For Love of the Game

Pitchers and catchers have reported, position players are due next week! Hooray, it’s the first real sign of spring, and I’m doing’ a little dance!

Now, I know a lot of women (and even some men) don’t dig baseball, and talk about how boring it is, and how slow it is, and all that nonsense. Good for you, stop reading right now.

I love baseball. I love the gentle rhythms of time passing, I love the geometry of the field, I love the interplay of the red clay and the impossibly green grass, I love the crack of hardwood smacking leather, I love the sound of Vin Scully or John Miller quietly in the background as I lay around on a hot summer night, I love watching my kids try and smack the ball off a Tee in our backyard, I love the smell and sounds of a minor league ballpark in late summer. I love the timing, the history, the box scores that never change…I love baseball.

This is something that I was steeped in from girlhood. While I never played myself, my family is a baseball family. A hardcore baseball family. My brothers cut their teeth on their leather gloves, and we never had to go to school on Opening Day. Never. My dad still lovingly maintains the local Little League diamond, even though my youngest brother is 22. And you have never seen a prettier diamond, well groomed, clayed, fenced, watered…loved. My step-dad is an umpire for little and junior leagues, and he never even had any kids of his own- just loves baseball. My brother went to an excellent college he never could have gone to without baseball, and will now coach high school when he starts teaching. Baseball was on the TV in my LDR room when I gave birth to both of my sons- And will likely be on when this newest little girl arrives.

Baseball is best enjoyed live- it does loose something in translation on TV, but still, I will take it any way I can. There is nothing like walking through the cool, shady tunnels of PacBell Park, only to turn and walk out into the bright sunshine and blue sky, squinting to get a look around, surrounded by beautiful sky, the pristine Bay, and a picturesque skyline. Welcome, spring!

Twice in One Day

Not many women have the pleasure of saying: I had two pelvic exams in one day! Oh, yes, I did. Not just once, but twice, my friends, did I have the dubious pleasure of stripping from the waist down, shrouding my pregnant body in a miniscule paper blanket and hearing “slide down, just a bit?” as I hoisted my sock-clad feet into the holsters. Oh, joy, my life is complete!

Yesterday morning I had a little scare, and I thought I might have been leaking amniotic fluid. Without going into TMI, it was enough that I actually called my doctor, which as a third-timer, I don’t do unless something is really weird. This qualified. Of course the nurse told me to come in NOW, and as soon as I found someone to come watch the kids, I went in. My doctor had been called to surgery, so the put me in with the first available, which to my great luck, was the Drug Nazi. However, to give credit where due, she could not have been nicer or more careful. So pelvic exam #1 began. She ran three different tests to see if my waters were leaking, and it looked like everything was ok. However, she said I was dilated to 2cm, and she wanted a second opinion. Great! Get dressed and wait out front, please.

My doctor was due back in about 15 minutes, and I met his nurse in the hallway. She took me over to his office, and we sat a chatted. My doctor arrived, still wearing his surgical scrubs and trying to eat a sandwich. He talked while he ate, and it was bizarre to have this man talking about anatomy things as he chomped away on his lunch, but that’s one of the reasons I like him- he’s relaxed. He decided to do an ultrasound and check me himself, so on with pelvic exam #2. Same results as #1, water still intact, all looks well. He concurred that I am now at 2 cm. At 30 weeks, not ideal, but not terribly scary either.

Here is the cool part: during the ultrasound to check the fluid levels around the baby, he excitedly told me to look at the screen- and the baby was sucking her thumb! It was clear as day- she had her little fist up by her mouth, and was sucking away. I forgot to ask him to look at her behind one more time, I was so tickled by the thumb sucking. I don’t know how an ultrasound can be cute, but this one was!

Not Shilling for Votes or Anything…

So it has been brought to my attention that I am nominated in three categories at the One Woman’s World 1st Annual Share the Love Awards. Aside from the fact that I am floored someone thought to nominate my writing as inspiring, humorous or good, the list of nominees is a fabulous source of new mama-centered blogs- check it out, you might find some new ones you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Share The Love Blog Awards at http://onewomansworld.blogsome.com/

There was some code that (if I were not me) I could cut and paste as a nominee to create a fancy and very pretty banner to link to the voting, but after about 20 minutes of being unable to figure it out, I gave up. So, if you want to vote, just click the link above. What can I say? The computer fairies just don’ like me!

But the Flowers are Lovely…

When you send your husband to the store to get milk, what does he come home with?

The other day, I called the DH on his way home from work, and asked him to stop and pick up two gallons of whole milk for Eric. Easy, right? Here is what he came home with:

Three boxes of Coco Puff’s cereal, a bag of salted pretzels, a bag of potato chips, two half-gallons of ice cream (vanilla and mud-pie), three twelve-packs of soda, sourdough bread, chocolate syrup, Cheetos, chocolate Redi-Whip spray cream, and a bouquet of tulips for me. Oh, and the milk. At least he didn’t forget the milk!

Dumbfounded, I stared at the wild assortment of crap on my counter… coco puffs? I found myself wondering if someone slipped him a funny brownie before he left work- this looked like a raging case of the munchies if I had ever seen one! The only thing he forgot was Chocco Tacos!

$49 in crap food. $49 is basically half of my weekly grocery budget. Seriously, I wanted to get mad at him- but he brought me flowers, how could I chew him out? What are we going to do with three boxes of coco puffs? While I have been known to have a Cheeto’s attack, and my kids love them, how will I get them to eat plain ol’ Cheerio’s again if they know what coco puff’s are? And the chocolate spray whip cream? Ok, totally yummo, but the can was half empty when he got home- he says it was that way when he bought it, but I’m thinking someone was taking whipped cream hits in the car…

Honey, are you sure no one gave you a funny brownie?

The New Meaning of Valentines Day

At 6:17 this morning, this is how my Valentines Day began:

Jeffrey: “Mom! Wake up!”. Small hands patting my face and trying to manually open my eyelids. “Mommy! Santa left us balloons and candy! Can I eat it?” Hands still probing my face.

Me: “Jeffrey, it’s still dark- go back to bed.”

Jeffrey: “Why did Santa leave balloons and candy?”

Me: “Hmmm? Sweetie, it’s Valentines Day, and they are from dad and me. Now go back to sleep, please.”

Jeffrey: “Mom! Where is my red fire engine?” I crack an eye, and his earnest and searching face in on my pillow, about 2 inches from mine.

Me: croaking- “I don’t know. Now either be quiet or go back in your room.”

Jeffrey: “MOM! You said you would never-ever-ever leave us alone, and you did!”

Me: “What are you talking about? I would never leave you alone.”

Jeffrey: “You got the balloons after we were sleeping , so you left us alone!”

Me: “Honey, dad was here. I did not leave you alone. Go back to sleep, please.”

Jeffrey: “The green boogies guys will get me if I go back to sleep. Mom! They have eyes like THIS!” making weird hand gestures.

Me: rolling over and covering head. Baby starts to kick hard. Little feet come pattering down the hallway and around my side of the bed. I crack an eye again.

Eric: “Mommy! Me ‘wake!”

Me: “I see that. Get in here and stay warm.” deluded, I am still thinking I may get a tad more sleep. New pair of hands starts to pat my face.

Eric: “My love you, Mommy. Wake up!”

Jeffrey: “MOM! the sun is up! Can we get up now and eat candy??” Begins jumping on the bed next to my head, to look out the window.

Eric: “MOM! My can’t find my bink!”

Jeffrey: “Mom, I’m calling dad to see where my red fire engine is…”

Sound of small feet running down hallway towards living room, and distant sound of Jeffrey telling Eric that Santa did not bring the balloons, but the candy was really from Grandma…

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

Star Date 2132006

My kids are Trekkies. Oh, dear Lord, there it is in print- my kids are destined to be nerds to the highest degree, condemned to be the punch line of jokes, and convention attendees. Yes, my two darling boys have discovered, thanks to their father, Star Trek.

To be fair, it is specifically “Star Trek- The Next Generation” reruns that captivate their little hearts and send them flying towards the TV when they hear the music begin. And, out of all the possible Star Trek franchises, I consider this one the most redeeming- both in character development and in story lines, but aren’t I splitting hairs? The fact that I have always had the tiniest crush on Jean Luc Picard doesn’t have anything at all to do with my justifying their viewing of said program- it only makes it tolerable.

They both love the planets, the stars, the spaceships, the phasers, the Klingon costumes, the other strange aliens, and Jeffrey is fascinated with Commander Data and how he is a robot- er, excuse me, an android. Oh man, I’m geeking myself out now.

Can I justify this as science? My four-year old has learned all the planets in our Solar System, including which are the rocky planets and which are the gas giants- But no matter how cool we like to pretend we might be (not very), or how much we try and spin it, that skeleton in our closet is wearing a Communicator Badge and we are family of Total Nerds!

Love Letter to My Grandpa

Grandpa Jack died late last night. He went out, like he did everything in his life, on his own terms.

He lived and died in the Midwest, and he was not someone I saw frequently, but oh, the stories I heard about and from him. And, the time I actually spent with him, did not disappoint the myths. He was a part of that generation Tom Brokaw respectfully refers to as “The Greatest Generation”, and while my grandpa would laugh and mock that title, it’s absolutely true.

If you have seen Saving Private Ryan, you know a little bit about my grandpa. He was there that morning, when those brave young men landed on the bloody beaches of Normandy. If I remember correctly, he landed on Omaha beach, and was one of the very lucky ones who survived. He continued to serve this country in the European theater for the rest of WWII, earning a passel of medals and clusters which he never even let us look at. After the surrender in the Pacific, he headed off to Korea, where he spent several years. My grandmother held the home down back in Georgia as best she could, raising three little girls that were born between Leaves.

Grandma had as many colorful names for Jack as my box of crayons, but even I could see that he was the Love of her life, despite a divorce soon after the Korean War ended. And in the short time I spent with grandpa, the affection he felt for Grandma was clear. I hope they are talking to each other right now, reminiscing and released from the earthy pains that troubled their lives.

Grandpa spent the rest of his life alone, living in the house he was born in, refusing even to have a telephone. If we wanted to check in with him, we had to call the local VFW, and they would get a message to him via a buddy. Visiting him was such a marvelous treat- he was a source of fascination and mystery, and I loved staying up late into the night listening to him talk. Once, when I was a teenager, he even went down to his basement and brought up a box of medals and commendations, and plopped them on the kitchen table. It was then that my mom and I learned he was actually the most decorated hero of war for his state- which he unceremoniously brushed off.

His one nod toward accepting the accolades he is entitled to was agreeing to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Next month, he will be awarded a full-honors military funeral, in the final resting place of the greatest men to serve and protect our freedom. My mother and both my brothers will be there, as well as my uncle and his family. I will not be able to go because of my pregnancy, but if this maybe-girl has sprouted a penis and is actually a boy, rest assured, his name will be Jack.

Grandpa, I hope you have all the answers to all the questions you ever had.

Unexpected Blessings

How does a thing that is a runny nose in my kids morph into bronchitis and possibly pneumonia in me? I say possibly, because they cannot x-ray my lungs right now because of the baby. But it would not be the first, second or even third time I have had pneumonia.

This time, I really think the mitigating circumstances are how run-down I already am, how tired I am, and how little I can actually keep in my tummy these days. So add in a little ‘cold’ bugger, and I’m knocked flat out. True to form, I am being stubborn- when I phoned the on-call doctor tonite and she told me to go to the ER, I didn’t. And I’m not going to, either. Monday will be here soon, and then I can see my own doctor. The ER is purgatory, and I am not hauling my butt down there, just so they can hook me up to an IV until my bladder bursts, then send me home six hours later. Done that before, no thanks- and I’m not putting the baby in danger- I know what the signs of dehydration are, and I’m ok.

The amazing thing, and the real reason I am up writing after midnight, is that some friends dropped off goodies and loves for me today. Unfortunately, I slept right though the visit, but the care packages were on the counter when I woke up. Here is the coolest thing: the care packages and tender thoughts were from women and their families that I have met through this writing- how much of a blessing has writing turned out to be?

So, while I started writing from a desperate measure and a bid to retain my sanity as a SAHM, I have garnered not only the original goal, but so very much more. There are real people, real blessings in my life that I would not know or have, otherwise. You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and thoughtfulness. And, my kids can’t wait to eat the candy!

Follow Up- Me and My Big Mouth

Ok, so here is the funny part.

After feeling really guilty all night, and trying to figure out what to do with this elephant I invited into the room, I decided I needed help. This morning, I phoned DFM’s uncle (MIL’s brother) to ask his council. He is a fine older gentleman, whom I greatly respect, he and his wife are temple workers every week, they are busy retirees, and they are both fantastic people. Knowing that I might well be chastised by him for my disrespect, I decided to come clean anyway, and risk his displeasure in order to make some progress. My thinking was, since he has dealt with her for the better part of 70 years, maybe he could help me.

When I phoned, I told him I needed some council regarding MIL, and he put me on speaker phone so his wife could listen in as well. Then, I explained the entire thing, including all the horrid things I said, sparing nothing. When I finished: He Laughed! He laughed at the whole thing, even really naughty parts! His response, when he finished laughing, was “Well, she is an odd bird, isn’t she?!”

He also suggested not talking to her without a witness again, since then she cannot formulate whatever fiction of the event she likes. He volunteered to be the mediator, and I think I will take him up on it. Egad! What a nightmare!

But I am SO relieved- it’s NOT me, it’s NOT my wacky hormones, and I’m NOT crazy! So tonite, get down on your bended knees and thank the good Lord for your mother-in-law, because I have thrown down the gauntlet, and no one can take me down!

Me and My Big Mouth

(Apologies to Mo Mommy on the title, but if the shoe fits, sometimes you gotta borrow it!) Some of you might want to re-think being my friend, or at least reading me, if you knew what I did today. I’m a bad woman.

You all have read about my mother-in-law. Nothing I say about her is untrue or even an exaggeration. So today, on the first day of my trying to re-join the human race, she had to bumble into my space. Weather it was fate, dumb luck, or providence, I will never know, but I unloaded both packed, aimed, primed and ready-to-fire barrel’s at her. All of the things I have been holding in for seven years just came spewing forth from my mouth is a long tirade of vitriol and frank, tactless verbal cannonballs. When I hung up on her, she was crying. Now before you get too upset at me, she is a manipulative-passive-aggressive, so crying isn’t really a big deal, but still, making your MIL cry is never something to be proud of.

It isn’t necessary or advisable to go over all the things I threw at her, but let’s just say she doesn’t wonder how I feel about anything. Anything. Immediately I called DFM at told him what I had done, feeling kind of ashamed at my lack of control and knowing I had to apologize to her. He laughed at me! While he agreed that I probably ought to say I was sorry, at least about one thing, he didn’t think it was really a big deal.

But I am feeling more than a little guilty. I did call and apologize for my disrespect, and it went about like you would imagine, if you know anyone who is passive-aggressive. Serves me right for speaking my mind. *sigh*