October 2015: Scarier Than You Think

So I’ve had pneumonia. That’s meant too may trips across town to the doctor, and lots of medication. Unfortunately it’s been hard to rest, because even with taking sick days from work, Baguette still needs to go to school, and I need to drop her off. And Wicket had had a mysterious sore on her outer ear that required several vet trips for antibiotics, bandaging, rebandaging, and bandage removal.

But on the days when I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment, I took naps. Naps help. And that was my plan for Thursday–even though I did have an appointment, it wasn’t until early afternoon. So: school drop off, nap, early lunch, doctor’s appointment. It seemed like a good plan.

What that plan didn’t include, though, was what happened before Baguette woke up. Wicket, who is normally an exceptionally continent dog, had two accidents in the kitchen that morning. We never get upset at her for going in the house, because she actually works really hard at not doing that. If the dog door is closed and she’s really desperate, she scrupulously keeps it on the tile (I tried putting down paper; she went next to it and then looked at me with an expression that said, “I did’t want to mess up your nice paper! It looked special!”)

Then she started vomiting. This is something that happens only when her stomach gets too empty and she brings up bile, and we have changed her feeding schedule to accommodate that. What never happens is vomiting six times in a row.

Then she couldn’t climb onto the couch cushion that was on the floor. This from a dog who, the night before, had been jumping onto the couch with only her usual intermediate step (floor to giant memory foam thing to couch).

Then she started tilting her head to the left. Then she stopped being able to stand up. She just lay there, breathing heavily. I brought her bed out from our room so that she would have a soft spot to lie. Then she started frantically rolling, over and over in seemingly endless circles that flipped her out of her bed, but didn’t end the rolling.

I thought she was dying. I said goodbye, I told her that we loved her, I told her she’d taken good care of us. I cried and cried. I made Mr. Sandwich get off the bus as soon as he could so that he could pick up one of the counter-traffic buses and get home, because I had to take Baguette to school, but I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving Wicket alone. It was absolutely terrifying.

During her second bout of frantic rolling, it seemed like she was trying to get her collar off. So I took it off for her–and she was still. The rolling stopped, and she just lay down, exhausted but calm. I called Mr. Sandwich back, just before he was about to get on the northbound bus, and told him that I thought he didn’t have to come back, after all. I got Baguette up and fed and dressed, and had her say goodbye to Wicket, just in case. And then I crossed my fingers and took her to school.

When I came home, Wicket was still exhausted but calm. I called the vet and they had me come in right away. She still seemed like her normal self, albeit unusually tired.

What the vet thinks happened was this: The day before, Wicket had gone to the groomer. It was the place we’ve been taking her for at least five years, but that day there were different techs, and they gave her the fastest grooming to date. So the best guess is that she got stressed out by the speed grooming and her blood pressure went up, causing a small seizure or stroke. They gave her some medication to settle her stomach and sent her home.

I went to my doctor’s appointment. On the way, I started to have chest pains. My doctor gave me an EKG, and everything was normal, so it was probably just stress.

Here’s the thing: We’ve had Wicket for six years, and everyone’s best guess at the time was that she was 12 years old. That means she’s now 18. Overall, she’s in great shape–she may nap a lot, and she may be missing more than half of her teeth, but she loves her food and her walks. People are always amazed to hear how old she likely is. And no matter how long we’ve had her, I’m not ready for her to go.

The food has changed; the blood tests and x-ray showed that she has pancreatitis, so she’s on a prescription low-fat diet for the rest of her life. She’s had antibiotics and fluids, and is stronger and back to her usual scramble onto the couch. We each have follow-up appointments next week.

So all of that? Is why I can’t remember which day last week I had another kidney stone.

This October is not easy. I think this sums it up:

On Mother’s Day

I love Mother’s Day, sort of.

I mean, we don’t make a big production of it. We don’t have the time or energy to make a big production of much of anything. But I love being a mother, and I love being Baguette’s mother.

I wasn’t always Baguette’s mother, though, and Mother’s Day has an iffy track record with me.

My mother was great. But she passed away, which continues to be heartbreaking. I don’t remember a lot of Mother’s Day celebrations, although we always did something. Typically, my present to her was along the lines of a movie we could watch together and food we could eat together while watching the movie together.

My mom was really about togetherness.

But she died in 2002, and Mother’s Day 2003 was The. Worst. I went to church, which turned out to be a mistake. (Too many moms.) And that night I went to pick up Chinese food, which she had always loved. I could barely make it into and out of the restaurant–I was so glad I had decided to order ahead, rather than eat there. (Too many moms. Way, way too many moms.)

Since then, Mother’s Day has been bittersweet.

Frankly, I can’t tell you what I did for each of my Mother’s Days since becoming a mother.

Wait, maybe I can. (Looks at back blog posts.) Okay, I have no idea what I did in 2011. The other years, it was mostly casual dinner, with or without inlaws. One year, Baguette put stickers on my arm.

We know how to party.

But I do remember my first Mother’s Day. Mr. Sandwich said, “What do you want?” And I answered, “See’s Candies. Wait. See’s Candies and a chance to wash my hair.” And I got them.

This year, we went to Discovery Cube LA, a new science museum that’s opened in our general part of Los Angeles. Baguette found a few things that interested her, but I think it may be a better match in another 2-3 years. And Mr. Sandwich is out back, building me the charging station I want for our “office” that I want to totally reorganize and make less of an office and more of a reading/project/play space.

Nothing bitter about that. Today is feeling pretty sweet.

Auld Lang Syne

When I was younger, I thought it would be fun to go to a big, blowout New Year’s Eve party.

I never did. I’m totally fine with that.

First of all, I didn’t want to go by myself; I wanted to go to that kind of party with a boyfriend. And I almost never had a boyfriend, which limited my opportunities. (I did once go to First Night in Manhattan with a friend, her husband, and her brother, but I’m not even sure that was a set-up; I think we just all wanted to go to First Night.)

So what have been my favorite New Year’s Eve celebrations?

Growing up, we would have dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then see some blockbuster or other. That was always good.

One year–I can’t remember whether I was dating Mr. Sandwich yet–another friend invited me to a party at her brother’s Manhattan apartment (different friend, different brother, same Manhattan). But it was supposed to snow, and my block was always last to be plowed, and at the last minute I canceled because I wasn’t sure I’d get home. Instead, I spent New Year’s Eve curled up on my couch, watching movies I can no longer recall and eating either Chinese food or pizza. The details don’t matter, because what I do remember is that it was a great evening.

When we were dating, Mr. Sandwich and I spent one New Year’s Eve with his friends, starting at Cheesecake Factory and moving to one friend’s nearby apartment; we spent others playing board games with some of my friends.

The year we moved into our house, we hosted a party at which I learned that if I’m going to drink, I really need to eat dinner. Or at least lunch. But that lesson didn’t make itself clear until after everyone else had gone home, so the party itself was a lot of fun.

Since then, we tend to stay home, safe from the drunk drivers of the world. Last year, Bestie and her parents came over for dinner (we planned to start early, to reduce their odds of being menaced by drunk drivers on their return). A good time was had by all, including Wicket–although the hat placed on her head spoke more to her tolerance than to her awareness of the passage of time.

This year, we have planned absolutely nothing. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with lots of events filled with people who want to see Baguette. She’s done really well with it, but she needs plenty of downtime. We all do. So we have no plans, and I think it’s going to be another great evening.

So to all, near and far–may you have a Happy New Year. And those good wishes aren’t just from me. They’re also from Wicket.

small dog wearing Happy New Year hat and leis

Ten Things About Me

I totally stole this from Nina at Sleeping Should Be Easy. As you do.

So here are 10 questions for you to answer on your blog(s), should you so choose.

  1. What’s the last movie you watched (in the theater or DVD)?
  2. What’s a random fact about you?
  3. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  4. What are three things you can’t live without?
  5. What is the best thing to happen to you this past month?
  6. What is the biggest stress in your life right now?
  7. Tell me five things I’d see when I walk in your door.
  8. Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it?
  9. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  10. Why do you come to this blog?

And here are my answers:

  1. What’s the last movie you watched (in the theater or DVD)? Frozen. I do have a four-year-old, after all. The last movie I saw in the theater was Star Trek Into Darkness, and WOW, was that was a disappointment.
  2. What’s a random fact about you? I have ancestors from a lot of places, but only the Celtic ones show.
  3. Would you like to be famous? In what way? Not famous enough to get doxxed, I can tell you that much.
  4. What are three things you can’t live without? Baguette, Mr. Sandwich, and butter.
  5. What is the best thing to happen to you this past month? Baguette moved into the bed in her room!!!!!!!
  6. What is the biggest stress in your life right now? Lack of time.
  7. Tell me five things I’d see when I walk in your door. A giant pile of mail, a lion chair/pillow, my bag, a camera on a tripod (we just finished taking our family picture for our holiday photo card).
  8. Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it? As far as I know, I’ve never had much in the way of nicknames. I have no idea why not.
  9. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? I very much appreciate the way my parents emphasized breadth of interests, but I wish I’d been taught how to focus on something beyond the task/project level.
  10. Why do you come to this blog? Because it wouldn’t be here without me? I’m guessing this one is more for you.

Night-Night

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that sleep has always been an issue for Baguette–and, by extension, for Mr. Sandwich and me.

Baguette naps at day care, but not at home, and nighttime sleep is very hard to come by. Although we never planned to bed-share, it turned out that doing so got all of us more sleep than any other approach we tried.

But she kept growing, and the bed didn’t. Eventually, none of us was getting enough sleep. And then, on a trip to visit family, she suddenly decided that she would rather sleep on the hotel room’s couch.

We capitalized on this by moving her to the couch when we got home. One of us has to lie with her until she goes to sleep, and that can still take a while. Our girl does not slip off into dreamland, not even when she’s clearly exhausted.

And, frankly, the couch is not really big enough for two to sleep, even if one of us is still pretty small.

Mr. Sandwich therefore took his experience in building a toddler bed and put it to use in building a twin frame. One of my cousins made a beautiful elephant quilt, because elephants are Baguette’s favorite animals. We bought a mattress and some sheets.

And then this happened.

twin bed

Now, if we can just get her to stay there. Wish us luck.

Quite the Treat for Father’s Day

Disclosure: I received free credits from Treat.com in exchange for writing about my experience.
All views expressed are my own.

If you’re like me, you always remember to buy greeting cards for special occasions–just as you’re driving away from the store. Fortunately, there’s an alternative that you can count on no matter where you are.

Treat.com is an online greeting card company that allows you to create customized cards for any occasion, either on their website or through their app. Father’s Day? Check. Graduation? Check. Get well? Check. Blank cards? Again with the check.

Additionally, Treat is a subsidiary of photo storage and sharing site Shutterfly.com. That means that if (like me) you already use Shutterfly, you can use photos from that account in your Treat cards–but you can also use photos from social sites like Facebook and Picasa, as well as uploading them from your computer, tablet, or phone.

As it turns out, I used Treat’s website to order Mr. Sandwich’s 2011 Father’s Day card–although I’d forgotten where I’d created it, I still remember and love that card. So this year, I decided to use the app on my iPad.

My experience? Very good. It was easy to add the photo I wanted, and much of the suggested text on the interior was also customizable–which meant that I could include the message of my choice. It was harder to choose a design, because there really are a lot of options. The Treat app has a features wheel that actually makes it fun to sort by different parameters, so you can choose to look only at, say, birthday cards that have a photo on the front and include a heartfelt message.

I decided to go with another Father’s Day card, importing a photo and selecting a design. Here’s what I came up with:

Treat.com greeting card for Father's Day

And on the inside?

Treat.com greeting card for Father's Day - interior

You can also include a gift card, if you’re so inclined. And to save you from forgetting to go to the post office, Treat.com will also mail your card directly to the recipient!

I realized that, true to form, I had forgotten to buy a card for the snarkiest of my many younger cousins graduating this spring. Treat.com solved that problem, too:

Treat.com greeting card for graduation

(There’s a photo in the interior of that one, but I don’t have permission to share it. So you’ll have to make do with the outside.)

Treat also offers a pre-order bulk discount and same-day digital cards, as well as photo gift options such as smartphone cases, mugs, and canvas prints.

My only caveat is that the app is technically an iPhone app, so I needed to hold my iPad in portrait orientation–which was awkward, because it’s in a keyboard case that doesn’t allow for that. This meant that I had to keep turning the iPad to make sure that what I was typing showed up the way I meant it to. But the app was easy to use overall, so I’ll be relying on Treat.com in the future.

I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Why My House is Messy

I know my house is messy. I’m not a good housekeeper. I never have been, and neither was my mother. I know she would have recognized herself in Claire McCarthy’s Huffington Post piece.* Also, there’s this.

I do want my house to be clean. It’s so much more peaceful and comfortable when it is. Mr. Sandwich and I agree on this (For the record, if you come over to our house? He’s the one who cleaned it for you.) And we really want to have people over, but we’d feel so much better about it if we were more orderly.

messy kitchen table
This is our kitchen table after Mr. Sandwich has taken some stuff off of it.

And, honestly, “orderly” is key here. We have too much stuff, and we have no organization system. But there aren’t dirty dishes lying around (seriously, I feel like I am always washing dishes), and the laundry is either clean or in the hamper (Mr. Sandwich is always doing laundry). We’re neither hoarders nor a hotbed of disease.

So is your house clean? I’d probably love being there. But if it’s a mess, I’m probably cool with that, too. Because I’m not visiting you for your house, I’m visiting you because it’s fun. So if I’m not judging you, why am I judging myself?

*That Dutch saying quoted in the comments? Yeah, the Dutch are a nation of people who leave their curtains open so you can peer in their windows and see how clean their houses are. My mother-in-law is Dutch. She’s the loveliest person, and yet she still can’t hide that my housekeeping pains her.

Mostly, I Hope Jadis Isn’t in There

Actual conversation from last night:

Me: Baguette, why are you opening the closet door? Narnia isn’t in there.

Me (to Mr. Sandwich): Although I don’t actually know that. Maybe Narnia is in there.

Mr. Sandwich: If Narnia is in there, you know what that means. More storage.

Me: More cold storage.

Mr. Sandwich: But bad cold storage, because if you put a hamburger in there and come back for it a week later, it’s actually a hundred years old.

No one ever wonders why we’re married.

My Balance, Revisited (Again)

balance scale

I want to blog, but it’s so hard. So. Hard.

Time is fleeting, and filled up. Here’s what my balance looks like, for the past two weeks and the foreseeable future.

5:00 Alarm goes off. Hit snooze button.
5:09 Hit snooze button again. 
5:17 Get out of bed before the alarm goes off again. Wash face, brush teeth, etc. Open dog door. Unload dishwasher and dish rack. Wash remaining dishes. If Baguette needs to take lunch to daycare, pre-heat thermos.
5:35 Finish morning ablutions.
5:45 Sit with Baguette so that Mr. Sandwich can get up and get ready for work. Catch up on Facebook and blogs in RSS reader. Check weather for day.
6:10 Get up and assemble Baguette’s breakfast, snacks, water bottle, and lunch (unless it’s one of the days for which we’ve pre-paid for hot lunch). Put ABA binder in bag (if it’s Monday, put sheets and blanket in bag). Assemble my breakfast and lunch, if I got them prepared the night before
6:30 Get dressed. Put insert in toilet seat for Baguette.
6:45 Take Baguette’s pre-selected clothes and stage them for getting her dressed. Choose different clothes if weather forecast has changed from night before.
6:55 Wake up Baguette. Comb her hair. Sit with her in bathroom. Get her dressed.
7:10 Leave for daycare. Take Baguette to her classroom and set out her breakfast and water. Drop off ABA binder, bag, jacket, and any other items needed for the day.
7:17 Drive to bus stop or to work, depending on whether I’m actually on schedule.
8:20 Arrive at office building. Buy breakfast or parts thereof, depending on what I brought.
8:30 Turn on computer and check email. Touch base with Mr. Sandwich, to let him know how Baguette’s morning went. Work.
4:30 Leave work.
6:00 Arrive home. Evening ABA session starts. Prep dinner. Participate in ABA.
7:00 Eat dinner. Participate in ABA. Check calendar to see if Baguette has hot lunch at school. Check weather for next day. Lay out my clothes for next day. Lay out Baguette’s pajamas.
8:00 Sign ABA provider’s timesheet. Give Baguette her bath.
8:15 Get Baguette out of bath and get her dressed for bed. Take Wicket outside one last time. Close dog door for the night. Feed Wicket.
8:25 Load dishwasher. Wash other dishes and put in dish rack. Play with Baguette. Check Facebook.
9:00 Go to bed. Read to Baguette. Hope she falls asleep by 9:30. Go to sleep ASAP after that. 

The big difference from my balance in 2011 and 2012 is ABA. It’s a big difference.

And this isn’t just my balance. Mr. Sandwich’s day is not identical to this, but looks very similar. With a lot more laundry.

Photo by winnifredxoxo, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

Monday Listicles: 10 Ways Our Family Says I Love You

This week’s Monday Listicle is “10 Ways to Say I Love You.”

1) When Mr. Sandwich slides his warm feet across the bed to take the chill off my cold feet.

2) When Mr. Sandwich gives me socks to warm up my feet.

3) When Mr. Sandwich puts the socks on my feet for me.

4) That Christmas Mr. Sandwich gave me the exact slippers I wanted.

Clearly I really don’t like having cold feet.

5) The way, when I am violently ill, Mr. Sandwich will wrap me in a blanket or towel and just hold me.

6) The way Mr. Sandwich is always in my corner, even if I’m the one who’s being a jerk.

7) The way Wicket waits by the front door all day long so she won’t miss the moment when I get home.

8) The way Wicket gets up in the middle of the night to follow me to the bathroom.

9) The way Baguette ignores everything else in the universe when I show up. She almost never says “I love you,” but, wow, does she let me know.

10) The way Mr. Sandwich and I constantly say “I love you,” because our relationship is based on clear communication, and we don’t want there to ever be any doubt.