Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “marriage”

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my husband’s birthday.  It is also National Marguerita day, which is probably not a coincidence.  Gosh, we’re getting old.  He is 48 today, which is really close to 50, which is really old.  Right?  And I’ll be 45 soon, which is also really old.  For me, anyway.

We are about half a country away from each other.  Here I sit in a hotel room in North Dakota, surrounded by jewelry makings and sugar free candy.  In honor of my husband I am watching Underworld, which I would probably not be watching otherwise.  This movie serves my purpose, though, which is that it not demand enough attention to keep me from making jewelry, or writing blog posts.  He is with my daughter in San Francisco.  They arrived there today – he has a conference to attend and he has brought our daughter with him, since I am in North Dakota.  He is speaking, so she will sit in the back of the room and read until he is done.  Then they plan to visit the town, go to the zoo, ride a streetcar, you know.  My daughter wanted to visit the “pretty jail on the island”.  I told her maybe not.  I’m hoping they will Skype soon.  Today I have yet to speak with either one of them.

Seems like my husband and I always have a computer or two between us.  Computers are his livelihood, specifically, data base administration.  He can work from home a lot, but he also travels.  We met online, through an online dating service.  He was several years out of his divorce, which occurred because he wanted children and she did not.  I was 34 and single.  We exchanged witty emails, and eventually phone conversations.  At that time he was at home because his father was dying of colon cancer and was living at home with him.  We talked on the phone until the day his dad passed away; my husband couldn’t leave the house long enough to go out on a date until then.  His devotion suggested to me that he would make an excellent husband and father.  Any man who, alone, gives up his job for 8 months to stay home until his STEPdad passes away, has got some serious caregiving dedication.

We had a couple good (and funny) dates, and then we were dating.  A year later, we got engaged.  He chose me the most beautiful, the most perfect ring ever.  I was unhappy with my present job and we moved to Alabama to be closer to my parents in case we had kids.  We had a daughter, a wonderful daughter.  My husband proved to be every bit the excellent husband and father I thought he would be.  He found out we were pregnant online too.  We were chatting between my office and his office, and I couldn’t get him on the phone after I took the test, so I typed it in the chat line:  Oh, by the way, we’re pregnant.”  My phone rang about 30 seconds after that.  “That is NOT the kind of news we pass along on chat,” he said.  “Oh well,” I said, “We met online, after all.  I thought it was only appropriate.”

We’ll be married ten years in October.  Wow, where did the time go?  I just left my job of ten years, just in time, as the town’s Obstetrics and Gynecology service was imploding in the ugliest way possible.  Two hospitals and two services were dumped together.  Then the firings started.  Nurses and doctors are being fired from the service every day now.  I had a job if I stayed, but the circumstances were repugnant to me.  Thus, I have decided to go adventuring, working as a travel doctor.  It has always been a dream of mine.  I love to travel.

But here I sit, tonight, in a nice hotel in a small town in North Dakota, and I feel just a bit lonely.  I texted my husband a happy birthday greeting, but that is not the same.  I haven’t spoken to him yet today.  And I miss my little daughter.  We will Skype tonight, and I will see their faces, and hear their voices, and I will feel better.

So, happy birthday honey.  It’s been a crazy ride, these last ten years.  We’ve moved, and gotten married, and had a baby, and here we are getting all old together.  I sure do love and miss you!  And I sure will have a lot of new jewelry to show you, since I’ve been sitting here making it every night since I’ve been here.  Hope your Speaker’s Dinner and your ballroom dance are great tonight!  Can’t wait to see you again!

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V-Day Is D-Day

It seems everyone is writing a Valentine’s Day post.  I considered not doing one, because I am one of those grinchy Valentine’s Day nay-sayers that everyone rolls their eyes about.  I would like to establish, however, that Valentine’s Day is an absolutely wretched holiday.  It brings misery to almost everyone it touches.

Since childhood, I have never had a Valentine’s Day that made me happy.  The best part of V-Day comes when you are a kid, and little enough to decorate the cool valentine box and have red and white cupcakes and skip around the classroom delivering your little messages.  Since teachers insist that valentines be brought for the whole class, the poor little geek or stinky kids don’t get left out.  Everyone gets some cards and a cupcake.  And when you’re a kid, you don’t know yet how lonely you are.

As soon as middle school hits, the bottom falls out.  Hormones start surging.  Everybody wants someone.  Most people don’t get anyone.  Everyone feels pretty much lonely and unloved.  Of course, there was the odd beautiful couple, somehow beautiful and fully formed even in the seventh grade, but how many of us really were a part of that couple?  I think most people, given the chance, would go back in time and drop a nuclear weapon on their middle school.  And at that age, the girls are swooning and wanting romance, but the boys are just thinking about sex.  And not getting any.  Hardly anyone, even in a young couple, does V-Day right.  And by right, I mean meeting the expectations of the other party involved.  Because mind reading is not common.  And most of us communicate very poorly.  And let us not forget the young GLBT.  They may just be realizing that there is something about them that is palpably different, and it sure doesn’t include receiving flowers from the prom king or queen.

Nothing gets better with age.  Most people feel lonely.  Relationships in high school and college are rarely too stable.  And it seems someone always has magical expectations, despite the rarity of being a member of a couple, that aren’t being met.  The sweeping romantic dreams of one are met by, at best, fumbling attempts to just making it through the day before someone’s head gets bitten off. 

Ahhh, and then adulthood.  You have the alone and the lonely.  Those in loveless marriages and relationships.  Widows and widowers.  Those whose lovers are far away, or in grave danger, away in the armed forces.  Then you have the bitter and the cynics.  And believe you, when I tell you from experience, that a cynic is best described as a failed romantic.  Cynics believed once.  They are angry because they were taken in, and reality never met their dreams.  For example, an emotional terrorist that I dated in my twenties showed up at my door on V-Day with a smirk.  He said, “I brought you flowers and candy!”  He was clutching a single red and white peppermint from a restaurant and a dead pine branch.  Even if you are in a lovely commited marriage, with a family, V-Day may be D-Day for you.  My husband thinks cut flowers are a waste of money.  One year, when we still passingly celebrated V-Day, he gave me several jars of mustard.  He stated they were romantic because I was doing Atkin’s diet and I could eat them with my meat.  We have since put an end to Valentine’s Day in my house.  We just don’t acknowledge it.

And don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is a holiday completely contrived to sell candies and greeting cards.  It didn’t even exist before a century or so ago.  And the old adage, about making every day a Valentine’s Day, if you truly love someone, is spot on.  You don’t just wait until one day to do nice things for each other.

And truly, most men hate Valentine’s Day.  As soon as the red and white displays go up, they start dying inside.  They’re going to have to buy something.  They don’t know what.  They will probably wait until the last minute, because they never know what to get.  And they know their partner probably has hopes for something, but human nature being what it is, they are probably not communicating their needs, because part of “romance” is that your partner “just gets it.”  And of course, most of the time, they don’t.  The wrong jewelry is bought.  Jewelry is not bought.  Chocolate is bought when partner is dieting.  And on, and on, and on.

Women are always getting disappointed.  We have high hopes that our partner will “just get it”.  We don’t communicate.  And frankly, a good bit of Valentine’s for us is conspicuous consumption.  After all, nothing proves that you’re loved more than a magnificent bouquet of flowers that the whole office gets to see.  I remember I never felt so gratified as a couple of Valentine’s when I was dating an attorney (who was otherwise a complete psycho, but had the whole gift thing down pat) sent me enormous bouquets of flowers to my office.  I had finally arrived.  I was conspicuously loved.  And when you think about that, it’s pretty damn shallow.

Then there’s Valentine’s for the GLBT community.  Just like anywhere else, there are committed loving couples giving great gifts.  And just like everyone else, for many V-Day is just being done wrong.  And then there’s the added whammy.  Many relationships cannot even be acknowledged, must less commemorated in flowers and candy.  If you are closeted, how do you answer the question about who sent you the flowers?  Saying “None of your damn business” over and over again is not any fun, any way you put it.  And you probably can’t even keep a picture of your significant other on your desk, unless you work in a very progressive office.  And you can’t bring your partner to those “fun” office picnics.

So as far as I’m concerned, Valentine’s Day is torture for most everyone.  If you have a great Valentine’s Day, congratulations and I wish you the best.  Just don’t forget, probably most everyone else is miserable.

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Tough Old Bird

When I was growing up, I had a second family.  This family lived next door to us for many many years.  They had a daughter who was grown but they were only in their forties.  This couple married as high school sweethearts.  We moved in next to them when I was five.  I have vague memories of sitting on their porch with them, visiting as they finished their yardwork.  They smoked, and would always have a cigarette in their hands.  This was very exotic to me as no one in my family smoked.  They would be drinking sweet tea in Tupperware cups, the tall ones that had lids that no one used.  They were the muted Tupperware colors, celery green and faded pink, and they would bring me my own glass.  I remember the gentle tapping that the ice cubes made in the glasses, and the shick shick shick of the lawn sprinkler at the end of the hose.

One day, the husband fell sick.  He had lung cancer.  He was sick, and then he died.  He was only in his forties.  The day of his funeral, my friend and I tried to play quietly in the yard but we were kids and we begin to run and shout.  My father came out, grim faced, and told us to come inside immediately; we were being disrespectful.  We felt terrible.

The day our neighbor’s husband died, she put down the cigarettes and never picked them up again.  She was such a determined woman, her hair always done in a sixties bouffant flip that grayed as she got older.  She never colored her hair.  She did all her own yardwork, and my friend and I would come help her pull weeds and wild strawberries out of her yard.  She paid better than our parents did.  For yard work, she always wore zip-up coveralls that had probably belonged to her husband.  She mowed her own yard, until I was old enough and did it for her.  She amazed us by growing banana plants that grew actual bananas on them.

She always had a big dog in her big chained in back yard.  When we moved in, it was Rex, and then it was Bo.  Then she finished her German Shepard phase and started with the black labs.  Her first one was Inky.  They were all sweet dogs and would jump up to the side of the fence to be petted.  I know they were a great comfort to her after her husband passed.  On the rare occasions that she went out of town, usually to visit her daughter, and later her grandchildren, I would come in to her house and let whatever dog it was into the basement to be fed and petted.  She doted on her big dogs and they were inside as much as they were out.  They were always well trained.

As I got older, I learned what a dichotomous person she was.  On the one hand, she was strong and determined, took care of herself and her house and yardwork.  She was raised the youngest of a family of all boys, and she had a boy’s nickname and was a well known softball player in her day.  She worked for a concrete company until the day they retired her.  But her hair was always perfect, not one out of place, and she spoke in such a soft sweet Southern accent.  She always stayed in great shape and dressed immaculately.  She stubbornly refused to remarry for almost twenty years.

Lordy, that woman loved a good gossip.  When I was a child, it was mostly her talking, but as I got older, high school and college, I had gossip of my own to contribute.  She was born and raised in our town, and she knew virtually everyone in it.  I would start a story about someone, and she would say, “Oh, that’s so and so’s son.  I always knew that family was no good.”  I guess as we get older, we begin to see more sides of someone we’ve known our whole life.  Some of her gossip seemed a bit mean-spirited, but I figured that was just her.  I was more disappointed in her than I have ever been when I was visiting her when I was home from college, and she told me that “Them gays got the AIDS because God was punishing them.”  I never felt quite the same about her again, although I realized later that she was just a sheltered woman who had married out of high school and she didn’t know any better.

When she finally remarried we were all surprised.  She had been dating gently for years, but stayed out of the highly competitive, catty hair pulling that she said was characteristic of older ladies, whom she said would fight tooth and claw over a man, since there were so few of them available.  She said one time she was out to dinner with a man and a woman came up to her and said, “Get away from him, he’s MINE.”  She said she never went out with that guy again; she didn’t need the drama. 

She finally met a man that was right for her, and he lived right around the corner in our neighborhood.  They courted for a while and then married in a small ceremony.  I could never remember to call her by her new married name; I had known her by the old one for so long.  She didn’t mind.  In what I considered an impressive and admirable move, she refused to move in with her new husband and stayed in her old house.  They visited back and forth.  He was an avid hunter, and as tough as nails as she was, she was an avid hunter too.  She went deer hunting with her husband all the time, and brought down many a deer.  I remember one Christmas when she was over seventy, her proudest Christmas gift from her husband was a pair of knee-high, camouflaged, snake proof hunting boots.  I came to her house to see her on one of my trips home, and there was a huge stuffed bobcat in her living room.  I inquired as to the origin of said bobcat, and she said proudly, “I saw him in the woods and I shot me that old cait.  Had him stuffed and I keep him in here.”

She went through some rough times.  As she and her husband got older, they took turns being hospitalized for more and more serious ailments.  She nursed him through several protracted hospital stays.  After years of marriage, in a stunning turn of events that blew our minds, her husband’s daughter got to him somehow and persuaded him that his wife was after his money.  Never mind that she was still supporting herself, living in her own home.  The daughter somehow twisted the knife, wanting her father’s money for her own, and turned him against my friend.  He threw her out of his life without warning.  We were all stunned.  She must have had a premonition, hanging onto her home all those years.  She shrugged it off, and after an initial flurry of filling us in on the dirt, she spoke of him no more.

She’s in her eighties now.  She’s gotten a bit more frail, and a bit less sharp, but there’s still a lot to her.  My parents moved away from her neighborhood, but they still visit each other and catch up on the news.  When my childhood friend remarried, I told her and her first response was, “I know his Daddy.”  She always knew everyone, and everyone’s business.  I haven’t seen her in several years, but we exchange Christmas cards.  She’s a tough lady and I think she’ll hang on quite a while yet.

The Hobbit And Ruth’s Chris

My husband and I went out on a date tonight.  I was very excited.  We hired a sitter for the whole day and went and saw The Hobbit and then went to Ruth’s Chris for dinner.  Kevin got me a massive Ruth’s Chris gift card for Christmas, since we are on Atkin’s diet and are currently eating MEAT and CHEESE and more MEAT.  I am so sick of meat.  But I love me some Ruth’s Chris.

The Hobbit was awesome.  It was a bit loooonng, over two and a half hours.  But we saw the 3D, 48 frame/minute version which was KILLER.  The dwarves had a great look.  And the dwarf king (prince?) was actually pretty hot.  There were like thirty minutes of previews before the movie even started.  Now, I love watching the previews, but my husband does not.  He says they give too much of the story line away.  But – still – how do you know what you want to go see if you don’t watch the previews?  And preview watching is actually my version of watching the movie, most of the time.  I don’t go to too many movies in the theater.  I prefer to wait and see them at home where there aren’t people climbing all over your lap and texting and spilling their drinks on your feet.  But my husband loves to see them in the theater, on the big screen.  So he goes to a lot of movies by himself.  Plus he likes a bunch of really violent ones that I don’t like to watch.  They upset me.  I saw this great quote on Facebook (I know, groan) that said “Two hours of violence in a movie won’t affect you, right?.  But a thirty second spot in the Superbowl is worth 3.8 million dollars because it will make you run out and buy a product.”  I know the violence in movies affects me.  It either upsets me or makes me feel very aggressive, depending on my mood.

So The Hobbit rocked.  Then we went on to Ruth’s Chris.  They stuck us at what looked like this cozy little curved booth that turned out to be right by the door to the kitchen.  So it wasn’t so cozy.  Our server was this skinny little girl who kept saying, “Absolutely!”  My husband said if she said “Absolutely!” one more time, he was gonna come up out of his chair.  So we were boring patrons, because we didn’t order drinks.  I don’t drink anymore, because I shouldn’t, and most of the time, my husband doesn’t drink either.  Every once in a while a marguerita will call his name, and I’ll wind up driving home.  Doesn’t happen too often though.  I must say, I surely do miss beer.  So we refused bread too, because we’re on the Atkins diet together.  They forgot and brought it to us anyway.  They seemed most upset that we were refusing their bread.  Rejected, almost.  Kevin got a stuffed chicken breast, which I couldn’t believe, because why would you get a chicken breast when you’re in a place that has an amazing filet.  Right?  I got the filet and lobster combo.  I know how to spend a gift card.  We both got tasty wedge salads, which are covered in blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing.  Perfect for Mr. Atkins.  I snarfed my surf and turf, and Kevin saved half his (double) chicken breast for later.  It was stuffed with cheese and garlic and was pretty tasty too.

It was raining when we got out of the movie and went on to dinner, so I was checking the forecast for tomorrow.  I really don’t want it to rain tomorrow, because Kevin promised me we can all go to the wildlife refuge, so I can take some pictures with my camera, and he and our daughter can look at the birds.  I am very excited about that outing, as I have been learning some new things about my camera.  Kevin made me promise to study up if he would buy me a new macro lens for the camera and he did!  So I’ve been learning about how to manually set my DSLR.  I will try out some fancy f-stops and apertures and stuff when we go out tomorrow.  Can’t wait!

Kevin finally got his first decent night’s sleep in years last night.  He is a hard core insomniac and usually wakes several times during the night, then gives up and gets up around four or five.  He does this despite Ambien, melatonin, and some of my Klonopin.  I had these Extended Release Xanax pills my shrink gave me for anxiety.  I took one and it turned me into a molten puddle of goo.  I could barely keep my tongue in my mouth.  Those things made me utterly stupid, and not in a good way.  I refused to take any more, but I saved them.  I finally talked Kevin into taking one last night, to see if they would help him sleep.  He slept the whole night!  He slept until nine in the morning!  He says he can’t ever in his whole life hardly remember doing that.  He was amazed.  He was still out of it when he woke up.  I’m thrilled we’ve finally found him something that will help him sleep.  He was desperate.   He hadn’t slept more than a few hours per night for weeks.  He plans to take another tonight and see if he can get another night’s great sleep.  So we’ll get on Netflix and watch an episode of In Plain Sight, and then hopefully he’ll crash.  And tomorrow we’re going to the wildlife refuge.  So I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

My Wonderful Husband

Well, here I sit on Saturday night, and I have not written a blog post today.  I have been writing a post a day for months.  I haven’t missed a day.  I am on call this weekend and I have already delivered three babies.  I just came back home from doing a circumcision and a c-section.  It is after seven o’clock.  I have no blog post.

I informed my husband that I have no blog post.  My husband said, “You always write about what a bad husband I am.  Why don’t you write a blog post about what an awesome husband I am?”

I said, “I write great things about you too.  You just don’t notice them.  But that’s a great idea.  Today I’m going to write a post about how awesome you are.”  So here is how awesome my husband is:

When I first met my husband, I was having a lot of problems.  He was one of the few people in my life who actually noticed that I was in trouble and he tried to help me out.  In fact, when my personal problems threatened to eat me alive, he put his foot down and asked me to choose between my bad habits and him.  He loved me.  I picked him.

He noticed that I was miserable in my current job.  So much so that when I broke a molar from grinding my teeth in my sleep, I was elated because I could spend the day in the dentist’s chair having a crown made and not have to go to work.  He felt this indicated a problem.  He helped me find a new job, one closer to my parents because we were planning on getting married and having a family.

He defended me against my mother when she decided that she couldn’t stand him.  He actually stood up to her and told her how much she was hurting me, trying to sabotage the relationship while we were planning a wedding.  She actually listened to him.  He’s a problem solver.

We got married and I settled into my new job.  He had made a sacrifice by leaving Atlanta, where he had been very happy and had lots of work.  He is an independent contractor, so he has lots of work everywhere.  And Atlanta was very convenient for him.  He gave that up.

A year later, we decided to get pregnant.  He had a surgery to make sure he was good and fertile.  I was already pregnant when he had the surgery.  We just didn’t know it.  He put up with my crazy hormonal pregnant crap for ten months.  Actually I was pretty good.  I just had this weird habit of bursting into tears on Sunday nights when he was about to leave for Atlanta the next day.  I was convinced his plane was going to crash and he would never see his baby.

He was right there in the c-section room with me when we had our baby.  And after that awful experience, he held my wrists for forty-five minutes to stop the shaking in my body that hurt my new incision so much.  And when our baby had horrible colic, he walked the floor with her for hours.  He jiggled her to sleep in his lap almost every night.  He carried her around in a little sling while he worked.  He took over when I was so dazed with postpartum depression and colic and sleep deprivation that I could hardly see straight.  He took care of her at home while I went back to work.

He tried working from home with a baby and a babysitter for six months.  He finally realized he wasn’t getting any work done, and we had to put her in daycare.  But he tried for half a year.  We went through four or five daycares before we found one where she could stay; where we felt comfortable with her staying.

Over the years, he has done the lion’s share of the work.  My only contribution has been to work long hours as an Ob/Gyn.  But to be honest, I just don’t get that much done when I am home.  He hired us a housekeeper, who keeps the place picked up.  He waters the houseplants and sprays the orchids.  He runs the vacuum, because dust bothers him.  He does laundry and arranges to get the lawn mowed and does all the yard work, keeping the roses trimmed back and the beds edged and the lilies cut and everything watered.  When the house is falling down around our ears, he does the research for the contractors and supervises them and makes sure the work gets done.  He works his butt off at his job, sometimes working from home and sometimes travelling.  He has done much more than his fair share of the work for years and he rarely complains about it.  He keeps on me to do the little things that he has me do around the house, and is more than patient when I don’t get them done.

He does more than his fair share of parenting.  He reads to our daughter almost every night, helps with her bath or her shower, gets her up and gets her dressed and takes her to the bus most days so I can sleep in.  He plays with her and practices softball and plays chess and tickles her and reads graphic novels to her and goes to all her plays and school lunches, because I can’t go.  He’s an awesome father and my daughter is a daddy’s girl who loves him so very much.

He spoils me.  He tucks me in at night.  He cooks for us.  He turns on the fire for me.  He brings me blankets when I’m cold.  He has allowed much more spending on my part than he would like to see.  He is understanding when I am tired coming home from work.

Most recently, he is allowing me to work part time.  My job has been wearing me down so much over the past ten or fifteen years, and it’s making me old and depressed and he notices that.  He has just sold his airplane that he loves because it will be too expensive to keep once I am only working part time.  He has helped me get a job as a locum tenens (travel doctor) and I will work two weeks and be off two weeks.  That way I can be more of a wife and mother.  Hopefully I will do more around the house, cleaning and organizing.  This way he will be able to travel for work in the weeks that I am home.  I pray it will work out for the best for both of us.  He deserves a happier, more giving, more present wife.  I hope I will be able to do that for him.  I WILL do that for him.

Candles

Gifts were exchanged at work this year for Christmas and I both gave and received candles.  I just love candles.  My husband loves burning them to the ground.  He saw the giftwrapping on the stairs and said, “What did you get?”  I showed him the big tasty candle I had just gotten from Anthropologie – three wicks and a delicious smell.  I woke up this morning to find it half burned down in the kitchen.  “Smells like a French whore,” he said, happily.  So our whole house smells like an expensive whore house, the expensive because I know how much that candle cost, and the whore house because my husband is never happier than when he is burning up my candles and being inappropriate.  I didn’t exactly get to enjoy the ambience of my candle, since it was half gone in the kitchen when I woke up, but I should have known better than to show it to him in the first place.  Later he will do this excavating thing that he does with candles when he thinks they need rejuvenating and he will dig it and claw it and make it all ugly.  There will be no stopping him.  My husband needs to be kept away from candles.  Especially at Christmas.

My Day By The Clock

0600:  Alarm goes off.  Hit snooze.

0609:  Alarm goes off.  Husband tells me to quit hitting snooze.  Get up.  Trip over work shoes by the side of the bed.

0610:  Get on scale.  Snort derisively.  Threaten scale with terrible things.

0612:  Get towel.  Discover light in shower is blown out.  Shower in darkness.  Forget and put shampoo on twice instead of conditioner.

0620:  Put on scrubs.  Discover I forget socks and return to closet.  Put on lotion (pump doesn’t work – dip pump and pull out like honey spoon).  Heavy deodorant. 

0625:  Mousse hair.  Mousse foams up so much I have enough to cover two heads.  Apply extra mousse so as not to waste it so head is totally sticky.

0627:  Realize, as usual, I do not have time to dry hair.  Go to work with wet sticky hair.

0630:  Go into kid’s room.  Halfway turn on light.  Listen to complaining about light.

0635:  Listen to child reject all clothing suggestions.  Allow child to put on dark green Christmas shirt with lime green floral skirt and tights.  Top off with shiny silver Ugg-type boots, which are already scuffed up even though we bought them two weeks ago.

0640:  Beg child to choose breakfast.  Child wants oatmeal.  We do not have time for oatmeal.  Offer cereal.  Child wants waffles.

0645:  Be reminded by child that she needs a lunch made for a field trip today.  We did not allow time for that.  Make lunch.

0647:  Stuff down bowl of cereal

0650:  Beg child to allow me to brush her hair.  Screaming.  Tenderheaded.  Hair has been pulled.  Still in snarls.  Child will not permit me to touch her with the hairbrush any more.  Hope screaming did not wake up husband.

0655:  Nag child to finish milk and pick up backpack – time to go to bus stop.  Grab keys and coat.  Child has left her coat at school so, no coat.  Sweater.

0700:  Arrive at bus stop

0703:  Bus arrives on the nose, every day.  Is like Swiss train.  Wave kid goodbye.  She is the only one without a coat.

0704:  Drive away to work

0720:  Arrive at work.  Run upstairs for 0730 c-section.

0735:  Pt has just been brought back to the OR

0740:  Anesthesia is starting to put in spinal anesthetic

0750:  Spinal actually in.

0755:  Nurses slowly put in Foley catheter

0800:  Cut time on c-section that was supposed to start at 0730.

0830:  Time my clinic is supposed to start.

0845:  Time I arrive in clinic

0850:  Wonder where in hell patient in 0830 slot is

0855:  Patient is 15 minutes late but is put in a room anyway.

0900:  Work on blog post.

0915:  Patient is actually worked up by nurse and is ready to see.

0917:  Finish putting patient in computer and see patient.

0920 – 1230:  Lather, rinse, repeat.

1231:  Answer questions about patient phone calls.  Authorize refills.  Make room on schedule for yet more patients.

1242:  Run down to lunch room for yogurt and granola

1245:  Remember that noon circumcision must be done

1249 – 1325:  Do circumcision.  Father wants to stand outside the door to “be close to his son.”  Warn him baby is going to cry.  A lot.

1330:  Run upstairs because clinic is starting again.

1331:  Wonder where in hell 1330 patient is.

1340:  Patient is late.  Put in room anyway.

1341-1355:  Nurse works up patient.  Work on blog post.

1400:  Patient is ready to see

1402:  Finish getting patient in computer

1403:  See patient.  Receive laundry list of complaints.

1410 – 1704:  Lather, rinse repeat.

1705:  Answer patient phone calls.  Call in medicines.  Work in more patients to be seen.  Bang head against wall.

1715:  Run downstairs to check on patients on L&D.  Write fast notes.  Write fast orders.

1730:  Run out door to get child picked up by 1800

1749:  Arrive to pick up child

1750:  Corral child and make her get her backpack and other stuff picked up.  Coat was forgotten (or lost) again.

1751 – 1800:  Child begs to get dinner at local frozen yogurt joint.  Say no repeatedly.  Child begins to whine.  “You never do anything I want to do.  We never eat out.”  Glare at child in rear view mirror.

1801 – 1815:  Drive home.  Get silent treatment from child.  Is a welcome reprieve from all the chattering.  Attempt to engage child in conversation about school.  Stony silence.

1815:  Arrive at home.  Child has now forgotten about incident.  Showing me stuff she wasted money on at the school store.

1816 – 1830:  Fix fast dinner.  Child does not want anything but PB&J sandwich.

1830 – 1845:  Eat dinner.  Tell child to stop playing with food.

1846 – 1900:  Go through child’s backpack.  Sneakily throw away everything you can.  Make sure child has done homework.  Remark that her library books are late again.  Fill out permission slips and put in money for field trips.

1901 – 1930:  Play “stuffed animals” with child, which involves picking out a stuffed animal character for each person and having them interact in funny ways.  Feel obligated to do this even though exhausted because have not seen child all day or interacted with her.

1931:  Realize is kid’s bath or shower time.

1933:  In shower after nagging multiple times to get in bathroom.  Playing with water and splashing it on the wooden bathroom floor.  Singing alarming pop songs that a seven year old child should not know.

1945:  Dried off and in jammies.  Time to read.  Beg child to brush teeth and go potty.

1946 – 2015:  Read Little House In The Big Woods

2016 – 2030:  Put child in bed.  Do snuggles.  Entreat to stay in bed.

2030:  Daddy comes home from Ju Jitsu and hugs child

2035 – 2125:  Watch Big Bang Theory reruns on Netflix

2130 – 2200:  Various “household duties”

2201:  Collapse into bed, set alarm for 0600. 

2205 – 0130:  Sleep badly.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Unexpected Wife

Man With Sis’s Children

He had had enough.  His friends were questioning his sanity.  He had gone above and beyond, really, so why did he feel so guilty?  When he lost Sis he felt like his life was over.  He had spent his life protecting her, and ultimately, defending her when her relationship fell through and the father of her children left her.  After all, in those times, no one had children out of wedlock.  That was just Sis though.  She was such a beatnik.  She had always been such a free spirit.  The kids at school had treated her like a freak.  And a freak she was.  She was beautiful in an odd way, with her pointed chin and her quizzical eyes.  But she dressed unlike anyone in her class, preferring to haunt thrift shops for ratty old pieces of clothing that she put together in odd ways.  She found a used drum set, and she banged away on them at odd hours when their folks were not around.  Which was often.  Their folks had been drunks, long before that became stylish, and he found himself at home with his little Sis all the time.  Their folks had both died badly – their mom fell down the stairs (although everyone swore Dad pushed her) and Dad bled out in the hospital Emergency Room with bleeding varices from his ruined liver.  He had wound up with a strange little sister and a lifetime of bad memories. 

Then Sis got hooked up with a man more freakish than she.  He fancied himself a poet, and a free spirit and he and Sis moved in together long before that became acceptable.  When she found herself pregnant, her father disowned her, just before he died.  He was just sober enough for it to register that his daughter was pregnant and not married, and that even for him this was unacceptable.  The disowning was a formality, really, as he died broke and had nothing to leave them.  Sis and her man fought on and off for two years, and then suddenly she was pregnant again.  Imagine that.  The brother had been slipping her little bits of money and food when he could, that useless son of a bitch Sis was with didn’t think that a job was included in his adult duties, since the man was not a man at all, but a miserable weakling who could not be bothered with anything. 

He had never married.  He had seen his parents’ marriage go bad, and violent, and he felt that the institution held nothing for him.  He was determined not to be a worthless drunk and didn’t drink alcohol at all.  He worked at a thankless job at a local newspaper setting type and put away little bits of money after the rent was paid and the groceries were bought to give Sis to help feed her kids and keep the little house from being foreclosed on them.  Finally the useless bastard left her; even the ghost of a responsibility was more than he could handle and it ran him off.  So Sis was left alone, never married, with two kids out of wedlock to take care of.  She was the town pariah.  She had been known in school as a bizarre girl, and her behavior with this useless man marked her as untouchable.  So she had no one to help her, except him, and he did the best he could.

Then the worst happened.  Sis got a lift home from the store one day and was killed instantly when the car she was in slammed into a bridge abutment.  The two kids had been left home alone, and when he got the call and no mention was made of small children in the car, he went to go get them.  What choice did he have?  There they were, tiny and alone, but oddly undisturbed by their abandonment.  This was not the first time Sis had had to leave them home alone.  He tried to think of a way to explain what had happened, but they were so small, and looked at him so strangely that he just told them that Sis had been in an accident and would not be coming back.  This seemed to satisfy them; neither of them questioned him at all.  So he just took them home with him.

With his limited funds, he was able to hire an elderly woman in the neighborhood to care for them when he was gone to work, and then money and food were even more scarce.  He found a second job delivering the papers early in the morning.  Nothing had prepared him for having small children.  They cried, and shrieked, and ran around the house, and tore the place up.  The woman who was keeping them reassured him they were fine, that all small children were like this.  He spent all his money on rent and on food for them.  He went to work, and he came home, and there were children there, and then he got up before dawn and went to work again.  His social life had never been very active; he had had few girlfriends since he was so soured on marriage and so busy with his Sis.  Now, though, there was no chance of anything at all.

So, as luck would have it, he met someone.  There was a woman on one of his paper routes who had been widowed young, and she began to take the habit of waiting for her paper to arrive so she could chat a few minutes with him.  Still he did not take her out, or call on her, for quite some time.  After all, the children were at home, and the elderly woman who kept them could not be prevailed upon to keep them of an evening, and who could blame her?  One morning, the woman on his paper route invited him to dinner.  He stammered and stuttered and finally explained that although he was unwed and had no children of his own, that he was left with the responsibility of caring for Sis’s children and that there were two children at home waiting for him.  “Bring them,” she said.  It turned out she was childless, for she had lost her husband before they could have children.  So he brought the children to dinner at her house, and they ran, and shrieked and generally behaved as they always did.  But the woman seemed curiously undisturbed.  She found the children adorable.  And, he supposed, as children went, they were. 

They began to see the woman more and more often; she somehow found out where they lived and brought them a casserole dinner one night.  She brought gifts for the children too:  toys and little outfits.  He felt as though he were taking advantage of her, but she persisted in her wooing of him and the children, and before long, she began to feel like family.  A year after he found his “gentlewoman caller”, she began to drop hints and before he knew it, somehow he found himself engaged.  He told her he could not afford a church wedding.  “Then we’ll just go before the justice of the peace,” she replied.

And so, one afternoon he checked out early from work and picked up the children, as the woman had specifically said she wanted them present.  They met on the sidewalk; the woman had a camera and proposed a photograph of the three of them, him and the two little children.  She snapped the photo, and they went on to the justice of the peace, who married them with the two children standing with them, wearing their best clothes.

Years from then, when the children asked about the picture he told them, “That’s how we were then, before Mama came to be with us.  It was just the three of us, since we lost Sis.”  They did not remember Sis, all they remembered was Mama.  And the man who did not believe in children, or in marriage, came to find himself happily ensconced with both.

The Rental Car

My husband called me last night to tell me how his trip to Seattle was going.  He just arrived there in the late afternoon.  He was pretty proud of himself before he left because he had used Hilton points for a free stay at his hotel for a week and Hertz points for a free rental car.  I should put “free” in quotes here.  When he called, he seemed quite indignant about something. 

“Facility fee!” he said.

“Facility fee?’ I said.  I am used to him having facility fees because he is a pilot and you have to pay a certain amount of money for an FBO to keep your plane overnight.  They also like you to buy fuel.  The thing is, my husband didn’t fly his plane to Seattle – it was too far and he would be too exhausted to function at his conference, where he has to speak.

“Facility fee!” he said again.  “They charged me a damn facility fee for my “free” rental car!’

“What is a facility fee?”  I asked him.

“They are charging me to house the car until I pick it up,” he said, highly indignant.  “They are charging a thirty dollar facility fee.  I’ve rented a car for a whole day before for less than thirty dollars!”

“I thought that thing was supposed to be free,” I said. 

“SO DID I!”, he said.  “And not only that…”

“What else?” I asked him.

“When you use points you are supposed to get a free upgrade to a premium car.”

“OK, so, did you get one?”

“Oh, yes, I was very excited about the upgrade.  The lady asked me if I wanted a premium car and I told her DEFINITELY.”

“So what did you get?” I asked.

“A NISSAN MAXIMA,” he said.  “That’s what’s going for a premium car these days.  A Nissan Maxima.  Here I was all excited; I thought, maybe I’ll get a Cadillac or an SUV or something.  When I was heading to my parking space to pick up my car I saw a Mustang right there, and I thought, wow, perfect, I would love it if I got a Mustang.  But no, that was the car in the space ACROSS from my car.  I got a Nissan Maxima and it had scratches all over the back.  And it smells like someone’s been smoking in it.  And it doesn’t even have XM radio.  Most rentals I get at least have that.  All I can say is, there must be several levels above premium these days, because this sure wasn’t it.”

“Premium is the new forty,” I said.  He laughed.

“Not only that, but I blew up my GPS.”

“Whaaaat,” I said.  “How did you do that?”

“I tried to set it for my destination while I was still in the parking garage.  It went crazy trying to triangulate three satillites that it couldn’t pick up.  It finally gave up and put me at my last location:  home.  Then it told me I had two thousand three hundred miles to my destination and started giving me directions out of our neighborhood.”

“So what did you do about the car?” I said.

“Well, I decided not to complain.  It seemed like a lot to complain about for a free car.  I did tell her I was furious over the facility fee.  And I told her I was shocked that a Maxima was a premium car.  She agreed about the car.  Then I drove twenty miles to my hotel.”

“Well, get some rest,” I said.  “You’ve got some mingling to do tomorrow.”

“Good night,” he said.  “I’m still pissed about the car.”

Cleaning Day

Very delightful results.  My husband read my blog this weekend, and I mean, the entire thing.  I was wondering if he was ever going to care enough to read it.  We had quite a discussion afterwards, in fact, he woke me up after he read it to discuss.  He was quite put out with what he deemed poor communication on my part; apparently I had communicated my feelings on some issues better on my blog than I had to him.  I think he is forgiving me though.  At any rate, one of my blog posts revolved around how frustrated I feel with all the plastic junk that my husband and daughter have accumulated throughout the house, and my inability to get rid of it.

We woke up this morning, and Kevin announced that we were CLEANING HOUSE and THROWING THINGS AWAY!  I guess he read that post and took it to heart that the awful mess made me twitchy.  We started by explaining to my daughter that we would be giving away a lot of toys that she doesn’t play with, throwing away a lot of plastic and paper crap and giving away a lot of clothes that don’t fit her anymore.  She cried a bit at first, but quickly got into the spirit of cleaning and throwing things away.  I was surprised.  We filled garbage bag after garbage bag and box after box. 

I then tackled my closet and ripped through skirts, dresses, jackets, sweaters, long and short sleeve shirts, and I mean ripped through.  We had five garbage bags full of clothes from just my closet, and my husband got a couple bags out of his.  We even had a whole box of coat hangers to give away.  We had two bags of little kid’s clothes and boxes of toys for the Goodwill.  I cleaned old items out of the pantry and out of the fridge.  It was a very satisfying purge of the whole house.  We got rid of the rat cage of the now deceased rat too, and then we vaccuumed everywhere, now that there were patches of carpet visible.  My husband tackled his office, which is no mean task, but he will certainly be the better for it when he gets it cleaned out.

All in all, it was a purging sort of day.  I felt emotionally purged because my husband read my blog and learned many things (that maybe I should have told him).  Then we emptied the house and that was a physical purge that was equally satisfying.  I hope we can keep up this pace and continue to clean things up until the whole house is in a state where it needs to be.  Then maybe emotionally we will be refreshed and spiritually cleansed, as getting rid of earthly belongings is definitely a purifying act.  I feel that things are getting on the right track.

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