neither s nor sw

Not So is at SXSWi. I? Am not. He promises to get swag for me, though. Swag makes everything okay, even seven straight days of solo parenting.

Which is not as bad as all that, actually – Not So has been gone since Thursday morning, and today was kind of okay, as far as days go. (Note that I am skipping merrily over Thursday and Friday. This is not unintentional.) The kid and I went for a walk, did a little shopping…and before you get all eye-roll, keep in mind that my kid? LOVES to shop. Seriously. If we walk by the mall and don’t go in, he will throw himself toward the door with all his strength, wailing like we’re killing him. He is a weird kid. But yes, so, we shopped, and then we came home and he actually ate food, and then he took a marathon nap. Good day!

I had this ridiculous idea that I’d be able to get some writing done while Not So was away, but either all my writing talent has dried up or I just don’t have the wherewithal to concentrate when I am On Call. Which is…lame, right? How many single moms can produce an amazing array of matching words while toddler-wrangling? Anne Lamott comes to mind, but that’s just because of Operating Instructions; other moms do it all the time. Other moms, but not me. I feel so scattered and kind of brain-dead, and everything I’ve written in the past couple of days has been flat as week-old soda. (I do not say “pop.” This is because my parents raised me right.)(Shush, you can recognize hyperbole when you see it.)

The house, though, is quite clean, and I’ve taken two (two!) baths today, so all is not doom and gloom at chez Cranky. I miss Not So, and Ellison’s having a hard time sleeping, but we’re good. It’s taking a lot of energy for me to make progress on the projects we’ve got deadlining for work, but part of that is just that we got a new desk at the house – and, while I love it unreasonably and it totally serves its purpose (namely, to make the damned computer less of a focal point so I don’t spend my every waking moment on it), it’s not exactly conducive to marathon work sessions. Then again, neither is the toddler. Good thing we have an office!

Next year, I am totally going to SXSW, though. Even if the kid has to come with us.

in

Tried to go out tonight. Seemed like such a good idea. Not So texted me (because we are like that, with the texting) to say that the friends we have in town wanted to go for dinner at 7:30. He went out and caroused with them last night, so it was totally my turn, but I’ve been working all day and feeling sort of less than gregarious, so I said he should just go. But Not So was all, “It’s just dinner. Let’s bring the kid! After dinner I’ll take him home and you can go out and have some fun.” I was all, “Um, our kid? The one who has been throwing fits over food in our own home?” And he was all “Oh, he’s been great today, it won’t be a problem.”

Ha.

Let me say again: HA.

So I came home, put on some makeup (!!!), and we all traipsed off to the Rogue Brewery. I should have known it was doomed when Not So was all oh hey, it’s [guy] and [his girlfriend], since I thought it was just going to be Friend A and Friend B…but then it turned out that I actually know [guy], so that wasn’t so bad. So we sat down, and ordered some food for the kid, and Not So ordered a burger, and everything seemed like it was going to be fine. But then this enormous group of people came in, and [guy] and [his girlfriend] were all “Over here!” and Not So grabbed Ellison out of his chair so we could squish together to make room. And I totally didn’t know anyone in the enormous group of people, and do you know how I get when I’m around big groups of people I don’t know? Picture this:

meep

Multiplied by about a thousand. With a kicking kid on my lap, who had absolutely ZERO interest in his food.

And then our friends got there. They sat way over there <— while I was sort of sandwiched in the middle, which meant my options for conversation were limited to a series of expressive blinks and hand gestures. Which, not so easy while the toddler was a wriggling mass of not wanting to be there. At some point, Not So leaned over to me and said “I didn’t think it was going to be all these people!” I said, as Ellison shoved his knee down the front of my shirt, “I think I need to take him home.”

Not So tried to argue, but his dinner was literally being put on the table, so it didn’t make sense for him to go home. (I hadn’t ordered anything, because I figured I’d just eat what the kid left – which turned out to be everything, and which I did not eat. Yes yes, poor me.)

Anyway, so we left. And now Not So gets to go out for the second night in a row, while (for the second night in a row) I sit at home, watching Jack’s freaking Big Music Show. And oh, I’m feeling mighty sorry for myself, let me tell you. I’m even having a beer, and I don’t even LIKE beer.

Sigh.

30 tiny moments: day 1

So I’m doing this thing, this “30 Tiny Moments” thing, which in theory will result in a post every day, assuming I am that organized. Which, I have been weirdly organized lately. Don’t tell anyone.

Jessica at Kerflop summarized the project thusly:

“I imagine casting my eyes over the usual chaos I’m constantly surrounded by and instead of throwing my hands up in despair, finding something comforting, something real, something I’d like to remember and capturing it with my camera.”

water bottle

This is the one actual spontaneous, unposed photo from today’s batch…Not So thought I was focusing on the baby. Who was totally vogueing, by the way. He will get in front of the camera and stay stock-still until the flash goes off. It’s freaking hilarious. But, so, Not So, and his water bottle. It is a pretty cool water bottle.

running (out of steam)

runsAs you can see (from a screenshot! Of the sidebar! Of this very blog! Oh, I am so meta it hurts), I’ve completely and utterly failed in my goal to run 10 times in 4 weeks. According to my widget, I have 7 days to finish 8 runs. Which, sure. I could. But, let’s be serious people, I won’t. Some people say “Don’t start something unless you can finish it.” I say “Don’t fail quietly when you could fail spectacularly.” (Actually I don’t say that at all. Except that I just did.)

Seriously, though? I’ve been too busy to jog (even the sad, short little jogs of yestermonth). Projects deadlining, photo shoots, print work, proposals (to clients; I’m not looking to expand my marital options), school, sick babies, PMS, toymaking, med-juggling…it’s been a three-ring circus around here, and not the nice Ringling Bros. kind. (What am I even talking about? Am I about to embark on a metaphor about evil clowns? Everyone knows I love evil clowns.)

School in particular is pissing me off. First, there was the schedule. Two classes this session instead of my usual one. Each session is 5.5 weeks long, so two classes are going to make my head spin, but whatever. Then there was the bill, which I thought surely, surely was a mistake. I even called, laughing: “Someone misplaced a decimal point! Can you send me a new bill, with my real balance?” But no. There was no misplaced decimal point. Since I am taking two classes instead of my usual one, my financial aid won’t cover the difference in tuition. I can’t not take the extra class, since – and this was news to me – my graduation date has been moved from next spring to the middle of December. So, uh, yay? Except not, since apparently I have to pull $2500 out of the air and bestow it upon my learning institution. Yes please, allow me to pay you for the privilege of putting me $30,000 in debt! Please, sir, may I have another?

But, whatever. (Is this becoming my mantra?) I’ll be done with school in December (apparently), so at least I can take a break before deciding whether I want to go back to get my Bachelor’s. (Yes. This is only an Associate’s degree. I suck.) Part of me still wishes I was working toward somehow attending the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, but since a) I have a web design company now and b) I do not live in or near Iowa, I guess it’s time to let that one go. Despite my regular check-ins, my husband is still unwilling to uproot us and live in Iowa for a year while I get my geek on. (The Iowa question is second only to “Don’t you want another one,” to which the answer, also, continues to be “No.”) Instead, I will have a useless degree to assist me in starting a career I already have. Go me!

Oh, doom! Oh, gloom! Would you believe that I’m actually feeling better?

arr, says pirate henry

pirate henryThe newest addition to the Cranky family is, as usual, a Henry. This one is pink, and also a pirate. Arr.

I keep fussing around with the Cranky Pals website and I’ve added topside navigation, so now it is ABUNDANTLY CLEAR how people can click buttons to buy things from me. This is kind of me, I think. I mean, there could be any number of people out there, desperate to give me their money, but unable to do so because of my shoddy navigation.

yodel shirtIn other news, I also added the Yodel shirt to the lineup. The Yodel shirt entertains me, because every time Not So wears it, everyone asks him about it. It’s the tongue, I’m convinced. (Yodel’s tongue; not my husband’s.) I made one for one of Happy Fun Baby’s toddler friends, too, but I didn’t take a picture. Too bad, because I bet it’s really freaking cute.

Yes, it’s a Saturday. Time to spiff up the websites. You know how it is.

Oh! And on Monday, check out couldbe studios. We’re going Pink for October. All the cool kids are doing it. I might even do it on this blog, if I can get it together to change the CSS in time. (We’re all a little under the weather here, so don’t count on it.)

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morning people may have other annoying tendencies

Remember how I used to be all “Yeah, my kid might not go to bed until 11pm, but at least he sleeps until 9:30 or 10!” Remember that? Because wow, was I wrong. I mean, not then. Then I was right. But now? Now we are up, awake, bright-eyed, etc. at the ungodly hour of 8 in the morning.

8, people. It’s just not right.

Still, I’ve started to actually get things done in the morning, which is novel. I went for another jog yesterday, and still managed to get emergency file changes to my client by 10am. And we finally, finally made it to the library in time for Storytime, although – ha! – the librarian didn’t, so Storytime was cancelled. Figures. (Maybe we’ll try again next week.)

It’s not as satisfying as sleep, mind you. But it’s not that bad.

My sleep’s gone to hell anyway. I blame the meds. SSRIs have a rep for causing very vivid dreams, and that’s definitely true in my case. Not that I didn’t have vivid dreams already. So there’s that, and there’s the middle-of-the-night anxiety, and there’s the kid, who hogs the bed like no one’s business. Yes, we’re still cosleeping, and no, we don’t have any concrete plans to move him into his own room…but the idea is starting to sound better to me, mostly because of the early-morning wakiness. I mean, if he gets up at 8 every morning and then wants to lay around and snuggle for a half hour…that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

I already know what bed I want to get for him (it’s from Ikea, natch) and we got the bedlinens already, since Not So had this great idea about the kid having his own pillow, so that when we move him to his own bed it’ll already be familiar. Great, right? Except: where do we keep an extra pillow on our bed? We have a full-sized bed. A “double,” as it used to be called. “Double,” because only two people fit on it. (Don’t get me started on the whole “Why didn’t we get a Queen?” thing. Because I SO WANTED ONE, but SOMEBODY thought it would be too big and “not as friendly.” Somebody who now has his kidneys kicked regularly by our lovely child, who apparently dreams of soccer.) There is no room for an extra pillow. There is barely room for our heads. So the kid’s bedding is hanging out on his crib mattress in his room. The cats think it’s great. They will have no problem transitioning to a new bed.

I do miss sleeping in, but somehow it’s hard to feel like a slug when you’re up and about at a decent hour. Maybe that’s the meds talking, who knows. But it’s not all bad.

impetus

crappy webcam pic of lr/kitchen

Some friends of ours who just bought a new house confided that they’re giving themselves a year before they start feeling bad about the things they haven’t unpacked yet. An immensely sensible attitude, says I, and one I would love to share, except for one thing: we have no place to squirrel away our unpacked-ness. A two-bedroom apartment, as it turns out, does not so much accommodate three bedrooms worth of stuff. I know! I am shocked too.

We’ve been here for, what, two months? And I have clearly wasted an inordinate amount of that time on working, sleeping, and bathing, because our house is a disaster. Do you see? Do you see the disaster that our house is? (Do you also see the crappy excuse for a webcam? Clearly no competitor to the lovely iSight, which is currently on the office computer.)

I’m feeling particularly downtrodden about the state of the apartment since my inlaws are in town. I love the lovely inlaws, but I cringe every time I picture them walking into our house and being confronted with…this. These are civilized people. The sort of people who rinse plates the moment they’re finished with them and place them carefully in the dishwasher, and vacuum on a daily basis. They are not the sort of people who realize, after living somewhere for two months, that they still don’t know where the lint rollers are (said realization being sparked by the fact that there is a blanket-like layer of cat hair on the cream-colored glider in the baby’s room). They certainly don’t consider simply covering said chair with a blanket rather than tearing apart boxes to find the lint rollers, which might not even be there, since we threw so much stuff away, and given that we threw so much away WHY DO WE STILL HAVE SO MUCH CRAP? (Note to self: do not open hall closet and furiously contemplate stacks of boxes full of things Not So meant to sell on eBay and did not, and then meant to toss and did not, which means we moved and are inexplicably keeping four or five boxes of stuff we do not want, while having no place to store stuff we do, and yes, that sentence is rambling, and OMG do I have any more Calm pills? Do I?)

Hmm. Yes. So today, today is all about the cleaning. Well, the cleaning, and the school, and the work, and the babywrangling, and the lunch-making, and the not flying into a shrieking fit and tossing all our belongings out the window. Because, did I mention? We are probably having the inlaws for dinner on Saturday. Tomorrow, for those keeping track.

Wish me luck.

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happy babies need naps

Happy Fun Baby did not nap yesterday, exactly. He dozed on me while we were on the bus back from our playdate at Urban Grind (and Urban Grind = my new favorite place anywhere ever, and we had a blast) but historically his transit naps have been somewhat unsatisfying. I kept trying to entreat him to snuggle with me on the couch, but he was having none of it…which was really too bad, since I needed a nap too.

It wasn’t until nighttime that the full ramifications of He Who Will Not Nap were in evidence, and they were not pretty. Meltdowns! Tantrums! Hungry! But not hungry, why are you trying to make me eat food, I HATE FOOD! And then a nice, long interlude in which the baby was in the bed, and yet not so much with the sleeping. A long stretch. Did I mention long?

At 12:30am, the kid finally fell asleep. 12:30am. Need I mention that I had to be awake that whole time too? Awake, and immobile, lest my slightest twitch disturb his already nonexistent rest? By 12:30 I was completely stir-crazy and not at all tired, and my hives – which I thought were on the mend, after popping Benadryl like a crazy Benadryl-popping person the night before – were back with a vengeance.

Not So was snoring next to the baby, so I left them both there and got up to do some work on the couldbe studios site. See, because I’d been working on it earlier despite Not So’s indifference to the TABLE-BASED LAYOUT OMG and UNTHRILLING GRAPHIC SCHEME and LACK OF LICKABILITY, and the only thing he’d expressed a definite, emphatic opinion on was the one thing I wanted to avoid: the illustration. Says me: okay, so. A photograph would be fine, right? Says Not So: Oh, an illustration. We need to show that we can do custom illustration, right? Plus, so much cooler! (I’m paraphrasing. Or am I?)

Illustrations take time. Lots of time. Time I currently spend trying to convince an eighteen-month-old that he does, in fact, need to sleep sometimes. However, now that the toddler was sleeping and I was, to put it delicately, not, I figured I’d take advantage of the evening by seeing how far I could get on the illustration before my eyes started to cross. I surprised myself; I was done in two hours. (Amazing how much faster I work when no one is pulling on my wrists or helpfully clicking buttons on my mouse.) So, couldbe site done, yay!

Except boo, because my hives were all hivetastic and so itchy I could cry. I went to bed, but kept waking up to find that I was scratching like a mad fiend, which didn’t help the itch but added a nice, bracing sting. When Not So’s alarm went off at 7, I gave up on the whole sleep thing.

The good news is that the hives seem to have faded, again. The bad news is I’m hopelessly behind and pretty tired, to boot. And the kid?

Hasn’t napped yet today.

Sigh.

solo parent, days 3-4

Unsurprisingly, the longer I am solo parenting, the harder it gets. Actually that’s not true. Some things are actually easier when I’m the only one around. Sleeptime, for example. When the kid’s tired, I put him down. If I’m tired too, we both go to sleep, in a bed that suddenly feels spacious and accommodating. I don’t need to worry about whether the lights are off or the door is locked. I don’t need to feel bad that I’m not dividing my attention. I can just…sleep.

Other things aren’t so smooth. Happy Fun Baby threw not one, not two but three marathon tantrums in the last three days, which isn’t that unusual since he’s 18 months old. What is unusual is that afterward there was no one to watch him while I took a desperately needed mental health break. Even things like taking out the garbage became a big deal: the garbage cans have temporarily been relocated to the first floor while the elevator is being upgraded, so taking out the garbage means going down two flights of stairs. Sounds simple, right? Except how do you wrangle garbage bags and a toddler? In the Ergo, that’s how, but you’d be surprised how long it took me to figure that out.

Yesterday was…challenging. We went to Saturday Market (yes, I know it was Sunday) and the kid insisted on walking so I didn’t bring the Ergo. People! Learn from my mistakes! When your child is younger than, say, twelve, you must provide an alternate method of transport! Anyway I foolishly went out with a walking kid, and it was actually fine for the first bit. We wandered, we chatted with our friend Chyna, we had some lunch at Mother’s, and then we went home. This is where the problem started. Mother’s is just far enough from the MAX that I stupidly thought “We can just walk from here.” Stupid decision #2: “Oh yeah, we need diapers! I’ll just pop into Rite Aid on the way home.” And guess who started refusing to walk after three of the nine blocks? Guess who needed to be carried? Guess who would not stand still in the drugstore even though mama had her hands full? Guess who screamed when we handed the diapers to the cashier? Those were the longest nine blocks of my life, and several times I was very tempted to just sit on the curb and set up camp. The homeless people like us, for the most part, and the kid is very friendly.

I was lucky in that I was able to take a mini break from work the past two days, and the new school session only starts today so I didn’t have homework, either. Yes: my vacation is a weekend of solo parenting during which I only had the kid and the housework! You totally wish you had my life.

Not So gets back today, and it’s a good thing. My poor beleagured brain is so distracted with kid stuff that when Chyna said “You look cute today!” I didn’t even consider that she might not be talking to the baby. It was only when she followed up with “Do I recognize that skirt?” that I realized she was talking about me.