Friday, December 12, 2008

He Has Arrived!

Well, just less than four hours after my last post, I was awoken at about 4:20am on 12/2/08 to make yet another trip to the bathroom when the unexpected happened. . .my water broke!

After an early am drive to the hospital, followed by several hours of really painful contractions and more puking (whoo-hoo!), the blessed relief of an epidural (not soon enough!) and then a crazy medical emergency when my baby's shoulders got stuck and required the assistance of (and I am not exaggerating) 20 people who descended upon me out of nowhere for the last 2.5 minutes of pushing, the Crazelette was born 14 hours and 22 minutes later.

Almost three weeks early, he never the less weighed in at 9lbs and 4 oz and was almost 22 inches long. Clearly, it's no wonder he got stuck!

His entrance was quite dramatic and the poor guy got a broken left upper arm in the process of being unstuck. Then after being released with me, he was re-hospitalized with jaundice the following day for two nights.

After spending his first night in the NICU because of low blood glucose, the broken arm and the subsequent hospitalization for jaundice, I (who got about four hours of sleep in the first four days of his life) became a blubbering basket case. Thankfully, my in-laws came into town just as Craze and I were driving the babe to the ER as instructed by the doctor because of the jaundice. They were a HUGE help and stayed with us for six days.

Now that our little baby is eleven days old, we are all doing well. His arm is healing nicely and he is a calm, peaceful and robust little boy despite all his beginning of life traumas. I have also had some more sleep and am doing much better and am so pleased to be back home where it is quiet and peaceful and no one is sticking my baby with needles, IVs, etc.

Today is, in fact, the first day that I've been home alone with my baby ever, since the in-laws left late yesterday. It has been a nice day where we slept in 'til 10am (after a couple late night/early morning feedings and diaper changes), sat in the kitchen sunshine for a couple of hours (advised for his jaundice recovery) and snuggled up on the couch while Mommy caught up with a TIVO'd episode of Days of Our Lives. I had a big breakfast but at 5pm, no lunch as yet. That said, I have taken a shower and put on real clothes, so things are looking up.

So, while the babe is still asleep, I'm off to the kitchen for a pre-dinner, instead-of-lunch snack. But before I do, I will just say that in looking at my little boy with his head full of wavy light brown hair, rosebud lips and indented chin that look just like his dad and ten perfect, tiny fingers and toes, at 43 years and 10 months, I feel like I'm looking at a living miracle and I really do feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Snowy Chicago and Some California Ducks

Still contracting, though nowhere near as much as Thursday, Friday or Saturday. At 37 weeks and 2 days, it's back to the doctor tomorrow who might have a better indication if we're looking at a baby delivery later this week or our long-expected early Christmas gift.

Chicago got hit with its first real snow last night. Only about an inch and a half, but it's sticking this time, covering the outside world in a blanket of lovely white. And even though it's really freezing outside, the doggies can't seem to get enough of it (while I stay holed up in the warm, condescending every couple of hours to let them out and then making them come back in so their paws don't freeze!).

I wish I could say that I did something interesting and/or ambitious today, but the reality is that finishing packing my hospital bag was about as much as I could muster (that and a little general tidying).

Tonight Craze and I put our feet up and watched the Detroit Red Wings beat a California hockey team with the lamest name ever. . .the Ducks. The Ducks?!?!?

I'm sorry Ducks fans, but that name does not inspire fear nor intimidation. Nor does it bring to mind skillful creatures well-versed in tricky ice maneuvers. I think of cute white duckies getting fed day-old bread in the park. . .or that swanky hotel in the South somewhere where well-mannered ducks take the elevator to the lobby fountain each day. Or Donald.

I certainly don't think of tough athletes with possibly one or more missing teeth, a penchant for cross-checking and a history of hard on-the-road living and more STDs than I could possibly ever imagine.

Ducks, indeed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Not Quite What I Expected While Expecting

So, Thanksgiving took an unexpected turn. . .

After my getting up at 3am, I finally got back to sleep around 5:30 am only to be awoken just before 10am with the worst pain in my right side. It lasted about ten minutes and then went away and I felt fine. Several hours later while getting ready for our fancy Thanksgiving lunch, who should find herself in the shower with the worst pain again? Uh. . .that would be me.

So, Craze calls the doctor on call, who thinks my symptoms sound down-right weird, but tells me to go the the triage unit of the women's hospital since she's worried I might be having a gall stone attack or an appendicitis or something else entirely, possibly related to my liver. Long story short: we drop off the in-laws at the nice down-town restaurant around 2:20pm and head to the hospital for what should be about an hour's worth of blood tests, only to actually be sent home just after 11 pm after almost nine hours of early and quite painful labor. No gall stones, no appendicitis, nothing but contractions every 2-3 minutes on my right side (oh yeah, and vomiting. . .that was fun), but I never dilated enough to be transferred up to the actual delivery unit. And I am too far along for them to give me something to make the contractions stop and not far enough along for them to break my water and get things rolling. Like being stuck between a rock and. . .well, another rock.

So, I got sent home while still contracting and throwing up in the car with a prescription for blessed, pain-relieving Oxycontin and Ambien to sleep. I'm still having contractions now (Day 4), but at least I can take a pill when and if they get really bad and am not hooked up to IVs and monitors like in the hospital. And thankfully, after my first night at home, my vomiting has also taken a blessed vacation.

I feel like I'm really in limbo now. Not sure if I'm going to have this baby any hour, any day or if this will all just stop and he'll wait it out 'til his 12/21 due date.

My in-laws were great, hanging out in the waiting room after lunch until it was time to check out. Then before heading back to Detroit yesterday my mother-in-law made food from all the previously purchased organic ingredients (beef stew, meat loaf, turkey salad) and helped Craze fold laundry. It really was an odd sensation to have someone doing so many things for me since I've been pretty much fended for myself from a young age. Weird but really very nice. As I've said before, I am very lucky in the in-law department.

As of today, I slept until around 1pm and then hung out in bed watching TV with the Bug and the Alley Cat for another hour or so. I'm drinking a lot of water and watching a lot of Christmas movies on Hallmark and Lifetime. My "big" little baby is still wriggling around periodically. Thankfully, he seemed none the worse for wear on the hospital monitors during my 9-hour labor ordeal. We're still not sure when we'll meet him in person. I guess time will tell. . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not Sleeping It Off. . .Unfortunately

The in-laws arrived very late on Wednesday and are now sleeping soundly (I hope) down in the new guest room.

Cleaning, unfortunately, took way longer than anticipated and since I did keep putting things off, left me achey and complainy when I finally finished this evening. Now that my house is clean and mostly organized, groceries bought, pumpkin bread baked and turkey breast roasted, you'd think I'd be ready for a good night's sleep. Instead, I went to bed around 12:30ish, got woken up by a noisy Craze at 3 am and have since been wide awake on this very early Thanksgiving morn while Craze and the doggies slumber away in the bedroom. (Though I just noticed that the Bear must be having some kind of bad dream as he actually sounds like he's growling in his sleep! Well, at least he's actually asleep.)

We are headed out tomorrow (aka later today) for Thanksgiving lunch to a fancy downtown Chicago restaurant right in Millennium Park (home of "The Bean" and, in Fall/Winter, the picturesque Millennium Park ice rink) which should be fun. I'm excited about having someone else cook for me and do all the dishes afterwards!

I was amazed, watching Oprah this morning, when she said she's never cooked a whole turkey. I swear, I've cooked at least 20 of those poor, de-feathered beasts over the years. Probably closer to 30 even (between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners) but I don't want to exaggerate. This year with only 3 weeks and 3 days until my little baby is due to arrive, I'm more than happy to leave the roasting, cooking and clean up to others.

So, after sneaking down to the kitchen for a cup of decaf tea and a slice of the afore-mentioned pumpkin bread, I'm really hoping, at 5:20 am, that sleep is about to catch up with me again. Hoping, but not really feeling it unfortunately. The complete irony of pregnancy is that people constantly remind you of all the sleep you'll miss out on once you become a parent. Though they never seem to relate the terrors of all the sleep you're going to miss out on during the nine months when you have more time and inclination for uninterrupted rest. So unfair! Oh how I look back now on my nights of easy slumber with relish. Total comfort. No nightly trips to the bathroom. Hardly ever waking up with only two hours of sleep and then being wide awake for no reason. I have always LOVED sleeping. Now, unfortunately, I find it hard to achieve for more than a series of cat naps interspersed between bathroom breaks.

Let's just hope I'm able to stay awake later today during our Thanksgiving feast!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Soon Upon Us

The organics have been bought but still more household chores to be done before the in-laws' arrival tomorrow. I totally recognize I'm getting boring and repetitive where my Thanksgiving cleaning is concerned, but I can't help myself.

I've had such a hard time sleeping lately that it's been a real chore to get myself geared up to do much of anything. I'm in pregnant Zombie-mode much of the day.

That said, today's the day. I made a start last night and I should be able to get it done in a few hours if I just keep my focus. Then one last trip to pick up non-organic fruit and veggies (and I will sneakily remove the labels to disguise their non-organic origin) and I am done.

But before I make my way to finish up my dust-free and clean abode, I'd like to wish one and all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. May everyone have the opportunity to break bread with people they love and take stock, even in these tough times, of all the good things in life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An "Epic" Couple of Days

My household cleaning and organization chores have been totally side-tracked by freelance work (hurray!) and free movie tickets (more hurray!).

I've done way more consulting work than cleaning in the past two days, so my upstairs is still dusty and untidy just like the downstairs. It's hard to be annoyed though when I've been making moolah by the hour.

Also, Craze made me sign up for a chance to win free advance screening tickets to see "Australia" and I won! We went last night. The film is a lovely and sweeping epic that I thoroughly enjoyed. Beware though. . .if you're anything like me, this is a major hankie movie, so go prepared. I had unfortunately neglected to have any tissues in my purse so sniffled and cried loudly throughout until Craze found a cast-off Dunkin Donuts napkin in his backpack (at which point I sniffled into that for the remainder of the film).

It really was a great movie though. It's hard not to like anything with Hugh Jackman as far as I'm concerned (and Nicole Kidman is no slouch either, just not as pleasing to my eye) but that aside, the film had the whole audience crying (even Craze!), oohing, ahhing and clapping with glee when the bad guy finally got his at the end. I love it when that happens.

So, I am off now. Must. Really. Go. Clean. . .Yes. Really.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cleaning Up on Bargains and Clutter

My three-hour shopping extravaganza left me knackered yesterday. My back and hips were killing me way before I left Target. That said, I did manage to score some good bargains on all my stocking-up necessities with weekly sales plus savvy couponing.

Thinking back, I can't believe I never really used coupons back when I had a real job (and a real salary). Those little oblongs of cut-up newspaper are free money. What was I thinking?

Anyway, I managed to blow a couple hundred bucks at Target on a giant cart load of stuff but saved about $50 with coupons. Lordy, I love when that happens. Now we are set up with tissues, paper towels, dog food and, yes, canned tomatoes for a good long while among all the other household necessities I bought. I even got a cute baby sweater with dogs on it for $2.98 (originally $12) and a pair of baby/toddler outdoor mittens for $1. If they're too big for him this winter, they'll work just fine next winter.

Boy, oh boy, do I love bargain shopping!

Craze's boss blew off their salary summit yesterday, so no word yet on whether the Sumner household can look forward to a slightly more rosy financial picture. I guess we'll find out sometime soon (hopefully).

I just got off the phone with my English auntie. A big overseas box arrived at my door yesterday with an assortment of thoughtful Christmas gifts for me, Craze and our little babe. Oh, I do love my aunt and uncle. . .I just wish they didn't live a whole ocean away.

And the seven-day countdown to in-law arrival has begun. Today, I'm going to focus on cleaning up the upstairs, finalizing the baby's room and then move down to the downstairs in the next day or two (depending on when my freelance work comes in). I also need to plan some baking time (scones, pumpkin bread and maybe cookies on the list) and then my trip early next week to Whole Foods to organify the contents of my fridge. I want to get most of it done at a leisurely pace so I'm not killing myself trying to do it all right before they get here. That's the plan anyway. . .we shall see how it unfolds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Did I Become Coupon Mom-to-Be?

I think I had my first serious Braxton-Hicks contractions last night. I thought maybe I was just feeling sick because I suddenly became nauseous and my uterus was hard as a rock for at least an hour. So, I called my best friend, Jo (mom of three), and she said she thought it was practice contractions kicking in. Lordy!

I woke up a couple of times in the night to make some of my typical 43 bathroom visits and my stomach was really hard again.

All is fine though this morning. After dreaming about going into labor (of course, what else is there to dream about?), I woke up obsessed with getting my hands on a plus-size nursing bra and stocking up on household essentials so I don't run out of anything in the next month or two (toilet paper, paper towel, dog food, tissues, canned tomatoes). Bras, toilet paper and tomatoes. . .yes, this is how my brain works. Scary.

So, off I go to Babies-R-Us to redeem my coupons I forgot last week when I made my major diaper and wipes purchase (using those coveted gift cards), then onto Target for more household staples and to take advantage of their Starbucks coffee sale ($7, buy two and get a $5 Target gift card!).

I really do have babies, pets, paper products and weekly sale circulars on the brain. I used to be a Senior Vice President at a big multi-national corporation. What the heck happened exactly to morph me into coupon mom (to-be)?

In other news, Craze is sitting down with his super cheap boss today to try and hit him up for more money. He is one of only two employees, has been there for almost eight years and, if you figure in cost-of-living increases and inflation, probably makes less today than he did in 2001. In the meantime, his boss flies to Vegas frequently and counts a Ferrari among one of his THREE high-price vehicles. He got married recently and my guess is that his wedding probably cost at least two or three times the amount Craze makes in an entire year. Clearly the cheapskate can and should step up and pay him more.

Fingers crossed that he comes away with a great pay increase and maybe (triple fingers crossed) a nice year-end bonus plan. Say it with me, people, "More money, please."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow Time and Food Fibs

The first snow came down yesterday. It snowed for quite a while but just a light covering to show for it. Most of it was gone with the sun this afternoon.

The snow is so much more dog friendly than the rain, not to mention more magical to look out at. Firstly, the dogs love going out in the snow versus when it's raining and they just look up at you as if to say "You want me to go out there, in that, and do what?!?!?" Also, they are so much easier and less messy to clean up covered in snow than rain. Yes, snow can be a dog-lover's delight as precipitation goes.

Craze went crazy (ha-ha) this weekend, catching up on numerous chores, buying home improvement supplies and doing load after load of stacked up laundry. Uh. . .where'd my real husband go??

Some more freelance work coming my way mid-week for which I'm thankful. This year has been such a bust in terms of my consulting biz that I'm thankful to make any money I can before the babe arrives this Christmas.

Beyond that job, my big undertaking this week is to get the house ready for our Thanksgiving guests. Craze's parents are coming for a few days which should be fun. His mother is crazy about all things organic though so I'm going to have to cast my frugal shopping ways aside momentarily and stock up on food and snacks at Whole Foods which is a) not in my neighborhood and b)not in my price range at the moment. Oh well. . .what are you gonna do? I may hide some labels before she comes though and fib about the all-out organic-ness of my kitchen contents if pressed. (Crossed fingers behind back getting ready for action)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, Brother! (grumble, grumble)

I am still annoyed with myself at how much I allow my brother and his wife annoy me.

The reality is that I hear from them hardly never (even though he is my only sibling and lives only about 40 miles away). And when I do hear from them, I find their tiny bits of contact irritating beyond belief.

For example, since we announced that we were expecting, I have only received a couple of emails from my brother asking about my welfare. Clearly, picking up the phone and actually conversing with me or, god forbid, stopping by my house on his daily car commute into Chicago, is WAY too much effort and trouble. As for his wife, not a single call since June. And while I don't particularly want to talk to her anyway (she is frequently a rude and overly judgemental person with whom I have little in common), it's hard not to be irritated at her total lack of interest when I called and saw them many times during both her pregnancies, attended baby showers and even used my own vacation time to care for their toddler for four days when their second child was born (for which, I really didn't even get so much as a "thank you").

Oh, I forgot. I have gotten one email from sister-in-law though in the past few months: it was a list of gifts that would be appropriate for her children for their birthdays in September. That was it. No inquiries about how I was doing. No niceties. Just an outline of the things I could buy for her children.

It's been years since they've made any effort for us to spend any of the holidays together (instead making their own plans, never taking me into account), so in the past few years, I have done the same. This means that, typically, I spend most holidays with my husband's family as they are warm and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. It is a pleasure, not an obligation. It is how family togetherness should be.

Likewise, since even organizing a lunch meeting with my brother's family at a restaurant on any given weekend in their neighborhood is a thankless undertaking (they are perpetually "busy" and never make the effort to try and initiate plans with me, it's always me being turned down), I pretty much gave up a while back.

So, yesterday, I get an email from my brother wanting us to drive 90 minutes out to the burbs to celebrate "Thanksgiving" together a week from this coming Sunday. And when I called him this morning to let him know that we couldn't come as we have a prior commitment (a breastfeeding class at our hospital), I think he was genuinely annoyed.


He makes no effort to see me since June, neither he nor his wife bother to call me about the fact that they are blowing off my baby shower (just like they did both my wedding showers) or call me for any reason for that matter from June through November and now he just expects me to be free at his convenience a few days before Thanksgiving to drive 1.5 hours to his home and back. Yeah. Right.

Given the fact that our mother has been dead for over 23 years and our father has been in a nursing home with dementia for more than five years and the rest of our extended family lives overseas, you'd think my brother might be a little more thankful for the one living, sane, blood relative that he has living on this continent (aside from his own young children). But clearly this is not the case. And I pretty much accepted this years ago since after bringing it to my brother's attention, he has made little effort to change.

So, why do I still even care? And why, oh why, do I let myself get so riled up about it all?

I think it's because of the pretense that my brother likes to carry on when it suits him (i.e. that we are still a "family," that we still are connected). And I feel bad that my relationship with my niece and nephew is not that close, but that's really down to their parents, not me. It's pretty much hard to develop a relationship with kids you are hardly ever allowed to see.

I'm sure that my son (who still with six weeks of "cooking" to go, weighs in at 6lbs, 8 oz according to my latest ultrasound--the doctor actually called him a "moose!"), will have much closer relationships with his uncles who live hundreds of miles away than the one who lives just down the road. And that's a real shame. But one that I finally need to accept that I can do little about.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Best Present Ever!

It arrived again today, that "I can't stand it any longer" hair coloring moment. Aah. . .it seems like every month it comes around all too soon along with all that pesky, white, face-framing regrowth.

Thankfully, I went a little crazy and did my raggedy nails and my roots this morning, so I am looking more beautified and put together.

Tomorrow it's off for another ultrasound to check Craze Jr's 34-week baby growth. I'm sure they're going to tell me that he already weights 10 pounds. . .or maybe that's just what it feels like. Everything is starting to pain me. My feet, my hips, my back and my numb and tingly fingertips. Oh and my "yoo hoo." At least, that's what I call it. I think in medical circles it's called the round ligament. It doesn't really matter what you call it, it frequently still hurts like a bugger.

Craze is funny. Yesterday he asked me if I would spend some time today packing my hospital bag. I think he's starting to worry that the delivery day will sneak up on us sooner than planned and we'll be totally unprepared for our trip to the hospital. He's been very good, bless him. We went Christmas shopping to the mall on Saturday (using a found gift card that I had misplaced about four years ago and coupons--hurray for found money and discounts!) and he insisted on carrying my purse much of the time along with all our purchases.

(My husband is frequently annoying but also sweet and cute and I do love, love, love him.)

We got nice presents at Macy's for Craze's brothers, dad, mom and nephew, not to mention hitting Babies R Us for the baby's crib mattress, giant boxes of diapers and wipes, a baby thermometer and a Christmas outfit for the little guy (hopefully, he's here by then). With our baby shower and "found" gift cards and coupons, all of it cost only $23 of our actual money. How great is that?!?!?

Only a few more odds and ends for Christmas and then my shopping will be complete. My aim is to get it all done and wrapped up soon so I can laze around watching Christmas movies closer to my 12/21 due date. That way I can bask in the warm feelings of the season and my last days of pregnancy without all things undone hanging over my head.

I have to say I've always been a great lover of Christmas. But this year, I'm really looking forward to my best present ever!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Join Obama to Build a Better Tomorrow

It occurred to me the other day that I have been oddly quiet on the blog front with regard to the recent election. This is especially odd as I have been an avid follower of all the campaign news and had very strong opinions about where my loyalties lie.

With that preface, I will just say that I was overjoyed to see Obama elected and extremely relieved when it was clear that Sarah Palin would be no where near a position of executive leadership over our nation. The more I read about that woman and her past activities, the scarier I found her to be. Also, as a long-time admirer of John McCain, I was very dismayed with his VP choice and thought that it showed very poor judgement on his part.

On election night rather than Chicago's Grant Park, this giant, pregnant woman instead parked herself at the kitchen table and on the couch watching the returns. I had waddled over to the polls earlier in the day and cast my ballot with hope for a better tomorrow for our country and our little son still waiting to be born.

Certainly, November 4, 2008, will go down as an historic and momentous day in our country's history. And my greatest hope now for myself, my family and our country is that all Americans can join together to build a better tomorrow. Craze frequently says I sound like a socialist, but I long to live in a country where people can get the medical treatment they need without bankrupting their families, where people genuinely look out for one another and our planet and one where kindness and real principle, rather than consumerism, reign supreme.

Do unto others. The Golden Rule. That's what we seem to have forgotten along the way. I just hope that the current hardships show us all lessons for living better, more meaningful lives as we move forward. And that we'll all back President-Elect Obama to forge a brighter future for ourselves, our country and the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Selling and Saving

I'm excited today about two things. Firstly after dealing with many weird and annoying potential buyers of my brand new Tiffany-style lamp on craigslist, I FINALLY sold it last night to a completely reasonable person who just happened to be one of my neighbors. She got a great deal on a beautiful lamp and I got most of my money back on a lamp I just didn't love from the moment I took it out of the box. Hurray!

And thank god, I no longer have to deal with weirdos like the guy last week who kept making appointments to come and see the lamp, then kept canceling and then emailed me to say that he decided not to buy my lamp because I didn't offer enough color options. Hello? I'm not a freaking furniture or online retailer, dude. I'm just a lady who bought one lamp that doesn't match my decor (which I spelled out in my ad). I don't have a garage full of Tiffany-style torchieres in a wide variety of colors and styles. People sure are weird sometimes!

Secondly, I almost peed my pants with delight this past weekend on seeing in the K-Mart Sunday sales flyer that they are offering double coupons this week. DOUBLE COUPONS!!!!

Now my friend who lives in a small town in Ohio swears by double coupon day at the supermarket to save on groceries. But when you live in the city like I do, double coupon days just do not exist. Never. Nowhere.

So, I was thrilled about the prospect of saving big bucks on stuff I don't need at the moment, but will need in the weeks and months to come (cleaning products, hair color, batteries, kitty litter, hair conditioner, paper towels). I went through my coupons last night to plan my shopping attack with an aim to double every $2 and $1 coupon I have to my name and save a boatload of cash.

Here I come, K-Mart. Get ready to bow to my couponing prowess!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Limp Wristed Milk Maker, That's Me!

It is confirmed.

So, even though I have had no consulting jobs in months that require long hours of typing nor have I taken to jackhammering concrete to make ends meet, I still have carpal tunnel in both of my hands. And it's really quite annoying.

The nurse practitioner at the doctor's office assured me that it's just due to pregnancy fluid retention and should go away after delivery. Likewise, my need to arise hours before dawn and my new and frequent hot flashes are all a result of hormonal fluctuations since my body may start making milk any time soon.

Milk!?! I've been called a cow before (by a not-so-nice person) but I guess I really never imagined the day when I would be a source of dairy goodness. This pregnancy thing keeps getting weirder and weirder! Though, looking on the bright side, if the hot flashes keep up, we'll definitely be able to save on the home heating bill this winter.

Armed with the news of my milk-making abilities and new carpal tunnel diagnosis, I left the doctor's and high-tailed it over to Target to stock up on dog food, toilet paper and wrist splints which I now get to wear as part of my nightly boudoir attire (which already includes the most ginormous, stretchy and frequently mismatched PJ ensembles I could cobble together from stuff I already own. Need I remind you, "frugal" is, of late, my middle name).

Oh yeah, people. . .I'm getting sexier and sexier. . .

Feeling Tingly, Sleep Deprived and Flashy

This third trimester where I currently find myself is rife with weird symptoms and anxiety-causing complaints. Firstly, my hands. In the past five days, my finger tips are constantly numb and tingly. It's weird and worrying.

I'm headed to the doctor's today for my 2-week pregnancy check in and was seriously worrying that I might have developed some kind of terrible ailment. Then I read on Web Md this morning that carpal tunnel syndrome is common in the third trimester due to fluid retention (and yours truly gave up wearing her wedding and engagement rings about a month ago). This did put my mind at rest somewhat, but it's still so bothersome to feel pins and needles in your fingertips 24/7.

The other thing that's out of whack is my sleep.

Now, I should start off by saying that I LOVE to sleep. I am a good sleeper who can typically sleep anywhere and through almost anything (in college, I slept through a tornado touching down outside my dorm room window). But aside from my 4, 5 and even 6 nightly trips to the bathroom, in the past week, I've just been waking up at 3, 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning and been wide awake. So, after going to bed at my usual midnight to 1 am, I get up with only a couple to a few minuscule hours of sleep.

Needless to say, by mid morning to lunch time, I'm really grumpy and feel rung out (or as my mother used to say, I feel like I've been "drug through a hedge backwards." Which now that I write it sounds confusing, but seems to sum up the feeling nonetheless).

Last but not least, while it's gotten very chilly here in Chicago (in the 20's last night), I swear I keep having hot flashes. This is so unlike me who is routinely freezing from October through April. This 43-year-old wants to know, can you start menopause at the same time you've got a bun in the oven? Truly bizarre.

On the positive side, my little baby is a busy boy who keeps kicking and wriggling around and reminding me that he's getting ready to make his way into this big, wide world. I find his movements reassuring.

And the house is in much better shape--thank goodness. The guest room is pretty much complete (and our first overnight guest was already here yesterday). Still more work to be done in the baby's room and a love seat to be sold on craigslist, but it's little stuff now and the rest of the house is back in better, more pleasing order.

Craze and I had a Come-to-Jesus set-to last week about his continuing accumulation of stuff (and, more importantly, the fact that I realized that while I've been economizing like a miser most of this year, he's still been buying CDs, DVDs and the like to add to his already overwhelming collections and spending money we just can't afford). The result is that he has sworn off any new purchases and has really made an effort to try and organize his stuff in the past days. He's even going to try and sell some of it to make some extra money.

So, while the whole set-to wasn't a pleasant experience, I think it made my shopaholic husband finally realize that he has more pressing financial and family responsibilities that don't require regular trips to Best Buy and FYE. And as tingly, tired and hot flashy as I may feel these days, knowing he's finally getting it makes me feel all the better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Preparing for D-Day

This past Sunday, Craze and I went to our all-day baby delivery class. It was a long day and after a while, I was having real problems sitting in the same chair for eight hours. That said, it really was very informative and interesting. Craze said he learned a lot and we even took a tour of all the rooms we'll be staying in once I go into labor and arrive at the hospital.

It actually was quite reassuring and I have to say that I'm not really too scared about the whole labor and delivery process. I may even opt out of getting an epidural, especially in the earlier stages of labor, as I like the idea of being able to get up and move around (obviously once you have an epidural, you're in bed for the duration). I guess we'll see how painful it is and get the drugs if I feel I really need them. I do really like the idea of mobility and being able to go take a warm shower during labor though.

Other than that, we're still in the middle of the Great House Upheaval 2008--making room for baby. We got a LOT of stuff done this past Saturday, so it's not such a mess but still a mess. The reality is, we have so much unsorted junk and clutter. Paperwork that needs to be filed, shredded or just plain thrown into the recycling bin and out of the house. Likewise, we have non-paper stuff that just needs to be gone. My husband is a pack rat who never purges anything (just moves stuff around instead of doing any actual sorting) which makes the whole process that much more time-consuming and frustrating. He even hoards old newspapers as he claims he's actually going to read them one day and/or cut out the crossword puzzles to do. I can't tell you how many times I've found 2-foot piles of old newspapers hidden in his closet, in the car trunk, in the garage, basement, even under the outside deck. I swear, I really need an intervention with that one!

I just tell him that I hope he likes this house a lot, because we're never moving until he gets his act together and has a serious purge/sorting session. Otherwise, we'll be here 'til we die. I refuse to move all his unsorted stuff again like I did when we moved into this house seven years ago. It was a real nightmare that went a month or more beyond the actual moving date (just getting the stuff out of his apartment, never mind the putting of stuff away in the new house). Never again... Never. Again.

All that said, the baby's room is almost done. Just need to buy a shelf or a small wardrobe (I've got my eye on a red bookcase from Ikea) and wash and put away a few more baby clothes. I still need to sew the valance and curtains, but that should be pretty easy.

The guest room is coming together and just more sorting of old office paper work needed to clear the bed of junk. Once the bed is made, we'll be ready for guests.

Still have the old love seat (that was in the office) turned upside down in the living room which I need to list on craigslist at an almost give-away price asap.

They'll always be more stuff to do in our cluttered home, but once all the above is complete, we'll be in really good shape. And with exactly two months to go from D-Day (Due Date, Delivery Day, whatever you want to call it), I'm confident we'll get it all together in the next couple of weeks. . .

Fingers crossed. . .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Top Three Pregnancy Surprises

I was musing this morning about things that I've found kind of amazing about being pregnant. They basically fall into three categories: 1) the on-going wonderment that I'm even pregnant to begin with; 2) teeth (you'll see why in a minute) and 3) clothing (and, more specifically, how many of my non-maternity clothes still fit just fine even though I am as big as a battleship!).

First up, I do just have to pinch myself often that I am pregnant in the first place and, with the exception of a couple worrying weeks back in the first trimester, I am doing great. Putting this in perspective, I was under the assumption much of my life that even if I wanted to get pregnant, it wouldn't be easy. My periods were always totally erratic and I'd often go six months or more without having one. A doctor once told me that I just didn't ovulate very often. Hence my conclusion that getting pregnant would be problematic. Add to this that my husband and I didn't even start trying 'til I was almost 43 AND I'm a plus size lady to begin with and the convoluted pregnancy equation seems to get even more complex and unlikely.

When I hear all the stories of random people and family members who are much younger than me, thinner than me, who have tried for years without success to get pregnant, it really reiterates what a miracle the whole thing is. We tried for five months and BINGO! It's really quite astonishing.

OK, amazing thing about being pregnant number two: teeth. "Teeth?" you say? Yes, indeed my friend, teeth. All my life, I've had one baby tooth that never fell out. When I was seventeen, the dentist was sure it was coming out and said I'd get braces after my new tooth came in, but it never happened. Just a couple of years ago, my former dentist would routinely warn me that I needed to have my now 40-year-old baby tooth removed and cough up $6,000+ for a dental implant or one day I'd be sorry (i.e. after eating pizza, caramel or something else, the tooth would fall out and this young, urban professional would end up looking like a gap-toothed hillbilly for a while). I never followed his advice because I thought the whole process sounded really painful and way too expensive.

Fast forward to a pregnant Maggie sitting on the sofa watching TV after dinner a couple of months ago. I thought I had something stuck between my teeth, got up and went to the bathroom to floss, looked in the mirror and saw the unbelievable. Rather than finding the remnants of a stringy nectarine, I instead found the tiny tip of a brand new tooth poking through my gum line! Yes, people, at 43, I'm getting my grown up teeth!

I went to the dentist who said he's never seen anything like it. My baby tooth is still holding on for dear life, but may get pushed aside in the coming months as my adult tooth has finally decided to make an appearance. Oh, yeah. . .and after I deliver the baby, the dentist has advised me that I'm still gonna have to get those braces as my new tooth is coming in sideways. Oh, hurray. . . 44 years old with a new-born baby and braces. Oh brother. . .

Finally, in getting dressed on this unusually cold Fall morning (in the 30's here in Chicago!), I realized how amazing it is that so many of my pre-pregnancy clothes still fit my more than seven-months-pregnant frame. Underwear? Still good. Long-sleeved winter t-shirts? Yep, A-OK. Black polyester dress pants I bought for last year's job interviews? Their stretchiness seems to know no bounds.

Now, as a larger woman, I've always enjoyed well-fitting clothes with a tasteful touch of spandex. The kind that help you look slimmer and sleeker without revealing every lump and bump or making you look like some woefully under-dressed Jerry Springer hoochie mama.

That said, I'm amazed and somewhat delighted that these clothes still fit and I haven't had to fork out big bucks to replace everything in my wardrobe for only nine months. Conversely, it has also made me realize that just because something still fits doesn't mean I'm not getting fatter. This is a key learning that I need to keep in mind once I'm back in my non-pregnant state. No relying on these clothes as an indicator of my healthfulness or weight loss. I'll need to stick to the scale and my jeans (which stopped fitting me at least four or five months ago) for a real barometer of my shifting (and hopefully down-shifting) size.

All in all, this whole pregnancy thing has been sort of surreal so far. I can't say I've really enjoyed being pregnant but I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the outcome. I'm excited to meet this new little person who is half me, half Craze and 100% himself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Love-Hate Relationship with Hair Color

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have pesky gray hair. In fact at 43, I bet I'm at least 50% gray or more if truth be told. Especially around my face where my roots grow in, not gray at all, but WHITE. Like platinum white. It all started when I was a young twenty and by the time I graduated from college I had a white streak on the right side of my head. At the time, I thought it looked cool--like some punkish highlight I paid to have done. But within two years, the white had spread significantly beyond the streak and I was hitting the hair color section of wal-mart with annoying regularity.

Back in the days when I had a regular salary, I dutifully went to the salon every four weeks to get my roots done. Fast forward to more frugal times and I've been coloring my own hair now for at least two years. Sometimes it comes out a little darker than I'd like, but I always find that about a week post coloring, it's about the perfect shade of medium golden brown. And at a difference of $6-$8 bucks per coloring versus my previous $100 per month charge (and even that was cheap for a Chicago salon), I can put up with a slightly imperfect color for seven days.

But I just hate that last week when I'm trying to eek out another week before a coloring session (especially now that I'm pregnant and am trying to further stretch time between colorings to avoid the chemicals). I have to refrain from pulling my hair back in a pony tail or headband as it totally accentuates my white, face-framing roots and makes me look tired, haggard, washed out and just plain OLD, no matter how I'm really feeling.

On those bad roots days, it depresses me even to look in the mirror as no amount of skillfully applied make-up, nice clothes or anything can overcome the aging power of those nasty white roots. It makes me feel like my mother at fifty. It makes me feel a good ten years older than my younger husband (who, in reality, is only a mere 18 months younger than me). It makes me feel like a real frump.

This morning, planning to wait another two days to color, I was about to jump in the shower when I glanced in the mirror and could take it no more. I grabbed that box of ten-minute root touch-up I keep on hand for color emergencies and went to town.

Emerging from the shower and looking at my wet-haired reflection in the bathroom mirror, I immediately felt better. Revitalized. More myself.

Aah hair color, how I hate and love you at the same time. I resent your expense and smell, the time you make me sit in the bathroom covered in your goo and the way you'll stain my forehead if I'm not careful. But not wanting to sport some kind of Barbara Bush or George Washington "do," I also have to love you. Love, love, love that ten minutes can have me feeling instantly better, more alive, more who I really am.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getting Over Financial Freak-Outs, Babies and Bargains

I talked to my financial advisor lady last week and she talked me off the ledge. Thankfully, on her advise, I didn't sell anything on the stock market's worst day of trading ever and I'm less worried about ending up homeless and destitute with a tiny baby and four pets!

Yes, I've calmed down.

In the meantime, the baby's room is coming along and is at least 80% done. Just some storage and decorating things to resolve/install. My former office, i.e. the new guest room,is also making headway. At least there's a bed in there now! I'm re-purposing a lot of stuff that we already had for everything (old waterfall desk is now changing table, old bookcase + cheap, new plastic baskets = clothing storage for baby, stealing from Craze's antique Disney collection for wall decor) and it's coming along nicely. I also picked up a few great bargains, like a perfect lamp shade for the baby's room for $3 instead of $13. It looks great on my basement find lamp from Craze's old apartment. And I'm proud of my home-made custom framing of a couple cute space ship/rocket prints I ordered online for $10 (instead of the $100+ they wanted for the two pix framed and matted!). I used cheap acrylic box frames ($2.99 each) and a red plastic pocket folder as the bright red matte/background (44 cents!) instead. It took me all of 10-15 mins to frame both prints and they look GREAT in the baby's room with our mod rocket-themed crib set ($31 from!). I'm also using the cute crib bumper as a curtain valance instead of in the crib and re-using the old white sheers from our bedroom that I took down last year. All this is completed with a bright red and white polka dot Ikea rug I stole from Craze's CD storage room (where you can't really see the floor anyway, cause there's so much stuff!).

In an increasingly industrious mood, Craze even got out and finished painting the front porch over the past weekend. Shocking!

I'm still in super frugality mode, but it's working out ok. I did break down and buy a baby sweater at Target I've been wanting for ages--but thankfully, it went on sale, so hurray for bargains!

Today I'm off to the baby doc for my 30-week check up. The babe is squirming around like crazy and I'm feeling good, so things are looking sunny.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking Stock and Freaking Out a Little

I'm up at an unusually early hour for me. All this financial turmoil has me freaking out just a little and I can't sleep.

My consulting work has still been abysmal and yesterday I realized that my retirement savings account has lost $12,000 in under a week. Normally, I'd just ride with it but given the fact that I have no money coming in and am more than seven months pregnant, I may need to dip into my retirement accounts in the coming months and they are simply slipping away at an alarming rate like the rest of the stock market.

Craze is still working, thank god, but we can't cover our monthly mortgage and expenses with his check alone, even on a good commission month. I'm still in my super frugality mode but I'm really just worried about how we're going to pay our bills over the next year.

I'm worried about me, my new baby, my pets, my husband. I'm just plain old worried, probably like most Americans.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Get-Up-And-Go. . .Take-A-Nap!

Much painting was done this weekend in the soon-to-be baby's room. Craze and I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday, painting the dark green guest room walls and ceiling (yes, thank you former owners for that little design jewel) bright yellow and white respectively.

It's amazing how much brighter it looks and how much higher the ceiling appears now that it's white versus olive drab. Still a few touch-ups to do and more work to be done overall (our house is a giant mess since the contents of the guest room are now everywhere else and my office, which will be the new guest room, is still full of office stuff). . .

I got some really great and not-too-expensive bright blue and yellow stackable plastic crates in various sizes at Target the other day that will fit nicely on an existing bookcase. They will be great for clothing and toy storage and so much cheaper than buying additional/new furniture. I'm all about using what we have to save money.

The crib needs to be put together and I'm hemming and haaing about whether I can tackle that by myself today. I guess I can give it a shot. But first, more painter's tape to remove and a few little final paint touch ups.

That said, I think all the weekend painting has robbed me of my get-up-and-go. I feel more like get-up-and-go-take-a-nap!

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Expanded Fur Family

I'm sitting here at the computer just outside my bedroom door, readying myself to go run errands. I peak over in the bedroom and what do I see? My expanded little fur family taking it easy and staying close by as usual. The Bug and the Alley Cat are stretched out on the bed as always, the Now-Officially-Adopted-Formerly-Stinky- Big-Headed-Foster Dog curled up on the sheepskin rug at the foot of the bed just below them.

The Grey is the outsider even though she came to live here before both of the dogs, the only one missing from this little canine/cat pack. I'm sure she's downstairs curled up by the back door in the sun or in some other cozy cat spot somewhere.

There was a time, back in May, when Bear, the foster, was about to be adopted by another family. And I couldn't wait for him to go. When it all fell through, I was annoyed but just a little bit relieved all at the same time. After almost six months as our foster, he is now officially ours and I'm happy he's here.

Sometimes I think I must have lost my mind just a little. Two cats and two dogs with a baby on the way. What was I thinking? I'm sort of a crazy cat/pet lady I guess.

But even in these tough financial times, I'm glad we could make room for one more even if he was smelly, sick and wounded when we got him. A cast-off that someone else didn't want anymore who was going to be put to sleep at an Indiana shelter because of his heartworm and hip dysplasia. Not quite five, the Bear is now heartworm free, has shed his entire smelly coat and grown a glorious new one the color of caramel and limps a lot less due to twice daily doses of asparin and glucosamine. He's learned to sit and stay, lay down and come when he's called. His stubby little Aussie Shepard tail wags like crazy when you say his name or even just look in his direction. Every morning when I open my eyes, there he sits at the side of the bed, patiently waiting for me to get up, always excited to start his day here in his new home.

I guess you could say all of our rescued creatures really lucked out. But, if truth be told, I feel lucky every day that they found me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

When Is a Yawn, Not a Yawn?

. . .When you're laying on the table at the doctor's office, getting an ultrasound of your little baby boy, and you see his little mouth open wide into a big, lazy yawn, then a s-t-r-e-t-c-h with one arm above the head before turning over, hiding from view.

I really couldn't believe what I was seeing, but it was the cutest thing. Modern technology really is a miracle.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just Saying "No" to Your Offer

I recently listed a few items on craigslist for sale including a brand new 6-foot torchiere, Tiffany-style stained glass lamp. I bought it online for over $100 + shipping but once I had it in my living room, I just didn't like it.

So, figuring it would cost me a good chunk of change to ship it back to the online store and insure it also, I figured I'd just sell it myself at a discount online. I boxed it back up and put it in my garage where it's been sitting, waiting to be bought by someone else.

Tonight, I get this reply from a craigslist buyer who wants me to A) drag the bulky and really heavy boxed lamp (the entire base of the lamp is metal) five miles across Chicago tomorrow to the busy Lincoln Park neighborhood where, if they like it, they will B) pay me all of $65 for the lamp that's priced at $95. Oh yeah. . .and they'll pay cash. Wow!

I guess they didn't read three pertinent things in my ad like 1) I only accept cash; in fact, 2) $95 in cash, not $65 and 3) I'm not a freaking decorative accessory delivery service, my ad spells out that "you need to pick this up, cash in hand." Do they really think I'm going to haul a 6-foot tall metal and stained glass lamp across the city so they can take a look at it? And on top of that, think I'm totally ok with them paying me WAY less than what I've asked for it which is a great deal to begin with?

Am I just hormonal, or are some people really just stupid and annoying? I think they'll need to look elsewhere for their lamp purchases as I'm just not that desperate for a sale. And I'm definitely not opening a delivery service!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Old-Girlfriend-Meets-Baby-Shower Weekend

We had a busy last weekend and I'm just now getting caught up!

Firstly, Friday night, we had dinner with Craze's college girlfriend who was in town from NYC. I'm not sure if it's just me and the whole wife/ex-girlfriend thing, but I just find it SO difficult to like her in the least. I find myself constantly picking wholes in her life choices (the little I know of them) and finding fault with her in general.

She's not a bad person and she was perfectly polite to me. She gave us a lovely baby gift of a little blue bathrobe and rattle. That said, she also saved seats at the restaurant so that Craze would sit next to her and I had to sit at the complete opposite end of the table next to several of her friends I didn't know in the least, which I found somewhat irritating and I wasn't able to speak to Craze or the ex throughout the whole meal.

I guess the deal is that I sometimes question her motives (like the seating arrangement). At 40, she is still unmarried and I only met her for the first time at my wedding, which I also found irritating. Who wants to meet their husband's ex on their wedding day??? And the second time I saw her, we spent a couple of days together in Washington, DC, and she made a point of wearing her skimpy bikini and showing off her terrific yoga flexibility and contortionist tricks to Craze at every occasion. I just thought she was really showing off and I found it quite annoying and inappropriate.

I don't think she wants to be with my husband, but I do think she enjoys flirting with him (right in front of me). It's irritating and immature. GRRRRRRR... And don't get me started on her restaurant choice which we weren't consulted about. We went to Mexique, a French-influenced, Mexican restaurant were we spent $100 on one of the most blase and uninspired meals I have had in a long time. Aside from hanging out with Craze's ex-girlfriends, there's nothing I hate worse than LOUD, mediocre, high-priced, hipster restaurants!

Anyway, thankfully, we only had to hang out with her for the one meal and, since the window between her visits is typically LONG--over 4 years for this last one--, I'll unlikely have to see her again any time soon, which is totally fine with me.

Then, bright and early Saturday morning, we loaded our luggage and the dogs in the car and headed for the Motor City for Sunday's baby shower. Luckily, after the six-hour drive, my mother-in-law was not too dog crazy and our fur babies weren't relegated to the basement during our stay and behaved in a perfectly lovely manner. I'm not sure what her earlier dog mania was even all about. Craze called my father-in-law prior to our visit and even he said she was acting a little nutty regarding the dogs. Anyway. . .

The baby shower was really lovely. Great food. Small enough to be able to talk to everyone at a leisurely pace and an amazingly generous shower of baby gifts. So, many beautiful things from hand-made sweaters, booties and a blanket, to a stroller and a baby car seat, organic baby bath lotions and potions, books, diaper bags and so much more. We really are so blessed to have such a lovely and giving extended family. Everyone is genuinely excited about our forthcoming arrival.

It's really nice and such a difference from my own family where I have only my brother who has basically shown almost a total disregard for our forthcoming child. As opposed to Craze's family, they neither attended the baby shower or sent a card or gift to acknowledge that it was even happening. I guess not a surprise really since that's the same reaction I got to my two bridal showers. I guess selfish, self-involved people are unlikely to change so I'm not sure why I find them such a constant disappointment. I always expect better of them and it never happens. Craze wonders why I set myself up for disappointment where they are concerned and he is completely right.

As I've said before, I'm lucky my husband has such a great family and that they are now mine, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pre-Traumatic Dog Disorder

My mother-in-law, hostess of my forthcoming baby shower, totally stressed me out tonight. She seems to have developed a sudden complex about our dogs coming to her house. Now, keep in mind, we've been taking the Bug there since she was tiny (i.e. almost four years) and it's never been a problem. But now that we have the Stinky-Big-Headed Foster Dog (who is in the process of being formally adopted by us and is really no longer stinky), she seems to have an issue.

Out of nowhere tonight, she wants us to kennel the dogs instead of bringing them to Detroit. Keep in mind, that we leave for Detroit in three days, we have no papers yet for the Foster Beast (so couldn't kennel him anyway) AND I HATE kenneling the dog at all, especially the Bug who is my little fur child. Not to mention that we're talking probably $300 for kenneling them here in Chicago anyway.

My mother-in-law is always so vague and round-about that it's hard to find out exactly what she wants you to do or what her issue is. We have always been very careful about our dog in her house (keeping her off the furniture, making sure she doesn't track mud or water around, making sure she behaves, etc) and she has always been very good. So, I'm not sure why us visiting with the dogs is suddenly problematic. We had the foster dog at our brother in-laws house in July for a few days also and he was perfectly well behaved.

But now apparently, Mrs. Craze-in-Law said we can bring the dogs, but she wants them to stay in the basement. I thought at first that she meant she wanted them in the basement for a couple hours when folks are coming over after the shower. But upon further conversation, I'm thinking she means for the entire duration of our two-day visit (but, of course, she wouldn't come right out and say that).

Has she lost her mind? I'm not leaving my dogs in a dark basement for two days and nights.

The whole conversation is still stressing me out a few hours after the fact. I told Craze he needs to call his dad tomorrow and get to the bottom of it all. That's the only way we'll know what's really going on.

I was really looking forward to my shower. But now the whole idea of it is stressing me out. I have pre-traumatic dog disorder!

Monday, September 15, 2008


A little over a week ago, I got the bad news that I had failed miserably at my one-hour glucose test which meant I potentially had gestational diabetes. So, in order to get the skinny, I had to do a three-hour test that involved more drinking of their nasty Hawaiian-Punch-on-speed glucose drink after a special three-day diet followed by a 13-hour fast. Oh yeah. And then there was blood letting. They took blood four times. In fact, so much blood that I still look like I have track marks on my right arm!

Anyway, given my dad's history of diabetes, I was not hopeful about my results. But then today I got the call. . . and I PASSED!!!!!! In fact, the nurse on the phone said my results were "perfectly normal."

You can't imagine my elation. I actually screamed out loud with joy while still on the phone with the doctor's office. I am SO HAPPY!

Hurray for me not being diabetic! Craze, my little babe and I are all pleased as punch. . .just not Hawaiian Punch!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not So Sweet News. . .

So, the latest news on the pregnancy front is that I FAILED my one-hour glucose test, so I might have gestational diabetes. This makes me happy, not at all.

As a result I've been following a special diet for the past three days and have to take a 3-hour glucose test tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I pass. Like really, really crossed.

My father is diabetic which, combined with 50+ years of smoking and his unchecked high blood sugar, led to massive health problems (stokes, depression, dementia). I don't want to go down that road. I guess it didn't help though that when he found out he was diabetic he continued to eat about a loaf of white bread a day (liberally spread with trans-fat laden margarine) and then further supplemented his new "healthy" eating regime with regular meals of hot wings and frozen Snickers bars. Oh yeah. . .and a few smokes after each meal.

I can never imagine deliberately creating such a time-bomb for myself and, thankfully, I'm pretty knowledgeable about healthy eating and gave up my college smoking habit about 20 years ago.

So, I haven't had any sugar and have been watching my carb intake judiciously. Though oddly, my 3-day test prep diet has me eating a LOT of bread (whole grain for me, thank you), milk (fat free), fruit and juice. I even have to eat half a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a glass of milk before bed each night, which is decidedly weird. And tonight since I have to fast after 8pm for the test tomorrow morning, I have to eat dinner and my "bedtime snack" before then. Usually, we're barely having dinner by then!

Oh, well. All for a good cause. Let's just hope I pass the next test. If I do, I might just go crazy and celebrate with a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. . .health conscious, yes. Perfect? Definitely not.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I Swear to God. . .

Not five minutes after I hit "Publish Post" on my last blog entry, I got an email about a new consulting job that actually looks definite and may start next week!

Thank You, Universe!!!!

Rich In Lots of Ways (Just Not the Money One)

Just back from the doc's today for my monthly exam. Apparently, everything in my last ultrasound was great and looked just as it should. And my doctor also said that she is really pleased with how I've been managing my weight so far (which, as a heavy girl my entire life, is the first time anyone has every patted me on the back for weight management!).

She said, at my current rate of gaining, I may weigh less than I did before I got pregnant after I give birth. Wow! Wouldn't that be great?!? "Yes, I shed pounds with the nine-month pregnancy diet. Worked for me!"

Still no work to be had, though. Lots of people said they might need help in September, but nothing has materialized yet. I am in super frugality mode. Luckily, Craze gets his monthly bonus next week and it might be a really good one, since he's been working really hard and doing extra jobs. I just wish I'd get one good job to come a long. That would be truly great!

The good news on the money front is, we pretty much have all the baby stuff we need for our December arrival--almost all of it gleaned economically from craig's list and yard sales this summer. I just need to get the room painted and organized. And we're still having a baby shower in a couple of weeks, so more baby gifts to come from my lovely in-laws. Given my own lack of real family support, I am truly blessed with the BEST in-laws. Everyone, from my brother-in-law's wife, to my mother-in-law and even Craze's aunts, could not have been nicer or more generous to me over the past few years. I may not have a rich husband, but he's made me rich in so many other ways!

The bad news on the money front? We seem to be going through another breakdown phase. The attic fan got fixed about a week ago, which set us back $325. Then yesterday in our "Thank You, Hurricane Gustav" Day of pouring rain here in Chicago, our upstairs skylight started to leak for the first time ever. Oh. . .and today on the way to the doc appointment, I realized there's something seriously up with the car. It's a stick shift and wouldn't get in gear, literally. Lots of engine revving and SLOW moving. Luckily, it didn't break down on me on the expressway.

I guess even in disrepair and an economic crunch, there are still things to be thankful for!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ventured Out of the House!

After holing up at home for days like one of those crazy old women you read about in tabloids who never leaves her home for 12 years, I finally went out today! Met up with a former work colleague for a sushi lunch and then it was off to Target to pick up odds and ends (mostly dog and cat food).

It was super hot here yesterday, but today is decidedly cooler which suits me just fine. This past weekend, Craze and I did a few small projects around the house AND actually started the front porch painting which I've been bugging him about all summer. The porch railings have been primed and painted once, just one more coat to go and then on to the porch and steps. I'll be so happy when we're done!

I was going to go out today to try and get the second coat in, but it's a little rainy. Bummer. Rain, rain go away. Let me paint the porch today!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Wallowing and Freeing Up Space

It's Friday at 1:35pm and I am still in my pajamas. Wallowing? Oh, just a little bit.

Craze is slightly cranky and somewhat over-worked. He's been trying to take as many jobs as possible since I have had none for many months now. But that means working earlier and later and it's making him grumpy. He may even need to work some this holiday weekend (even though he also worked last weekend). He works on commission, so the end of the month is always a rat race to get projects done so they can be billed out and he can make more money.

I'm REALLY appreciative of his extra efforts to bring in the cash and am trying to help by continuing to manage our other household expenses with increasing frugality. Oh, how I wish I could just get some work to do! In the meantime, I'm going to try and sell a lot of our unnecessary clutter on craigslist. I have valuable stuff tucked away here and there that I'll never use again, so time to be rid of it and help out the Sumner family finances.

Getting rid of all this extra junk really needs to be done to make room for the Crazelette. Also, since I've scored lots of baby bargains at summer yard sales and through craigslist buys, I need a place to put all this soon-to-be useful baby stuff.

I'm hoping that freeing up space will open the way for new things to come into our lives. . .um . . . like a few good consulting jobs for the mom-to-be. Or a lottery win. . .either would suit me just fine.

In the meantime, I'm hoping that Craze and I and you and yours grab some time this long end-of-summer weekend to enjoy the simple things and the lovely weather. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weight Watchers Online = MOST LAME-ASS Customer Service

I HATE Weight Watchers Online lame-ass customer service.

I went onto their site the other day to print out my weight tracker info and then cancel the account (since they don't offer a program for pregnant women and I've been wasting over $15 per month for nothing for the subscription fees). When I went online, I couldn't access any of my info (which dated back to 2002 or 2003 when I first joined the online program).

I contacted customer service and told them I wanted my weight tracker info and then wished to cancel my service. I mentioned that I couldn't follow the program as I was pregnant. . . Well. . .they heard the word pregnant and canceled my online account so fast it would make your head spin. However, they completely ignored my request for my weight tracker info. IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!

Numerous emails back and forth, they have sent me everything EXCEPT my weight tracker info and, in their most recent missive to me, now claim my info isn't available due to my request to cancel the account.

Hey Weight Watchers! Is it a prerequisite for employment in your customer service department that you ONLY employ idiots with limited grasp of the English language??? It sure seems that way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Roll on September!

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day trying to drum up some business via email. Thankfully, I actually got some replies back from colleagues saying they'll probably need help in September. Roll on September! Maggie Mamma needs to make a mint before baby arrives!

Fingers crossed something comes through. Business has been dry as a bone for the past three months. Nada. Nothing. Not a single, tiny assignment. Weird!

Anyway, I guess that means I need to get my ass in gear on the baby room front as September will be here before you know it and I'm hoping I'll be busy making moolah.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Finally, On the Move!

Thankfully, I am way less cranky than during my last post! My husband is being less grumpy and more thoughtful and, generally, I'm feeling better.

Finally also, I've started feeling the baby moving around. I was freaking out a little because at 22 weeks, I couldn't be sure I was feeling any movement (even though I knew from my doc visits that he was moving around in there and his heartbeat was good). A few days ago I felt an odd sensation which has increased in the past few days. Baby is on the move!

Not surprising as two weeks ago an ultrasound showed the Crazelette weighing in at 14 oz. A new ultrasound two days ago showed he's shot up in weight to 1 lb 4oz. That's a 6-ounce gain in just two weeks. Wow!!!

Other than that, I'm busying myself doing baby laundry to start getting things organized for our December arrival. Through my garage sale and Craigslist shopping expeditions, I've put together an impressive collection of like-new clothes, blankets and other baby gear for a pittance compared to what it would have cost to buy it all new. I'm quite proud of my savvy shopping endeavours!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Be Pregnant for a While!

My husband is driving me crazy!

Lately, he is perpetually ill-humored and often just plain rude and thoughtless. Never mind that I am pregnant and frequently retching, vomiting or hobbling around like an arthritic 90-year-old due to sciatica now in BOTH my hips. My current condition doesn't seem to merit any extra dose of kindness or thoughtfulness from him. In fact, quite the opposite it would seem.

I would really like to give him a good smack! And then make him feel like I do for about a week and see how he likes it. Yeah, you be pregnant for a while, dude, and see how you like the rudeness and lack of any extra care or attention.

Monday, August 11, 2008

On an Admin Roll!

I think I'm on a roll!

After a wedding weekend that included dancing, cake eating and chatting with goofy, wedding guests (the goofiest, the former boyfriend of the bride who told not-so- flattering stories about the bride and their drugged up Vegas visit to anyone who would listen), I got back in organizational mode this morning.

I tackled the giant mountain of accumulated mail that had piled up on my kitchen counter, sorted it, paid a few bills, organized my coupons, made a few calls, etc. It's really shocking the volume that was there and most of it 100% pure, recyclable junk. What a waste!

And I'm not talking about just the environmental toll, let's not forget the hours it's taken me to sort through the mess. Yikes! Seriously, I need to be more consistent about getting rid of stuff daily before it even hits the kitchen counter.

I even cleaned out my purse which had turned into something of a portable trash can.

Next stop: shredder. Ah, the joy that awaits me!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Administrative Moms-To-Be Day

Went for my latest sonogram yesterday. At 20 weeks and 3 days my babe is 14 oz and looks enormous. No wonder I feel like a parade float already. I was freaking out a little that I can't feel anything yet, but thankfully he was waving and kicking yesterday, so all is well.

The doctor asked me if I've pre-registered for my delivery. When I said no, she looked alarmed and asked me if I got the "purple packet" at my first preggo visit. Well, of course I didn't get it, hence my oblivion about having to register for birth WAY in advance.

Reading the contents of the packet last night scared the bejeezus out of me. Delivery deposits, circumcism decisions, pediatrician. Yikes!

I spent the better part of the day today going through all this crap and getting it sorted out. I do feel much better now. Next up (while I'm on a roll), signing up for various classes and getting our attic fan fixed.

Just call it Administrative Moms-to-be Day!

Monday, August 04, 2008

My Perfect Life of Imperfection

With so many memories,
comes the rain.
Little droplets
deposited in my mind,
reawakening forgotten moments
of disappointment
and of life.

those damp breaths
taken in other lands
far and not so far

The cooling balm
of remembrance falls
like a shadow
over me.

A reason to stop,
if only for an instant,
to remember that
the good
and the bad
was all it should have been.

My perfect life
of imperfection
captured in this rainy morning.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hip Dysplasia. . .

That's the verdict on the stinky-big-headed foster dog. Poor guy. We started giving him pain meds and glucosamine and chondroidine daily and he already seems somewhat improved after only a couple of days.

I'm worried that he's gonna end up costing us a fortune. And for that reason, I'd love to just ship him back to the rescue group. But the reality is, we've grown to love this broken-down, problem-plagued dog over the past three-plus months and I really believe that no one could give him a better life than we can--even if we can't afford a $10,000 hip replacement for him (at least not until I win the lottery or get a real high-paying job again).

Fingers crossed the meds work and his condition continues to get better and not worsen, since I guess he's now home to stay.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bear is Back

Got the Bear back yesterday from the Indiana vet. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say he was somewhat traumatized by the whole overnight ex-ray episode. He didn't look as excited to see me as I thought he might, instead he ran for the door like his rear end was on fire. I don't think they'd let him out to pee in a LONG time--I've never seen so much pee come out of that dog at once when we got outside! Then he tried to get in the car before I even had the door open. Poor guy. Thankfully, after a good night's sleep on the big sheep skin rug at the foot of our bed, he seems back to his old self.

I still don't really know what's wrong with his leg as I was told on Wednesday that I could talk to the vet about his ex-rays yesterday only to find out he doesn't even work on Thursdays. Not to mention that the woman working the counter was extremely rude and surly. You'd think I was at the vet-to-the-stars clinic in Beverly Hills or something, not a seriously smelly vet's office out in the Indiana boonies. If I don't have to darken the door of the Westchester Animal Clinic in Porter, Indiana, again, you can be sure I won't. And if you live in their vicinity, I encourage you to look elsewhere for your animal care needs. . .that is unless you really enjoy two-hour waits for your appointment, a lobby and treatment rooms that smell like you're sitting in a filthy rabbit hutch and some of the rudest counter staff I've ever had the misfortune to come across in any customer service setting. Yeah. If none of that stuff bothers you, then please do make it your vet of choice.

After two days of three-hour drives to and from this vet, I was pissed that they were obnoxious and, frankly, pretty confusing with me about my dog's aftercare ("You need to give him the pain medication AND 2 1/2 asprins a day" Double dose the dog on pain meds? I think not.). But what made me really mad was when a woman walked in while I was waiting in line with an emergency case. Her poor dog was having some kind of seizure and was howling in pain and vomiting in the lobby. Shockingly, the person in charge was not the least bit sympathetic to her plight and really not very helpful in helping her find an alternate vet. I found it really quite shocking.

I'm still fuming over the whole episode and, seriously, I need to just move on. . .

Speaking of which, there's a couple loads of laundry calling my name. So, I guess I need to move on and move down (to the basement that is). Hello, laundry.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Hope Karma Runs Up Behind You and Bites You on the Ass!!!!

The long weekend in Columbus was fun but tiring. By Monday evening, I was really happy to be home again.

Today, I had to drive 100+ miles to take the formerly-stinky-big-headed foster dog for a vet visit in Indiana. Since he still belongs to the rescue group, their vet is 50+ miles from our home in Chicago (Note to self: next time, rescue animals closer to home!) and he needed his leg checked out. AND, to make matters worse, this weekend, we realized he has worms! I'm not sure how that's possible since he gets all the monthly medications to keep worms at bay, but nevertheless, there they were. YUCK!

I am so easily grossed out in my pregnant condition. Just thinking about the worms this morning made me vomit numerous times. Getting passed by a garbage truck made me vomit a week or so ago. Oh, what a delight random, instantaneous vomiting is. . .

Anyway, back to the stinky dog. . .so, after waiting for TWO hours after my appointment time to finally see the vet, I was told Bear needed an ex-ray and--how lame is this????--they had to keep him overnight to do it. Which means two sad and annoying things: 1) Poor Bear got taken away to a vet crate for the remainder of the day/night and probably thinks he has been once again abandoned (just thinking about that made me start crying while I loaded up on cheap-er Indiana gasoline); and 2) I have to drive 100 miles AGAIN tomorrow to get him back. UGGHHH!

The vet thinks that he may have arthritis in his left rear hip, which is also the leg that was broken a few years back when he was apparently hit by a car. That poor dog isn't even five years old and he's kind of a mess. His previous owners really have a lot to answer for. While poor Bear limps around our house, I hope karma runs up behind them and bites them on the ass. Seriously I do.

And while I'm on a rant. . .Hello, Indiana. No offense to your lovely residents and proud heritage, but I am sick of being in your state. Four hours today. Off there again tomorrow. And don't get me started about the detours and road closures that had me driving your back roads for the better part of a day last Friday while just innocently trying to get to Ohio. If I never see Valparaiso or Kokomo again, it will be too soon.

Okay. I'm done now. . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things Are Looking Up

We're headed off to visit the Craze Clan in Ohio this weekend for our nephew's second birthday bash. It should be a lot of fun since, thankfully, I really like my in-laws a lot. And, we're finally going to meet my older brother-in-law's new girlfriend. Since I've never met a single girlfriend of his in the eight years I've known him, it's quite an auspicious occasion!

Oh. . .and did I mention my in-laws have a pool. I'm excited about the pool!

This will be the first time we take the formerly-stinky-but-still-big-headed foster dog, Bear, on a long car trip. I'm hoping that he and the Bug share the back seat nicely. We even got Bear his own seat belt the other day and I'm just hoping that he behaves when we get to our destination (no growling at his doggy cousin).

On the baby front, my feet swelling has gone away and I had my first physical therapy treatment yesterday for my sciatica. It was a bit painful, but my hip seems much improved today--so I'm glad about that.

I picked up a practically new Graco Pack n Play with a bassinet and changing table on craigslist for $79 (it was on my baby registry for $149)--a super deal. Craze put it together the other night and it really looks brand new. I'm so excited.

We still have work to do to get things together--especially getting my messy office sorted out so it can be transformed into Craze Jr.'s room. That has yet to be tackled. I'll need to get on it soon as my baby shower is in late September and I'd like to have it all done before then. Guess we need to get in gear!

Tonight, we're headed up to Evanston to see an outdoor showing of Soylent Green, Craze's fave film. Thankfully, the weather is so nice and has cooled off a lot from our last week of 90-degree temps, so it should be quite an enjoyable summer evening.

Still no work coming in but, oddly, I'm quite optimistic about the whole money situation at the moment. I really think it will all work out just fine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Swollen and Side-lined

I'm a little down in the dumps today.

Yesterday, my feet started swelling up and ended up looking a little bit like they should be an appendage of the elephant man. So, when I realized this in the afternoon, I pretty much spent the rest of the day on the couch with my feet up.

While this may sound like a blessed respite, I actually found it pretty boring. There is only so much "Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood" and "Flipping Out" that a girl can watch without losing her mind just a little. I kept thinking of things I could be doing, only to be reminded that they all required some other pose than sitting prostrate with my feet elevated. In those moments, I really wished I'd bought some yarn so I could at least knit a nice little baby blanket and be somewhat useful and productive in these passive pregnancy moments (uh. . .hours).

Craze went out and got us burgers and fries and served it to me on a tray. That in itself was a little bizarre as I am just totally not used to being served anything edible in my own home. My husband has many good qualities and skills, but cooking anything is not one of them.

Sitting around for so long also led me to start worrying about things I have little control over, money being my biggest worry. Still no work in the past couple of weeks. I've had several unexpected inquiries about my consulting services, but no moolah-making opportunities yet.

Mama Maggie needs to make some money, people. Yeah. That and cease with the swelling--I'm only four months for goodness sake!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baby Bargains Galore!

The past week, I've scored some truly great baby bargains through a combo of yard/garage sales, craigslist and online bargain shopping. Hurray for smart shopping!

We got a nice Babi Italia light maple crib through craigslist for $150 (they normally run upwards of $300 or $400). I got a cool, mod, space-rocket-themed crib set from for only $31--way better than the cute organic cotton one I coveted at $400. It arrived in the mail yesterday and it looks just awesome!

We also got a TON of little baby boy clothes for just a few dollars at various neighborhood yard sales over the weekend--some look like they've never even been used. Plus, we got a Graco stoller for $15 that's pretty new and some people at a late-in-the-day yard sale actually made us take their Eddie Bauer stroller and an infant car seat FOR FREE. We still have to check them out to make sure they meet safety requirements, but you can't beat free!

And probably my favorite items are a cool, '70s turquoise vinyl swivel chair and a cute orange vinyl ottoman. They go great together and will be perfect instead of an ugly, space-sucking glider for the baby's room. All it took to get them was $4 plus a thorough cleaning.

Yesterday, I found a JJ Cole Bundle Me for my December babe on craigslist for $10 (the one I wanted at Babies R Us was $50!). It's brown, faux suede and looks exactly like my husband's vintage '70s "McCloud" coat that he always wears. I'm so excited that my husband's coat and my baby carrier bundle me will match.

I think I might be losing my mind!

We were thinking of painting the baby's room bright yellow or turquoise. But now that I've been looking at paint swatches, I think cheery yellow is the way to go.

Aside for the color, saving money always makes me cheerful!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Total Dinner Bummer!

Just returned from a most underwhelming tapas dinner at a new place we were trying out, Cafe Marbella.

In my experience, it's pretty hard to go wrong with tapas. I was clearly mistaken. The food was ok but nothing special, the service wasn't so swift (we had to ask for bread and water more than once) and the place is so LOUD, it was actually a little assaulting.

I'm always disappointed, because our dinner outings are less frequent nowadays in this frugal new world, when we don't have a good experience when we go out.

Total dinner bummer!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Love a Good Deal!

For some reason, the elf (eyes lips face) make-up brand is having a crazy online sale. Pretty much everything on their website is $1. Yes, that's a buck an item! I ordered some stuff a couple of weeks ago that finally arrived yesterday. After reviewing my bargains, I stood in the kitchen dumbfounded and was all like "Hey dummy, why didn't you order more???"

So, today, I did.

I just ordered a boatload of cosmetics since mine are ancient and probably should have been tossed out ages ago. I also used an online coupon code (CAROLINA) and got 50% off the the first $15. That means that even with shipping, I got like 20 make-up items (lip gloss, blush, tinted make-up, nail polish, eye liner, even a pair of tweezers!) for $17. $17!!!!

Check it out yourself at Lordy, I love a good bargain!!!!

I Need Some Crib Notes

I am contemplating buying nursery furniture on Craigslist. So, here's the dilemma. . .Today I fold this great deal, $175 for a used Jenny Lind oak crib, changing table, chest of drawers and matching hamper (and crib mattress, but I'd get a new one anyway). The crib looks in good condition, but the seller says it's six years old.

Is this unsafe? Am I a terrible mother for even considering buying a used, six-year-old crib? I am totally torn. But I hate the idea of plonking down a few hundred bucks just for a crib that my child will only sleep in for a couple of years. But on the other hand, his safety is the very most important thing.

What to do???

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Not Hip Enough

Yesterday Craze and I drove to the suburbs to catch some fireworks in the evening. We thought it would be less crazy and crowded than the downtown festivities. But when we got there, it was manic. Cars everywhere. No parking.

We ended up parking quite far away and it got me a little worried. You see one of my crazy pregnancy complications of the past week or so is that my right hip has just decided that it doesn't like working very well. And when it does, it can be really painful. Like that pain surprise that takes your breath away and stops you in your tracks.

So, we get out of the Vue and start making our way to the firework festivities. I'd only gone less than a block, when the pain starts kicking in. Before long I'm hobbling along at a snail's pace just like Hank Hill's dad on King of the Hill. You know, the old cartoon war veteran who had both of his shins shot off in some foreign conflict. Yeah. That one.

We finally get to a good viewing spot and the fireworks were, indeed, great. Colorful and fun. But then it was time to hobble back.

I'm not sure how long it took, but eventually we got back to the car. Craze was very patient, giving me his arm for support and sharing my geriatric pace all along the way.

But lordy--I hate feeling like I'm an 80 years old and in desperate need of a hip replacement. I really wish I could just take a bunch of ibuprofen but that is verboten. Instead, I keep taking the limited amount of Tylenol I'm allowed to digest in a day, but it's not really doing me much good.

I have a doc appointment later this week and I'm really hoping they have some good ideas on how to get my hip back to normal. I'm so frustrated!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Indepedence Day!

Craze unexpectedly has the day off today (as well as tomorrow as expected). Whoo-hoo!!! Happy Independence Day, indeed.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'm a Married, Pregnant "Goddess"

Tea was yum and fun. Quite an enjoyable 90 minutes really.

Today was mostly about grocery shopping before the hoards hit the stores for all their July 4th festivities. We, the Sumners, unfortunately aren't having any festivities and haven't been invited to any either. Total bummer. I guess we'll just have to settle for the neighborhood fireworks that start early and go on well into the night. Literally, we sit on our back porch and watch them for hours as every one in the city of Chicago seems to be letting off their illegal firework caches--often right in the alley behind our house.

My pregnancy woes of the moment are two-fold: 1) I'm totally itchy. All over. Often. It's really annoying. And 2) My right hip is really painful. I feel like a geriatric in need of a hip replacement. Hey, I know I'm old. But I'm not that old.

Still no work from all my career pot stirring and meetings of late. So, I guess I'll just keep repeating the mantra I heard on TV the other day, "The Universe is conspiring in my favor." "The Universe is conspiring in my favor." That and hope for the best.

Oh, did I mention I have a new admirer? Leroy, the black deli counter guy at the Jewel, caught my eye late last week and then proceeded to stalk me to the check-out lane and then even out to the parking lot. He told me I was a goddess. I thanked him and then told him that I was a married, pregnant goddess. Today, I'd been in Jewel literally 30-seconds and was innocently looking at nectarines when there he was again, chatting me up.

Leroy, dude. I am married. And pregnant. And while I find your attentions somewhat flattering, I also find them somewhat creepy. I didn't give you my number or show you anything other than basic common courtesy. So, can I just get that half pound of roast beef and be on my way? Thank you.

I can see I'm gonna have to take Craze on my next shopping trip. Sorry, Leroy.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tea for Two (or really Three, I Guess)

I'm headed downtown this afternoon to meet up with a work colleague for tea at the Four Seasons to celebrate her recent promotion.

I just love high tea. Could there be a more civilized occasion? Scones with clotted cream and jam and teeny-weeny sandwiches--yum!

I'm also planning to divulge to my work colleague about my impending bundle of boy. So far, I've kept things mum (excuse the pun), but I'm hoping this person can send some work my way before our delivery date arrives. Anyway, in the next few weeks, it will be hard to hide my emerging bump. I'm sure most people just think I'm fatter than ever. Hah! For once, people, you are wrong. Not just plus size, but plus size and preggers. That'll be tea (decaf!) for three, please. . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Perfect for Me

On this day eight years ago, I talked to the man who would become my husband for the first time. He called me at 10pm on a weeknight in response to a phone message I'd left for him after reading his personal ad. We talked for six hours!

Four years later on this same date, I married him on the steps of a beautiful mansion on a lake in Michigan. I know it sounds totally corny, but it really was the happiest day of my life (except for the fake eyelashes I decided to wear--those drove me crazy!). I remember when I arrived at the wedding location, florists walked by me with boxes of flowers. In one box, was the most beautiful bouquet of white roses and green and white striped orchids. I thought to myself, "Wow, that's so beautiful. The girl who's getting that bouquet sure is a lucky bride."

And then, a second later, I realized that that beautiful bouquet was for me. That's when my wedding day seemed less surreal and I realized that, finally at 39, I really was getting married!

I don't remember the sky ever being more perfectly blue or any place looking more beautiful than my wedding location on that day. And I was so surprised at how Craze just smiled like mad through the whole ceremony.

Four years on, my marriage is certainly not perfect. We have our fair share of disagreements and squabbles. But we are always there for each other and I can't imagine life without my Craze. He is funny and infuriating, at different times thoughtful and thoughtless, imperfect in so many ways. . .but still perfect for me none the less. I love him like crazy. And I can't wait to see if my little baby boy looks just like his daddy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Did I Really Say. . . Gulp. . . . . . . . . . .Mini Van?!?

I spent some time yesterday emailing more business contacts to try and drum up some work. I've actually had a couple of replies and one potential opportunity--so fingers crossed I get some work soon!

Today was the monthly appointment with my baby parts doctor. My little boy's heartbeat was beating for the band and everything else was A-OK. I'm now 14 weeks 3 days. Hurray for the Crazen (or Baby Craze or, oddly, Banjo, as he is sometimes called)!

The nurse asked me if I have an "fetal movement" yet, which I don't. But I'm excited for the moment it finally happens--probably in the next few weeks.

Oh, and about that stinky, big-headed foster dog. You know. . .the one who likes to stick his wet nose up your butt while you're asleep. Yeah. . .that's the one. Well, since his adoption fell through, we've had no other interested parties stepping up to adopt him. He's been shedding like crazy (like vacuuming at least four times a week crazy) but otherwise he's really settled into life in the Sumner household. We've had him now for over two months and I hate to admit it. . .but I think we're going to have to keep him.

I guess I'll have to make some $$$ soon cause we'll be needing a mini van for transporting our hairy (and not-so-hairy) brood of pets and baby. . .and all that extra dog chow. Yikes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Money, Money, Money

Like most folks nowadays, Craze and I are pinching pennies. . .also nickels, dimes and quarters for that matter.

Back in my corporate-life-make-lots-of-moolah days, I could be a bit of a spendthrift if truth be told. It was not unusual for me to hit up Bloomingdales and buy not one, but two Coach purses in one shopping spree just because I felt like it. Well, sister, those days sure are gone! It seems like it costs almost as much as a pricey purse just to fill the tank of the Saturn Vue!

Working for myself for the past three years has been a great respite from my almost 20 years of endlessly climbing up that ladder that had no end and left me hopeless and exhausted. But the truth is, I've made a LOT less money. A lot less. But we've gotten by ok.

But last night right before bed, Craze opened our latest credit card statement that had only grocery and Target purchases and started quizzing me about how the bill could possibly be so much for just a month's worth of sustenance. We ended up having our typical monthly discussion about money and thinking of ways to economize even more. I was so tired, but after that, I just couldn't sleep. I just lay there and worried about money. Money, money, money.

My work has been SUPER slow for the past few months. Thankfully, I had a really great first quarter. Really great. And that's been keeping us going since Craze's work has also been slow and not so profitable lately. But with mortgage, insurance, groceries, not to mention Craze's recent $1,300+ hospital stay and our forthcoming bundle of joy, money, or more precisely, the lack thereof, is on my mind a lot.

Yesterday I spent the day on the computer making a list of people to contact for potential work, reaching out to some old contacts, etc. Next week, I'm meeting with someone who's been a good customer. Just trying to stir the pot and see what might materialize in the way of work.

In the meantime, I'm still clipping coupons, remaking leftovers, growing my own tomatoes and peppers and using the A/C less. I think our next big bite-the-bullet move will be to get rid of the cleaning lady. She only comes twice a month for a few hours, but she is less than great and won't even do the stuff I originally hired her to do (like scrub the kitchen floor and clean the base boards). I was going to let her go her when I left my real job, but her husband had recently passed away and I just didn't have the heart to do it. But now, three years on, I think it has to be done. Sorry, Margaret.

In the meantime, I'm going to put my prayer out into the universe for better, more profitable days--not just for my family, but for all those who are feeling the pinch or, even worse, losing their homes to floods and foreclosure. We don't need the freedom to splash out on Coach purses, but what a blessing it is not to worry about the roof over your head or being able to feed your family. May we all be blessed with good work to do, a comfy place to call home, food on the table and the peace of mind that a better tomorrow is hopefully just around the next bend.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Raining on My Parade

Outdoor reading attempt totally foiled by pesky rain.

Today's the Day

Today is cool and overcast here in the Windy City. The perfect day I think to sit outside in the cool breeze, enjoy my somewhat-newly-planted flowers and just read a book for a change.

I seldom make time to just sit and do something frivolous and somewhat selfish. I'm always endlessly ruminating over the outstanding chores and the length of my to-do list. Today seems like a good day for a break from that. Need to grab it while I can.