Tuesday, November 29, 2005


You know, some years you skate by these holidays without event... and then some years...

We had planned on convening at my sister's house but that plan got scotched when my Grandmother had a bad fall and had to be hospitalized a few days before. I suppose we could have just stayed home but it seemed unthinkable. We wanted to be together (my sister will be in that hurricane state for Christmas this year. No, not that one, the other one. Right. The long one that gets all the aid.) so we piled kids in car at the last minute, got days off and just went.

My Grandmother was brought home from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. Nothing broken apparently but at nearly 90 a fall takes a long time to recover from. We made the 6 hour trip, stopping along the way for food and to amuse the kids at a little park in Cabrillo on the slides, and everyone was in good spirits. Grandma seemed to be OK, my mom was there supporting my grandparents and we all wanted to support her. When we arrived at the hotel where my sister and her family were already in the suite, we called to see if we should push on to the GPs (Grandparents) or not. Nope, says my mother, go feed yourselves and then call later.

There's nothing like searching for food in a strange city. One always ends up chosing a know evil. Our choice: Hometown Buffet. I know what you're thinking! But how can you beat feeding a toddler for $1.95! And we've got a littler one (Significant Other version 2) who eats alot! It is always good on the way down but once it gets there all bets are off. Back in the hotel, everyone still in good moods if a bit loagie from too much mac and cheese and frozen yougurty-ice creamy substance with sprinkles we call Mom, who says, "Come on over. Grandma is waiting for you".

My sister drives pretty fast so here Significant Other was, in the dark on strange roads he hadn't travelled in years, trying to keep up with my saying, "Slow down. I know how to get there!" The second he whips round the corner to park in the driveway, SOv.2 throws up. I mean tons. I thought at first it was just the Hometown Buffet punishing her. Its all over her car seat. All over her and of course I have nothing but a baby blanket to wipe it all up. She's crying, SO runs into the house to get towels and bags for the clothes. I manage to clean her up, change her and make a decent, if smelly, greeting to Grandma who is bedridden.

So, poor little sweet gal, SOv.2, pukes all night long. Which means of course that I am up and awake all night. I send SO out into the foggy wilds of Santa Maria in a questionable part of town at 3 in the morning for Pedialite, which she won't drink and when she does, pukes back up. You know, there is a real problem with Pedialite that I think the manufacturers should consider: KIDS WON'T DRINK IT! In the morning I think she's finally done but just as I am getting in the shower I see my sister whip past me with a towel. Poor gal. Twelve hours of puking. That's too much for an 18 month old to take! But she handled it with her normal good grace.

Thanksgiving day went fine. I shared cooking with brother-in-law and my mom. Everyone ate, including SOv.2 who by that time was feeling better. Except me. My stomach was dodgey all day and I felt sure I was to follow in SOv.2's footsteps at any moment. But no.

Then it came time to spread the ashes. My Uncle died in October and was cremated. We had not yet planned what to do with them though my Grandma felt sure he'd want to be spread in Avila Bay. So, since we were all there, including my other Uncle, we all piled in cars, sans GPs of course and went off to Avila Bay. It was not as emotional as I had expected given but that my Uncle passed away a month earlier I presume we had all done our own seperate grieving already and collectively were only to share the acceptance portion. It was almost solemn and I'd like to say it was quiet but SOv.2 cried the entire time!

The rest of the night I thought SO and SOv.1 had dodged the bullet. They played and were happy but then on Friday we set out for home. Passing Santa Barbara we decided to stop at the beach to play a bit. Six hours in a car is kinda cruel for a toddler so you have to give them something to look forward to and back at to make the time pass more smoothly. But I should have known something was up when SOv.1 said when we stopped for a snack "Cheese icky". He's never made such a ridiculous statement in his life being that he is a great lover of cheese. So, sure enough as soon as nightfall both SO and I got the sense and I looked back and sure enough, it was his turn. I mean, being sick is bad enough but being sick while travelling is insulting.

Saturday rolls around, SOv.1 is past his 12 hours of puking and he and his sister are both firmly ensconced in sick the other end. I am feeling none too well but time does not stop for mommy, oh no! SO had to go to work so I saw to the puky clothes and car seats - which had to be dismantled, washed, sprayed, Febreezed and reassembled. There should be an award for every mother who has to do that job. I am thinking, "Cool, tailend, all on the mend" when I see SO lomping down the walkway and hour early home from work. Uh oh. No sooner than he is out of his work clothes but he's in the bathroom. At least that was his sole trip. The small benefit of years of illnesses.

I seem to have dodged the puke bullet and the backend bullet this time but I always end up sicker longer than everyone else because of it. It all has to converge somewhere those pesky germs and usually they end up in my sinuses, making my jaw throb and using up at least one full tree's worth of Kleenex.

We hope for an uneventful Christmas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I had my annual exam yesterday by the wonderful doctor who delivered SOv.2 in May 2004. He is a really nice guy and always seems happy even though he is perpetually sleep deprived. We had the opportunity to gossip about celebrities, talked about our kids and finally came around to the 'age' thing. (Maybe this is my new obsession alongside real estate prices.) The issue came up because he looked at my chart at the same time as he asked if I wanted to have another baby and he said "Tick tock, girl. Better get hopping on another if you're going to do it at all". I've hit that magic 'worry' number for obstetricians.

He has just turned 45 himself and thought, for him, it was a milestone. Because, as he said, he could imagine living to 80 but not quite to 90, so 45 officially meant the beginning of the end. It means for the first time he has more years behind him than in front of him. I actually thought of this when my uncle died last month. Does everyone have this thought at some point? And how does everyone shake the 'hurry up and get something noteworthy done' panic? Or worse, the 'why bother I haven't enough time anyway' malaise. Even my doctor, an OB/GYN who has delivered hundreds of babies, feels it. "I feel like I haven't accomplished anything yet!" he said. Not a comforting thought for ME. My accomplishments are slim compared to his. But then he was talking about things like travelling in Europe, seeing movies, reading books... not work accomplishments. What I was thinking about were work accomplishments. And in that regard I have fared poorly. I have been busy busy busy trying to accomplish things my whole adult life and several years back into my childhood when I was certain that acting was my path (at the age of 7 no less) and was trying to rack up credits. But frankly, when I look at it now I have very mixed feelings. I am proud of the work that I have done. But work itself doesn't impress and could I talk about what I have accomplished in my worklife at, say, a cocktail party and be as proud? I haven't one (or several) things that I can point to that make me feel, "See, I did what I set out to do".

I pointed out to the doctor that since I just turned 40 that I was officially invisible to the world. He looked a little worried until I told him that for a man they didn't really have to worry until they were 65... or poor. I guess one of the beauties of being invisible is that you can do whatever the hell you want to. But one of the problems with that is that since you are invisible, no one will notice. (Its just slightly possible that I am overly concerned with what others think of me but you would never be able to tell that by my appearance!!)

Another gloomy consequence of being 40 is the onset of the annual mamogram. I now have a referral to have one, once SOv.2 stops nursing that is, and a handy little bit of concern about The Mom ' Pop Boob.

(OK, that's a long story: When I was struggling to nurse SOv.1, who was born about 6 weeks prematurely, my sister - who was, like SO and myself, out of work at the time - spent alot of time with us and the new baby. Since SOv.1 was not really good at nursing I had to pump and the left boob was always the big producer. I remarked that SOv.1 didn't like the left breast much because it was the big one, but he liked the littler right one because it was not so looming and more friendly. My sister then named them The Corporate Boob (left) and The Mom 'n Pop Boob (right). There you have that story...)

No doubt, it amounts to nothing but that since I am still nursing baby at night and mornings and my appointment was at 2pm my milk ducts were filled. But the doctor was being overly cautious, making me promise to wean that girl soon and go get a mamogram. One out of every eight women now gets breast cancer. The incidence is on the rise and they are not sure why and on top of that in his particular practice they have had a spate of incidents. Rotten.

"Boobs. Whaaa. Good god... What are they good for? Absolutely nursing. Say it again. Huuuu. Boobs..."

Of course, SO would not agree with above assessment. But really at this age, what are they doing dangling there all vulnerable being possibly 1 out of 8? Why isn't testicular cancer as prevelant? Fat tissue? Male dominance? We're starting to close the ranks in female heart attacks but they'll never catch us at breast cancer! Ha! Though some men do get it and no doubt its much more scary for them.

I wish I had some sort of conclusion to this line of thought to console myself with... The only thing I can think is I must remember to always take my vitamins... and hope I live to 90. Oh, imagine the dangling then!