pay period. If it keeps up, our savings will be gone in a couple of months.

My nasty post-doc coworker is away for the remainder of the year. The work atmosphere is completely different with her gone. Our part-time employee has been chatty and singing while working. I feel bad for her when Post-doc is around. She'll never go to the P.I. to complain, but I wish she would. Some other coworkers suggested that Nice Coworker (who went to work for another lab) should have lodged a complaint against Post-doc when she left. As usual, the nasty people are free to treat their subordinates however they see fit. I like my workplace and have never had problems with my own boss, but I hate to see the way other faculty are allowed to behave over and over again. We had several post-docs and students from other labs that were interested in working with her before I had Bean. Two or three people a week would be in our lab setting up experiments with her. Now there are none.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Peanut is all about Christmas. We watched the Rudolph special last night. (What a flashback to my own childhood).

When I was a kid, I wanted a Rudolph toy for years. I asked Santa for one in several letters. I'm pretty sure Mom searched for one, but there weren't any. I saw some a couple of years ago and asked Hubby for one.

Well, I got one last Christmas, complete with a light-up nose. Except the nose was broken and we didn't feel like sending him back to the overpriced build-a-stuffed-animal place for an exchange. Rudolph eventally found his way to a shelf in Peanut's closet.

I remembered him last night during the show and got him out for Peanut. He immediately knew the nose was supposed to light up and asked why it didn't work when he squeezed Rudolph's ear. I told him it was broken and he replied "Maybe he needs a new battery. You can fix him, Mommy." I told him there was no way to get into his ear and that I couldn't fix it. We went back and forth a few times and I started to get that oh-shit-we're-gonna-have-a-tantrum feeling when I noticed Rudolph's tummy was hard and had a velcro opening. Hmmmm. With some work, I managed to pull out a battery pack, with an on/off switch. That was turned off.

Yep, Rudolph's nose works just fine. Too bad it took a year to figure that out!

Rudolph slept in bed with Peanut, was dragged to our bed when he woke in the night, and accompanied Peanut in the car this morning. I'm tickled.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Thanksgiving trip was wonderful. Peanut had so much fun seeing his grandparents and playing with his cousins. The drive up was great. We didn’t leave the house until about 8:30 pm, thanks to Hubby having another late nigh, but the drive was fine. Bean was out for the night after a quick stop for a bottle. We could have gone longer if Peanut hadn’t started fussing. Once he’s done for the night, he wants to sleep in a bed, not the carseat. We stopped at around 12:30 at a beautiful new Holid@y Inn. Jackpot! We didn’t get on the road until about 10 the next morning, but made it uneventfully to Hubby’s parents’ around 4pm.

We stayed the whole time at Hubby’s mom’s in her beautiful, newly renovated upstairs. Our younger niece is moving in with her two small kids, so her husband helped finish the upstairs before his deployment to Afghanistan. The house has really come along over the years. Peanut loved the setup and gleefully slept in the toddler bed each night. We purchased him a nice set of flannel jammies before the trip and they happened to match the sheets on his bed – bliss!

The weather was cool, crisp, and mostly sunny. We spent enjoyable time with family and ate lots of delicious food. Bean was introduced to bananas, which he heartily ate. He has really gotten the hang of eating off a spoon. Both boys were loved and cuddled by various grandparents, aunts, and cousins.

We came back with a bunch of clothes for both kids and several really cool birthday presents for Peanut. One toy was the catalyst for a bit of fighting between Peanut and a cousin. The toy had to disappear when Cousin was around to avoid a pre-school smackdown.

As always, Hubby and I wished we could stay. We still would love to move back to the area, but know we can’t do it now. Our debt it too high and the pay there is too low. We did look at a house that would be almost perfect. It was an adorable older home with much charm and a separate little 1-bedrdoom efficiency apartment that would be perfect for mom. But we have no jobs there and would have to sell our house before committing to anything else. And we’d have to have the debt paid off, debt that will take us at least another 3 years at the rate we’re going.

Peanut was one sad little boy when it was time to leave. He told us he wasn’t leaving, that he wanted to stay at Nanny’s.

There has been some family drama, of course. Youngest sister, who managed to get out of a DUI after last year’s hit-and-run, wasn’t so lucky recently. She claimed she learned her lesson last time, but apparently didn’t. I pray she doesn’t kill herself or someone else with the drunk driving. According to Hubby’s parents, she’s doing better now and can keep the drinking down to just one or two beers. Is there really “just one or two beers” for an alcoholic?

Oldest sister also got a DUI and was charged with possession of a controlled substance. She apparently had another family member’s bottle of pills, but claims she has a prescription for the same medication. She’s an RN and may face losing her license. Rumor is that she can drink Youngest sister under the table – no small feat.

Our nephew, who is only 6 months younger than Peanut, seems to be headed down a bad path. (He’s oldest sister’s grandson, the son of her older daughter. She was married to the asshole abusive military guy and is now living with a new asshole. And they have an infant.) I don’t think Nephew has gotten a whole lot of love from either parent and is on the way to becoming troubled. When Hubby put him in time-out for fighting with Peanut, he told Hubby he was going to “chop off your head with a saw”. Not the kind of speak you expect from a 3-year old. Niece (his mom) is notorious for ignoring him/dumping him off on other family members and now with the new baby, he gets even less attention. As usual, Hubby’s mom is the one taking care of him. It’s no surprise – Oldest sister and her alcoholic husband weren’t much of parents her, so I doubt she got the nurturing she needed. Hubby’s mom practically raised our nieces, too. But it’s still a sad situation. And I don’t understand why she had another child when she hardly seems to want the one she already had.

The trip back was a nightmare. We left around 7 Saturday night and drove until 11 or so. The kids both zonked out and did really well. We got going at around 9 am on Sunday and had heavy traffic and multiple wrecks to contend with. We expected to be home by 4 but didn’t make it until 7. We managed to get off the interstate about 40 miles sooner than usual and were able to take a back way home, otherwise we probably would have had another 1-2 hours of s-l-o-w driving. We found a fast food joint with an indoor playground that was our saving grace. We stopped for about an hour so Peanut could burn off some steam and Bean could get out of the carseat he was so unhappy with. Peanut did wonderfully, but Bean was so done with being strapped down and was vocal about the whole thing. Even on Monday he wanted nothing to do with his swing or highchair or anything that remotely resembled a carseat!
Mom has laid down a thick Christmas guilt trip. I called her on Thanksgiving and she started in on it. “I’m really upset that you said I can’t come on Christmas and talked to the doctor about it. I don’t understand why I can’t come, so the doctor wanted me to ask you to clarify…” Arrrgh. Because it’s 6 hours of driving. Because you were miserable and horrible to be around during our last visit. Because I have to work the 24th and daycare is closed that day, so Hubby has to stay home with the kids and Bean is too young to be dragged to the state hospital to pick you up. Because I want to enjoy the holiday rather than be stressed and short with Hubby, all the while wondering if I’ll have to make a trip to the crisis unit with you. Because I’m still expressing milk and will have to pump at least once during the trip and I hate pumping in the car. Because I simply don’t want you to come.

I’ll probably end up taking Bean to daycare on the 26th and bringing Peanut with me to pick her up. Daycare will add another hour to the crappy 6-hour round-trip drive (if traffic isn’t crazy), but according to Mom, that shouldn’t stop me from providing her with a Christmas holiday. I’ll also have to find someplace where I can discreetly pump milk, but that shouldn’t be a problem either. After all, Mom’s feelings are the only ones that matter, right? Hubby can take her back on the 29th. I will speak with the social worker first (if I can ever get in touch with her) to make sure she thinks Mom is well enough to visit.

I really, really don’t want to do this, but the guilt is winning.

EDITED: I was wrong about daycare's closing dates. They are open for a partial day on Dec 24th and closed both the 25th and 26th, so there's no possibility of Mom coming for the weekend. She could possibly come on the 2nd and return the 4th of January. I left a message for the social worker to see if she thinks Mom is well enough and eligible for a weekend pass.

EDITED AGAIN: Wow, the social worker returned my call in record time. She thinks Mom will be OK for a visit, but will discuss it with the treatment team and psychiatrist. We also talked about the last visit and how I feel that Mom will need consistent care whenever she is discharged.