Uh oh ....

>> Monday, May 16, 2011

Hello.  Yes.  Hi.  It's me ... Karin?  Do you remember?

It's okay if you were starting to forget.  Sometimes things are so weird these days that I'm not sure I remember myself.

It's two weeks and counting until Baby Day, as well as about a month until Bubba's backyard birthday party, and things are ... like you might expect.  Nothing is quite done yet and I'm able to manage less and less each day. 

I've started at least four blog entries, but I've finished none of them in a month.  Yep.  That pretty much is a good analogy for life right now.

Bear with me, please.  I'll be back.  We just need a little time -- time to clean up, to convince Bubba that Daddy won't let him name the Baby "Max," to convince Bubba that there is only one baby coming (only one baby brother OR baby sister, not a baby brother AND baby sister), and of course getting all of the "stuff" ready.  You know.  "Where is it," "Has it expired, been ruined, is no longer cleanble, or just needs a wipe/run through the dishwasher/run through the clothes washer?"  And don't forget, "Didn't we have a ___________?  Who did we loan it to?  Or was it loaned to us in the first place?"

Oh, and yeah.  If the baby is a boy, he still needs a middle name.  We can't seem to resolve that one so far, so someone had better have a couple of coins to flip in the hospital.

Ah, well.  The world will go as it will, and as usual there is nothing I could do to change anything about it.

Stay tuned.  Bubba hasn't offered to name his baby sister "coupon" recently, but he is still mighty entertaining, and I promise the stories haven't stopped for good.


Shoenails and Mapnails

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning language is a strange and complex thing.  As human beings (allegedly), we make associations between words and meanings, and we use those words to indicate those meanings.  Communication occurs when two people use the same associated meaning for the same word.  When two people use different meanings for the same word, a "mis" communication occurs.  (And, incidently, when those same two people are spouses, we refer to the miscommunication as "marriage".)

The fun and entertaining thing about having small children is the kinds of miscommunications that can occur, even when you all think you are talking about the same thing.  Take this story, for example.

For months now, we have been dealing with Bubba's "shredding" fingernails.  The poor little tyke has inherited mommy's soft fingernails, and they barely get past the edge of his fingers before they begin shaving off in strips that like to catch on everything.  When one of them starts to peel, he runs to me and says, "Mommy, can you help me with my fingernail?"  Dutifully, I peel off the offending shred, and Bubba goes on his way.

Incidentally, DH winces every time he sees my fingernails because they are so soft I can bend them and it doesn't hurt.  He says if he bent his nails like I do, there would be bruises under the nail bed and man-tears.  (Admittedly, I suspect him of exaggerating, but I don't know that for certain, and if he has accepted that belly button touching makes me faint, I can accept fingernail bending makes him bruise.  It's all good.)  When I was little, my mother used to tell me that my poor fingernail quality was due to my lack of milk consumption.  If I just drank more milk, which I hated because, as it turns out, I was allergic, I would have better fingernails.  Unfortunately, I no longer think my mom was right, and I no longer feel guilty about my fingernails.  You see, Bubba drinks milk like he's afraid he'll never see it again.  In fact, I have to bribe him to drink something other than milk sometimes.  And still, he has shredding fingernails.  Obviously low calcium is not the issue.

Long after "fingernails" became a routine, we still had to deal with toenails and Bubba's insanely unreasonable fear of toenail clippers.  At some point, the sharp ends of his toenails got so bad that, fear or not, those suckers were going to have to come off.  To make a long task into a short story, we eventually we got around to trimming Bubba's toenails, which took a lot of persuasion and coaxing and probably some other activities best not described.  Of course, we showed him the pieces of his claws -- I mean toenails -- that we cut off before we put them in the trash.  Bye, bye toenail pieces.  All was well that ended with a smile.

So far so good, right?  We have shredding fingernails, and we remove the shreds.  We have growing toenails, and we clip them, right?  Only ... that doesn't seem to be what Bubba understood about our discussions on fingernails and toenails.

My first clue came when Bubba was climbing into the car to go to preschool.  He said, "Mommy, can you help me with my shoenail?"

His what?

"Your what?"

"Can you please help me with my shoenail?"

Because, like all of the dumbest parents, I still wasn't getting it, he showed me.  His sneakers were wearing out, and part of the sole was had started to pull off a little sliver, much like the slivers that come off his fingernails.  Finally, the nature of our multi-month miscommunication dawned on me clearly.  A little shaving on a finger = a fingernail.  A sliver cut from the toe = a toenail.  A little sliver or shaving from the sole of a shoe = a shoenail.


So, what do I do?  Do I correct him and explain what a fingernail really is?  Well, I thought about it, and I really did try, but we were getting late for school, and my 2 second explanation didn't seem to sink in over the worry about the shoenail and why mommy wasn't fixing it.  I resorted to explaining that mommies can't fix shoenails, and the only way to fix shoenails was to buy new shoes.

About a week later, a little pull appeared on his plastic playmat from one of his books, that he likes to call his "map".  I didn't know about this little pull right away, but I figured it out soon enough when he started complaining about a "mapnail."

The worst part is, Mommy has no fix for mapnails either.


The Real Physics Forces -- A Gateway to Understanding the Universe

>> Thursday, March 31, 2011

I just saw a cover of a magazine that said that scientists either need to completely rewrite the big bang theory or abandon it altogether.  Per magazines, learning documentaries and articles the world over, our understanding of the universe is in serious jeopardy.  "Most of Our Universe is Missing!" warns a BBC television episode. 

Certainly, we don't understand how or why the great cosmic structures of the universe move and behave the way they do.  We also, apparently, don't understand the interaction of matter and invisible/unknown/theoretical particles.  We only seem to know -- or are slowly becoming aware -- of how very much we don't know.

Well, I'm not quite sure what all the mystery is about.  My friends and family and I are very much aware of a whole host of forces of nature that the physicists have neglected to discuss in any of their cosmological theories.  What is the power of a supernova when compared to the explosive capacity of a hungry child that missed a nap?  What is electromagnetism when compared to the compulsion of a shedding cat to find the one person in the room with allergies?  How can the strong and weak nuclear forces stand up to the attraction between dripping paint and the one spot of carpet that is not covered by cloth?  What is the measure of gravity considering the adhesive quality of cat fur to cloth?  What of cosmic black holes when there is one that exists in the clothes dryer of every American household?

What and how, indeed?

I think the secrets of the universe, and all of its unknown forces and powers, maybe explained not in the laboratories of great universities, but in the kitchens and living rooms of the average home.  Let's consider some of the great forces that we encounter and accept every day, without questioning their power or their origin.  Perhaps these are the forces that today's physicists need to better understand:

1.  The mysterious connection between white fuzzy particles and dark carpet (and vice versa)
2.  The nearly inconquerable attraction between a household pet and the one piece of furniture s/he is not allowed to climb
3.  The remarkable adhesive quality of cat snot  (Okay, this isn't a common one, but trust me on this.  The effect is more potent than chewing gum.)
4.  The mystical contact between grease and women's tops
5.  The impressive relationship between spaghetti and white things
6.  The ability of a person severely allergic to poison ivy to miraculously stumble on the only poison ivy leaf in a hundred mile radius
7.  The attraction between dirt and children's faces
8.  The magnetism between young children and puddles
9.  The mythical and powerful workings of the forces of Entropy and Chaos on a household

I could go on, and on, and on ... and I'm sure you could as well.  Any of us could.

Now, I am also sure that several of these phenomena can be combined into one cohesive explanation, such as a new attractive/repulsive force similar to electromagnatism, but in order to reach these cosmic conclusions, physicists will need to examine the phenomena in more detail.  For some reason, they have failed to do so before now, which is an oversight that I believe has contributed to the disasterous state of our understanding of the cosmos that we are encountering today.

In the spirit of scientific cooperation, I will make the ultimate sacrifice of opening my home to investigation, and this blog is my open invitation to the leading experimental and cosmological physicists. 

I eagerly await your reply.


The Long-Awaited, Probably Dreaded, "Pregnancy Post."

>> Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You knew it was coming.  You knew I couldn't go nine months without talking about my own biological state.  After all, I shared my eviction of my gall bladder with you, so what's a little obstetrics between bloggy-friends, right?

Don't worry.  I won't get too personal (except to mention that it is impossible to go through maternity and delivery and still avoid a sense that most of the world has seen everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING about you).

We have about 2 and 1/2 months to go, and I'm growing very concerned about my belly button.  I think it's no secret to anyone that has been paying attention that I have belly button issues, but this time, I'm really concerned.  When I was pregnant with Bubba, against all odds I managed to maintain an "inny" (innie?) belly button the entire time.  This time, I'm not so sure.  I'm petrified that any day now, with the excess scar tissue I am carrying, that little old belly button of mine is going to pop out into an "outie" (outy?).  If that happens, I just might go over the edge.

Let's face it.  There is a "no touch" zone around my belly button that is as serious as Israeli airport security, and nothing is going to change that.  Any deliberate move in the direction of my belly button by DH is grounds for immediate divorce.  Similarly, if any of my so-called "friends" ever wish to see if I am serious about this issue, I will kick them into Canada with one blow and then install an electric fence.  My only concession to the "no touch zone" is for sonograms, and that takes serious effort.  I understand sometimes that icky cold gel and that stupid wand need to encroach near (sometimes *gasp* on) my belly button to take some crucial baby-measurement, but that doesn't make it easy for me to tolerate.  I have to know it's coming, scrunch up my eyes, and hold someone's hand in my fist like I'm making hamburger out of it before I can force myself to hold still and let them do it.  (In my mind, I imagine it is as close as I will get to an actual labor-experience, because all my kids will probably have to be via C-section.  Certainly I have wounded DH's hand enough to make him THINK it was labor.  Maybe it's as close as HE will get to a labor decision.  Yeah, that's probably better.)

So, if that little belly button pops out, what will happen next?  Catatonia, maybe.  I can barely even fathom the idea of having the inside of my belly button actually outside, rubbing against my shirt.  In fact, I'd rather  .... honestly, I can't hardly think of something I WOULDN'T rather do that deal with an outie belly button, but I'm afraid most analogies would seem rather cold and insensitive, so I'll just leave that thought unsaid.  (I once nearly fainted when I was pregnant with Bubba and *saw* another pregnant woman with an outie belly button.)

Last time, with Bubba, I was carrying excess amniotic fluid, and so far we've no sign of that this time.  Then again, it is a little early to know for sure. (I think.  Those memories are getting blurry.)  Either way, as I got to the middle of my third trimester last time, random strangers were stopping me in parking lots asking if I was having twins or triplets.  These days, people who actually know me on sight have finally stopped saying, "Oh, you're pregnant?  Congratulations, I didn't know!"  Hopefully that means I actually look smaller (although I don't see it), which means the risk of developing an outy-button isn't as high as I fear.  Hopefully. 

All I can do is hope that normal biology and my pathological aversion to contact with my belly button don't collide.  Pray for me.

And as for those so-called acquaintences of mine that didn't know I was pregnant, I choose to conclude that they were being overly polite, and that my big belly was cleverly disguised by my voluminous winter coat.  Otherwise I am forced to admit that they think I have a really big ass when I'm not pregnant and thus failed to notice my maternity pants and expanding belly.  I choose to think optimistically on this one.

Finally, for your random fact of the day, while I was writing this post, a fox ran through my back yard.  Now you know.

Thus endeth the pregnancy post.


The Year of Entropy and Chaos Part IV -- I Can Win Sometimes

>> Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I think Entropy has caught a cold.  Or something.

He seems to be spending a lot of time sitting on the couch lounging, doing nothing to stop me from cleaning the house. 

I've got to give the guy credit -- he has been expending a lot of energy recently trying to disrupt our lives, and he's done a pretty good job of it.  I mean, first there was the toilet disaster.  That, you have to admit, was inspired -- letting us fix everything that was wrong with the toilet except the one thing that worked before we started the "repair."  I have to award points for cleverness.

Then there was the heat pump.  That thing froze, solid, but we managed to thaw it after only two days.  Our neighbors called repairmen, but we, WE managed to fix it ourselves ... sorta.  It worked for a day, then froze again (and we fixed it again).  Then it froze again ... on a day that the temperature outside was above freezing.  Ooookaayyy, clearly we were no longer dealing with an ordinary mechanical repair.  Clearly Entropy was invoking the supernatural powers of Chaos to affect problems mere natural law cannot achieve.

Still, we perservered.  We refused to panic when the heater failed to respond timely to a drop in the temperature, and we just turned on the emergency heat or wall heater and put on a sweater.  Eventually, the heat pump caught up.  In the meantime, we apparently exhausted Entropy.  He had one more trick up his sleeves, by trying to upset my stomach over the weekend so I couldn't clean the house, but we foiled him.  I sat and directed Bubba and DH what I wanted brought to me, and I sorted while they put away.  It wasn't a perfect solution, but it did the trick.  DH even managed to paint the baby's room on Saturday afternoon while Bubba was sleeping.

And that seemed to be the last of Entropy for at least a few days.  We had a monster rain on Sunday, and there was no flood in the basment or the backyard.  Given our prior problems in that area, "no floods" is a bloody miracle.  The land surrounding our backyard was taking deposits for duck condos, but we were doing fine.  Then, on Monday, I managed to do laundry and clean a large chunk of the house without so much as a child-toy-dumping.  Clearly, Entropy is not himself.

I could get used to this ... but I know better.  Entropy just has the flu and will be back any day now.


You Can't Blame Me for This One ....

>> Friday, March 4, 2011

And still I'm slow in getting blog posts out.  I have a couple "in the works," but Entropy and Chaos have been doing their darndest on me recently.  The toilet is fixed, but now it looks like our heater won't be quite so easily solved.  More on that later.

In the meantime, my fellow blogger @BustedKate recently posted a link that I feel compelled to share with you about what can happen when you don't shut off auto-correct on your iPhone.

Please take a look at this link:  http://damnyouautocorrect.com/ and feel free to laugh yourself silly.  We sure did.

Fair Warning:  The material at the link is not PG-13, so please be aware.  There are no graphic pictures, but apparently the iPhone has a dirty mind when left to it's own devices. 


The Year of Entropy, Part III -- Of Illness and Plumbing

>> Thursday, February 24, 2011

So, we survived the preschool plague with only minimal setbacks and casualties.  The laundry, for one, seems in a perpetual state of delay, but I'm not sure that blaming the plague is really fair.

As DH and I reached a fairly stable point of recovery, we made the rather dangerous decision that the time had come to finally fix the downstairs toilet.  It was functional, unless you were squeamish or easily embarrased, because it did flush -- once every 2 or 3 attempts, so .... you get the idea.

But, plumbing is ... well ... plumbing.  Do-it-yourself projects are never what you hope they will be, but of all the possible options, plumbing is possibly the worst.  First of all, it's bad because you know it won't ever, and can never be, a one-stop fix.  Second, messing with a plumbing system might fix some problems, but the chances of something else breaking are pretty darn high.  Third, once you start, you cannot stop, because plumbing is usually equal parts destruction and reconstruction, requiring at least local water to be turned off, and often the water to the house, and if you are really lucky, the water to the entire neighborhood.

Then, in my house at least, you need to factor in Entropy, above and beyond the normal laws of home repair.  You see, the normal laws of home repair state that no matter how many supplies you have at home, no matter how careful your shopping list, and no matter how many times you have done the same repair before, you are not allowed to make it through any job without at least one trip to the hardware store.  (Just accept it.  There is no way around it.)  Entropy can do so much more than this.  Entropy will wait until you have reached the point in your toilet repair when all the old fixtures are broken beyond repair and you have no choice but to finish the job or learn to live without water.  Then, he will arrange to have the child of the house come down with a fever and a huge spreading rash that look disturbingly itchy and painful.  For icing on the cake, he will also make sure someone comments on how much the rash looks like measels (of course, making sure that the pregnant woman in the house is aware of how bad this could be), and then he will hide the child's vaccination records somewhere mysterious so that no one can confirm when the MMR vaccination was.  Yep.  That is what Entropy will do.

But wait. 

The laws of home repair dictate that once the (longer than you wished, harder than you'd hoped) repair is finished, something about it won't work right.  Entropy will make sure that the part that is broken is the only thing that worked before you "fixed" it.  For example, if your toilet innards are malfunctioning, and the toilet runs, fails to flush regularly, and fills slowly, and you manage to fix all of that, Entropy will make sure that the water connection between the toilet and the household water supply starts to leak. 

(Trust me.  I now have co-opted the bathroom wastebasket as a drip bucket and have a constant supply of towels on the floor.  So now the toilet works far better than it used to ... provided you don't mind the leak.  Of course, the leak does not stop if the water to the toilet is turned off.  No.  The leak is coming from the tank side of the connection, so the only way to stop it is to turn off the water AND drain the toilet tank, rendering the toilet completely unusable.)

Then, the moment you identify the new and intractable problem your home repair has caused, Entropy will throw in another wrench.  While you have the water to the entire house turned off to try to fix the problem, Entropy will make the last completely healthy person in the house queasy and ask for a bucket.

Finally, perhaps days later, when you think you have 3 or 4 more solutions to try to fix the leak, Entropy will make the heat pump freeze and might even throw some added GI distress your way.

Yep.  Entropy loves plumbing.


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