Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Everyone’s a critic



Ella: You know, mom, I think you have to do more than just put the ingredients in the pot.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Strange things were afoot

at the local Walgreens. We don’t have any Circle K stores around here.

We have a Walgreens right on the outer edge of our neighborhood. Several no-tell motels and halfway houses are on the outer edge of our neighborhood, too. And the residents of our ‘hood and of the shadier establishments seem to only meet at the Walgreens, which means it’s always good people watching there. I can’t count how many times I’ve been there when a shoplifter has been busted or someone’s been stopped for buying beer for an under-aged kid pacing outside. I’ve seen cops in the parking lot there many, many times. And I’ve come across what I can only assume, based on attire and purchases,  is a lady of the evening picking up some items with her prospective client. Which is the main reason I no longer go there after dark.

Even though there were no incidents involving police or hookers, this morning was plenty entertaining. I ran up there for a pack of swim diapers for Elizabeth, who was out, because I don’t want us banned from the local pool. I figured it would be a quick trip – run in, grab the diapers, pay, run out. Instead, it took me a good 15 minutes.

There only appeared to be two staff members on duty – John the assistant manager and Kevin, the assistant to the assistant manager. John was wandering around the store looking sweaty, while Kevin was managing the cash register looking red-faced and panicked at the length of the line forming.

The woman at the head of the line was trying to buy two packs of cigarettes with some sort of manufacturer’s coupon that didn’t have a bar code on it, so Kevin had no idea how to redeem it. After much consideration and complaining, the woman decided not to buy the cigarettes after all, so poor Kevin had to start from scratch with the rest of her purchases.

After her came a woman who looked to be buying a week’s worth of cup ‘noodles, diet Gatorade, and candy, all with coupons. Then she decided she wanted to pay for other things in her cart with another credit card, which meant a separate transaction. While Kevin was apologizing to her for the wait, she told him, and everyone else in line, that it was OK because she worked in a store too. I wanted to point out that if she worked in a store she should know better than to jam up the whole check-out process by using a zillion coupons and doing separate transactions.

While all of this was happening, the heavily pierced and tattooed and very smelly young guy behind me was pacing, sighing, shuffling his feet, and fidgeting nonstop. He and a friend had already bought two bags of stuff – his friend was waiting outside with them – but this guy apparently HAD to have the bag of generic funions. My guess is that he was either completely whacked out on meth or speed or was jonesing for one of them.

Finally John the assistant manager, after spending some time pacing outside on the sidewalk, looking for missing staff maybe, came in and opened a second register. Fortunately, everyone in line behind me, including the tweaker, was too out of it, and I beat them all to the punch in switching lines. In all fairness, I was next after the coupon lady.

John was so flustered that he managed to send my package of swimmy diapers flying across the counter, almost hitting the tweaker in the face. And I threw him for a loop when I told him I didn’t need a bad for my diapers and package of mints.

Walgreens should charge for admission. It’s the best show in town.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another difficult post

In the past week I’ve admitted to myself, my husband and a handful of friends that I’m still not doing well, depression-wise. After a grim March and part of April, I had started to feel more like myself at the end of April. I had done up on the dosage of my anti-anxiety meds; the weather was wonderful; I was getting back into the swing of things with running. One day I even caught myself singing aloud in the car. B and the kids had even noticed a difference.

But a few weeks ago I cratered again, and now I’m barely holding it together. Most days the only reason I get out of bed is because there are four short people relying on me to feed them and dress them and get them out the door.

My energy level is zero. I have no interest in things I usually love – like knitting and reading and running. And I find myself again counting the hours until I can go back to bed. I barely leave the house – I missed the preschool carnival because I couldn’t handle the idea of making small talk with people. Yesterday I went to a runners’ group event and had a hard time not crying while trying to talk to people. Then I went home feeling like a complete and total failure.

There’s nothing major that has spurred this. The kids have all been relatively healthy (knock on wood), and work has been going well. B’s business has picked back up to the point that he is slammed, but he’s still been really helpful the past few weeks. I’m still going to counseling with a therapist I like, even if she is a little tree-hugging at times.

We do have the stress of the whole moving process. One of the ducks that we needed to get in a row wandered off and got blown up two weeks ago, so we’re in limbo with that again. But I’ve been able to largely put that aside. Being in limbo means I don’t actually have to do anything.

All I can come up with at this point is that my medication needs adjusting – I either need to go up in my dose or try something else. I’m calling today with for an appointment with a doctor (I can never remember whether it’s psychologist or psychiatrist) who can hopefully get me on something that will help.

In the meantime, if you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m hunkered down, trying to keep myself together. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Formal attire



He found an old clip-on tie that his grandmother bought him years ago and insisted on wearing it to preschool today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When you’re two

bathing suit

It’s ok to wear your new bathing suit with flowers and a twirly skirt everywhere, even to the library.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pure Joy


If only I could bottle his belly laughs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We saw the president–kind of

President Obama was in town yesterday to give a speech at the ACL theater downtown and to attend a dinner out in Westlake. I knew traffic was going to be bad as a result, so I carefully planned my route to take Ella to climbing practice in the hopes that I’d avoid the worst of it.

At first, I thought I’d succeeded. I blew down MoPac in record time, confident we’d actually be on time. But when I turned on to 290 east, otherwise known as Ben White Blvd., traffic came to a dead stop at S. First.


cars as far as the eye can see

At first it didn’t occur to me that this jam was related to the president’s visit – all the news stations had advised drivers to stay away from downtown and I35, which I had done. After sitting for 15 minutes, with Ella quietly freaking out about being late and the little three whining about being tired of sitting still, I turned on one of the AM talk radio stations just in time to hear that the president’s plane had landed a few minutes earlier and that the motorcade was underway.

Obviously, Ben White had been shut down in both directions to let the motorcade through at some point. So I tried to get off Ben White, but all the access roads were at a standstill, too. We were stuck.

As soon as the talk turned to people calling in to bitch about being trapped in traffic with gas prices being too high, I turned back to music. Then I practiced deep, calming yoga breaths while the kids whined and cried and wiggled. And I posted something on Twitter about how I supported the president but didn’t think landing at 5:00 was cool.

Finally traffic got moving again, and we were a mere 30 minutes late to practice. Ella started to panic, but when she saw three other teammates arriving at the same time, she calmed down.

On the way home from practice, I tempted the fates by getting on I35 north. I figured there was no way I could get stuck again. Ha. Just south of the river, I realized that southbound I35 had no cars on it other than police cruisers. Then all the cars on our side slowed to a crawl.

But – this time there was at least a reward for being stuck.


That’s the president’s Suburban. The big girls were beyond thrilled that we got to see the motorcade, and I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool, too. It’s quite a procession they have going – lots of big SUVs with radio antennas all over them, passenger vans with the press pool, police motorcycles and cars, ambulances, etc.

Fortunately, once the motorcade passed, cars on our side started moving again, and that was the end of our traffic woes for the day.

But the next time the president comes to town, I’m staying home.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Stubborn, thy name is Ella

Ella has dreadful allergies, especially in the spring when everything is in bloom. Last month she missed multiple days of school because she felt so miserable. So I dragged her off to an allergist, for which she still hasn’t forgiven me. Every time someone mentions something that happened at school last Friday, she says, with a huff, "I wouldn’t know. My MOM made me to go a boring old doctor for no reason at all.” At one point when she was giving her patented not-so-silent treatment, I said, “I’m sorry I love you so much that I took you to the doctor to make you feel better.” Huge eye roll.

The doctor prescribed a steroidal nose spray for Ella, which just made the whole day even worse in Ella’s opinion. She has NEVER liked having any kind of lotion or spray or anything on her. She won’t let me put moisturizer on the dry patches on her face or use detangling spray on her hair. Getting her to sit still for sunblock is a real chore, especially when I get to her face. And to put drops for pink eye in her eyes I have to sit on her and pin her arms to her side, which is getting harder and harder because the child is freakishly strong due to all her climbing. Seriously, she could probably take me in arm wrestling. The only reason I can pin her is because she weighs next to nothing, and I (ahem) weigh a lot more.

I knew that getting the spray in her nose was going to be a challenge. I just wasn’t prepared for how much of a challenge. She really, really doesn’t like the stuff. The first night I managed to wrestle it into her without too much of a problem. But now that she knows how bad it smells and that it leaves a bad taste in her mouth, she wants nothing to do with it.

On the second night, I had to pin Ella to the floor and sit on her with my knees on either side of her head. We both ended up in tears.

We’ve tried appealing to her logic by explaining that once she takes this stuff for a week she’ll feel lots better. We’ve talked about how she can get sick from not treating her allergies. And we’ve explained allergy shots and asked whether two sprays in her nose was worse than getting a shot once a week. It hasn’t worked.

The other night, instead of fighting with her, B told Ella that she was now responsible for using the spray by herself and that she would be grounded until she did it. That meant she’d come home from school and go straight to her room – no climbing, no playing with friends.

Yesterday morning, I calmly explained to Ella the terms one more time, and played out all of the consequences – if she didn’t do the spray, she wouldn’t go to practice. If she didn’t do the spray next week, there’d still be no practice. And then there’d be no going to regionals next Saturday. And if she missed regionals, she wouldn’t qualify for divisionals in Boulder, and then there would be no way to go to nationals in Atlanta. I told her she needed to spend the day thinking about whether she was really willing to give up all of those competitions and trips just to be stubborn about using her nose spray. And then I walked away before Ella could argue with me.

When she got home from school, she dithered for a while and then used the spray while crying and gagging; it was a very dramatic performance.

But when she gets home today, we’ll have to go through the same routine – she doesn’t get to go outside to play until the nose spray is in. I’m hoping she’ll get over this quickly. I’m not sure how much more patience I have for this particular brand of Ella’s stubborness.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

He’s a real boy now

Yesterday afternoon I took Campbell for his fourth trip to the Emergency room. First there was the gash on his forehead. Then there was the pill-swallowing experiment. And who can forget the great Penis Incident? And then there were the injuries that were bad, but not bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, like the time he almost bit his tongue in half (our pediatrician handled that one) and the gash B superglued shut while on a recent camping trip.

This time, his ER trip was for a huge gash on his chin. He was running around the living room and slipped and fell, hitting his chin on the corner of the coffee table. Of course, he did it while we were getting ready to walk out the door to take Knittergran to the airport. I convinced B that superglue was not going to work this time and loaded Campbell into the car. B ended up doing the airport run with Knittergran, who was a bit worried about leaving amidst such chaos.

Unlike previous injuries, this one required stitches, which I think makes Campbell a REAL boy now. It’s like a badge of honor and true boyhood.

I was really impressed with the Dell Children’s Medical Center ER, once we got through the interminable wait to be seen. We’ve had some not-so-good experiences there in the past, but this time the staff was wonderful. The nurse and doctor couldn’t have been more gentle or patient with Campbell. They didn’t start working on his chin until they were sure he wasn’t going to feel any pain. I was holding Campbell’s hands while the doctor worked, and he didn’t flinch a single time. I’m not sure I could have been as still.

Poor Campbell was so funny after the meds – fentanyl and versed – kicked in. I had to laugh at him staggering around, insisting he could walk. Then he’d tip over (don’t worry, I caught him before he actually fell), say he was dizzy, and then ask me to carry him. When we got home, the big girls took their job of keeping him still on the sofa very seriously – including sitting on him when he tried to get up.

I decided to keep Campbell home from preschool this morning, worried that he’d crash around and pop the stitches open. Additionally, I wasn’t sure how he’d feel after his narcotics cocktail last night or whether his stitches would bother him. Now, I’m regretting that decision. He’s tearing around the house and annoying his little sister, just like normal.


Sigh. He’s such a boy.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I can’t move my eyebrows

Last Friday, I went in for Botox injections  in the hopes that they would get my migraines under control. The doctor initially said that the treatment would include 31 shots into my forehead, my scalp and the base of my skull.

I was dreading the pain of the injections. When I had six shots last spring, they hurt like hell. But the neurotoxin she used that time was slightly different than Botox. This time, she used Botox, and it turns out that the stuff doesn’t burn and sting nearly as much. Plus, she decided not to do the whole course of injections; I had 18 shots instead of 31.

It was still an extremely unpleasant experience, though. The shots in my forehead and my scalp hurt, but they were tolerable. The four shots in the base of my skull, however, nearly did me in. The doctor had me sit on her little rolling stool and then rest my head on my arms on the exam table. It was very good I was sitting like that, because I might have passed out, otherwise. I don’t know why those four shots hurt as much as they did, but holy hell. They hurt so much I thought I was going to throw up. And when the doctor was finished, I had to sit there for a few minutes and pull myself together.

Yesterday afternoon the Botox really kicked in, and my eyebrows stopped moving. I can raise them – just a little – but I can’t furrow them. I make very funny faces each time I try. The kids think it’s hysterical.

I’ve been worried about whether this would work. Last spring I didn’t see enough of a reduction in migraines to justify the expense. This time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but I was hopeful that having three times as much Botox would make a difference.

And I think it has. This afternoon I could tell I was having a migraine. The back of my neck felt tight, I had visual distortions, and I was slightly nauseated.  But I didn’t feel any pain. Amazing. I’ll take feeling slightly icky over blinding pain any day.

I hope that this continues to work. Having daily migraines has worn me out, and I’m tired of spending every day dreading the inevitable onset.

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my migraines are under control. And I’m enjoying my nice smooth forehead, even if I can’t move my eyebrows.