Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Which is more "redneck?"

My husband and I purchased a house some two and a half years ago (time flies) and from the start, there's been a small, rusty old shed in the back of our yard that we kind of want to get rid of. There's a problem though, and you better believe this problem is related to our "Stuff" issue.

Let me, briefly, start at the beginning. When we bought this house, we knew we'd have to redo the bathrooms. The master bath had a huge leak somewhere, somewhere being to the point that we had to strip the whole room to the studs and redo a lot of the plumbing. This was fine; we planned for it.

We also attempted to save money by seeing if we could scrounge up a tub and toilet for free, as Smiley has a lot of friends who are also maintenance type guys and property manager type guys and those type guys sometimes have extra tubs and toilets floating around.

So we spent one Saturday crawling to the top of a steep backyard hill to reach a rusty old shed at a friend's house to take and remove two bathtubs. It is not exactly easy to bring a tub down a steep hill that is overgrown with vines and what were once small trees. But free is free, we figured. Right until we realized that the tubs were oriented in the wrong direction for our bathroom. Our friend benefited from having two tubs gone from his collection of Stuff and we, well, we had two tubs that we couldn't use but didn't necessarily want to get rid of because they were tubs and could eventually someday be useful.

We spent another Saturday in similar fashion, though a different place and people, obtaining three toilets. Free toilets. Three free toilets that we did not end up using either when we decided the toilet already in the bathroom was actually not leaking. Well, now we had three free toilets that we could maybe someday use when we probably needed to replace the current toilets. Someday.

These items languished in our garage for a bit until our garage needed to be a place for different Stuff and then the tubs and toilets migrated to our shed. Then the shed got hit by a tree and now in addition to being old and rusty, it is also partially, mostly caved in. We really need to rip it down. There's actually a little foundation underneath it that I want to use as a small patio. Maybe put a firepit on it or something. Except then we get back to the problem of the tubs and toilets. They could still be useful.

Actually, I think Smiley said we could put the tubs out but he wanted to keep the toilets. Or something. But despite the partially caved-in, rusted shed being an eyesore on our property, he postulates that taking the toilets and temporarily storing them on our gazebo is too redneck. Moreso than having an old, falling apart shed. I'm sure you can tell I don't 100% agree with this.

Until we figure out what to do, I'm just going to go back to wishing that the tree branch that partially collapsed the shed was big enough to put it out of its misery. Maybe crushing a few toilets on the way. But I figure I'm not that lucky.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why am I not making flashcards?

I need to make some more muscle flashcards - I need to know by next week all of the muscles and what they are responsible for. At the same time, I want to update my blog. Silas is sleeping and I've been sitting here for half an hour doing neither. Whoops!

(Make that forty five minutes. Procrastination has hit in the form of re-reading the archives of a favorite webcomic).

In just over a week, I will have hit my first "breastfeeding goal" which is six months of exclusive breastfeeding. I did feed Silas rice cereal for the first time a week or two back, and probably will try to work on that this coming week but by definition, Silas's foodsource has exclusively been breastmilk. (Solids take some time to actually become meals for babies). I think I've said it before, and it remains true - I love that I am able to do something my body is designed to do and that it is working out perfectly.

It has been raining on and off for a few days here and while I'm not thrilled about the amount of puddling we're getting, I do like being able to fall asleep to the sound of rain. I also enjoy being able to fall back asleep to the sound of rain again and again when Silas wakes me up multiple times during the night to breastfeed. And/or cry from teething pain.

Anyhow. Totally worth it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Working Out With Baby

Did I mention that my friends have been weightlifting three times a week in our garage since just before Silas was born? For the first few months after Silas was born, I would say hi as they came and went while nursing Silas pretty much all the time. Then he started to go on a more regular eating schedule and the time in between feedings increased in the evenings. But I still hesitated to try to weight lift because I was tired all the time.

About a week ago, I started my attempt to join in on this fitness collaboration. It's left me with a few thoughts on babies and exercise. There are so many DVD programs dedicated to moms trying to work out during the 20-30 minutes that their babies are asleep and I can tell why. Unlike some things, a baby doesn't just let you carve out that time for exercise. You can't just say "Ok, from five to six I will skip going on the computer and go to the gym instead" unless you have child care already set up. And child care isn't cheap.

For now, I'm using a program of "putting Silas in his carseat while I lift weights and holding him in between and also letting my friends hold him" which has, thankfully, been pretty low on the spit up factor and pretty high on the "getting a work out done" factor.

Once Silas starts to move and crawl, I'm not sure how to address the issue. I might be able to bring a playyard out into the garage, especially if the weather is nice. Maybe I will fence him into a section of driveway with some strategically placed four by fours and cinder blocks. Maybe not though, since he'll probably try to lick the cinder blocks. Or eat the asphalt. I don't think driveways are terribly baby-proof to be honest.

Smiley started running on Wednesday and asked if I wanted to come with. This brought me back to my quandary on work outs. After all, I can't leave Silas in the house alone and I can't bring him with as my baby carriers are not designed for jogging with a baby in them. They make jogging strollers, I guess. Those are, uh, expensive. So either I can watch Silas while he runs and then he watches Silas while I run, which kind of defeats the purpose of running together. So, although I've managed to sneak in one form of exercise for now, I think that cardio solutions will have to come later.

I'm ok with that, because I'm still tired all the time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Well That's Impulsive!

Normally, I like to think things through before acting. This was not the case yesterday. I idly mentioned to my mom that I was thinking about researching airplane ticket prices to see if maybe I could come up to visit during my spring break.

The day ended with me purchasing a ticket to spend part of the week at my parent's house with Silas.

It is only now that I am starting to vaguely consider the implications of traveling with an infant, and it's got me only a little nervous. (I can't believe it took me some twenty years before I ever flew on a plane and Silas is flying at six months).

Already in my mind I am trying to figure out which toys are the best to bring and which are his favorite, QUIET toys. (Not many. Did you know, by the way, that most every baby toy has some element of noise making from a rattle to crinkly paper to the sound Silas makes when he inevitably sucks on it?)

Some aspects of the travel are easy. Bring enough diapers for the trip and buy a package when I'm there. (And bring plastic bags in case of diaper explosions during traveling). Staying at my parent's house means the option to wash clothes, thus limiting the need for an excessive amount of onsies. I'm trying to keep those aspects in mind.

Also easy is the transport of the baby himself. I can bring my Moby wrap and walk around with him. It might even soothe him as we dash from terminal to terminal on our layover. And I've heard that nursing during take off can help soothe his ears, so I'll be sure to wear something that's easy to nurse in. (And the fact that my nursing wardrobe is fairly limited means I can't overpack for myself either.)

I think what I'm mostly scared of is that the moment the plane takes off, he will start crying and I will garner the wrath of every passenger as I attempt to console him and fail the entire trip. If he's crying at the terminal, I can walk with him and I'm sure he'll be alright. It's when we need to be seated and I can't get up that worries me a little.

Oh well. I'm sure I'll also end up sitting next to the person who thinks nursing in public is the same as public defecation and I think I can handle that, so I can handle anything.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dang Puppies!

We have three doggie beds, yet Sophie is currently sleeping on Silas's playmat and Sherlock is curled up inside my sister-in-law's suitcase. Actually, he needs a bath, so let me go shoo him out of there.

Back in a moment.


My puppies seemed to be programmed to ignore the dog beds in favor of absolutely anything else on the floor. Sometimes, Sophie will crawl into a dog bed only to jump out a moment later and sleep next to it. So I think my next move in reducing clutter in our house will be to throw out those dog beds. I don't think dog beds are necessarily something people want to pick up second hand, due to worries about fleas and whatnot.

Also, I think that people who have the size dogs we do tend to be those kind people who would favor buying a new bed rather than getting one second hand. What I'm saying is that most people don't pick a Pomeranian because they're poor. It happens. I mean, Smiley and I have one. But she was a special gift and we're happy to have her.

Sherlock just slinked out of the room so I'm thinking I need to go shoo him off the suitcase again. Dogs.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oh This Will Sound Conceited

There's no way around it. I have to just say it. I happen to think I'm pretty good at learning things. As in, I take notes and study and generally (besides a bad bout with an algebra teacher in high school) I test well. When students complain that a teacher is "hard," I feel qualified to suggest that perhaps the teacher wouldn't seem so hard if you paid attention in class, read the material, and did the homework.

So yes, there's one area of my life where I think very highly of myself. It's a little pathetic, I know. But I needed to say that because I can't otherwise begin to explain how frustrated I am with a teacher this semester. I've managed so far to maintain an A in the class, but for the first time in my life, I found myself hitting up the rate my professor website to make sure I'm not the only person who feels like I'm unsure of what is expected by this teacher.

For example, she is unsure how to teach. I am not saying that I could do better, but that a teacher should do better. Her idea of teaching is to tell us to read ahead (and though we have unit guidelines, the nebulous "read ahead" can mean that next class we'll cover three pages of material to covering fifteen) and then, next class, complain that none of us have taught ourselves the material. When you hear your teacher saying, "I'm going to teach you guys these concepts" but then two minutes later she's complaining that no one is answering her questions about the concept we're supposedly being taught, there is a problem. And this problem is not with your students, but with how you are teaching and how you are communicating.

Oh, and constantly saying "you guys look like you're confused. Does anyone have a question?" is also not teaching. The people who are confused are so unsure of how to begin to word a question that they'd rather just nod and let the lecture continue than to try and ask anything.

And another thing - when you go through your powerpoint slides and continually say "oh, I'm not sure why I put that slide in there," I'm just going to go ahead and say that you are not inspiring confidence in your ability to teach.

I had a math class like this once, although it was not as bad, and I do feel for students who are trying to learn and coming to class and getting tripped up because maybe figuring out crazy teachers isn't their strong suit and they feel lost and confused when they shouldn't. I find myself asking questions in class as a means to clarify information to my fellow students. (And, being the occasionally conceited person that I am, feeling really happy when they tell me that the way I stated it made a lot of sense.)

We had an exam. The material it covered was certainly in the book, but the concepts that she had stressed over and over were less present than the concepts that she mentioned once, in passing. As a teacher, it is your prerogative to test however you like, but that seems a little harsh.

Overall, I still think I'll manage to make an A in this class, but I do regret to say that I wish I chose a different teacher and I think it's unfair to the people less versed in dealing with crazy (I have a bachelor's degree worth of experience on that!). Everything came to a point when we had a substitute teacher last class, and he taught the material so well and coherently that it was a real joy to have a substitute.

So that's that. Those are my frustrations with my teacher and I feel they are validated. Obviously.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Old Am I Anyway?

Sometimes I wonder. Somedays I am grumpy about how quickly technology changes. I act as though I were 90 years old when it comes to these "new-fangled" tablets and ipads and whatnot. Then other days I ask myself what to make for lunch and a grilled cheese sounds great. Like a "american singles" grilled cheese that is. Certainly nothing with fancy grown up cheeses like cheddar or, horrors, swiss.

Ultimately I suppose that more or less averages out to my actual age.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Those rough teething days

Yesterday afternoon, I could have kicked myself. After Silas woke up from a fitful nap, I decided to run by the store with him. Silas typically enjoys looking at the colorful displays and multitudes of people, and it was almost guaranteed to calm him down. Indeed, he was so happy at the store that I strolled up and down extra aisles, secretly hoping he might fall back asleep.
He didn't, so eventually, we paid for our items and left.

When we got home, I noticed his eyes beginning to droop and here is where I made the critical mistake of thinking that I should take him out of his carseat and put him in his crib to sleep. I don't know what made my brain misfire so badly as to not just let him sleep where he was comfortable, but the next thing I know, Silas was back to fussing and crying in his crib and any idea of a nap was firmly out of his mind.

Enter another half hour of walking and soothing him enough that he could nurse himself back to sleep. He did nap for a bit, but it was too late. The two truncated afternoon naps added up to a lack of sleep that left him inconsolable in the evening hours.

Luckily, today seems to be off to a better start!

Monday, February 4, 2013


I can't log on to my college website because my account is apparently locked. I can't log on to my college email to email someone about why I can't log on to my college website because I apparently am using the wrong password. If I try to reset the password, it loops me back to the college website. I might pull my hair out in frustration, but probably not; Silas does such a good job pulling out my hair if I forget to braid it that I don't really have much left to pull myself.

When I was pregnant, I could wear most of my clothes for the first few months, about half of my clothes for the next few, and then about three outfits until I gave birth. I looked forward to having variety in my wardrobe again, but somehow I guess I forgot about the next year or so that I planned to breastfeed. Having my desk next to my closet is this huge reminder of all the different outfits I can't wear for convenience sake. Part of me keeps wanting to just box everything up and donate it, and another part keeps saying "hey at least after you're done having kids and breastfeeding (figure six to eight years but don't put anything in stone), those clothes will be there and you won't have to spend any money on a new wardrobe. And, with any luck, fashion will have rotated through enough styles that maybe everything will be retro-fabulous."

If I didn't mention it before, Silas is actually teething with his second tooth and MIGHT be leading in to a third tooth (although I'm going to assume I'm just imagining teeth at this point because I can't deal with all of these teeth right now), so he has a horrible case of The Sad. The Sad is diagnosed by a sudden predisposition to random fits of inconsolable crying and a good dose of breaking his mommy's heart. Luckily, I've found that a steady regimen of hugs, sit/stand practice and baby stretches and massage seem to make it better for him. I've also found that he stalwartly refuses to teeth on any so-called "teething devices," preferring instead to gum down on anything else; the cloth part of a toy, his sleeves, my finger, my shoulder, anybody's shoulder, he really likes shoulders for some reason, and his blanket.

In any case, he's down for a nap now, so I have to use my remaining five minutes or so to maybe fold laundry while studying flash cards. Crappy website or not, I'm still going to learn the crap out of Anatomy and Physiology.