Mar 20, 2014

Happy Happy Happy

It’s “Happy Day of Endless Facebook Notifications” to me.  I had originally intended to turn the ability to post on my wall off, but people started messaging me, so I turned the feature back on. I’m a bit OCD about messages, and I was worried I’d end up having 200 chat conversations.

When I was a child, birthdays meant being woken up by my father picking me up out of bed, and dropping me back into it. Several times. And then perhaps being beaten over the head with a pillow for good measure.  I would walk downstairs and the entire kitchen would be decorated with signs my father had drawn, with stick people doing inappropriate things.  Dad was the king of inappropriate stick people.

It was lasagna and pink cake, both made by my mom.  Dad didn’t much care for lasagna, so it was a once-a-year treat. I remember in my early 20s suggesting that maybe we switch things up for my birthday and have something else for dinner, and my mom practically cried. She wanted her once-a-year special baked pasta, and my birthday was the excuse to have it, dammit.

As I got older, birthdays started to mean less and less. It felt like just another day on the calendar. Oh, I liked the presents... and going out for a nice dinner with the boyfriend of the week was nice. But it stopped feeling special.  Until...

For my 30th birthday, I decided I wanted to do something special. My then-husband and I traveled back to my post-college hometown, Grand Rapids, to gather together with friends old and new, eat at my favorite restaurant (San Chez Bistro), get drunk on Sangria, and celebrate.

It was a helluva celebration because... nine months later, along came Quinn. And with his arrival came the departure of my birthday celebrations. I think once I became a Mom, it sort of became all about the kids, and less about me.  A gift was a shower and a nap, and good take out being delivered.

This year, I’ve been sick since the end of January.  Nothing major, just the same old asthma flare ups I get every year. But it’s sticking around as steadfastly as the snow, and I’m, well, crabby is an understatement. I’m somewhere between “raving bitch” and “complete lunatic”.

It’s been a long winter.

But the day dawned and a happy birthday was wished to me numerous times by people I love and who love me. I grumped about it for a little while, and then I got to thinking how lucky I am.

I am here, when many people I cared about are not.

My kids are here: happy, healthy, and thriving.

I have a man who loves me and does his best to take care of me, especially when I’m too distracted to take care of myself.

I have a friends who support me, love me, laugh with and at me, and enrich my life in every way.

I have a job in my field, doing what I love, with coworkers I adore.

I’m doing well in college. I never thought I’d go back and finish - it felt too intimidating. Now, with the guidance of my friend and advisor (taskmaster) Lisa, I am not only planning on finishing - my final goal is Dr. Andrea Sargent, Ph.D.

I’ve got it pretty good.

So, yes. Break out the confetti - bring on the cake. It’s my birthday, bitches! Let’s celebrate!!

Mar 7, 2014


On the bright side, her hair looks fabulous.
Because I love to overshare...

Yesterday was an exciting day because, for the first time in my life, I bought a car without the benefit of father or husband doing all the dirty work for me. I knew what I wanted, haggled it down enough to make the salesman cry, and was done with the whole shebang in 2 hours.  It may sound stupid, but I felt kind of (I know the word is SO overused but...) empowered!

Dropped off the future Oscar winner to carpool for play practice, then took my best girl out for a girl's night dinner. A lovely evening... until...

Got the princess home and in the shower. Suddenly, a tremulous voice... "Mom???"

Uh oh.

Went in to the bathroom to see what might cause that fear in the princess's voice and she is holding out a finger, with a giant lice (louse?) on it.  "What is THIS?"

Remember when I gave up swearing for Lent? Yeah. That promptly went out the window.

I may or may not have screamed "THAT'S LICE!!!!"  Which may or may not have been what caused Claire to hysterically begin shrieking.  Which she did not stop doing for the next three hours. Have I ever mentioned that Claire is not supposed to cry. Like, ever? Awesome.

To make matters worse (so. much. worse.) we had been told in September at our neuro's office that, because of various brain surgery reasons, lice (and their toxic treatments) are more than just an annoyance or inconvenience for us... they have the potential to make Claire *very* sick. So she was certain she was dying.

I called Peter at work (I'm sure it was hard to hear me over all the shrieking) to go get Every. Lice. Treatment. Rite Aid sells. Every. One.

Then I had to call Claire's neuro team - who were not very happy. More awesome.

And then I had to call the moms of the kids who Claire spent the night with at the overnight sleepover last week. No one wants to give, or receive, that call. I felt like the worst Mom ever. The moms I spoke to were so kind... but I imagine if they find a bugger in their kid's hair - they will be cursing my name. I don't blame them.

I have no idea who Patient Zero is... but he or she are givers. And, ewwwww.  And it sucks because we're so hyper-vigilant about this stuff due to Claire's medical condition.

Four hours later, after pulling out a fair majority of her hair with the metal nit comb, using up two boxes of lice treatments (which did, in fact, make her ill for a few hours), an entire bottle of olive oil, an entire bottle of tea tree oil, an entire jar of mayonaise, scrubbing her multiple times with rosemary mint soaps and shampoo, I finally fried the suckers with my fancy-schmancy flat iron that heats up to 450 degrees and sent the exhausted princess to bed with a lovely 'do rag on her head.

And by bed I mean the couch, from which all pillows had been removed. She's had all her (thousands) of stuffed animals taken away and either scalded in hot water, or frozen outside - not to be returned for two weeks. I bug bombed her room and shut the door with clear instructions that she isn't allowed to enter until Tuesday.  I sprayed every surface in our house with lice killer. Every towel, sheet, and article of clothing she has touched in the past week has either been thrown away, or boiled in hot water and toasted in a hot dryer.

And then this morning, we got up and did the whole thing all over again, for another two hours. No crying this time. She is either too exhausted, or too resigned. Mom is on a mission, and Claire is just going to have to deal. And, at last check, she appears to be all clear. Not a bug (big or small) to be found.  Thank God.

Fortunately, Quinn, Peter, and I seem to be okay. We keep checking (and are treating just to be on the safe side) but it seems Claire was their favorite tasty victim.

But just to be clear... that no-swearing thing? Over it. And I'm not giving up booze or chocolates either. I have a feeling, God understands.