heat wave

It’s beastly hot here today. The high is 99, and already it’s dangerously warm in our little condo. Our house is reasonably well insulated so it’s never unbearable like it was at the old place, but it’s still quite toasty on days when the temperature approaches 100.

My sister (who doesn’t have a fun nickname – perhaps Auntie Pep? She was a cheerleader in high school, after all) is flying in for the weekend. She is a pale, blonde health nut; I suspect the sheer amount of solar energy in the air will cause her to burst into flames the minute she steps outside. And stepping outside is inevitable – we will go on walks, and play at the park, and generally do things that healthy people do. Also, she eats things like flax. I am mildly terrified.

The combination of beastly heat, cranky baby and brain-scrambling math homework made it all but impossible for me to get much housework done yesterday. You try scrubbing countertops while trying to wrangle a grabby baby. Forget about putting him down: if I’m not in the same room he is, Happy Fun Baby assumes I’ve left him for the gypsies and reacts accordingly. I’ve tried explaining that the kitchen is right there and he can see me if he looks, but he’s not buying it. Yesterday I had to put him in the sling just so I could finish making my lunch. It’s a good thing he’s so cute:

Anyway, I am cleanliness-challenged at the moment. The timing couldn’t be worse, since I have what practically amounts to a phobia about a messy house and guests. I want to foster the illusion that I am a competent housekeeper. Is that so wrong?

Not So said he’d take care of cleaning up downstairs last night, but apparently we have different definitions of “downstairs.” When I think of the downstairs area, it includes areas like the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. Considering that’s pretty much all that comprises our first floor, I feel pretty justified. Not So swept the hallway and started the dishwasher, and this morning he took out the trash, which just leaves me with…the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. Oh and the downstairs bathroom. In addition to the upstairs, which isn’t too bad but still involves bathroom-scrubbing, carpet-vacuuming and laundry-doing. In the sweltering heat, with a cranky baby. But at least today I don’t have math homework! (Not much, anyway.)

I’m very excited about seeing my sister, though. Happy Fun Baby is going to be in baby heaven. Auntie Pep is a party, even if she does have funny ideas about what food is made of.

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reason #567 that my sister rocks

Back in…sometime last year (the pregnant months, they blend) I got a loan to cover the next quarter’s worth of school supplies. One of the classes I thought I’d be taking was Intermediate Algebra. Art school doesn’t ask much of you in the math department, but if you’re seriously numerically anemic like me, College Math is an ever-present spectre. Looming. Like a big black graphic calculator of doom.

Anyway, the textbook for College Math, according to last year’s syllabus, was to be the same as the textbook for Prerequisite to College Math, which, um, I also had to take. So I had the textbook. Ha! said I. One textbook for two classes! I WIN! And then I laughed maniacally, because I was jacked up on third trimester hormones.

But College Math was not on my schedule until summer session, which started yesterday. I marched into the classroom (virtually; this is online art school, after all) armed with my old book, only to discover…they changed the materials requirements.

The class now requires a spanky new book. A $124 spanky new book. You know what I don’t have? I will give you a clue:

Elementary and Intermediate Algebra - With CD (4TH 06 Edition) Cover

So, yeah. There was panic. Because I’m really not going to be able to pass my math class if I don’t even have the book.

But wait! There is a happy ending! Postpone your despair until finals time!

My sister generously caved to my pathetic entreaties and bought me the big red book of algebraic doom. Thank you, sister! Now there is nothing standing between me and a passing grade. Except my brain, of course.

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dates, stomach flu and babies, oh my!

Saturday: Not So Cranky Dada celebrates his 31st year of being awesomely Matt-full. Since the in-laws are in town looking at real estate, they give us the best present ever: babysitting so we can go on a date! A real-life, no-babies-involved date! I can still barely believe it, so I will say it again: we had a date, my husband and I! (Possibly we need to do this more often.)

The plan was to go to PF Chang’s, but – surprise! – restaurants are busy on Saturday nights. Not to be deterred, Not So and I strolled around the Pearl for a while (passing Blue Hour, which fills me with longing but is, unfortunately, way out of our price range), but he deemed most of the restaurants we passed as “too fussy” (the Pearl? Too fussy? No way!). We hopped on the trolley and took it out to PSU. The theory was that college students need to eat, but apparently that theory was flawed. There was nothing out there.

We made our way back toward downtown. “Let’s have fondue!” said Not So. “Ooh!” said I. We scurried down the stairs to Melting Pot. “Oh, I’m sorry,” said one of the hostesses, “We don’t have anything until at least 9:30.” Not So and I looked into the nearly-empty restaurant, looked back at the hostess, and said “O-kaaaay.”

Now we were really hungry, and the adventure was beginning to wear thin. “First place we find,” said Not So, and I agreed. That turned out to be Bistro 921 in the Hilton. They had plenty of tables, seated us right away, and – bonus! – Not So has a membership at the Hilton health club, which gave us a fat discount on the meal. I had salmon, which was heavenly, and Not So got down with a steak, which came with these mashed potatoes with bleu cheese that I will seriously have dreams about for the next week. (Like a crack dealer, he let me have a taste for free.)

Afterward we went out to Voodoo Donut for dessert. On our way to the train, we passed a bunch of guys playing bagpipes. Eee! Bagpipes! I wanted to stay and hang out with the Scotsmen, but we ran for the train instead.

Happy Fun Baby was all smiles when we got home. The grandparents said he was a perfect angel, although he did spend twenty minutes crying after he woke up and found himself in the crib. (He does that for us, too – I just hadn’t thought to mention it.) When I came upstairs, Grandma Not So was sitting in the dark with the baby, holding him up to the window so he could see the stars. Grandma Not So = sucker. Everyone is a sucker for Happy Fun Baby.

After the grandparents left, we made some coffee and had our donuts. (Note:This part of the story will come up later. Literally.) We watched some TV, Happy Fun Baby nursed like a mad fiend (Grandparents: He wasn’t really interested in the bottle. I guess he wasn’t hungry! Me: Ha.) I took the baby (who was passed out on my chest) to bed around midnight, and I fell right asleep. All was well in the Cranky house…or was it?

Two a.m. (or so): I woke up with bile in my throat, feeling seasick. I couldn’t even begin to fall back to sleep. After laying there for a while I got up (being careful not to disturb Ellison) and called down the stairs. “Baby? I need you.”

Not So slooooooowly (or so it seemed) came to the foot of the stairs. “What’s up?”

I said “I need you to keep an eye on the baby because I think I’m going to be sick.”

He came up and I crouched over the toilet, feeling horrible and wanting nothing more than to lay my head on the cool, cool linoleum. But nothing happened, so I came back into the bedroom. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe I ate something bad.” Not So rubbed my back for a while, and I think he was getting ready to go back downstairs when all of a sudden I felt a lot worse and made another bathroom run. Let me just say: there is nothing good about throwing up a combination of salmon and donuts. Nothing good.

I came back to bed and Not So said he was going to run downstairs to turn things off, since it seemed like I was going to need him for a while. I said okay, but the minute he got downstairs the nausea hit again with a vengeance. I literally ran for the toilet, hoping the baby wouldn’t wake up and roll off the bed before Not So got back but really, really not being able to worry too much about it because OMG sick.

Happily that was the last regurgitation trip, but I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like – well, feeling like I did when I was pregnant. Which I’m so not. But, dude – in case I was thinking about it? Unending nausea + small needy baby = no fun at all.

Still. If someone had told me beforehand “You will go out with your husband, but you will be sick all night afterward” – I still would have gone for it. A date with my husband is totally worth it.

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Harry Potter, food and OMG it’s hot

It’s nine thousand degrees in Portland right now, which means that there is somewhat more cranky than usual in the Cranky household.

Extended Weather Forecast for Portland, OR

fair (day)

Currently: 95°F
103°F | 66°F

I don’t deal well with the heat, and apparently Happy Fun Baby has inherited this. Do you remember the story August Heat? With the large man and the chisel and the tombstone and the sweating? I’m not that bad, but I empathize.

So, yeah. Hot. And nothing takes the edge off a sweltering day like a big crock pot of beef stew! Seriously, I don’t know what I’m thinking with that one, except that it’s what we have and our temporary but extreme poverty means making do. On a related note: I hate being poor. Hate hate hate. Things are going to be tight until we finish paying back the moving expenses, which won’t take too much longer…but in the meantime we have, like, $20 to our names.

Whenever money gets scarce my Po’ White Trash gene begins thumping and I start craving food. All sorts of food. In large amounts. This goes a long way toward explaining my caloric shame spiral of the last couple of days, brought to you by The Daily Plate. Remember, I’m only supposed to be eating 1900 calories a day if I want to burn a pound a week. Calorie breakdown:
Thursday – 1805
Friday – 1749
Saturday – 1990
Sunday – 2519.

2519? The hell? I’m going to be the size of a truck if I keep eating like that! Granted, there was some exercise in there, but not nearly enough. Sigh.

To distract me from all that, I’ve been scouring the web for new exciting things. Want to know what’s not exciting? JK Rowling announcing the death of two more Potter characters.

Children’s author J.K. Rowling has revealed that at least two characters will die in the seventh and final installment of her bestselling Harry Potter series, but was careful not to say who.

Rowling says 2 characters die in final Potter book – Yahoo! News

Why does she do this? It’s like she’s begging for someone to break into her super-sekrit hidden safe and hold her manuscript for ransom. I don’t want to know that people are going to die. I spent all of – what was it, book 5? – trying to find clues about who was going to bite it in that one, and the plot took a backseat to my (fruitless) sleuthing. It’s going to be a surprise anyway, right? I’d rather be completely surprised than half-assedly “prepared.”

Happy Fun Baby is kvetching to a background of Oobi (He’s Oobi, Oobi Oobi Oobi Oobi Oooo-bi). Perhaps he would like to share a juice pop with his mama.

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All of my favorite mommybloggers drink. I do not drink. I am bad at drinking. I have, you know, two cocktails and then feel all sick and stupid and loquacious, and I tell stories about my dead brother, and I go home and probably puke. Also, I have no tolerance. None. And I dislike the taste of alcohol, so my drinks of choice are usually a) weak and b) made primarily of lemons. So, yes – Cranky Mama is a cheap date, but also boring as fuck. It’s a compromise.

But then I read about the clever thing Mimi Smartypants said (“…from now on whenever anyone makes a gesture or sign that I don’t fully understand, I will pretend that it means “what do you want to drink.” And I will answer them cheerfully. And they will either give me beer or walk away shaking their heads”) and once again I feel like I have missed the bus by not ever learning how to like drinking. It’s much the way I felt in high school. You know, back when you thought you’d have one beer and suddenly become all floozy and loose and life-of-the-party-like, but then you actually had a beer and it kind of tasted like socks and didn’t make you feel at all like taking off all your clothes and dancing on a coffee table, not even a little? But, whatever. I’ve tried. Believe you me, I have tried. And there are only so many times you can justify giving yourself a mild case of alcohol poisoning doing something you don’t even enjoy before you’re all whatever, I’d rather have some ice cream. Which is probably at least part of the reason I weigh roughly five thousand pounds and still appear to the casual observer to be three months pregnant. The ice cream.

My point is, I want a beer right now, and I don’t even like beer. I want some sort of mildly self-destructive hobby during which I can’t possibly be expected to wrangle a small child or perform any higher brain function. Not So is currently asleep upstairs after an afternoon of sake bombs with his coworkers, and I? I am jealous. Not of the sake bombs, but of the ability to check out. I had a job once where we were only allowed the requisite two fifteen minute breaks per eight hour shift, but since the supervisor was a smoker she would let us have unlimited smoke breaks. I don’t think I’ve ever smoked as much as I did in that job, because, seriously. Breaks = good. Not taking breaks makes people crazy.

Perhaps this would be a good time for more ice cream.

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the mother of all holidays

Mother’s Day is looming in the way that only Mother’s Day can. Last year at this time I was smack dab in the middle of my first trimester, nauseous and miserable and cranky. Not So was gaming, if I recall correctly, so I spent the day nauseous, miserable, cranky and alone. And I didn’t get a card. Not that I am bitter.

This year I am considering an active boycott of the holiday, much in the way that for years I refused to celebrate my birthday. The Mother Game from Uncommon Goods could make me rethink that, however. Am I passive-agressive or overbearing? Can I make it into the will? It’s like the game of Life, only with more pink.

Mother board game

On another note:

Conversation between Cranky Mama and Not So Cranky Dada in the diaper bag aisle of Burlington Coat Factory:

Me: I like this diaper bag, but it’s too small.
Not So: Is it?
Me: The Skip Hop won’t fit inside. It’d be like a purse that says “Baby” on it.
Not So: (fiddling) No, see – it totally fits! (Holds up bag with Skip Hop Pronto – which is really very handy and fits in almost everything except this diaper bag – sticking awkwardly out of top.)
Me: See, but I can’t zip it up. And if I go around with my diaper bag unzipped, someone will come tell me that my baby’s ugly so they can steal my wallet.

although i didn’t speak the language so i was one of “those” tourists

Day One: 4:00 am
Four hours of sleep. Mexico, here we come!

12:00 pm
My feet are so swollen, oh my god. When did I become the type of person whose feet swell? This never happened before I was pregnant. Never.

3:00 pm
I’m so glad my baby isn’t one of the poor kids wailing about the pressure change. So glad he likes his pacifier. Aren’t babies supposed to be hard to travel with? He’s a breeze.

4:00 pm
Dear lord it’s hot. Like breathing under a blanket. I need a nap and some water. And…that’s the line for customs? But it’s so hot! And I need a nap! Oh my god, this is hell.

On that illustrious note, our vacation began. We were spending five days at an all-inclusive resort about an hour out of Cancun, but first we had to, you know, get there.

Day Two: 10:30 am
The baby screamed all. night. long. And then I overslept – stupid time change – and the breakfast buffet is closed. I must eat or I will die. This vacation sucks.

11:00 am
Oh, the grill is open all day. That’s not so bad. And mmm, quesadillas. Who’d have thought of quesadillas for breakfast?

12:00 pm
The pool is divine. And have you seen the ocean?

5:00 pm
This vacation is awesome.

Once we got into the swing of things, the resort rocked. Happy Fun Baby took to the water like a duck to…water. Except without the feathers. And with slightly less quacking. As the days passed, my pasty white skin slowly tanned to a less pasty shade of white. I saw a shimmer in my hair that I originally thought was gray, but as it turned out was simply a blonde strand. Sun! Bleaches hair! Who’d have thunk? Not So and I got to take romantic walks along white sand beaches, listening to the crash of the surf and the wailing of the baby, and then hurried back to the air-conditioned room to drink bottles of water and try to decipher Mexican TV. And at some point I managed to finish not one but two books. Grown-up books. Books with no pictures. I am a party animal.

good book

The ocean was so beautiful it was unreal. I’d never been to the Caribbean before, and the clear turquoise water was amazing. And warm! Oceans should always be warm. I was telling Not So, if the ocean in Santa Cruz had been warm I might have been tempted to take up surfing. And not, for example, have become a pale, moody goth. Just as an example.

So batteries = recharged, and life = good. Cranky Mama’s cranky meter is at an all-time low. Let that be a lesson to you, universe: when the going gets tough, the tough sends me to an all-inclusive resort.