Tuesday, January 30, 2007

For Future Use...

My sister Mary just read my post from Friday where I was complaining of being SO tired so she sent these along. Priceless...


5. "They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen."

4. "This is just a 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time management course you sent me to."

3. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Whiteout. You probably got here just in time."

2. "Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?"

And the NUMBER ONE best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk...

1. Raise your head slowly and say, "...in Jesus' name, Amen."

AAAACHO! (and so on and so on...)

So…this morning the Washington Post’s health section did a big article on sneezing—specifically the anatomy of a sneeze. (If you check out the link be sure to keep clicking “next” to get the full story.) Anyway, it was of interest because a little known fact about my lovely wife is that she is a serial sneezer. It’s EXTREMELY RARE that she will only sneeze once. And the worst part is that since I am so sure that more will follow that I sort of stopped saying “God bless you” or “Gesundheit” any more. Which is fine when we are alone, but makes me feel absolutely like a barbarian when we are with others and they think I haven’t got a bone of compassion in me.

Now I sort of mumble some sound whenever sneeze one happens just to be on the safe side. Fortunately Su isn’t actually sick very often. It’s most likely a little bit of allergies, but man, is she ever a good sneezer! I think the record was 7 consecutive sneezes in 2004.

The article said a sneeze can send 2000-5000 droplets into the air at 70-100 mph. Whoa. No wonder my newspaper looks like a CSI crime scene (only the spatter is clear) if I don’t take some preventative action like grab a tissue in time.

Why do we say “God bless” for sneezes and not other bodily functions? Did you ever think about that? And why is it that when we are babies we are practically coerced into burping. “What a good baby! That’s mama’s little angel!” Such a mixed message that sends. No on in our staff meeting gave me any praise at all when I recently relieved the ache in my tummy. Barbarians! -M

Monday, January 29, 2007

Renovation status update:

My mission (whether I chose to accept it or not) was to patch, prep and paint our baby’s new room and second bedroom which will now serve as our guest room/office.

The challenges:
So much stuff in rooms to start. Office equipment now stowed in basement and the remaining stuff is now crammed into every available nook and cranny in our bedroom and/or in big boxes stacked in center of each room under renovation. Also, big cracks in ceilings and walls.

All patching done!
Rooms wiped down for dust.
Ceilings painted in both rooms.
Perimeter and windows taped to begin semi-gloss trim painting.
Shoe molding purchased and stained.
Small nail holes filled with spackle.
Window sills scraped with heat gun prior to painting.
Ceiling fan one (of two) partially installed.
All paints purchased.
All new electrical outlets etc…purchased.

Yet to be done:
Order and install cordless fitted blinds for both rooms.
Paint trim and doors.
Sand, sand, sand (spackles areas and window sills.)
Wipe surfaces again.
Remove current tape and then tape ceiling and woodwork to paint walls.
Paint, paint, paint—remove tape.
Cut molding with Mitre saw and install in rooms.
Install new outlets, switches and plates.
Reorganize both spaces including adding furniture back (my fervent prayer is that we find the hardware for the shelves without too much trouble—we should always tape the bag of hardware to the furniture when we take it apart!)

Things you never think about when you start a job like this…
Crawling around piles of stuff in center of room (especially when dragging the ladder) is no fun. Patching major cracks and sanding creates TONS of dust. Cats think tons of dust is fun. Pregnant love of my life isn’t interested doing the work (and I wouldn’t let her anyway because of fumes, dust etc…), but she has lots of neat suggestions that require additional work if we want it “done right.” (I love you honey.) Can you tell I’ll be really, really happy when this is all done?

On the bright side our very nice neighbor Greg was a great help this weekend. He is installing the fans and scraping away. Turns out HIS wireless reception is really bad when OUR router is in our basement so he has a very high interest in helping us get the office back upstairs. That’s what he gets for not having his own wireless (by the way we have no problem with him using ours.) Wow what if I get home and everything is done…now I am dreaming… -Monica

Friday, January 26, 2007


Too tired to stay at work a one minute longer. Too tired to walk to the train. To tired to spell the word “too” right.

Too tired to post this. Almost. Publish.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So true...

(Words of wisdom from an old friend's mom)

“You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. But who wants flies?”

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

20 weeks and one day—more than half way there!

This morning Susanne and I went for our 20 week ultrasound and were treated to the sight of our little one happily kicking away and saw other assorted views of his/her kidneys, heart, brain and other vital organs—oh and his or her cute little button nose. The room we were in had a television monitor that was linked to the ultrasound machine. That was something I hadn’t expected and I thought that was pretty cool.

Speaking of cool…poor Susanne was freezing! It was pretty cold in there, and I noticed that the women waiting for their ultrasounds after we were done had been given blankets to put over their thin examination gowns. That would have been helpful.

We pretty much expected that our ultrasound technician would communicate and sort of give us a running commentary of what she was taking pictures of throughout the process, but this did not turn out to be the case. And unfortunately when she did speak it was difficult to understand her—she was sort of a mumbler. She’d locate things, zoom in and type a word on the screen to indicate what it was (renal for example) but I think that Susanne and I were both a bit bummed out that she couldn’t have had a better bedside manner and let us know what we were looking at at all times. Apparently the baby was lying in a transverse position towards Su’s back and getting some of the shots was hard. Maybe she was just concentrating. After she was done she had the doctor come in and he took several pictures as well. He was more talkative which we both appreciated.

On a positive note, the doctor said everything looks pretty good and after he reviews all of the images taken he’ll send a report to our birthing center. They’ll call us if there is anything they want to talk to us about.

When Su dropped me off to walk the rest of the way to work I was right by a Borders and decided it was time to buy a few books to start reading to our little one at night (we are waiting until the baby is born to find out boy or girl.) One book is called “I Love You All Day Long” and the other cracked me up because it’s called “Is Your Mama a Llama?” I think I’ll tape this great picture of Su and a llama we took at Machu Picchu onto the cover. Ciao for now! -Monica

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fuzzy yet Tasty Math...

Happy Friday! We just came back from our 20 week check up with the midwives at the birthing center and all is looking fine. The baby’s heartbeat was pretty easy to locate and chugging along at 160 bpm which is in the normal range.

On Tuesday Susanne will get an ultrasound and we’ll finally get to see our little one in action. I read that our child weighs about 8 ounces right now which, let’s face it, is the size of two quarter pounders with cheese!

You always hear comparisons like “your baby is now the size of an avocado" or "the size of a rutabaga” (okay I made that one up), but I personally do better with quarter pounders for my imagery. Like our cat Harley for example is about 56 quarter pounders. We can therefore deduce that Harley is a fairly big cat. And if our baby is 7 lbs at birth that will be a whopping 28 quarter pounders! My high school math teacher always tried to tell me that math would be helpful to me one day and I never believed him. I believe him now! ;-)

Anyway…we are going to start learning more about the different birthing classes we can choose to take. Apparently the Bradley Method is more “team” oriented with partner coaching while Hypnobirthing and Lamaze are more about the birth mother focusing on techniques to change the way she experiences the birth process and discomfort. Both involve plenty of work on breathing properly etc… We’ll probably go with the Bradley method but like with anything we are going to do a bit more research before we decide.

This weekend I’d like to do the final coat on the ceilings of both rooms we are renovating (nursery and guest room/office) and get started on the trim painting. We are getting there. Let’s see what thought for the day I can end with? How about one of my favorite quotes?

“Wherever you are is the entry point.” -Kabir

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm with Pregnant

Well Susanne has officially moved into “maternity” clothes. The other day she bought a pair of jeans and khaki pants and wore the jeans to work today. Well, when she told her mom over the phone this weekend that she was going to buy some pants, her mom immediately warned her not to buy any tight shirts that said “stuff” on them. First of all, Su said she was going to buy PANTS--not shirts. Second of all, has she met her daughter? I don’t know which of them would keel over and die first if Susanne ever put on a shirt with something like this on it...

Friday we’ll go to our next appt. with the midwives and then next week we’ll have our 20 week ultrasound which will be neat. I just wrote “which will be nate” instead of “which will be neat”. Do you think that’s a sign that we are having a boy and we will name him Nate? Okay, okay.

I am very much looking forward to going home tonight and doing absolutely nothing. It’s been a long day. I guess all days are the same amount of time, but none the less, this has been a long one. Until tomorrow. -Monica

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In the year 2525...(or sooner)

Imagine it’s 2017. From upstairs our ten year old practically screeches “Mom, you will not believe what I just saw on the WayBack Machine!” You guys had a BLOG when you were pregnant with me! Did you really write all this dorky stuff?

Of course Susanne will feign ignorance. "I don't know what you're talking about. Blog? I think if you do a fingerprint/DNA/iris scan on that content with our new M729PDQ device you’ll see irrefutable evidence that Mommy Monica is the one who wrote all that stuff.”

I (mommy Monica) will chime in with “now doesn’t the word dorky mean really cool nowadays?” Our ten year old will look at us both with a mix of pity and amusement. “It’s so hard to raise parents these days.”

Friday, January 12, 2007

Better than Goosebumps!

So last night Susanne and I went and got our hair cut (finally!) and then stopped at a place we like called the Logan Tavern for dinner. As we were standing around waiting for a table, I asked her if she’d felt the baby move yet (something I ask all the time) and she smiled and said “maybe”.

“Really!” I was so excited. “What does it feel like? Butterflies?”

Still smiling, she turned to me and gently put her hand on my heart, drumming her fingers ever so lightly. Now I was the one with butterflies. -Monica

Thursday, January 11, 2007

On my to do list

Posting to this blog is one of those items on my mental "to do" list that I just figure I don't have to think much about. I've always been pretty good at remembering, organizing and priortizing. And I've also had a few odd mental abilities. As Susanne will tell you, we can go grocery shopping and without even looking at the prices of anything I take a guess at the check out counter and be amazingly close to our real total. Like within pennies. It's odd.

When I was in school I played basketball. I was able to remember every point I ever scored. Where I was on the floor, who gave me the assist--I could literally see it all in my mind. Granted I was never a really high scorer but I did alright. This ability to remember such things that has always been a gift (or curse.) I guess my mind is like a steel trap--it's just getting rusty after all these years.

So lately even though I'm not the one who is pregnant, I feel like I'm the one dealing with the memory loss in our family. On one hand this is good. My anxieties are much lower when I don't have little "tasks" clogging up my brain. On the other hand this is bad. Because my anxieties get much higher when something that I should have taken care of days ago is suddenly due now.

I guess my tasks don't "look" like they used to. I think I've always "seen" images of thinks I need to remember. And once I remember one thing a whole spider's web of associated tasks come forward. But now my images look sort of like clear plastic. This is hard to explain, but that's the only way I can think of to articulate this. So it's like I recognize that something needs to be done but I really have to stop and think about what it is. Maybe my brain is full?

Thank goodness for my electronic calendar and written checklists. So, now taking a glance at my desk I realize I'd better run or I'm going to be late. I think it might be in important meeting or something! Ciao! -Monica

P.S. Oh and I wrote about this to apologize for not blogging for the past few days!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Poppi/Papi Jobs

Ode to my Poppi job

My dad was a wonderful man. An introvert who was happiest when he was home with mom and the rest of us. Father to seven kids all born about a year apart. He was goofy soul and I have no shame (dare I say a little pride) in having inherited dad’s goofiness.

Well, there was one thing my dad was famous for. We call them “Poppi” jobs. A Poppy job was a household project that after many months or years of procrastination finally got started. And that was about it. Bless my dad’s heart, he never learned how to repair or fix things and basically had neither aptitude nor interest in doing things like that. Oh, and when things were half-way started and stayed that way for years it never really bothered our dad. It’s like he didn’t see it. How can something bother you if you can’t see it?

But the bottom line is that my dad never felt comfortable doing drywall, carpentry, tile repair, painting. Mostly because he just flat out didn’t know how. He didn’t have many tools (although we did have a vice-grip which was a magical device used to fix most everything.) He was smart as heck and could read a book and learn what to do but it never came naturally.

This all would have been a non issue if we’d owned a sparkling brand new house, but the house my parents bought when we moved to MN in 1963 was build in 1906 or so. And when one of us would accidentally let the bath tub overflow and the dining room ceiling tiles were ruined below, he kind of had to do something.

You’re probably thinking that perhaps my mom should have stepped in. But in those days it was expected that the dad would do such things and besides, mom had no idea how to do any of these things either. And let's just say it really was something my dad needed to take care of.

So in a nutshell I grew up with a sort of history of half-finished ideas and lack of confidence about how to do anything related to house repairs. In fact after I bought my very first house and met my wonderful new neighbor Susanne I was AMAZED at how able she was. I was scared of every problem I encountered and figured I'd have to pay someone to come in and fix it and she'd just shake her head and let me know it would be as easy as pie to take care of anything. She grew up in a very different kind of environment. Both her mom and dad are very handy and hard-working and Susanne learned so much. She’s fearless because she understands so much. Take down an overhead light or fan? Move the thermostat from one side of the dining room to the other? Knock down a wall and reframe a new one? Make some built in shelves for the basement. Build a frame and do the masonry for a fireplace? No problem.

Now I’ve been trying to learn for years. We work together on projects and she’s also a very good teacher so I now know things I’ve never known before. But I hadn’t counted on Susanne being “out of commission” on the renovations to our upstairs guest room and baby’s room. Our house which was built in 1937 and gets shook at times by passing trains has some cracks in ceilings and walls that have to be properly patched and plastered before painting. You have to use a utility knife or other tool to sort of scrape along these major fractures and then put in a mesh that comes on a role like tape. It’s sort of like operating on a wound. Then you plaster with joint compound and sand. Lather, rinse, repeat (no, just repeat.)

So in a perfect world your work is smooth as a baby’s bottom and you can paint. But you see applying the joint compound evenly and smoothly is an art. It’s like a painter applying oils with huge brush strokes except you’re using special putty knives.

I’ve been working on the darn guest room for about 2 months now. And I’ve got to admit that although the work was done properly, it was no where near paint ready. And my beloved Susanne couldn’t help me this time because we don’t want her around the dust from the sanding. My future looked bleak. And then came Papi. Not my Poppi who sadly passed away in 2002. No, this is Su’s dad who is sometimes called Papi. If I think my Susi is the most perfectionist person I know then I’d better think again. Her dad holds that title. He came to visit this weekend and with the skill of a magician made the rough scars I’d created look like a perfectly iced cake. I’ve been smiling now for 2 straight days. Thank you, thank you!!!!

Of course just because the patching is done doesn’t mean the project is done. It’s still a Poppi job as of today but not for long. Dad, I think you’re smiling down from heaven thinking “it looks that same as before right?” Ah, I miss you Poppi. Love, Monica

Friday, January 05, 2007

What a "drag"!

So...I was looking at our website this morning thinking about what I'd write about next, and figured I'd talk about how Susanne is feeling.

And then I noticed that I'd absent-mindedly moved my cursor right on top of our little ladybug ticker, and tried to pull it to the right!
Apparently on some level I must be trying to speed things up a bit here. I've never been particularly famous for my patience. Today we are at 17 weeks and 3 days. Only a whole bunch more weeks to go. I've never been particularly famous for my math skills either. Ciao! -Monica

P.S. Oh right! Susanne is feeling great and we are looking forward to a fun weekend.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Funny is as funny does...

So the little tickers that people put on their blogs to show their pregnancy progress? I just saw one that said “Even though I’m only 3.5 mm big my brain is growing fast and I already have more brain cells than Paris Hilton!” Okay that’s too funny. But is it funnier than my favorite bumper sticker? Tee-hee! -Monica