Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vomit Watch '08

Today I am on Vomit Watch '08. No, I am not refering to the impending elections. Rather, I am inviting you into my world today, as a virtual in-home prisoner, just waiting for a call from the school nurse. You see, Thing 2 came down to breakfast today and told me that he wasn't feeling well when he was upstairs.

I did what every mother does and touched his forehead. Nothing unusual, no fiery hot skin. His color looked fine. Perhaps more importantly, he eagerly ate down his breakfast while discussing his malaise. So, I asked him if he wanted to stay home. He said that I should decide.

Being paranoid, I then asked him if he didn't want to go to school for some other reason, like if someone was bullying him. He said "of course not." "Well then," I said, "you should go to school and if you feel sick at school, ask to go to the nurse and she will call me to get you." I added my caviat, though. " I am home all morning (I immediately decide not to go to "Militant Fitness" at the gym at 11, okay, so it didn't take a great deal of convincing me) but I have an appointment for my monthly massage (my one splurge for cleaning my own house [mon dieu!] and not splurging on things like manicures and pedicures and make up) at 12:15, so if you are not feeling well, make sure you go to the nurse well before that.

This brought up all kinds of questions like, "what if I feel sick at 12:16?" (then you go to the nurse and wait until 1:25 when I can come get you). "What if it is after that?" (then there will be no problem, go to the nurse, she will call and I will get you) "What if I feel sick as soon as I get to the school?" (go to the nurse and she will call me and I will get you). After several more questions I pointed out that if he had the energy to ask all of these questions, he probably felt better than he was giving himself credit for feeling.

So, I have spent the morning within earshot of the phone since returning from an abbreviated walk with the dog (in case his query about feeling sick as soon as he got to school proved true). Instead of militant fitness, I cleaned the first floor of the house, remembering to bring the phone from room to room so that I stood a chance of hearing it. Has the phone rung? Not at all. I am fine with that. However, I can't help wondering if I am going to get a call from the school nurse during my massage...? What is your guess?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Does A Soccer Mom Do When Soccer Is Over?

Thing 2's soccer season capped off yesterday with a thrilling win for the championship title. The boys were undefeated, though they tied twice in the regular season. Unfortunately, Thing 1's team lost their game on Sunday and tied their Saturday game. Next week is her playoffs and then we are done with soccer. No more driving someone to a practice four weeknights a week, no more four soccer game weekends. What to do? How to plan for the future? By signing up for more soccer of course.

I didn't even wait until the next day before I started the push to get Thing 2 on an indoor soccer team. You see, Thing 2 loves soccer and he is very good at it. Thing 1 likes soccer well enough and though she too is good at it, she said she did not want to play indoor soccer. What will Thing 1 do then? Basketball.

Why do we sign up for sport after sport, effectively signing away our nights and weekends when multiple practices are multiplied by two kids? Because they like these sports and we want them to get the team experience and keep fit.

Thus, there is the usual rush at our house, where are the water bottles? Is the uniform cleaned? Did you close the door when you ran out of the house? Are we supposed to bring oranges and juice? These are the questions that fill our brains. Then, once we get to the games, we try to control ourselves and not shout too much from the sidelines.

For the most part, I try not to coach from the sidelines. Yet I can't resist being true to my vocal self. So I try to root for all members of the team with words of encouragement: "Nice kick Geoff!, Way to go Daniel! You get the idea. Of course, I must admit that I don't always entirely behave myself on the sidelines.

Recently after a game, my husband asked Thing 2 about a "trash-talking incident" Thing 2's coach had written to the parents about. I volunteered tongue in cheek that the trash-talking guilty party was probably me, his mom. I couldn't resist suggesting that the referee remove his sunglasses when he didn't see an intentional shove by the opposing team. I've been behaving better since, I swear (but not loud enough for anyone to hear-that's not allowed on the sidelines).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get Thee A Light Box

It is just past the middle of October and like clockwork, I have turned into a complete and utter grouch. Yes, we have a new dog in the house, but lately it is I who have been doing all of the barking. I behaved this way despite going on a long walk on a sunny day allegedly to relieve stress. What gives? Seasonal Affective Disorder. I never would have suspected that I was susceptible to this syndrome until a few years ago when I was asked by my then MD how I was feeling. I answered honestly that I felt pretty lousy and that the odd thing was I remembered feeling just the same way at that time the previous year.

Feeling how? Very, very tired. Tired as in constantly yawning, all day long, no matter the activity, even in the middle of an exercise class. Go figure. This despite the fact that I succumb to sleep at ridiculously early bedtimes, like 9:15pm. Upset stomach-as in waking up with abdominal pain every morning. Really bloated. So bloated that I have no appetite in the morning (sadly, the appetite comes back later in the day and I make up for it-losing weight would have been a nice benefit of this malaise).My MD listened to my symptoms and when I asked him if there was anything to them, he replied matter of factly that this was because I am a 'summer person.' A what? I never really thought of myself that way, despite the fact that I love being warm and hate being cold. It used to be that fall was my favorite time of the year. Cozy sweaters, warm cider, beautiful leaves. Until I first realized I have primary Reynaud's syndrome. Reynaud’s is a harmless but annoying and painful affliction which causes numbness and pain in my hands and feet whenever exposed to any small amounts of cold.

So I asked him what I could do with this knowledge that I was a 'summer person.' He told me that I should try using a light box everyday during the fall and winter. He admitted to first being skeptical of light boxes initially until one of his longtime patients who had been on depression medication for years tried own and was able to wean herself off of the depression drugs. I decided to try it and did some research and ordered a Golite portable light box so that I could walk around with the light while getting the kids breakfast (it is important to use it at the same time everyday and you can take an online quiz to figure out what that time should be ( things are a bit different. I am now on my third fall/winter season on the light box. I just started this weekend at the strong urging, okay actually, begging, of my husband. As I stood in the kitchen yelling at the family for something I can't even recall, he pointed to the light box( which I did actually take out myself that morning, anticipating that it was time to use it.) His response to my rantings was "maybe you should start using that light box again!" He was so right, so the next morning, I started using it. Last night, after two mornings of using it, I realized that I was not sleep despite it being 9:30pm. This after only using the light box for 12 minutes at 50% power for the two days. I guess I am pretty sensitive to changes in the amount of daylight.So now I have my lifesaving (and marriage saving) lightbox. But why did I need it in the first place? Just as every time my children were cranky or under the weather I blamed that on teething, I am chalking this one up to perimenopause. After all, this whole thing started in the fall/winter before I turned 39. When will it end for me? Probably during some October in the future when my husband or the kids don't beg me to dust of the light box and start using it. For now, I will bask in the blue light. If you have experienced similar seasonal problems, get thee a light box! By the way, these boxes are covered by many insurance policies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here, But Just In Case She Drops By...

Today I am in my usual frenzy to have the perfect house and the perfect meal all prepared in honor of my Aunt's arrival. What does this entail? Well, of course, a deep clean of the entire house by none other than moi, as well as a carefully planned out gourmet meal. Why? Because I suffer from Martha Stewart Disorder. No, I can't just put up a "Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here Sign" and go back to surfing the 'net. Instead, I must make sure everything looks "just right" which means not only cleaning but cleaning out-stacks of magazines and newspapers we haven't gotten around to looking at in months.

As for the food, everything must be made from scratch because I also suffer from an inability to make prepackaged food because I feel the need to be a food superhero (think Wonder Woman but with a knife instead of a lasso, and while we are at it, an apron instead of that silly getup).

I know, I know, I should chill and take it easy. They aren't coming to do a white glove test on the house or have the most gourmet meal they have ever tasted. Rather, they are coming to see us, family. I also try to remind myself of what Erma Bombeck said about how she had wished she had invited people over more often, instead of not doing so because everything didn't look just right.

I have gotten over the not inviting people over because everything won't look just right. Now, if I can only get over the needing to make everything look (and taste) just right because I have invited people over...

Monday, October 13, 2008

De-bunking bunk bed myths

Sure, it sounds like a great idea. Get your kids a bunk bed, or as in our case, your kid a loft bed, which is a bunk bed but without the second bed underneath. They save space, they are considered cool by all kids and for me at least, they make up for the fact that I never got one growing up, despite incessant begging and whining.

However, the realities of living with bunkbeds when you are the one who has to change the sheets, is something very different altogether. Maybe being a circus star would come in handy when you must precariously perch yourself on the edge of the top bed and lift up the mattress without falling off, in order to get the fitted sheet around the mattress. The same goes for tucking in the top sheets and any blankets. Suddenly that bunk bed I wanted when I was a kid doesn't seem so fun. As I wrestle with the mattress and try to maintain my balance, I realize that I should have brought the top sheet and comforter up there with me too so I wouldn't have to crawl up and down several more times like a monkey on a mission for more bananas (though I will need one of those to reenergize soon).

Yes, I have tried getting my son involved in helping make the bed. This is only marginally less cumbersome and more efficient. His bed is in the corner of the room, so one of us (guess who?) has to perch on the wall end of the bed, with zero room to manuever, and fix our side of the bed without hurling off the bed. It doesn't help that my son keeps trying to get on the mattress to fix his side, making it impossible for me to then raise up my side.

So, the reality is that his bed sheets get changed a little less often than the others. I rationalize this by calling it my green initiative. I am thinking of putting up a sign like you see in the bathrooms of hotels, only a bit more realisitic. "In an effort to preserve our precious environment and your mother's spinal cord, these sheets will only be changed if they are placed on the floor." I know that the chances that he will actually strip his own bed are equivalent to the chances of Ralph Nader winning the election, so I will get around to changing the sheets when I get there, and meanwhile, I will hide behind the green revolution, saving money, time, resources and a trip to the ER.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Undecided, But Overweight

I was struck last night, in watching the second debate, as well as watching a second group of undecided voters invited by CNN to watch the debate, by the girth of the majority of those undecided voters. Yikes! Now, full disclosure here, I should really lose 8-10 lbs myself. But, I would guess that most of those I saw either in the debate audience or in the CNN undecided focus group, needed to lose a minimum of 25 lbs.

Now, imagine if the two candidates took a page from Dr. Phil and told these audiences that the time of sacrifice begins now, and that includes losing weight. Losing weight will save each overweight American money in terms of what they are not eating, as well as, directly in terms of less healthcare costs, as we know that extra weight leads to extra healthcare expenses.

I myself am adopting this plan for myself. If this is a time of belt tightening, I am going to take that challenge literally. I am trying to do my part and eating less. The less I eat, the less I will spend on food and on having to buy an expanded wardrobe.

Of course, the cynical side of me thinks that these campaigns, which are getting down and dirty, won't adopt this honorable objective. Instead, maybe they will pander to our weakness for food, especially comforting food at these uncertain times. I can just see them giving away McCain's Mac & Cheese, or Obama-o's instead of oreos, in order to sway voters. After all, it would be a free meal and a quick feel-good fix. Never mind the increased healthcare costs down the road. The winner will worry about that once he takes office...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Am Separating from My Husband

Before you get reach for the phone or the computer to broadcast this news, a bit of clarification. We aren't physically or emotionally separating. At long last, I have decided to get my own email.

So what if it took ten years? At least I finally got around to it, unlike the other things I have been meaning to get to, like going through my sock drawer, my CD collection and dusting the tops of all furniture I can't reach without a chair.

After putting the email separation off for so long, I have to admit that it was embarrassingly easy to set up my own account. Okay, I didn't send a global notification to everyone, but I did send it to most of those necessary. Now, if I could only figure out how to inform the printer that I took care of the paper jam and it should get back to work, I would be all set in the technology department for a day or two.