Out and About in the Neighborhood

So many “firsts” are flying by and I’m too busy catching up on my sleep to record them! Now I know why moms always look so tired. It’s as if my life just sped up and everybody is talking really fast in mickey mouse squirrel voices.

Yesterday were two big firsts. A trip to the House of Horrors, I mean Doctor’s office, for a Hepatitis B shot AND our first walk around the neighborhood in the Bugaboo.

The trip to the doctor’s office was terrifying for me (Baby Bug managed to sleep through most of it). We went last week too (for an emergency visit to check out her infected umbilical cord) but this time it seemed even more scary. It’s as if I could see the germs crawling on the walls while we waited in the waiting room. So many people coughed, kids sat next to their mothers with glazed-over eyes of sickness, toddlers drooled snot, the sounds of weeping and wailing echoed from behind the dungeon door… It was horrible! Finally, after 20 minutes of breathing in all those germs, a really nice nurse lead us around to a private waiting room especially for newborns with immature immune systems. I think next time we have an appointment, I’m just going to go straight to the private waiting room and not wait for an invitation. I don’t care if they think I’m rude. Nobody comes between me and my mama bear instinct.

Baby Bug had an excellent check up. She grew! All those nights of tears, worrying that I’m just not getting the breast feeding thing, finally paid off! She gained 8 ounces! I guess you can still get nutrition even if you refuse to latch on correctly. Contrary to all the advice of the lactation nurses, my nipples are permanently in a scabbed painful wedge shape. They say round healthy nipples show a proper latch. I try and try and try to get her to latch correctly but it’s like fighting a badger. She’s all invisible teeth, spittle and mad flailing fists. I might have to go back to the clinic AGAIN… but at least she’s not starving! She’s actually right on track to being the most average baby ever, with a growth curve in the 50th percentile. Of course Toby says she’s only average in growth. He’s already got plans for her above average intelligence.

She squealed a bit when the doctor gave her a shot but I didn’t even cry. I thought I would. I cry about everything and a lot of other new mom bloggers have written about crying when they see their little helpless baby stabbed with a giant needle. I guess I’m tough. Or at least I think Baby Bug is. I knew she’d be fine even though Toby had to entertain me with the 101 things that could go wrong while we waited for the doctor to show up.

Toby is the worst. He knows just enough about the medical field to scare the crap out of you. And then he asks questions that annoy the doctors and nurses. Since we are with an HMO insurance plan, they want to move you in and out of the office as quickly as possible. Long complicated questions from know-it-all pre-med fathers are not really appreciated. Our doctor is really nice though and manages to answer most everything with a smile. I’m just worried that as soon as that door closes, he probably shakes his head and rolls his eyes.

After a successful doctor’s visit under our belts, we went home and I took a record long nap in the sunshine on our couch in the living room. There’s something about the sun warming you that makes you fall into the deepest
sleep ever. When I try to wake up, I feel like Gulliver in Gullivers’s Travels when he’s tied down with a million tiny Lilliputian ropes (correct me if I’ve got the names wrong). I really do feel like a million tiny ropes are pulling me back into the couch and opening my eyes is an act of strength I can’t muster. I never used to be like this. I could never take naps in the day time. No matter how tired I was, my eyes would stay flipped open if the sun was out. Not any more. I’ll sleep anywhere, any time for as long as the little Bug will let me. She’s a good baby and does take really long naps if I feed her properly. That’s probably why she gained so many ounces. I’m always trying to feed her properly.

And then! We took our walk! It was so great. The air was crisp but not cold. There are flowers blooming everywhere (since February is the new spring when you live in Southern California). We walked and walked and walked.

Our first destination was the library, so I could try and get out of $41 worth of fines I’d racked up since my books and rented dvd’s were due on the day Baby Bug was born. Unfortunately for the library, returning them just wasn’t a priority. The librarian reluctantly didn’t charge me but she gave me the mother of all guilt trips about it. “Couldn’t somebody else return your books for you while you were in the hospital?” she asked. I wanted to level with her and say, “Listen lady, when I was up to my eyeballs with a crying baby, bleeding nipples, stitches up the wahzoo (literally) and not sleeping a wink, I really couldn’t even think straight enough to ask somebody to return my books for me.” In reality, I did ask Toby to return my books for me almost every day but he just looked at me as if I’d just flown in from Jupiter or something. He hasn’t had a minute to go to the library either. So anyway, at the end of the day I’m not on the best customer list at the library anymore but I didn’t have to pay the forty-one bucks.

After the library, we walked through the park and did a little off-roading to test out the new wheels. I showed Baby Bug the playground but steered clear of any children for fear of more germs. We cruised down Whoorl’s street, but she wasn’t home. We stopped to smell the flowers and listen to the birds and then headed home with a song in our hearts. Or at least I was singing something like “Home again, home again. Jiggety jog.” Toby was so relieved to see us back in one piece. I think he’s convinced I’m going to step in front of a car or something. Crazy Papa.

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In other news: I’ve just found out that I’m sucking up way too much giggage from my friend who hosts this site for free for me. Does anybody have any advice/reccommendations on a new company I can get to host this site? I’m clueless. I might just have to start advertising to pay the monthly fees! Oh no! Say it ain’t so!!! It is, I’m sorry to say.

Toilet-a-go-go

Why is there a toilet on our patio?

To drive me slowly mad that’s why. It’s a conspiracy hatched in my landlady’s head. She knows I’m pregnant, she knows I probably have to go to the bathroom a million times a day and she knows we only have one bathroom in our house. She also knows I hardly ever leave the house. “Ha ha ha!” she must have cackled as she rubbed her bony fingers together in evil landlady glee.

Oh, I don’t know. She’s not that evil. She’s just older and stuck in her ways and she’s a bit hard to communicate with since English is her second language. I think she is from Guatemala or Paraguay or somewhere exotic and south of Mexico. She actually lived the American dream. She made herself rich cleaning one toilet at a time. She likes to tell us this tale (which includes some detail about losing her wedding ring down the toilet) every time she comes by our house, which is a lot. Which we hate because it always turns into a lecture on what we should do to take care of the place better even though we all know it’s crumbling to the ground and it’s worth more as a tear-down than it is as a 1950’s beach bungalow.

Anyway, our landlady decided we needed a new tile floor in our bathroom. This is actually a very nice turn of events since we have been living with embarrassingly gross water-stained linoleum for the past six years. Ever since the tenant below (who rents out the garage below us to store their legal documents in) complained of water leaking onto his boxes and boxes of important papers, our landlady has made a serious effort to correct the situation.

I’ve probably blogged about it before but I’m too lazy to make a link. She’s put a new shower door on our bathtub, she’s added a rubber strip to the bottom of the shower door, she’s fussed and fussed and nothing seemed to stop the water leaking problem. Mostly because the floor underneath the tub is completely rotted and the water gets through because there isn’t a very good seal along the edges of the tub… bla bla bla. We don’t really care that much because the whole place is falling down around us and we intend to move someday before we fall through the floor. Our place is a tear down. Repairs are a lost cause and an excuse for the landlady to raise the rent.

But of course if you have a team of lawyers threatening to sue you because years and years of documents have been destroyed by water, the matter of the leaky floor becomes more urgent. She puttered and muttered and eventually came up with the idea of installing a tile floor. And so a tile floor we got.

The construction crew arrived at 9 am. They ripped out the toilet and put it on the porch. They ripped out the rotted wood that was the floor and put it on the porch too. Then they went to the hardware store to buy new lumber and they were gone for about six hours. They probably had a sit down lunch while they were out, I don’t know. They are nice enough fellows but the sad part is they brought along a ten-year-old boy to act as translator. I felt sorry for the kid. He had nothing to do all day but hang out at our house and help his dad find tools. Then they left him behind when they went out for their six hour lunch. I tried to make friends with him and offer to let him watch our television but he preferred to stay outside. He must have been warned to stay away from the crazy “gringos”. Who knows.

What I do know is that I went crazy not being able to go to the bathroom. The thing with me is that I’m never sure I have to go but I can’t concentrate unless I have just gone and I know every little drip has left my body. The baby is sitting upside down on her head on top of my bladder. She is so big that sometimes she completely blocks the pipes so I don’t have to go at all and then when she moves I suddenly really really really really have to go. It’s crazy making even when I’m sitting five feet away from an available bathroom. So you can imagine how I felt with no toilet to go to. Just seeing it sit there on the porch with no privacy or pipes connected to it made me want to scratch my eyeballs out.

Fortunately we live on the urban side of town and at the corner of our street is a very friendly coffee shop. It’s like the bar in Cheers. They know everybody by name. I don’t visit there very often because I don’t know everybody by name I think they are all snobs. Or I’m just too shy to make friends. Either one. Besides when I’m drinking coffee (which I’m not right now cause I’m prego) I make a pretty mean cup of coffee at home so I don’t need to walk to the end of my street and buy somebody else’s.

But having this friendly/snobby coffee shop nearby is a very good thing when you need to use a public restroom. By ten-thirty I knew everybody’s name at the coffee shop and they all knew I was pregnant and had a bladder the size of a pea. By eleven they had the bathroom key sitting out for me on the counter by the cash register. I was tempted to just ask if I could keep the key for the day. If anybody else needed it, they could just call my cell phone and I’d bring it down. I’d probably be heading that way anyway.

The only problem was, this coffee shop closes at four. And of course the construction crew at our house was no where near completing the tile floor by then. So this is when God looked down and rained a miracle on me. It just so happens that they are also doing construction at the coffee shop. It’s catching in our neighborhood. It’s like that crazy lady who built the Winchester Mystery house and she made staircases that went nowhere because she believed she’d live as long as she could constantly hear the sound of hammers pounding. There are always hammers pounding in our neighborhood. There are always jackhammers breaking up cement too but that’s another blog (quicktime movie).

So because I am so lucky and blessed, I was able to sneak into the coffee shop through the open front door and steal the key five more times before I headed off to my baby sitting job at five. The coffee shop construction crew didn’t even know I was there. Never before have I looked so forward to going to babysit. I almost went early, I was so anxious to be in a house with a toilet connected to some plumbing.

Oh what a day.

I’m happy to report that when I came home at midnight, the toilet was installed and we now have a very nice new tile floor. I had no idea they could be so cold on bare feet!