Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time Passes

Missed a day, there.

So this is what happened: Mid-morning on Friday, the daycare called us to say that Alex had a fever of 102.6 underarm (translates to 103.5 oral) so we needed to come pick him up. Matt did that, and I called the pediatrician's office, who eventually opined that it might be a delayed reaction to the immunization shots he'd had on Tuesday. (Specifically, the Measles/Mumps/Rubella one, which apparently does this often enough to not raise eyebrows.) They said that if Tylenol didn't bring the fever down, or if he was still running high Saturday morning, to call and make an appointment.

Tylenol did work -- it at least brought it down a couple of degrees out of the "scary-high" range, so we put Alex to bed Friday night and I wrestled with the Mutant Worrybrain for a while before going to bed.

Saturday morning, even though the Tylenol had worn off sometime in the wee hours, Alex's temp was low-grade, and we thought the crisis was pretty much over. We didn't bother to re-up the Tylenol, since fevers do actually have a useful purpose in germ-killing and he didn't seem to be in any pain.

Naturally, then, that evening, after the pediatrician's Saturday hours were done and after Matt had departed for his monthly D&D game, Alex's temp climbed again. I gave him a dose of Tylenol and put him to bed early. When Matt got home at about 1 in the morning, he checked on Alex, discovered that the poor kid was burning up, and woke him up for another dose of Tylenol. As long as he was awake anyway, he did another temp check and he was clocking in at over 104.

(Alex woke up crying again around 2:30 -- we'd been dutifully pushing fluid on him all day to help keep him hydrated, so he'd peed and, as we say around here, exceeded the limits of diaper technology. We got him changed and soothed and back to bed, but that was another sleep interruption for Matt and I. Whee.)

He was still hot Sunday morning, and you're not supposed to give Tylenol more than 4 times in 24 hours. But I remembered the hack they'd used at the hospital after he was born -- alternating Tylenol with ibuprofen to allow more frequent pain relief without overloading the system on either drug. I broke out the Children's Motrin.

We called the Ask-A-Nurse line to see if we needed to take him in to the Urgent Care center; the consensus was that it probably wasn't necessary but that if he was still sick Monday to take him in then.

Penny and I went to the grocery store while Alex was taking a morning nap, and when we got back, Alex was awake and cranky, but his fever had broken. We celebrated.


The fever came back in the evening, again. We dosed him up and sent him to bed, and Monday, while Matt was taking Penny to her quarterly endocrinologist checkup (she's doing well -- A1C of 7.9, smack in the middle of the goal range for kids under 6) I took Alex to the pediatrician, who took all of about 2 minutes to spot a double ear infection, and another 5 minutes -- just to be on the safe side -- to rule out the flu.

So there we have it. Ear infections, and Alex is on antibiotics now and feeling much better, though he was kind of whiny and clingy this morning, right up until I got him to school, at which point he morphed into the happiest kid ever. (I did give him a shot of Motrin before school, in case the whining was because his ears were bothering him.)


Anyway, I'm excited for tonight -- I'm taking Penny to see an acrobatic troupe at William and Mary. I love acrobats, and I think Penny will have a great time, too. She's excited, too, if only because she's going to get to stay up late. I wish Matt could have come with us, but I didn't think we could get a babysitter for Alex who could stay up that late on a school night.

(Penny was, by the way, extremely good while Alex was sick. She was mostly understanding of us having to give him so much extra attention, and not too whiny about being bored, and even made up little songs to sing to him to help him calm down and rest in the evening. Best. Big sister. Ever.)

At any rate, I'm really looking forward to the show tonight!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Messy Day

Yesterday was just a mess.

Customer A had discovered that we'd forgotten to send them our source code with a previous delivery, and wanted it. They also want some code that was given to us by a vendor/partner, that doesn't belong to us, so we technically can't release it. There was a lot of back-and-forth about exactly what we were giving them -- all the code? Just the parts that changed? All the code for the parts that changed? All discussion happened via email, because the project manager is on the road this week.

They also wanted us to make some changes to some documents for the build we delivered last month -- some of which don't make sense. (Some of which would then make the software noncompliant and necessitate re-writing parts of it.) So while the managers and the customers are hashing out which of their requested changes we're actually going to keep, the clock is ticking down toward the delivery... We finally got them to agree to wait on the updates until next week, at least.

And there are some documents due soon for the build that we're currently working. Confusingly enough, these are some of the same documents they want re-written for the previous build (e.g., Test Description, Design, etc.) The schedule was getting pretty confused because email traffic sometimes neglected to specify which build they were talking about at any given time.

And then customer B decided they're ready for a software delivery, too, so on top of customer A's nonsense, I had to review documents and software and prepare the delivery for customer B. And that software couldn't be tested at this location, so it had previously been sent up to the customer's test site, which is fine except now I have no way to actually verify that what was tested matches what we're delivering.

To make matters worse, my documentation specialist had a death in the family, so her head was not altogether in the game and we were frantically trying to get things settled enough for her to take today off.

I spent most of the day trying to keep the fires under control. I didn't get breakfast until 10:45, and I didn't get lunch until 3:30.

Here's hoping today is a little calmer. We'll see, I guess.

The weekend should be pretty good. We're hoping to take the kids to visit my folks for a bit, and Matt has his monthly D&D game on Saturday, and other than that, things should be pretty calm and relaxed.

Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mountains and Valleys

I took half the day off yesterday so I could take Alex to his 15-month checkup and then go to the gym without feeling guilty about it.

Alex was awesome. He finally officially outweighs the cat, at 25-ish pounds, and is up to 32 inches tall, which makes him pretty darned tall for his age, though that measurement is suspect, since the nurse marked his head and heels, then straightened a crease in the paper, which could have added as much as an inch. (But even if you subtract that inch, he's still well above average height.)

He was well-behaved for the nurse and the doctor. He wasn't too keen on having his ears looked at or his little testicles prodded, but he didn't fuss up, just tried to squirm a little and gave the doctor a very dubious look.

He screamed for the immunization shots, of course, but stopped as soon as I picked him up afterward, and was fine while I got him dressed. He dozed off in the car and when we got to daycare, wandered off to see what his classmates were doing at the water-table without so much as a backward glance. Yay, independence!

And then last night, Penny had a birthday party to attend, and since it was at a restaurant literally next-door to the daycare, we just went straight there after picking up Alex. He was really good for that, too -- happy and excited to be somewhere new, wandering and exploring but mostly good-tempered about being "redirected" to stay in the party area. I panicked briefly over having forgotten to bring a sippy cup for him -- but then he figured out what to do with a straw! Whoo!

Penny had a great time at the party, though she was frequently overexcited and loud -- but then, so were the other three girls. It's a good thing the restaurant was only sparsely attended. Of course, when the party wound down and it was time to go, she got grouchy about it (pizza, cake, and ice cream smacking into her blood sugar -- I'm almost surprised she was able to walk) and was surly all the way home.

At which point I dumped both the tired Alex and grouchy Penny on Matt and fled to Book Club, where I covered myself in glory by offering up a diatribe about the difference between God and Jesus and why I'm not a Christian anymore (it had to do with the book, really) in front of our new book club member, who is... wait for it... the pastor's wife. Whoo, go me! Well, I've always been the club's token non-Christian, the frog amongst the fish.

I'd post my personal review of the book here, but then I'd have to get into the whole religion thing, and I don't have that kind of energy right now. Or time. Maybe someday, I'll get around to it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This and That

So the kindergarten classes at Penny's school put on their Patriot Program last night. This year's combined kindergarten class is so huge -- 150 students -- that they couldn't all fit on their stage at the elementary school, so instead they held it in the auditorium of a middle school. (Not the middle school that the kids will one day actually attend, mind, but another middle school half an hour away.)

As these things go, it was pretty standard: they'd never been able to rehearse in the space, so it took them an extra ten minutes to get the kids filed in an arranged on the stage; half the kids were completely unintelligible due to being quiet or shy or still having a lot of baby-talk habits; a couple of kids got stage fright (but only one actually broke down into tears and couldn't say her line -- poor thing); and most of them could either sing the songs or do the hand motions, but not both at the same time (Penny to be included in that particular list); and of course the singing itself was, well, childish.

Penny's line was to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, so she had her part early on, and she did very well with it, if I do say so myself. Though the microphone was set just a little bit too high for her, so she did it while craning her neck upwards. About ten minutes in, one of the teachers sitting on the floor noticed that the short kids were craning and the tall kids were stooping, and started reaching up to adjust the angle for them.

(Though speaking of short and tall, I noticed that Penny is no longer the second-shortest kid in her class. She's even a smidge taller than one of the other little girls who, at the beginning of the year, was significantly taller than her. She's still on the short side, but I don't have to worry that her growth is stunted or anything.)

Anyway, she did great and Matt and I were really proud of her. (If only Alex had consented to watch the show... He got squirmy and bored before they even started, so Matt watched the whole thing from the back of the auditorium, spending most of it out in the hallway.)


Between the program and the excitement it caused, both kids went to bed late last night. By the time we got them down and I'd taken a quick shower, it was 9.

"I think I'm going to do my wiirkout, start my flickr uploads, and then go to bed," I told Matt.

Twenty-eight minutes into what is usually a 35-minute routine, I wondered why my arms were so achey. Well, I did use the arm-bar while I was on the elliptical at the... gym... today.

Aheh. So I did a Wii Fit workout on top of having gone to the gym. Does that mean I get to skip today's planned wiirkout?

Monday, March 23, 2009


It was a mostly good weekend, though yesterday was a bit rough, with a killer headache that I couldn't shake loose; Alex falling face-first into Penny's bath while Matt was putting laundry away and I was on the Wii Fit (he's fine, though both kids were briefly traumatized); and then a bit of a mood crash in the evening (so much for my theory that the swings were PMS).

So I'm still feeling kind of low and colorless and blah today, though at least not actively depressed, which I guess is good. I need to pull it together, though, because the next few days are going to be simply insane, and to a lesser extent, the next couple of weeks.

Today is my usual hectic Monday with meetings, etc. -- and I really have to get to the gym at some point, because tonight is Penny's school program. I'll be leaving work a bit early to go home and make some dinner for us to eat on the road, because it's most of a half-hour drive to the school where they're doing the play, and Penny has to be there at 6. (Matt and I already decided that he's on baby duty for the play, because I am the Multimedia Woman. Expect pictures in the near future.)

Tuesday I have an appointment with my OB/GYN so he can "investigate" the abnormal tissue in my cervix. I anticipate that being just oodles of fun.

Wednesday morning is Alex's 15-month checkup. And once again, I have to fit a trip to the gym in during the day, because that evening Penny has a birthday party to go to, after which I have book club, so neither the gym nor even a Wii Fit session are going to be possible.

Thursday and Friday are more or less "normal" (though it should be noted that Fridays, for me, are as lousy with meetings as Mondays). Saturday evening, Matt has his monthly D&D game.

Then next week, Penny has an appointment with her endocrinologist, and I'm taking her to see an acrobat show (a double-treat, as she'll be up way past her bedtime on a school night), and that weekend we're going to get together with the Hickses for Kevin's birthday.

After all of which, juggling Penny's spring break will probably feel positively luxuriously indolent.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Intellectual Growth

One: "Alex, where's your mouth? Your mouth? ...Yes! Very good! Where's your nose? ...Great! Where's your eyes? ...Yes! Where's your ear? ...Very good! Where's your head? Yes! Where's your tummy? ...Good job! Where's your arms? ...Reaching high! That's my smart boy! Where's your legs? ...No, that's your chest. Legs? ...Well, okay, maybe not. How about feet? Yes!"

I had no idea he knew that many body parts.

Two: Alex found a paper towel lying around, and started amusing himself by tearing pieces off and handing them to me. He was holding it in his left hand and tearing/handing with his right, and I was indulgently collecting bits of paper towel and giggling along with him, though I admit I was more taking delight in his good humor than really grasping the hilarity of the activity.

About halfway through the paper towel, he suddenly ripped off a piece that was bigger than what remained in his left hand. He started to reflexively hand me the large piece, stopped, looked down at the two pieces, then carefully and deliberately handed me the smaller one.

So apparently he also grasps the concepts (if not the words) of "bigger" and "smaller" -- and moreover, is capable of making value judgments about which is better.

Three: Bored with the paper towel ripping, Alex looked over at me and discovered, apparently, hey! I had a whole handful of paper towel bits! I uncrumpled one and offered it to him, and he took it with the greatest delight.

"Alex. Put it in the trash?" I pointed at the living room trash can. "Put the paper in the trash?"

He didn't hesitate. He turned around, tottered straight over to the can, and dropped the paper in. Then he came back for another bit of paper towel. I gave it to him. "Put it in the trash, Alex." He did so, and came back again. I gave him another piece of paper towel, and this time he didn't even wait for me to ask, but took it straight to the trash.

So he can comprehend simple instructions and even extrapolate them into similar circumstances.

Alex is more clever than I've been giving him credit for. Cool!

Friday, March 20, 2009


The other night, Matt and I were sitting around trying to relax, and Matt heard someone walking around upstairs. He went up to check, and found Penny in our room. She'd turned the light on, and was on the bed taking her pyjama bottoms off as if she was getting ready for her bedtime shot.

"What are you doing?" Matt asked.

Penny glared at him.

"Why are your pants off?"

She glared again.

"Come on, put your pants back on and get to bed," he said.

"They're not!" she hissed.

"Yes, they are," Matt said. He made her pull her pants back on. Blood sugar lows (and excessive highs) can make her growly and slightly irrational, so he did a check: 140, perfectly within limits. Just a normal bad mood, for no apparent reason. "Time to go back to bed. Do you want to walk, or do you want me to carry you?"

She glared at him again. "You," she snapped sullenly.

He picked her up, and while he walked to her room, she commenced digging her chin painfully into his shoulder and collarbone. He dropped her on her bed. "Go to sleep," he commanded.

Fifteen minutes later, we heard movement again. Matt went upstairs to check on her. She was in the bathroom, going potty. "Hi, Daddy!" she chirped, sleepily cheerful and sweet.

"You feeling okay, punkin?" She nodded. "Don't forget to flush and turn the light out, okay?"

"Okay!" Not so much as a rolled eye for the reminder.

Back downstairs, we pondered her turnaround, until Matt said, "I wonder if she was sleepwalking."

My mother sleepwalks occasionally. She'll get out of bed, wander around the house, get a drink of water, and usually wake up when she goes through the living room and sees the clock on the DVD player. One morning, she woke up at o-dark-thirty sitting out on the porch and working on the crossword puzzle she hadn't finished the previous day.

My brother used to rock back and forth in his sleep. When he was a kid, he literally shook three beds to pieces. That habit followed him to college, and he didn't stop until he moved in with a girlfriend who would elbow him whenever he started it up.

I talk in my sleep, or at least I used to. When I was in middle school, I freaked out Jennie B. during a sleepover by talking about the house being on fire; and in college I annoyed the hell out of KT by waking her up at 5:30 or 6 with a long discussion about whether I was going to go to my morning class and whether I should break up with my boyfriend. In both cases, when they asked me about it in the morning, I had no idea what they were talking about. (Matt says he hasn't noticed me doing it, though occasionally it will happen that he'll refer to a conversation we've had that I have no memory of at all, and it will occur to me if I was asleep.)

And Matt says his brother used to sleepwalk (sleepwalked? sleptwalked?) when he was a little kid, too.

So there's some precedence for Penny being a sleepwalker.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Mandi is my hairdresser. I say that with a straight face, which is really something, because I'm horrible about keeping my hair trimmed, and "hairdresser" implies that I'm in there every two weeks, when in reality it's more like two or three times a year.

Anyway, when I can be bothered to remember my hair, it's Mandi who fixes it for me. I like her quite a lot, which is really saying something for me, because she's a tiny little skinny woman, and I have major issues with tiny little skinny people -- especially women. But she's so open and friendly that it just seems wrong to even consider whether she cares how fat I am. That's just the kind of person she is.

I also envy her, because she quite obviously loves her job, and she loves the salon where she works and the people she works with. She greets every customer as if they're a long-lost friend. Her memory is incredible: like I said, I'm only in there a few times a year, but she remembers who I am, and the names of my kids, and that my hair is thick but fine and that it's curly when it's wet but dries as straight as a board.

I've started taking Penny with me for haircuts, and I learned that Mandi keeps a bag of cheap toys (think Happy Meal leftovers) and an entire drawer full of candy for her young customers to pick from. Unsurprisingly, Penny also adores Mandi.

When I spend my hour in Mandi's chair, she draws me out of myself. She makes me wonder how different my life would be if I had a job I really loved. If I were a teacher, maybe... Or a writer...

It's not likely to happen, but it makes for a nice fantasy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Edge of the Map

I saw a comic, years ago, about an adventuring party who ran into... nothing. No monsters, no dungeon, no walls, no floor. A big blank area. "What's this?" one of them asks. "This," responds the wizard, "is uncharted territory. Yes, gentlemen: we're off the map. The GM didn't make anything up past this point."

I might have the dialogue wrong (hell, I can't even remember what comic it was) but you get the idea.

I mention it because that's sort of what driving felt like, this morning. It's foggy. No, seriously, I mean FOGGY. Near Alex's daycare, I literally could not see more than twenty feet in front of the car. I was honestly worried I would miss my turn, because I couldn't see the buildings on the other side of the street that I use as my landmarks until I was actually level with them. It was easy to imagine that the road and its immediate surroundings were being created on the fly, just because there had to be something there as I moved forward.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So I came back from the Monday morning meeting yesterday to find a cheerful message sitting in my gmail inbox, letting me know that my PayPal transaction had been approved.


Okay, maybe it's a phishing scam. I logged into PayPal (not using the links in the email, because I'm not a complete idiot) to be sure, and... Nope. Not phishing. Not one, but two $150 charges, buying "points" from some gaming site.

Well... fuck. I called PayPal, and after pounding my head for a while on their frustrating phone menu, eventually wound up chatting with a very nice man named Brian, who put a lock on my account, halted payment to the gaming site, submitted the two charges as fraudulent, and recommended that I call my bank and, with proof of unauthorized activity, try to stop the payment from transferring over to PayPal to begin with. He also offered me a key fob device, and waived the usual $5 fee, which was very nice (and yes, I took him up on it).

Then I called the bank, and that was... more complicated. I ended up calling PayPal back, and then the bank again, and then going down to the bank with my unauthorized access tickets from PayPal and talking to the branch manager for a while.

The upshot of it is this: PayPal, who requested the funds from the bank, is authorized to do so, and I want them to remain authorized, so the bank will not waive its $15-per-incident fee for stopping payment transfers. Once PayPal finishes their investigation and determines that the order was fraudulent, then I can submit paperwork to the bank to get my money back. Which is a ridiculous amount of effort on my part for $30, when instead I could just wait for the money to hit my PayPal account and transfer it back. Or even leave it there and just make my next few 'net purchases via PayPal instead of my credit card.

So, what did I learn from the whole mess?

1) I should change my password more often. Also, I should now go change all my other banking and business passwords, since many of them are similar to the one I was using for PayPal. (Yes, I know, it's bad practice, but my head is not big enough to remember more than a handful of passwords, and using duplicates was a lesser evil than writing them down. Seriously, when will I be able to link sites to an iris scan?)

2) PayPal has awesome customer service (once you figure out how to get to them).

3) My bank's customer service is not so much with the awesome. The first person I talked to was even kind of snippy with me about it.

Never mind that. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Yeah, I know. I'm not Irish or Catholic, so I have no excuse except that I like green and Penny was very excited about the whole thing.

Of course, next year Alex will be picking out his own clothes, so I took advantage of his current state of fashion oblivion to dress him up like a little leprechaun.

(He had a little "crown" that was a strip of green construction paper with yellow shamrocks on it, but he wouldn't leave it on long enough for me to take that picture.)

I made corned beef and cabbage last night for dinner (since tonight is chicken nugget night, and you just don't mess with a five-year-old's chicken nuggets!) and am having leftovers for lunch today. Excellent and easy recipe, but man, corned beef is rough on the diet...

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Proper Weekend

Finally, a decent weekend.

Matt did not work. (And, as he pointed out, the slightly crappy weather meant he didn't have to mow the lawn, either.) We each got a turn to sleep in as late as we wanted.

Matt's mom called Saturday morning to tell us that Matt's sister had her baby, so I'm now officially an aunt! Very exciting. We need to send some gifts soon.

Saturday, Alex took a morning nap and woke up at exactly the right time for us to head out for the birthday party Penny had been invited to. Penny had a great time running around and bouncing, and Alex even got adventurous enough to toddle around a bit, though he made sure Matt or I stayed close. Both kids enjoyed the pizza and cake, of course, and Penny's sugars leveled out surprisingly quickly afterward, which was nice.

After we got home, Alex took another nap and woke up exactly in time for us to go out for dinner, so we went to La Tolteca. And since I'd skipped the pizza and cake, I ate my entire plate of fajitas, including sour cream and guacamole. Yum!

Sunday, we made it down to my parents' house to visit for a couple of hours. They were happy to visit with the kids, and it was nice to see how quickly Alex adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings (though he still panicked if he saw me leaving the room -- guess he's not old enough yet to have drawn the conclusion that being at Grandma and Grandpa's house without Mom and Dad is actually more fun).

Alex is getting better and better at responding to verbal cues -- he'll now point to his head, his eyes, his ears, and his mouth, if he's in a mood to play such games. He'll also fetch his shoes for me in the morning, and books for his pre-bedtime reading at night.

After we got back from my folks', both kids were sent upstairs for a rest, and I took advantage of the quiet to (finally) finish doing our taxes. We owed for the federal, but are getting about the same amount back from the state, so I guess it works out. The balance even works out in our favor, though not really enough to qualify us for "mad money". More like, enough to treat us to pizza some night. Whoo. Still, I'm glad to have that chore off my plate.

Back to work today, but today looks like a relatively calm day, so hopefully I'll be able to ease into the work week, a bit. Really, I'm just glad to have had a proper weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Finally Friday

This week has been incredibly long. I'm glad it's Friday. Here's hoping I can manage to rest and relax some this weekend.

We've got plans, of course. Penny has a birthday party to attend tomorrow (before which we really should pick up a birthday present). And we haven't been to visit my parents in a while, so we'll probably go do that on Sunday.

But those are mostly pretty relaxed plans, so here's hoping.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleepy Morning of Randomness

I don't want to be at work; I want to be at home, taking a nap.

Not that there's anything new in that.

I feel a little nauseous, but I can't claim I'm sick and go home. It's from the vitamins and allergy meds. I think I need to get myself a second pillbox and start lugging them to work with me so I can take them with food.

I had a vial test for my allergy serums early this week, so I can't go back until next week, which gives me an "extra" lunchtime this week. So Matt and I are meeting for lunch today, which we haven't been able to do for way too long. I'm looking forward to it. Just need to figure out where we're eating so I can budget it into the diet for today.

Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday; I called to wish her a happy one. It was an almost normal conversation for the first few minutes, and then she started looping on asking me how the kids were -- she asked about Penny, and when I was done, she asked about Alex, and then she asked about Penny again. I let it go for about three rounds and then gently diverted her and wrapped it up. But at least she got everyone's name right -- even Alex's.

Matt's office finally went live last night with the release they've been trying to get up for the last two weeks, so he shouldn't have to work this weekend, thank goodness. (Knock on wood.)

Alex is doing the most adorable thing, lately... He's completely in love with Ziggy, and anytime Ziggy is sitting still, Alex will toddle over to him, lay his head on whatever part of Ziggy he can reach, and say, "Awwwww," which is his baby equivalent of a hug. I keep trying to get a picture or a movie of it, but toddlers are highly susceptible to a corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which you may observe a behavior, but that it is completely impossible to document or induce it.

(Of course, he's also completely driving poor Ziggy mad... He grabs the cat's tail and paws without restraint and pokes at his face. Ziggy has been baited to nearly the point of biting on several occasions.)

If you're getting the notion that I'm a little scatterbrained today, you're not wrong.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crap Day

So in addition to the sad kids making me feel guilty in the morning and the pile o' work crap and my appointment with the boobsmasher...

I got a call around lunchtime from my OB/GYN's office to tell me that my pap smear came back abnormal.

Which is about a 99% certainty that I've got the HPV virus. It's an STD, but something like 70% of adults have it because it tends to lay dormant -- but still be transmittable -- for years. And even when it wakes up, it has no external symptoms. Sometimes (maybe even usually?) it clears up on its own, and sometimes it has to be treated. If left untreated, it can (but does not always) give rise to cervical cancer. Which is why it's important for women to have their pap smear every year. (The 1% chance this isn't HPV is that it's already developed into cancer. Since I do get my smear every year, this is pretty incredibly unlikely.)

In any case, this isn't a panic item at the moment. What it is, right now, is mostly an annoyance -- I have to go back to the doctor in a couple of weeks so he can stick a special microscope up my hoo-hoo and look around ("colposcopy") and extract a sample of the abnormal cells to do a biopsy, just to be on the safe side. Then, depending on the severity and the precise location of the flare-up, he'll decide how to treat it. (The options are typically either surgical removal or cryogenic cauterization. Sounds like fun. Either way, they'd better line me up with the good drugs.) No telling when that will happen, but I'm willing to bet that Murphy will line it up with something incredibly inconvenient, like while my parents are in Mexico and unable to help babysit.

So I had all that on my mind to process while I was getting my boobs smashed. (Not fun, but at least it went quick -- I don't think I was at the Women's Imaging Center for more than 15 minutes, including the time I was sitting in the waiting room.)

Then I came back to the office for the afternoon's run-around-and-be-crazy, and was handed work to take home. (I was told that I could leave it until this morning, but it was in that "sure, you can drown puppies and kittens if you WANT to" tone. I thought about leaving it until today anyway, then thought of the amount of work I need to get done, and that I really, really need to get to the gym today, and decided I'd go ahead and work it anyway. Because I'm a team player. Aheh.)

Today is going to be better. It had damn well better.

It started off better, anyway. Alex started to cry when I dropped him off, but he was diverted by the promise of a book from the teacher he doesn't much care for. Maybe he'll warm up to her, yet.

Penny said, "Mommy, don't make me cry today."

I said, "How did I make you cry?"

"I wanted another hug and a kiss!"

"Okay, tell you what. You tell me, right now, while we're still in the car, how many hugs and kisses you want today."

"Um... Four. No, five."

"Five hugs and kisses?"


"And that will be enough so you don't cry?"

"I think so."

"...Okay. Sure."

And it was. When the bell rang, we went a few steps down her hall (to get out of the way of the other kids) and she carefully counted each hug and kiss, and even giggled a little when I was doing her "special" kisses, and she walked off down the hall without any nudging and in reasonably cheerful spirits.

It's a compromise I can live with.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today is not shaping up to be my favoritest day ever.

It started off okay. Alex slept until almost 6:30, and was happy to wander around upstairs while I got dressed. Penny was excited about it being "picture day" and got dressed without being nagged. We wound up leaving the house a minute or two late, but not enough to really matter.

We got to Alex's daycare, and he was fine and dandy while I got his coat off and handed over his spare clothes, and then as I headed for the door, he broke down. They're transitioning him to the toddler side of the room, which means he was able to run for me and grab my leg. I gave him another hug and a kiss, then firmly turned and walked away... Or would have, if Penny hadn't been lollygagging. I muscled her out the door.

She was bright and cheerful right up into school, playing with a ribbon she found in the car and pretending she was a cowgirl. But when it came time to go to class, she called me back for extra hugs and kisses. "But I'll miss you," she said. "Why do I have to go to school?"

"Because everyone has to go to school," I said. "I miss you too, pumpkin. Have a fun day! Picture day!" and I left.

I hadn't been at work for half an hour when the nurse called to tell me she'd arrived at her kindergarten class in tears, sobbing, "Mommy left me!" as if I'd just broken up with her.

She's despondent almost every morning, mind, but it doesn't usually dissolve into tears. I don't know if she's tired, or if her post-breakfast blood sugar spike is particularly high today, or what. It's not like I can let her get out of going to school. So I'm just sitting here feeling guilty and wondering what I'm doing wrong, that my kids hate school so much. I loved school, when I was little.

To be fair, I don't think Alex hates school. I think he just doesn't like the early morning toddler teacher. Which is fair; I'm not wild about her myself. I'm sure she's very nice, but she doesn't smile very much, and she doesn't show much in the way of enthusiasm or energy. But if he gets in the habit of not liking her, will it turn into a habitual breakdown every morning, even after he's not in that class anymore? Ugh.

And here I sit, at the job I despise (today, I get to write up some meeting minutes, have a meeting with one of the project managers to hash out some details, do some paperwork, review a couple of documents, and then start working on retooling about a hundred pages of processes to specifically fit one of our projects).

But hey, I get a reprieve this afternoon -- I've got an appointment for a mammogram! Whoo! Boy, if there's anything in this world that could make me appreciate being at work, it's an appointment with the boob-smasher!

Illness and snow and more illness sucked up the vacation time I'd been planning to use to take a few days off later this month, but I think I might need to take at least one day, anyway. I need to recharge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bitten Off

Just a note.

If you're a software or web development shop, and you're having to call in significant numbers of your crew on the weekend to work 12-14 hour days for multiple weekends in a row... You've bitten off more than you can chew, and you need to back the fuck up and figure out what's gone wrong.

Here's one possibility: Maybe you should actually listen to your crew when they tell you that they can't add "just one more" feature and still meet the build deadline.

Matt did not get to sleep in, or enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend, or play with the kids for more than about ten minutes a day. The kids did not get to go to the library or the park, and they spent way more time being told "Be quiet, Daddy's on the phone" than kids under 10 should. I did not get to go to the gym or shopping for a new pair of jeans.

Oh, and the build? Still had to be delayed. Grrrr. Seriously, if this happens again next weekend, I'll be tempted to head down there to give them a piece of my mind. I could go into detail about exactly what's going wrong over there, that this is happening, but it would just irritate me again to no good purpose.

On the plus side, the kids were fantastically good (with allowances for their respective ages, of course, but still!) and even Alex was patient with me having to lug him all over town to run errands. And the weather was amazing, so Penny spent a lot of time running around outside with Ray from next door, which cut down somewhat on the number of times I had to tell her to be quiet, and we had the windows in the house open, so Matt at least got fresh air, if not sunshine.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I'd gotten all excited.

See, I'd tried something new for my breakfast -- I'd brought in a whole wheat, low-fat english muffin and used it to make an egg sandwich. It was working out surprisingly well.

And when I say "surprisingly well," I mean that I was looking up from my work at 12:30 or 1 and realizing that not only had I not gotten hungry before lunchtime, I still wasn't hungry well into lunchtime. Yesterday, at 2:30, I forced myself to eat lunch even though I really didn't want it.

It was the miracle breakfast! Real and lasting satisfaction! I was excited!

An hour or so later, it occurred to me that maybe my appetite was minimal because I was coming down with the stomach uck. Alex had it last week; Matt's had it, off and on, most of the week... it was bound to be my turn. And hey, some of that tiredness and exhaustion that I've been complaining about for the last few days? Possibly also a side-effect of encroaching illness!

By the time I got home from work, there was no doubt: the Uck had found me.

I'm at work today because I more or less have to be, but I'm kind of draggingly exhausted and my stomach is far from settled. I packed myself mostly yogurt and other pap to eat, and we'll see how the day goes. I may end up giving up the ghost a bit early.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I just feel exhausted this morning. Possibly I need more sleep. I'd actually intended to go to bed early last night, but Matt and I wound up getting caught up on some of our saved TiVo shows. (I'm up to two TV shows, now: Leverage and Dollhouse. Plus if Matt's watching Terminator while I'm in the room, I'll usually end up watching it anyway.)

The problem with the car turned out to be an assortment of things, in fact. The emissions monitoring computer had gone on the fritz, and three of the four sparkplugs were misfiring, and (due mostly to the 'plugs) there was a buildup of carbon and oil in the fuel system gumming up the works.

Luckily, the emissions monitoring computer was still under warranty, so I managed to get out for less than $500. Still, I'm pretty sure I could have thought of something more fun to do with the money. (New pants, for example.)

At least I got my car back, and I made it to the gym last night. It wasn't my best workout ever, but it was nice to get a break from the Wii. It's cute and fun and all, but I'd never intended to use it daily.

Penny was all over the place emotionally this morning -- she wanted to snuggle with me, she was furiously angry that I couldn't make the pair of pants she wanted appear out of thin air; she was playful and happy; she was clingy and whiny. I would have bet cash money that her sugars were out of whack, but her pre-breakfast check was a near-perfect 101. Sometimes, five-year-olds are just moody, I guess.

(Still, the part where she stomped into my room, completely naked, clenched her little fists, and snarled, "Different pants. Now!" nearly bowled me over with laughter. Also, I was kind of amused a bit later when she came in wearing a skirt and gave me her "how do you like my outfit" look, and then when I started to tell her it was cold and she'd need to wear tights to keep her legs warm, held up a finger and interrupted me, "Ah!" in her best imitation of my own "I'm not going to listen to this and you'd better rethink what you were about to say" tone.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Got in the car this morning to the sight of: you guessed it! the "check engine" light and the little red triangle-and-exclamation-point warning sign.

(You'd think, since the display is a freaking touchscreen computer, that they could display some vaguely useful information. I'm not even asking for sophisticated analysis here; just the name of the system that triggered the warning. Fuel? Air intake? Carburetor?)

Well, that's annoying, I thought. But easy enough to deal with. I'll take the kids to school and make another appointment to bring the car to the shop.

I backed out of the driveway, then put the car in Drive and stepped on the gas. rrRRrrrrrr, said the car. It lurched into motion, but then refused to speed up past 3mph.


I checked to make sure I was in the right gear, stepped on the gas again. rrrrrr, said the car, and we made it up to 5mph.

This... was not good.

Maybe the engine just needs to warm up a bit, I thought. I drove to the end of the street, and the car made it up to 10mph. An improvement! I stepped on the gas a bit harder, and the car... slowed down.

I drove around the block that's situated at the end of our cul-de-sac. Not once did I get the car over 15mph. But it was slowly improving. I decided to drive aimlessly around the neighborhood a little longer and see what happened. Every time I tried to accelerate quickly, the car slowed down, as if it was doing the reverse of what I wanted it to. I turned down the street perpendicular to ours. The one with the big dip and hill.

Going up the hill, the car slowed down again. The emergency brake light came on, though I hadn't actually touched the brake. I set the brake and released it, but the light stayed on, and the car pulled to a standstill. Then it started to drift backwards down the hill.

It handled like a car that wasn't turned on, but I managed to wrestle the wheel around so that it at least backed sideways. My dashboard display was starting to look a little weak, like its battery was dying. I turned the car off, whispered, "Come on, baby," and turned it back on.

The dash display was bright and shiny again. I hit the gas, and the car lurched twice, then started to drive almost normally. A tad sluggish, but I made it up to 25mph before I got to the end of the street.

I drove around the block again, just to test. Managed to get up to 35 without any problems.

Okay. Now what?

I headed toward Alex's daycare, thinking furiously. Halfway there, I called Matt. "Car's busted again," I told him. "Can you meet me at the Toyota place and take Penny to school, please?"

I got Alex to school and took Penny to the Toyota shop. Matt showed up while they were getting me checked in. He's in the middle of a bignasty mess at work, so I told him not to wait for me -- get Penny to school and get on back to work. About ten minutes later, when they'd finished checking me in, the shuttle pulled around and took me to work. I wound up only about ten minutes later than usual, so it's not so bad.

But for petesake, I'd like things to work correctly for a while after this, 'kay? And also, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if spring would actually show up.

And just so this isn't entirely bitching and whining -- Alex was so damned adorable last night I could've eaten him up with a spoon.

We were sitting on the floor in my bedroom, playing while Penny was in the bath, and he was poking at various parts of my face and I was naming them: Nose. Eye. Cheek. Eyebrow. Nose. Chin. Nose. Forehead. Eye. Eye. Eyebrow. Nose. Like that.

I usually take my glasses off for this game, because he does make a distinction between my eyes and my glasses, and if I'm wearing the glasses, I can't tell what he's pointing at. (And yes, he really does include the glasses as a valid part of my face -- even after I take them off, he'll occasionally point at them instead of my face.)

Since my glasses were off, I leaned in close and gave him an "eyelash kiss" -- fluttering my eyelashes against his cheek. He giggled, so I did it again.

He laughed, then looked up at me and -- quite deliberately -- blinked his eyes several times, fairly quickly. I laughed and gave him another eyelash kiss. He giggled and blink-blinked at me again. That went back and forth several times, and it was utterly adorable.

(Of course, there's too much of a good thing... A few minutes later, he picked up one of his mega-lego blocks and smooshed it into my eyeball so I could give it an eyelash kiss, too...)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am a priestess of Murphy, and my god loves me.

"You know what you should do?" Matt said to me about a week ago. "You should take a vacation. Even just a few days off. You need to relax a little."

It was an idea with plenty of appeal. Surely, I thought, surely I can find three days in March that I can take off. Do that cleaning/organizing of the playroom one day, and then spend two days relaxing.


So quite naturally, last week, Alex got sick and Matt and I spent pretty much the whole week taking half-days off to take care of him. And he was perfectly fine yesterday, except that it snowed Sunday night and the schools were all closed yesterday, so Matt and I both stayed home to watch the kids. (Both of us because Matt's office is in the middle of trying to get a build to go live -- he wound up working all weekend -- seriously, 12-hour days, which completely sucks, so he couldn't work and keep the kids rounded up.)

So in the last week, I've burned through 22 hours of leave. Hey! That's almost three days!

This morning, I thought we were going to be lucky. Our county is the only county in the entire area that's actually having school on the normal schedule today. Every other county and city is either closed or on a 2-hour delay. And Alex's daycare was open, too. Whoo!

Then Matt discovered that the cat had peed on the carpet sometime during the night. And when I got into the car to drive the kids to school, literally thirty seconds after Matt had backed out of the driveway and headed down the road, I saw that my "Check Engine" light had come on, and my computerized display that usually shows me engine efficiency was set firmly on the screen telling me that the car was broke and I should take it to the shop post-haste.


I drove the kids to school anyway. Got stuck waiting at the railroad tracks for the world's slowest coal train. The daycare teacher suggested checking my gas cap, which I'd heard somewhere else. I tried it, but no dice.

I took Penny to school. She spent the four minutes waiting for the bell whining at me about how she was too tired for school today. And the classroom assistant passed us in the hall as I was giving her a goodbye hug and kiss and told Penny to keep her coat on, because the classroom didn't have heat.


Today is not looking like it's going to be my favoritest day ever. Can I get a do-over?

At least Penny got to enjoy the snow.

Edit/Addendum, 12:30pm: Made an appointment for the car, arranged transportation, moved a doctor's appointment that I wasn't going to get to. When I left the office to get my allergy shots and then drop the car off to be fixed... it had spontaneously fixed itself. No warning lights, nothing.

So I called the fixit shop and canceled that appointment, and called my chiropractor and got that appointment back, and my day is back to the more or less even keel on which it started, except for the cat pee on the rug. And the fact that the heat in my office appears to be on the fritz.