NowBlowPoMe: Visiting Manhattan

TobyJoe, Emory and I got all bundled up this morning and headed into the city to visit my old place of employment. I miss that job a lot. I miss my boss a lot. There are still a few people there whom I miss dearly and I wanted to introduce them to my most favorite person in the whole world.

I was worried at first. I had no idea how I’d do with bringing Emory out in the cold and into the great big city, so far from home. (An entire river!) You see, anywhere else one might actually drive in and therefore be equipped with a getaway car should things take a turn for the worse. But in New York City, where parking is nonexistent, you’re kind of stuck out there. Even cabs are off limits when traveling with a baby, given the whole carseat law. So, I get nervous whenever we venture out. And the greater the distance we are away from home the greater my stress level. But I was determined this time. I was determined to get over this fear. I see babies out and about all the time. Why can’t I get out as well? So we bundled him up and put him in the stroller. We took him on the subway and straight into Grand Central Station. That’s Grand Central Station, Internet. Can you believe how far I’ve come? A month ago I freaked out bringing him to the park down the street.

The city was humming with life and a part of me missed it greatly. I missed it in spite of the fact that someone picked a fight with TobyJoe on the 4/5/6 after our stroller accidentally bumped his sneaker. I missed the city after watching a guy pick his nose and then immediately touch the metal subway bars. I missed it even after having to walk up several flights of stairs with a stroller. I missed the route I once walked from Grand Central to Madison Avenue. I even missed the guy who sells stuff outside of my old office building. I missed it all.

I missed the sound of the train station, the smell of the street, even the smell of the roasting nuts. (Although, I always figured that if actually consumed a person might shit themselves. Seriously, does anyone from New York eat the nuts?)

If this city were just a little more user friendly, if it were just a little more accessible for us breeders trying to survive on a middle class income, then I think I could settle in here. If it were just a little easier, I could see raising my son in New York. (As long as I could get him into one of those Quaker schools.) But it’s not easy. And even though today almost went off without a hitch, it still proved tiring.

I guess we could have left the baby with the nanny.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: 4 Out of 5 Doctors' Wives Agree. It's a Good Show.

I used to work for doctors. Well, I worked with doctors who acted as consultants on projects designed for other doctors. But they were doctors. They had letters like MD stuck to the end of their name.

One day I was given a simple task: design a magazine spread and a tables of contents. For the spreads I used Lorem Ipsum. Lorem Ipsum is used so that the client doesn’t get distracted by the content and instead focuses on the design. For the TOC, I came up with fake article and doctor names. I have done this before. I always just put down whatever comes to mind. I added the following name to the TOC.

By Dr Drake Ramoray

The comp was printed and then Fed-Ex’ed for morning delivery.

Later the next day my client called to review the designs. We discussed the spread and then moved on to the tables of contents.

“I see you’re a fan of Friends,” remarked my client. He immediately added, “My wife pointed it out to me. She watches the show, too.”

Sure, maybe he and his wife worked together. Or maybe he met her for lunch and brought the designs with him to get her opinion. And perhaps they went out for SANDWICHES! It’s possible, sure. Also possible? He watched Friends along with nearly every other person in America.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Vaccinations, Take 3.

I woke up early yesterday and trekked into the city to have my stitches removed. I got dressed up in order to do so. That’s a sign of the frequency with which I leave the house.

I learned that my skin had grown over two of the four stitches during my week of healing. I also discovered that I’m allergic to the Bacitracin I was prescribed. My doctor told me to stop using it immediately. The site was red and blotchy and slightly raised because of the reaction I had. It hadn’t healed quite as well as she would have liked, so I may need some laser treatment when this is all said and done. I’m to see her again in four weeks. In the meantime, she gave me a steroidal ointment called Cutivate (which I just found out I should not use since I’m supplying breast milk for Emory) and a topical ointment called Biafine to help with the redness after the wound heals.

To be completely honest, I couldn’t have cared less about my face or the scarring because Emory was scheduled to have his second round of vaccinations yesterday. This fact weighed on my head, so much so, I was unable to eat. (A perfect solution to losing weight: schedule vaccinations for your new baby.)

We are having Emory vaccinated. We’re skipping a few, such as Hepatitis B (he can get that later), and the flu shot. I think we’re also going to skip the chicken pox vaccination. And there are others I haven’t even researched yet that may be added to that list. I’m taking it day by day. I do know one thing: we’re only allowing for two shots per visit. The CDC requests that you do more. If a person were to go along with the schedule recommended by the CDC, a child could have up to 6 shots in one visit. And I know what I’m about to write may not go over too well with the Internet, but I think that’s too many. I might change my mind as he gets older but right now I think that 6 injections is far too many. And so we’re giving him less and visiting more often (if need be).

Emory had two more vaccinations yesterday. He was given IPV (polio) and HIB (haemophilus influenzae type b). Both shots are associated with few-to-no side effects. Technically, he was also supposed to receive DTaP already but it tends to cause problems and will thus be given alone. DTaP scares me a bit. By giving it solo, if anything should happen, I will know exactly what vaccine to blame.

Of course Emory screamed when he received the shots. We were ready for that. And I stood outside the whole time. I joked with the nurse and pediatrician and told them I planned on visiting the bar across the street to get a couple of shots myself. Had I not been driving, I may have done so. Next time, however I may take the Xanax I was prescribed for flying. I really do not handle these shots very well.

So, he screamed and TJ did his best to calm him. We waited at the doctor’s office until he was soothed. A bottle helped.

We left. He was still fine. He smiled a lot and even laughed a couple of times. When we got him home, we sang to him and played with him. I gave him a tiny bath and then wrapped him up for a nap. He passed out at around 5 PM.

TobyJoe and I made dinner. I showered. Emory was still sleeping. Emory never sleeps for more than two hours during the day but I knew that his immune system was busy so I let him rest. At around 8 PM, Emory began to stir. And then all hell broke lose. He just started screaming.

Back up. I have said this before about my son but I really must reiterate it. Emory DOES NOT cry. He just doesn’t cry. He fusses, but he saves crying for whenever he’s in pain. He has cried now about four times in his life. So when he woke up screaming and red-faced I became worried. This was not the way my baby normally acts.

TobyJoe dropped everything he was doing and scooped him up. He tried his best to comfort him. And Emory screamed. Every time he opened his eyes, he screamed. With them shut, he screamed. When we tried to feed him, he screamed. Whenever we rocked him, he screamed. Pacification? Screamed. He just screamed and screamed and screamed and his mother nearly shit her pants.

Almost ALL of the literature about side-effects associated with vaccinations says to call a doctor or visit an ER if there’s a change in your baby’s behavior. And there was. It was clear to me that something was different. I called the doctor and left a desperate message.

I have no idea how much time went by (10, 15, 30 minutes?) before TobyJoe was able to get Emory to fall asleep again. And then it was worry time. What would happen whenever he awoke again? Would we have to endure more of this? Was he OK?

The doctor called me back when he was sleeping. I told her everything.

She gave me advice and then let me know that for reasons they are still very unsure of, some babies will wake up screaming and they scream no matter what you do. She said that often enough, once they fall back to sleep and wake up for a second time, they will never scream again. She said that doctors have no idea why they scream. She told me that if he wakes up again and continues to scream that I should undress him and look for anything out of the ordinary. If I don’t see anything, and he doesn’t calm down, then I can bring him to the ER. She also told me what dosage of Tylenol to give him. She tried to reassure me that the two vaccines he had were “mild”, which didn’t really reassure me because if my child was having this type of reaction to a mild vaccine, what was going to happen with the response to the DTaP?

We waited. We listened to his breathing, made sure that he wasn’t having an allergic reaction. TobyJoe tried to wake him a few times. Finally, we decided to be a little more insistent so we could give him some Tylenol.

The following second was reminiscent of something I’ve seen in movies during on of those bomb-disabling scenes. You know, the one where the guy is standing over two different color wires as the clock tics down to mere seconds and at the very last second he cuts the yellow wire. It was the second right after the cut. The one where you’re all waiting to see if the bomb goes off. That’s what the second between sleep and awake was like. Would he scream?

Silence. Grumble. Silence. Grumble. Silence. And then the feed me hands. No screaming. Just feed me hands.

I have no idea what made him scream like that. The experience was reminiscent of the time Homer Simpson remembered having found Smither’s Dad’s dead body and continually screamed no matter what anyone said or did.

And we were able to laugh about that today, nervously so. For I know that in just 30 more days, we’ll have to go through this all over again. But right now he’s happy and smiling and awesome.

How much do I hate this? So much. So very much. But I do know that getting him vaccinated is far better an option than letting him get sick. But it doesn’t make the experience any less horrible.

Notes for me: 25 Inches long and 14 pounds. Smiling. Giggling. Follows people around the room. Makes direct eye contact. Sleeps 4-hour stretches at night. Holds head up but at an angle – toward right shoulder. Blue eyes. Can hold feet.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 23)

TobyJoe suggested that I take a bath. I had just had surgery on my face and wasn’t feeling too well. A bath might do the trick.

I grabbed some candles and a book and ran the bathwater. Murray bolted in from wherever. Murray always bolts in from wherever whenever someone leaves the door open to the bathroom. He watched the water pool and swirl, curious as ever. I poured in some bubble bath and the two of us watched the suds bubble up. Steam filled the bathroom. I got in.

I leaned forward to shave my legs, a task made for a weed whacker. I grabbed the razor and dove right in. Murray stood on the ledge next to me dizzily slapping bubbles with his paw.

Minutes went buy and I switched legs. Murray grew more curious. He started to round the back of the tub, the skinny part where a normal, graceful cat might fair pretty well. But graceful, Murray is not. And I think it’s pretty safe to say he’ll never be a member of Mensa.

Perhaps he felt adventurous. Maybe he was just lonely and cold. Perhaps the bubbles confused him. All I know is Murray hasn’t ever smelled this good.

P.S. I am having some serious blog issues today. Lost a post. Found it. Lost it again. Finally, I decided that the blog was trying to tell me that I couldn’t let a Tuesday go by without a Murray. Please forgive me for the issues. But here’s a Murray.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Saying No To Billy Corgan.

In college, I got an FCC license and became a radio DJ. My show aired from 2-4 AM and had 2-4 listeners, most of whom were either Architecture or Graphic Design majors. The exception was a convicted killer named Jon.

Penn State is about 5 miles away from a maximum security prison. Our broadcast area covered the towns of State College, Bellefonte, Lemont, and Boalsburg. It also covered Rockview State Penitentiary.

Jon used to send me intricate drawings of Cramps’ skulls and dismembered heads. The drawings took him hours to complete. He’d sign each one and include a note telling me what songs he liked from the week before. He’d end his correspondence by requesting a song or two.

I always obliged. I guess I figured that if that particular lifer ever got out, he’d spare me based on the number of Exploited songs I played for him. Plus, I had trouble saying no. But Jon isn’t why I’m writing today.

Today, I’m writing about a guy named Billy.

It wasn’t long before I became the New Music Director, which basically meant working longer hours for no money. My job was to organize the CD and record collections, tidy up the workspace, and report for all staff meetings. I also got an earlier time slot.

The most important job I had was to phone in the top 25 bands for the week into CMJ Music Report. The CMJ Music Report was extremely important to managers, publicists and bands all over the nation. To get your name onto the top 25 list of a few dozen radio stations’ was considered awesome with a capital Q. (As a graphic designer, I imagine it was like having something published in Communication Arts.)

Of course, this led to all sorts of bribery, bribery I took part in from time to time. Publiciscts would offer me free stuff, sending CD after CD, “GIVE THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS!” and then they would call back and ask me why said band never made it onto the top 25. “I sent you free stuff. Can’t you do me this one favor?”

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I find it very hard to say NO to someone. I am just a giant pushover. And the problem with the whole Top 25 CMJ thing was that there were only 25 spots to fill and about 200 phone calls each week. Which pretty much meant I was the worst New Music Director ever. I couldn’t say no to anyone.

So, If I DID answer the call, I’d say something promising and then hang up only to be torn apart the following week for putting Buffalo Tom above Daisy Chainsaw. “YOU PROMISED ME THAT DAISY CHAINSAW WOULD BE IN THE TOP FIVE!”

These people would offer anything from free music to fake vomit. (Yes, that came to me once). I received free t-shirts and free concert tickets. Some of them even offered interviews. I interviewed Rusted Root (who smelled of body odor and last night’s sex). I interviewed Big Chief, Black Train Jack (Who? Exactly.), and my most favorite band at the time, Quicksand. I met Lita Ford (who had nothing to do with our genre, but I couldn’t say no) who was visiting and signing autographs at a local guitar shop. I stood in line and got her to record our call letters.

“You’re listening to 91.1, WPSU, State College, Pennsylvania.”

Only I wrote it like this:

“You’re listening to 91.1 WPSU, ST. College, PA.”

And she read this:

“You’re listening to 91.1 WPSU, SAINT College, PA.”

And we kept it and played it almost every week for a month.

The seediest and therefore most successful publicist was a person who not only worked with the crappy, no-name bands but who also worked with someone huge. They would use the popular band as currency for the less popular bands.

“If you move [insert crappy band here] into the top 25 on CMJ, I’ll give you two free tickets to see Nirvana this Saturday.”

One day I was fulfilling my hours when a publicist called. He wanted me to push a really awful band into the top 25 that week.

“If you do this for me, I have two tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins this week for a sold out show at the 9:30 Club. I would like you to interview Billy Corgan as well.”

I agreed to the deal. I put that no-name, horrible band at 24 and took the free tickets. And later that week my boyfriend and I hopped in his car and drove to Washington, DC. I brought the station’s high end microphone and tape recorder with me even though I had no intention of interviewing Billy Corgan.

What the publicist didn’t know was that previously, Billy Corgan threw a shoe at someone during a Rec Hall show at Penn State and the New Music Director watched in horror. The publicist didn’t know that Billy Corgan called us all a “bunch of fucking idiot frat boys!” He had no idea that Billy Corgan asked a hall full of people “Aren’t you missing a football game?” The publicist had no idea that Billy Corgan did all of that or that if Billy Corgan was capable of launching an attack on a couple thousand people, there’s no telling what he’d do to a lanky 19-year-old girl with a borrowed microphone.

I watched the show from the VIP section in the top tier of the 9:30 Club and it was a great show. Afterwards I didn’t step foot backstage to interview Billy Corgan. There was no way this teenage girl was going to be reduced to tears while the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins did something similar to her ego.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Tubin'

I wish I knew the history behind tubing. I don’t even have the time to research it right now. I wonder who first decided to remove the innards of a tire and put it to water. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea. Where else can one feel comfortable toting a cooler full of Busch pounders in the great outdoors? A pastime that isn’t only forgivable, it’s encouraged.

All I know is that as a kid I loved tubing. Every year, my family would stay at a campground called Wading Pines. It was a great big campground surrounded by trees, trees tied together with rivers, rivers tied together with tubes.

There was the 30-minute tubing trip, the hour-long trip, and then there was the hardcore 3-hour plus tubing trip. I never went all hardcore, being too young and all. Plus, Swimmies were discouraged on that course. Not that the officials wouldn’t allow Swimmies on the course. To be honest, I can’t remember there being any official officials. Nope, it wasn’t about the Swimmies at all. Instead, I imagine that seeing an 8-year-old float by on an inner tube while wearing Water Wings doesn’t exactly do much along the river of masculinity, masculinity and inner tubes. Plus, how many 8-year-olds can buy beer?

I bring this up today because of my 3-month-old son and a device we have called a Boppy. It’s a must have for any parent. Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding, I highly recommend grabbing a Boppy. They have a plethora of uses, so many, I’m certain I have yet to discover them all. Sometimes I use it to hold Emory. Sometimes I use it against my back. I’ve used it to sit on and not because I have any residual issues from delivery. They’re just nice to sit on.

And I know that the label specifically states “NO SLEEPING” but sometimes it just works out that way. Sometimes the little guy falls asleep in the Boppy (under strict parental guidance of course). We refer to this as “tubing” in our household. “Emory’s tubing again!” or “Look! Emory drank too much milk and passed out in his inner tube!” Tubing is by far my most favorite use we’ve found for the Boppy.

One good thing about tubing on a Boppy is that there aren’t ever any submerged tree branches to scratch your ass. There aren’t any mosquitoes or sudden drops. There’s never any reason to wear shoes. There aren’t any dark trails or snapping turtles, pollution, human shit, or duck feces. There are no leeches (and I’m not talking about the guy who steals all the beer). There’s no need to slather oneself in sunscreen. There’s no need for Water Wings or earplugs. And no one calls you a wimp if you’re on the 30-minute course.

It’s just him, a Boppy, and the open couch.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: 1 Week and 3 Pounds

7 days ago I weighed 155 pounds.

Today I weigh 152 pounds.

I will continue to give updates on my diet every Saturday until the end of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I hope to lose 20 pounds in total. I realize it’s not much. I also realize I am not obese. I could refer to myself as a “healthy-sized” woman, call myself “curvy”. But no matter how I spin it, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI), I am overweight. (It’s kind of shocking how easy it is to slip into the obese range as well.)

BMI Categories:

Underweight = >18.5

Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

Overweight = 25-29.9 (Here is where I am)

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

I’ve been writing everything down. I keep a list of the foods I eat in a Numbers spreadsheet. (Apple’s replacement for Excel.) I keep a fairly decent idea of the calories I consume as well. It’s been quite the learning experience. For example, I had no idea how hard it is to buy something without high fructose corn syrup!

I know the information below is probably pretty damn boring to most people, but who knows. Maybe someone will find some of it helpful.

(Organic items are marked as such.)

For breakfast I’ve been eating turkey bacon and eggs or cottage cheese and a South Beach Diet high protein cereal bar. I dig the peanut butter ones. Generally speaking, I try and avoid sugar substitutes especially while breastfeeding. The high protein South Beach bars are sweetened with sugar alcohol. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it’s tasty and doesn’t leave an aftertaste like Splenda, NutraSweet, etc. TobyJoe has made me a couple of breakfast omelets as well.

I snack on nuts during the day, olives as well. My goal has been to avoid hunger, so spend a lot of time snacking. Glenny’s Soy Crisps are an awesome substitute for potato chips. I really love the barbecue flavored. Creamy Ranch is good as well. Glenny’s Soy Crisps are a mere 140 calories per bag. I also snack on string cheese and Babybel. I’ve also treated myself to a couple of dark chocolate covered almonds. (And when I say “a couple” I really mean two.) I’ve also had a couple of pears.

For lunch, I dig into the leftovers from the night before. TobyJoe cooked a couple of Indian dishes. He made a masala chicken dish with peas. I had chicken hot dogs twice. We usually get Applegate Farms especially if our local organic meat guy doesn’t have any on Saturday at the McCarren Park Farmer’s Market. I skipped the catsup (not hard for me) and added mustard or Hain Safflower Mayonnaise.

For dinner this week we made a lot of chicken. All of our meals included a vegetable. There was usually a salad involved. One night we made barbecued seitan, another night some tempeh. I had a veggie burger (Boca) on Thursday. Tonight we’re making chili. (If anyone cares to know more about what we’ve eaten for dinner, feel free to shoot me an email and let me know. I don’t want to drone on and on about it.)

I have had a few glasses of red wine as well. The hardest part was parting with the glass of Guinness I got so accustomed to having. It’s great for milk production, but it’s also great at giving me a belly. I’ve also had some difficulty giving up milk chocolate, an item I have craved incessantly since Emory was born.

Sadly, I haven’t done a lick of exercise this week except for lifting a chubby baby. That needs to change. I must get out and run again.

Updates on my weight loss will take place every Saturday in a section called Saturday Stats until I reach my goal.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: My Sack of Cells.

Emory was conceived a year ago today. I know the exact day almost down the minute for several reasons and I’ll mention a few of them below.

Four months earlier, I had gone to visit my doctor. I had blood work run. She checked for any genetic predispositions. Everything looked fine except that my measles shot had expired. (I wrote a bit about the testing here.) We also discussed ovulation and the possibility of things taking a while based on my age. Now, that doesn’t mean my doctor thought I was too old to conceive a baby. Quite the contrary. She made it abundantly clear that while I may be older compared to the rest of the nation, I was actually younger than the average New Yorker. I felt better and immediately began adding kids to my imaginary family.

She told me that usually a woman must try for an entire year before they start dealing with the possibility of fertility drugs. She told me not to freak out if it doesn’t happen right away.

She went over ovulation with me. We discussed when a woman ovulates and then she told me about those sticks women can buy (and pee on) that let you know immediately.

TobyJoe and I weren’t ready yet. I wanted to make sure I was healthy enough to actually have a baby, that my pipes were in working order, my blood up to par, etc. etc.

Over the next four months, I made jokes to remind him of my intentions.

“What do you want to eat?”

“Let’s make a baby!”

I eventually purchased one of those ovulation test kits. It ran me a small fortune for three sticks and I remember standing in the drugstore thinking that if I had to continue buying them, we might have to take out a loan. I tested myself once, a few days before Emory was conceived, while his father was away on business. I got an idea of when things take place. I was ready for whenever we were ready.

Over the years, many friends of mine (so many, I no longer have enough fingers to keep count) have had miscarriages. Still others spent months and months and months crying and fighting while trying to conceive. I know couples who spent nearly their entire life savings trying to have a baby. I have heard horror story after horror story. And I wish I were exaggerating, if anything, I’m holding back a little bit. But if there’s a point to be had here, it’s that I was convinced, based on what I learned from the people I know, that it would take me forever to become pregnant. And I was even more convinced based on the number of miscarriages I had heard about (seriously, dozens and dozens) that I would most likely experience at least one miscarriage. I was so sure of this, I would have bet money on it.

That’s why, when we got pregnant on the very first non-try, I was shocked, downright shocked. (It was a “non-try” because I had peed on a stick and figured out that I would no longer be ovulating by the time TobyJoe got back from Boston. Oops.)

So, I was pregnant. On the very first try. But I didn’t know it for three weeks and in that time I consumed a couple of glasses of wine here and there all the while my body was creating Emory. I was absolutely certain I had screwed everything up. Of course, as soon as I figured out I was pregnant, I never touched another glass of wine. But I was certain I had ruined everything because of those first couple of weeks. I kept thinking, “You’re going to be punished for this.” Punished by who? For what?

I told a few select friends. I had one rule: I’d share my early pregnancy with any person who I also felt comfortable enough telling that I miscarried. I was so sure that I would miscarry, I told those people that if I do miscarry, I’d like them to carry on about their business. I didn’t want anyone to act sad. I wanted things to go back to normal immediately. I told everyone that I wasn’t yet attached to the “sack of cells” growing inside of me.

8 weeks into my pregnancy, when I saw Emory’s heart for the very first time, everything began to change. It was so tiny! But it was a solid, beautiful heart. And I cried when I saw it.

4 weeks later, I was still pregnant. And we made the announcement to everyone.

For a long time, for almost four months into my pregnancy, I thought of him as a sack of cells. I even referred to him as such. (He later became Ndugu.) He was growing, the pregnancy side-effects were huge, but I kept him far away emotionally. I was still so sure something would go wrong.

I don’t believe there’s a God out there making things happen. And all the prayer in the world couldn’t keep the “sack of cells” alive for my friends. I don’t believe in a higher power calling the shots for us and I tend to put my faith in science more than religion. I know this belief doesn’t exactly make me very popular with the American public, but it’s the truth. I just don’t believe in all of that.


I do believe in the power of retrospect. Like, had this piece not landed on that spot at that particular time, the foundation would have splintered. For example, many of those friends went on to have and adopt beautiful babies, babies they never would have met had things not unfolded the way in which they had.

Now? Now my sack of cells is a babbling fool, a great big beautiful babbling fool that I want to smooch on so hard, my lips hurt yearning for it. And so. I look at the (albeit easy) conception of Emory as something that had to happen for reasons I am unaware of, reasons I may never fully become aware of. For example, we’ve only tried once. Who knows what’ll happen if we try again. Maybe this sack of cells was my only chance. This wonderfully awesome, amazingly outstanding, hilariously incredible sack of cells was my only chance.

(Click the video below. It’s of Emory talking to me. I am on the phone with TobyJoe as well.)

So, yeah, my sack of cells was conceived one year ago today. And the folks who believe that life starts at conception might even call this Emory’s birthday. And I have to admit, now that I know him, now that he’s Emory, I can’t help but think of today as something special.

See what I mean about the power of retrospect?

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Desperate Measures.

When Emory was first born, he had his days and nights mixed up. He slept soundly all day long and for stretches of several hours and then at 9 PM the long stretches came to an end. At night, he’d drift off and then wake up almost immediately. This left two very exhausted, new parents.

I can deal with getting little sleep. If I were to get 4 hours of sleep each night for a while, that’d be fine. It was the duration of time that eventually equalled those four hours that killed me. Fifteen minutes here and there does not a night’s rest make. And the lack of sleep added to my depression, which I felt pretty intensely back then.

So, we came up with shifts. I would take him from 9 PM until about 4 AM. TobyJoe would sleep on the couch. And then TobyJoe would take him at 4:00 AM until roughly 9 AM. This worked. I managed to get at least three solid hours a night. I still had to wake up every couple of hours to supply the food, but we each managed to sleep for longer stretches.

My shift started at 9 PM and while TobyJoe slept soundly in the living room I grumbled from our bedroom. I combed through Web site after Web site, stared off into space, and during some of my darker moments I wondered what I had done to my life. After a couple of days, I decided I simply had to get some sleep.

At some point during one of my Internet reading marathons, I learned that vibrating cribs can help ease a baby to sleep. Problem was, we never purchased one of these vibrating things. I still have no idea how this vibrating crib thing works. I read that some of them even make womb-like sounds.

On one particularly bad night, I hit rock bottom where depression was concerned. It was worse only due to how tired I was. I laid there begging, reasoning with Emory, “Please sleep, little one! Please let Mama sleep! Can you? Please?” And he’d whine and squeal. There was nothing I could do. I would rub his back, reassure him that I was still there and the repetitive motion would put me to sleep, while he squirmed and squealed. It was useless.

I thought about the vibration idea again. I began to lightly shake the crib. He calmed down. But I did as well. The vibration rocked me to sleep. Vibration stopped. He squealed again.

What to do?

A long, long time ago, TobyJoe and I spent a lot of money at a store called Toys In Babeland. (Sort of potentially not work safe). Every holiday, I would get a new toy. (Gentlemen, just because you happen to have the working parts to satisfy your lady, doesn’t mean that adding a prop or two into your love life is out of the question. Props do not take away from your masculinity, quite the opposite. The holiday season is coming up. Might I suggest you buy a little something for your lady?)

But I digress.

And you probably know where this is going.

I dug out the only battery operated, vibrating device I could think of, turned it on high, and put it right up at the top of Emory’s Pack ‘n Play. I fell asleep and so did he.

Later, when TobyJoe came into the bedroom to retrieve the baby, the device sat lifelessly in his crib.

“I got desperate.” I said answering no question at all.

“I can see that.”

“And not in the way one might assume when referring to one of these things.”

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: MOHs

I had the cancer cut out of my upper lip yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. Although, when they were finished I looked like this:

Usually I look like this.

(I’m the guy on the right.)

I arrived at 9:45 AM. They took me in at 10:00 AM and told me about the procedure. They injected my upper lip with lidocaine. A LOT of lidocaine. I learned yesterday that redheads don’t numb as easily as others. My doctor told me it takes double the dose of lidocaine to fully numb a redhead. She said that after years of having redheads complain that they could still feel the pain after a normal dose, anesthesiologists conducted a study and found that redheads do indeed need more local anesthesia. (This explains why I felt the sutures at George Washington Hospital when I cut myself with an exacto blade. The doctors didn’t believe me but I insisted and they finally gave me more.) Apparently doctors have no idea why this is. But I know why. It’s because redheads are bad ass motherf*ckers.

So I got double the dose, even though my hair is currently dyed brownish. I guess you can’t hide being even slightly redheaded. The dose she gave me made my lip swell up so much I could see it popping out from below my nose. She left me alone to let the injection do its thing. It numbed my lip as well as my teeth, my right nostril and my cheek.

The doctor came back into the room and carved a hole about the size of a large pea around the tumor. It’s kind of like what you do to a pumpkin’s head before gutting it. She removed the piece of skin and then cauterized the wound, which smelled like burning hair and (for a split second) beef. They bandaged me up and I was told to sit in the waiting room where others sat waiting as well.

One older woman had her entire chin covered up, blood oozed from below the bandage. Another guy had the right side of his head bandaged. And yet another man had his ear covered with gauze. We were all victims of sun damage. And I was by far the youngest there.

We waited. After about an hour, the nurse came in to let everyone know if they were “clear” or not. If you’re clear, you’re stitched up and sent away. If you’re not clear, you have to go back in and they carve out another piece/layer of skin. Somehow, I was clear on the first try, something that rarely happens. (I caught it early. That’s the only reason. It can spread quickly and it can dig roots. There is no way of knowing how much they’ll have to carve out and in what shape.)

I scheduled another appointment to discuss a skin cream treatment called Aldara, which apparently enhances one’s immune system so it can fight certain skin problems/diseases including basal cell carcinoma. The side effects can be a little scary but I’m going to meet with my doctor to discuss the options. Either way, I can’t do anything about it until I’m done supplying breast milk for my little dude (who will wear sunscreen or he will not get the college fund we set up for him this week).

People, wear sunscreen. If you don’t wear sunscreen you’re a moron. And I lump you in with all the idiots who refuse to wear helmets. I was a moron. If you don’t apply sunscreen while in the sun, you are a moron. It’s that simple. And besides, do you really want to look like this?

Wear sunscreen, you moron.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.