Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Dawn of a New Era

I am attempting to write this post from my local Panera.  The internet connection is a bit wonky, so we'll see how successful this endeavor is.  Pippa is not with me.  She is at preschool camp!  Today is her first day.  I stayed for the first hour and since she was happy and busy and ignoring me, I said goodbye and left. She needed two rounds of hugs and kisses, but there were no tears.

Well, she did not shed any tears. I may have gotten a little misty eyed walking to my car.

My morning sickness is basically gone - so long as I take my anti-nausea meds at night. My stomach is still very weak and can only handle a half dozen foods; but if I follow my bland diet, I don't spend the afternoon puking. Yay!

I had some back pain a few weeks ago, but I saw a physical therapist and now I'm doing great. I can't do everything I normally can do. Like standing. I can't stand for more than a couple minutes at a time. It's easier for me to move and walk around than to stand in one place. But that's fine! I'm usually moving after a toddler anyway. 

I've been spending a lot of time in the pool - swimming laps, taking a water aerobics class (fun!), and just relaxing. Being in the water feels great. I miss Zumba, but I'm loving all the pool time. Sometimes I get ambitious and think about taking swim lessons so I can master some new strokes. But not now. Not while I'm pregnant. Right now I am just doing what works for my pregnant body and I don't need some swim instructor screwing me up by insisting on proper form.  Plus I really don't have time for swim lessons. This is more of a ten year plan.

I am in my twentieth week of pregnancy, which means I'm a little more than halfway done. Woot woot! I'm sure there are women who adore being pregnant and want the pregnancy to last forever. I am not one of those women. I'm ready to meet my little boy and devour a big bowl of salad.

Friday, June 5, 2015


It's been almost two months since my last blog post but I have an excellent excuse: morning sickness. I am eighteen weeks pregnant today and finally, FINALLY, getting past the morning sickness stage. My body takes pregnancy very seriously and turns all the hormonal dials to the highest settings. I had awful morning sickness with Pippa, but I thought I could distract myself this time around. Hey, I have a toddler! How could I worry about a little nausea when she keeps me so busy?

I felt fine through Week 6 and got really cocky. This pregnancy was going to be completely different from the first! No morning sickness - yeah!

Then, during Week 7, I had an In-N-Out burger for dinner. IDIOT. I should have known I was tempting fate. That night, a little before midnight, Pippa came down with a bug and cried until I brought her into bed with me. At midnight, I had to nudge her off me so I could run to the bathroom and puke.  And puke.  And puke. I kept puking until there was nothing left to puke, and then I puked some more. I felt like death. I tried putting Pippa back in her crib but she insisted on staying by my side. By 4 a.m., I waved the white flag and Nathan took me to the ER. As soon as Pippa realized something was happening, she slid off my bed and said, "Okay! Okay!" and tried to take off her pajamas. She was very disappointed that she had to stay in her car seat while I limped my nauseated ass into the ER. She was worried about me and wanted to be helpful.

After that fun excursion, I spent as much time as possible in bed. My doctor prescribed Diclegis for the nausea. The Diclegis certainly helped, but I was still puking throughout the day. No matter how carefully or blandly I ate, I was a puke-taster. If I walked more than twenty feet, I felt a very urgent need to vomit. It was a lot of fun.

I put Pippa in day care. I was letting her watch unlimited t.v., but still, she wanted to crawl all over me and run around outside and I couldn't do it. Movement made me puke; puking made me need to puke more; and I did not want to go back to the hospital. Lucky for us, a neighbor runs a day care from her home. She lives only two blocks away from us and used to be a preschool teacher. Pippa had much more fun playing with kids than staying home all day with a nauseated momma.

Between day care, Nathan, and my parents, we survived the hellish morning sickness phase. About two weeks ago, I started to feel a little more civilized. I went to a salon and got a haircut and pedicure. That made me feel even more civilized. I was still puking, but the puking was restricted to the evening hours. A vast improvement.

Every day, I feel better. I cannot eat much. Salad is the enemy. Oh my god, I really want a big Greek salad with roasted shrimp but I know that shit will just send me back to the ER. But I can eat bread and cheese, so there's that. I can also drink water again, and for five or six weeks, water was too harsh for my stomach. I could only drink orange Gatorade. I am so glad to have water back in my life.

So anyway, that's where I've been.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some Rambling Thoughts on Beauty and The Beast

Pippa just went through a big Beauty and the Beast phase. Confession: I bought our new copy of Amazon for $154.  It's in the Disney "vault" so that that's the only way to get it. Yes, I'm an idiot, but after watching the ending of Frozen for the fortieth time in two weeks, I really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. The ending of Frozen reminds me so much of Beast: main character presumably dead; long pause for us to get emotional; then the music swells; ah, love saves the day; and of course, the Disney magic, thanks to love, the spell is broken, our hero/heroine lives happily ever after.

Confession: I still get teary at the end of Beast ever damn time. Even if it's the fourth time I'm seeing the movie in two days.

But Nathan is doing his best to ruin the movie for me.

He will not call it Beauty and the Beast. He calls it "that movie that celebrates bestiality."

I guess he has a point. The Beast is a big hairy animal and Belle falls in love with him and wants to kiss his big bear face and fondle his goat horns. But it's symbolic, damnit! It's romantic!

At least Belle is a brunette with brown eyes who loves to read. Oh sure, she is a bit conceited, looking down on the members of her poor provincial town, but everyone thinks it's strange that she reads, instead of cooking and spending all day admiring Gaston's trophies. I can accept a little snobbery on Belle's part since it's in the name of women's liberation and literacy.

Beast is cranky and a little scary, but Pippa and I spend a lot of time talking about his feelings and how he could better handle them.

Then Gaston dies and I just say "Oh no, he fell" and hope Pippa is not traumatized. Why is there so much death in the Disney movies? Why do I have to tell Pippa that Anna's parents got a boo boo and then promise I'm not going to get a boo boo? I feel like these movies are so emotionally rich - but maybe they could be a little less rich in the "parents dying and orphaning their babies" department?

I know I'm the 874,283rd person to observe this, but why do the parents always have to die in the Disney movies?  For fuck's sake, we are the ones paying for the movie tickets, stuffed animals, stickers, lunch boxes, backpacks, costumes, Disneyland mortgages, bankruptcy bullshit, can we at least be celebrated? Or at least allowed to live??? What is the message we are sending our kids?  Hey, kids, you can have loving parents and a boring life; or, you can have DEAD PARENTS and lots of fun awesome adventures! 

So according to Disney, only orphans have amazing lives? But if we were all orphans, then who the fuck would refinance the house to pay for a trip to Disneyland????

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Questions Raised By Pippa's Favorite TV Programs

  • Where are Max and Ruby's parents? We see grown-up rabbits all the time, including their grandma, but nary a glimpse of their parents. Have they been abandoned? Is Ruby raising Max? Should someone alert bunny welfare services?
  • I have other questions, so many questions, but I am so g.d. tired I cannot remember them.
  • I do remember some questions I have about Pippa's favorite movies, but since the title of this post refers to TV Programs, I'll save those questions for another post.
  • No, I'm not going to change the title of this post. I'm too g.d. tired.
  • Good night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Climb Out of Darkness - Team Pasadena!

Last year, I participated in Climb Out of Darkness, the world's largest event rising awareness about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  I went on a local hike, and I did it alone, and it was such an awesome way to celebrate how far I had come since I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression.  I blogged about it here. In that blog post, I vowed to organize Team Pasadena for the 2015 event.

Guess what? I am! I am the Leader/Sherpa for Team Pasadena for the Third Annual Climb Out Of Darkness. We are hiking on Saturday, June 20, 2015. I haven't pick the exact time, but it will be 9ish - civilized, but early enough to beat the heat.

Do you want to donate to my fundraiser campaign?  Click here and then click the donate button.

Do you want to join the team? Click here and then click the register button. You do NOT have to do any fundraising to participate in the climb. You just have to register. I am choosing between a few Pasadena hikes right now, because I want something easy enough for toddlers. The hike I went on last year was beautiful and inspiring - and had about 38 good places for a toddler to die. So this year's hike will be beautiful and inspiring, minus the toddler death traps.

Do you want to join a team but need something a little more local? Go here to check out the map of all the awesome hikes.

Warning: this is my first post about the hike. There will be others. I have so much to tell you. And thank you in advance to my readers who have already donate - you are rock stars.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cellphone Chronicles; Or, Why I Broke Up With My iPhone

I used to have an iPhone. It served me well. I assumed I would always be an iPhone person.

Then I had Pippa, and Pippa became obsessed with destroying the iPhone. I could have kept the phone away from her, but there's a Sesame Street app that keeps her very happy in emergency situations. I bought a fancy protective case, but it felt clumsy and cumbersome. So I adopted the following strategy: when Pippa threw the iPhone as hard as she could, I pretended that the iPhone was indestructible. 

This strategy did not work.

After a bunch of toddler abuse, my iPhone was cracked and losing little metal chunks at an alarming rate. It was no longer an iPhone. It was a zombIephone. I took it to the Apple store, but the repair quote was too steep for my taste. I was not going to pay $200 to repair a screen that Pippa might break again in a week. 

I was using Verizon, so I went to the Verizon store to procure a new phone. The salesman told me I qualified for a free iPhone and a free tablet - yay - but my old plan was no longer available. I would have to upgrade to a new plan that would cost a lovely $150/month - and by the way, there were data limits.  More money for less data? What the what? 

I had nine months left on my contract.  I asked the salesman what would happen if I terminated early.  He said I would be charged a $200 early termination fee.


I confess: the "free" tablet was tempting. Verizon knew what it was doing. When the salesman offered me the free tablet, I felt as if I had won the lottery on Christmas. He left me alone to crunch the numbers (translation: go pee) and I played with the tablets on display. Oh, so tempting. My life would be perfect if only I had a free tablet...

Then I remembered I already have a Kindle Fire and I did not want/need another tablet. What I wanted was a new, lightweight laptop with an actual keyboard. Not some shitty free tablet. 

I left the Verizon store, went home, and researched my options.  A few days later, I went to Best Buy and a lovely saleswoman (who did not work on commission) showed me an Android that cost about $70. I looked it over. It was much better than I expected. I thought I was going to get a barebones flip phone that might be able to send text messages. This phone seemed even better than my iPhone. I bought it.

I've been using my Android for seven months now, and I love it. It only has one drawback: I can't use it to record and email long videos of Pippa to my family. Videos are limited to 16 seconds. But this drawback has forced me to use a digital camera for videos, and the digital camera takes much better videos than my iPhone ever did. So the drawback is actually an advantage.  

For a service provider, I decided to stick with Verizon. I make monthly payments. No contract, no lien on my soul. For $45, I get a month's worth of unlimited talk and text, plus 500mb of data. For another $20, I get an additional 3GB of data.

Math is not my strong suit, but let's do a little anyway. I had nine months left with my Verizon contract. At $120/month, that was more than $1000 for the privilege of using a broken iPhone. Since my iPhone had one foot in the electronic grave, that was not an option. (Unless I wanted to pay at least $700 for a new iPhone - eff that.) So to stick with Apple, I would have had to take the "free" iPhone and pay $150/month for the next twenty-four months and that's ... $3600.

Instead, I paid $200 to escape the shitty Verizon contract.  $70 more for my new phone.  (After seven months of hard use, it's still in excellent almost-new condition.) And instead of $150/month, I pay a measly $65/month to use my phone.  Over the course of two years, I will pay $1830 to use my phone. That includes the Verizon cancellation fee.

So let's see... $3600 for an iPhone versus $1830 for a phone that I love even more. Even if I have to replace my Android every six months, the iPhone is still about $1600 more expensive.

I don't know about you, but there are a lot of things that I can do with $1600. When I ditched my iPhone, I was worried I might regret that decision. I worried in vain. My cheap Android is awesome.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Not-Yet Aquarium

I want an aquarium. Badly. I have wanted an aquarium for years - decades! - but I always hesitated. Where would I put it? What would I do when I went out of town? What if the fish were from another planet and they hypnotized me and sent me on a mission to steal the Hope Diamond? (Because everyone knows intergalactic fish are obsessed with the Hope Diamond.)

Despite these legitimate concerns, a couple of months ago, I finally decided it was time for my aquarium. It would be a goldfish aquarium. I bought a book about goldfish at the pet store. (Pippa and I often stop by the pet store to admire the animals, especially the canines at doggie day care. I was glad to finally engage in a little commerce with a place that gives us so much joy. They should really sell snacks. For people. We're not eating the dog snacks.)

Did you know that if given enough space to thrive, goldfish are actually quite big? So big, that if you have a large 29 gallon aquarium, you should only keep two goldfish? Did you know it's cruel to keep goldfish in a bowl? That goldfish actually live for years and years but when trapped in a bowl, they suffer and sicken and die very premature deaths?

I had no idea! I had goldfish as a child. I don't remember their names, but my brother always named his fish "Frankie." Oh, our poor tortured fish! And then, I had goldfish in college - Chunk and Eloise, and Marty and Doc - oh, my poor goldfish babies! I'm sorry!

(In college, I wrote an op-ed column for the student paper, and one of those columns was about my goldfish. And that post can be read right here. Yes, I have always been lame but I think we all already knew that.)

I decided we would NOT have a goldfish aquarium. Sure, we could have a tank with two fish, but that seems lame. The whole point of a tank is to have little schools of fish darting around, getting up to all sorts of crazy shit. Two goldfish = no crazy shit.

So I bought a book about freshwater aquariums. It is an excellent book. If anyone wants an aquarium, they should read this book first. After reading it, I wanted my aquarium even more.

But not yet.

Here's what I learned about aquariums: if you are going to have one, you have to do it right. You can't half-ass it with a 5 gallon novelty tank with a big replica of the Eiffel Tower and clean the water every few months. You have to get a big rectangular tank, at least 29 gallons, but 50 gal. is much better. Then you need to put that tank on a proper tank stand, because a filled tank is too heavy for a standard bookcase. You have to change the water regularly and frequently to keep your fish as healthy and happy as possible. (I suppose, if you are the sort of person who tortures squirrels and microwaves cats, then you don't need to change the water.) And if you are going to be changing the water regularly, you need to position the tank close to a sink. But the tank does not belong in a kitchen or against an outside wall or near a main door...

Above all, I learned there is nowhere to put a respectable tank in the Cranky Pumpkin household. Except the guest room. Where no one would ever see the fish. Except for overnight guests. Which, in the past year, have included the following: (1) my mother-in-law, and (2) no one else. I suppose my mother-in-law might enjoy the fish, but then again, I don't actually know that. She might hate fish. she might be nursing a secret fish phobia. If I put an aquarium in the guest room, she might stay up all night with a harpoon to guard herself. Or, she might think the aquarium makes an annoying bubbling sound.

Long story short, the aquarium is not happening anytime soon, but I am not giving up the dream. Someday! In the meantime, I may accidentally buy a hamster during one of our frequent pet store trips.